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How to choose between undergraduate courses and unis

With so many courses and many similar ones out there, find out more about comparing them and choosing the right one for you.
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Choosing courses
There's a lot to consider when choosing a course, so our guide gives you hints on what to think about.
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This signed video takes you through what to consider before deciding on what and where to study.
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If you're not sure what kind of course to study yet, get started here with info on course types and entry requirements. If you're ready to search for courses, here's some advice on narrowing down your choices.

Compare course content

When you search for courses, read through the details to see if you like what’s on offer and how it’s taught.
  • Which modules are the most interesting and relevant to your career aspirations?
  • How many lectures are there and how much group work will be done in seminars?
  • What combination of exams, coursework or presentations is the course assessed by?
  • Who are the tutors and are they experts in areas you want to learn about?
When choosing a course, remember that not all courses with the same name are identical.
  • International and EU students

    In the UK degree courses tend to be very specialised, allowing students to focus on their chosen student from their first day. However there are others that allow you more flexibility in what you study – so when you start searching for courses, make sure you read the course descriptions carefully, and click through to university websites for further information.

Compare course providers and locations

There are a few ways you can research universities and colleges – read their websites or prospectuses, or speak to them at UCAS events and course provider open days.
  • What subject areas do they specialise in?
  • Can you study abroad or get help with work placements?
  • Do they have sports facilities or societies you’d want to join?
  • How near home, a city centre or the countryside are they?
  • International and EU students
    There are hundreds of universities and colleges in the UK with different specialities.

    So rather than choosing a famous university, see where has the best courses for you.

    • Ask how many other international students or students from your country are studying there.
    • Find out if the university has cultural or social clubs you would like to join.
    • Remember to check entry requirements in the course descriptions to see what you need to do to get a place on a course.
    • Refer to high quality education assured by QAA below.


  • If you want to study music, dance, drama, or musical theatre, studying at a conservatoire could be the best option for you.
  • Conservatoire courses focus on practical tuition, performance experience, and encouraging a great variety of creative influences and ideas – all backed up by academic study and professional development.

Find out how to choose between courses and conservatoires

College-based HE

Many further education colleges now offer higher education courses.
  • These include Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), foundation degrees, and bachelor degrees, and can be found using our search tool.  
  • Some also offer a range of other higher level courses, including professional qualifications, teaching qualifications and in some cases, master's degrees.

Check subject and university reviews

As well as talking through your ideas with family, friends, teachers or advisers, you can find other opinions online.
  • Get the student viewpoint at Unistats for subject and course provider reviews.
  • Read course provider reviews from The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.
  • Check league tables that rank course providers. Make sure you check the sources though, as some are biased. (The Guardian, The Times and The Complete University Guide are some of the more impartial places to look).

Teaching Excellence Framework

The Government has introduced the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) to give information about universities and colleges, intended to help you decide where to study. Universities and colleges achieving TEF awards can increase their fees in line with inflation, for full-time courses starting from September 2017. It is up to each university or college to decide whether or not to change their fees.