Types of Courses at Lincoln

At Lincoln, there are a number of types of course you can study which offer different levels of award or qualification at the end. Different courses require varying amounts of time and commitment.

The types of courses we offer include the following:

  • Undergraduate courses
  • Postgraduate programmes
  • Foundation degrees
  • Apprenticeships
  • Short courses
  • Work Based Learning

Undergraduate Courses

Undergraduate honours degrees form the largest group of Higher Education qualifications.

Bachelor's or Master's?

An undergraduate degree can result in a Bachelor's degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc), which usually takes three years of full-time study.

A four-year course will usually lead to an undergraduate Master's degree, such as Master of Arts (MA), Master of Chemistry (MChem) or Master of Engineering (MEng). An undergraduate Master's degree usually includes a research element in the final year, and often leads to advanced entry to postgraduate education or some career paths.

On some programmes, you may transfer between Bachelor's and Master's courses - for example, you may decide during the third year of your BSc Chemistry course to study for an extra year to achieve the MChem award.

Study Units

Degrees are made up of a range of related units, some of which you may be able to choose from a range of options.

During levels one and two, you usually take eight units. During level three you usually take six units plus a dissertation or independent study which is worth two units.

Joint Honours Degrees

Some of our courses are Joint Honours degrees where you study two related subjects, such as International Relations and Politics. All of our Joint Honours degrees involve subjects that are complementary, where learning in one area informs the other.

Typically you will spend 50 per cent of your time in each subject throughout the duration of your course. A Joint Honours degree enables you to experience a greater range of study, creates a potentially wider selection of career opportunities and postgraduate study options, and enables you to develop a wide range of subject-specific and transferable skills.

On Joint Honours degrees, study units (see Study Units above) are divided and you may have fewer options to choose your own modules to ensure you complete all compulsory modules.

A Joint Honours degree results in the same sort of award, e.g. BA (Hons) International Relations and Politics.

Top-up Degrees

If you have a Foundation degree or Higher National Diploma (HND), a Top-up degree is an excellent way to boost your existing qualifications and open up new career possibilities.

These programmes only take around one year to complete, but Top-up students graduate with a prestigious, full Honours degree from the University of Lincoln.

Postgraduate Programmes

Postgraduate study is a more advanced level of higher education, and usually occurs after an undergraduate degree.

Taught or Research?

Postgraduate study is either a 'taught' or 'research' programme. 'Taught' programmes (MA/MSc/MBA) follow a prescribed pattern of study and are subject-specific. A postgraduate Master's is only one year, as opposed to an undergraduate MA of four years, because it is usually completed after an undergraduate degree.

Research programmes (MRes, MPhil, PhD) are higher level programmes enhancing independent study through original inquiry. Students conduct original research under the guidance of a senior academic tutor, culminating in a thesis. 'Doctoral study' is the process of working towards a PhD - the pinnacle of academic achievement.

Short Courses

Short courses can boost your career prospects, build on your interests or introduce you to a whole new subject. They require less time and financial commitment than a full degree.

The University of Lincoln offers short courses, many of which are professionally accredited, across a range of subject areas and disciplines.

Foundation Degrees

Lincoln offers a range of Foundation degrees which combine academic study with work-based learning.

Foundation degrees typically focus on a particular industry to equip you for a career in that area. Following a Foundation degree, you can go on to complete a Top-up degree, to graduate with a full Undergraduate honours degree.


Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes which involve training on the job to gain relevant skills and a recognised qualification, whilst earning.

Ideally, you will already be employed in a role relevant to your apprenticeship training but we can assist you through the National Apprenticeship Service to find a suitable vacancy.

Work Based Learning 

Lincoln offers a range of Work Based Distance Learning Degrees in Management with programmes that are designed to give students and employees a competitive edge.

The flexible work-based programmes build on your existing expertise and are informed by the context of each student's job. Teaching is via online distance learning and degrees are usually completed within 13-24 months.

Word Based Management programmes are available in Business, Engineering, Humanitarian Supply Chain, Logistics and Retail Management.