Life at College and UniversityCategory: Educational System
The Oldest Universities. University Degrees. Redbrick Universities. Polytechnics. Colleges of Education. Further Education Colleges. The Open University
The academic year in Britain’s universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education is divided into three terms, which usually run from the beginning of October to the middle of December, from the middle of January to the end of March, and from the middle of April to the end of June or the beginning of July.
There are 46 universities in Britain. The oldest and best-known universities are located in Oxford, Cambridge, London, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Southampton, Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham.
Good А-level results in at least two subjects are necessary to get a place at a university. However, good exam passes alone are not enough. Universities choose their students after interviews. For all British citizens a place at a university brings with it a grant from their local education authority.
English universities greatly differ from each other. They differ in date of foundation, size, history, tradition, general organization, methods of instruction, way of student life.
After three years of study a university graduate will leave with the Degree of Bachelor of Arts, Science, Engineering, Medicine, etc. Later he may continue to take the Master’s Degree and then the Doctor’s Degree. Research is an important feature of university work.
The two intellectual eyes of Britain — Oxford and Cambridge Universities — date from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
The Scottish universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
In the nineteenth and the early part of the twentieth centuries the so-called Redbrick universities were founded. These include London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, and Birmingham. During the late sixties and early seventies some 20 “new” universities were set up. Sometimes they are called “concrete and glass” universities. Among them are the universities of Sussex, York, East Anglia and some others.
During these years the Government set up thirty Polytechnics. The Polytechnics, like the universities, offer first and higher degrees. Some of them offer full-time and sandwich courses. Colleges of Education provide two-year courses in teacher education or sometimes three years if the graduate specializes in some particular subject.
Some of those who decide to leave school at the age of 16 may go to a further education college where they can follow a course in typing, engineering, town planning, cooking, or hairdressing, full-time or part- time. Further education colleges have strong ties with commerce and industry.
There is an interesting form of studies which is called the Open University. It is intended for people who study in their own free time and who “attend” lectures by watching television and listening to the radio. They keep in touch by phone and letter with their tutors and attend summer schools. The Open University students have no formal qualifications and would be unable to enter ordinary universities.
Some 80,000 overseas students study at British universities or further education colleges or train in nursing, law, banking or in industry.