University education in Great Britain

There are 46 universities in Britain. But not all universities are equal. They differ from one another in history, tradition, academic organisation. Not all British universities are backed by a well-known reputation.

Oxford and Cambridge, the oldest universities are world-known for their academic excellence. The University of London has the size and breadth to rank among the UK's top universities.

A university usually consists of colleges. The departments of the colleges are organised into faculties.

University teaching in the UK differs greatly at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels from that in many other countries.

An undergraduate programme consists of a series of lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory classes which in total account for about 15 hours per week.

Following a particular programme students take series of lecture courses which may last one academic term or the whole year. Associated with each lecture qourse are seminars, tutorials, laboratory classes which illustrate the topics presented in the lectures.

Lectures are given to large groups of students (from 20 to 200). Seminars and tutorials are much smaller than lecture classes and in some departments can be on a one-to-one basis (one member of staff and one student).

Students prepare work in advance for seminars and tutorials. And this can take the form of researching a topic for discussion by writing essays or by solving problems.

Lectures, seminars and tutorials are all one hour in length, laboratory classes last two or three hours. Much emphasis is put on the private study nature of a UK degree. Each student has a tutor whom he can consult on any matter whether academic or personal.

The academic year is split into three terms. Formal teaching takes place in the first two terms which last for twenty four weeks in total. The third term is reserved for classes and examinations and lasts for six weeks.

Universities teach in all major subject areas: arts, science, law, engineering, medicine, social sciences.

University staff are at the foreground of knowledge in their subject. The teaching encourages students to learn in the most effective way.

University degree courses extend from three to four years. After three years of study a university graduate will leave with the Degree of Bachelor of Arts or Science. He can continue to take his Master's Degree and then the Doctor's Degree.