There are also things called postgraduate degrees (a degree you do after your undergraduate one) to get even more qualifications. They can be diplomas, a Master’s degree, or a PhD (to name a few kinds). You can also do other things called foundation degrees, diplomas and other qualifications at uni or college to get certification.
Degrees can take anywhere from 1 to 4 years, depending on the type it is and the subject you study. You generally start them when you’re 18 or 19 (or sometimes 17 in Scotland), but can start later than that too. You’ll normally need A Levels or equivalents to get on a course, but they might consider other qualifications.
- You’ll generally have more time for a social life and extra-curricular activities like sports or the arts
- You can usually take other subjects within your degree just to develop your own knowledge. They don’t always have to be linked to your main degree
- You can work part-time if you want to
- You’ll get long holidays (often longer than at school!)
- When you start work you will start training for your APC straightaway
🗓 When to apply
Generally speaking, you apply in the last year of school (whether that’s Sixth Form or college). Your school helps you out with the application. But you don’t have to do it this way. You can apply then do what’s called ‘deferring’ for a year where they keep your place. You can take a gap year to work and figure out what you want to do, then apply. Heck, you could apply when you’re 45, or 65, or whatever age if you want to!
Whenever you’re applying, applications to UCAS need to be in by the end of January if you want to start in September that year. If you want to go to Oxford or Cambridge, the deadline’s usually around mid-October.
🔍 Where can I find a course?
If you have a specific uni in mind, you can look on their website at the courses they offer. Or if you have a specific course in mind, look on UCAS to see which universities offer it (or something similar). If you’re keen on a career in property, take a look at courses on architecture, building and planning as a starting point. Or check out the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and the Royal Town Planning Institute as they have lots of info on how to get started.
Businesses run structured training programmes where graduates gain practical experience in their chosen profession, you will also receive support in building key skills. People who are looking at obtaining professional qualifications will also study for their APC (Assessment of Practical Competence) while working on the graduate scheme.
There are two routes into professional careers in the built environment if you have a degree:
- “Cognate route” where you study for a degree accredited to a professional body (like RICS and RTPI)
- “Non-cognate” route where you study for a degree of your choice
If you have a non-accredited degree you will need to complete an accredited BSc or MSc which can be studied part-time or through distance learning while you undertake your work and APC. Many companies will support you while you study.
When to apply
Most graduate schemes open for applications between September and November, to start work the following September (check an organisations website full details).