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UK study  Choosing an institution  Colleges of higher education

Colleges of higher education

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Colleges of higher education (CHEs) have usually evolved from colleges offering vocational courses, so they often specialise in work-related courses, rather than purely academic ones.

They can offer degree, diploma and certificate courses.

There is considerable variation in the programmes offered by CHEs. For example, some do not offer degrees but only courses up to HND level. Some also offer the type of courses offered by Colleges of Further Education. Most CHE degrees are validated by local universities, as these colleges do not have the right to confer their own degrees.

There is no clear dividing line between CHEs and universities, and some CHEs may become universities in their own right.

CHEs are most commonly located in cities or towns, and many are spread over several sites. Some CHEs have halls of residence, but you should check before applying. Students are normally aged 18 and over, and many are mature students.


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