Skip to main content

Undergraduate degree structure

First degrees are usually awarded with honours and are classified into first class, second class (with upper and lower divisions) or third class.

We offer the following first degrees:

  • Bachelor of Engineering BEng
  • Bachelor of Science BSc
  • Bachelor of Arts BA
  • Bachelor of Music BMus
  • Bachelor of Laws LLB

As well as Integrated Masters degrees such as Master of Engineering MEng, and Foundation years in Engineering and Information Technology.

The course structure is based on three periods of study per year. There are two teaching terms of 12 weeks each – the first runs from September to December, and the second runs from January to Easter. There is then a third, shorter term for revision, examination and assessment.

If you choose to take a four‑year sandwich course, you will spend a further period in either one or two work placements.

Studying three-years full-time

You will study for six academic terms with a standard summer vacation.

Studying four-years with a thick-sandwich

You will spend the whole of Year 3 on placement.

Studying four-years with a thin-sandwich

You spend two periods on work placements, which are likely to extend through the summer vacation. (If you are taking a course approved by a professional institution, longer periods of work experience may give exemptions from some membership requirements.)

However, there are a few exceptions where the course is structured differently.


Courses leading to a recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status have a different structure.

Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Specialist Community Public Health Nursing

You may have some periods of clinical work experience during vacations.

Social Work

You will spend a proportion of each year in the field.

Foundation and Pre-Master's courses

We offer a range of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course. Our foundation and pre-masters' programmes are designed for your individual study needs and to help build your confidence for study in the UK. 

The courses include:

  • flexible start dates
  • small classes
  • additional English language
  • specialist modules to help improve knowledge and skills prior to the start of your academic study

Find out more:

Flood and Coastal Engineering FdSc

The FdSc Flood and Coastal Engineering offers the opportunity to attend two six month placements. The first and second year follow the same structure with the majority of the first six months spent at Brunel, and then the following six months at your selected workplace, which may be at an Environment Agency or Local Authority office across England. You will receive a training allowance of £1,000 per month (HMRC tax and NI exempt) while on each six month placement. 

Professional experience and accreditation

If you choose the four-year thick-sandwich or thin-sandwich course you will have the opportunity to acquire valuable practical skills through extended work experience as an integral part of your course. The sandwich placement is assessed, and is worth 120 credits.

Transferring to a different mode of study

If you are registered for a sandwich course but have problems obtaining suitable placements, you may be able to transfer to a different mode of study. For example, you may be able to switch to a full-time mode from a thick-sandwich mode at the end of Level 2. Options vary from course to course, depending on the availability of different modes - check the programme specification for your course when you register.

Accreditation by professional institutions

A large number of Brunel’s courses are validated by professional institutions.

Aside from an accredited degree, membership requirements normally include a period of training in the relevant discipline. If you are on a sandwich course, periods of work placement can contribute between six and sixteen months towards these training requirements, giving you accelerated entry to your chosen profession.

Each course entry shows whether the course has accreditation.

Joint honours degrees

Many subjects can be combined as a joint honours programme, and these are listed in the Course Finder. The proportion of credits you will be expected to attain in each subject varies according to your programme specification but, for a joint honours course rated at 360 credits, you must take a minimum of 160 credits in each of the two subjects.

Part-time courses

Some degree programmes are available on a part-time basis – this is indicated under each course entry. As a part-time student you will normally take up to 80 credits in an academic year, though you may be able to vary this according to your personal circumstances.

Modular structure

Our courses have been designed so that they are made up of study and assessment blocks, which we call modules. Each module is worth 10 to 30 credits each, with a major project being worth up to 40 credits. You will build these modules up, usually gaining at least 120 credits per year, until you complete at least 360 credits to achieve an Honours degree.

There are some exceptions to this pattern.

  • Those undertaking an MEng qualification will study for a further year. This year, Level 4, will include advanced modules and group projects.
  • If you do not complete your degree programme, you may be eligible to receive a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) with 120 credits or a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) with 240 credits.
  • Periods of work placement that form an integral part of your degree programme attract up to 120 further credits and may lead to a separate award title (although this does not apply to Education).
  • Since each module has a credit value, Brunel is able to participate in national and international credit accumulation and transfer schemes.

Choosing modules

Please remember that the modules available to you will depend on your chosen course and your timetable.

Most degree courses contain compulsory modules in order to maintain the coherence of the course or to meet the requirements of professional institutions. However, you may also be able to select other modules which you will do before the beginning of each level.

Language modules may be available for credit on your course, or you may choose to take them for additional credit which does not contribute to your award (or just for fun!).

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching methods include a mixture of:

  • lectures
  • discussions
  • seminars
  • tutorials

Practical activities, learning technologies and research projects are also teaching methods for specific courses.

In your final year, you will complete a major project either individually or as part of a team. If you are taking a sandwich course, your project may be connected with work undertaken during your placement(s).

Many courses are assessed by a combination of continuous assessment (such as essays, reports, practicals and presentations) and end of year examinations. Performance on sandwich placements or professional practice is also assessed, if applicable.

Final degree classification is usually determined by the results gained at Levels 2 and 3, including performance in your final year project.