What Is a Top-Up Degree and How Can It Help You?
PSB Academy recently conducted a poll on Instagram about top-up degrees. The results revealed that a significant number of participants were unfamiliar with the concept of a top-up programme. Many mistakenly believed it to be an add-on degree or extra curriculum that would complement their existing qualifications. In this article, we will explore what top-up degrees are and how they can empower individuals to thrive in their chosen professional fields.
What Is a Bachelor’s Degree?
To understand top-up degrees, it is essential to define a bachelor’s degree, which is an undergraduate academic degree for students who have at least completed their GCE ‘A’ levels or equivalent to pursue. It usually involves a specific course of study in a discipline such as arts, sciences, or humanities, and usually takes a period of between 16 to 48 months to complete depending on the curriculum, choice of institution and whether you are studying full-time or part time.
What Is a Top-Up Degree?
According to the Instagram poll conducted by PSB Academy, 68% of the respondents thought that a top-up degree is an add-on degree with top-up fees or an extra core elective. The poll findings also indicated that over half of the poll participants held the opinion that a top-up degree carries no distinction compared to a full bachelor’s degree, while 43% perceived it to be a higher qualification than a bachelor’s degree. However, these are inaccurate misconceptions as a top-up degree, in fact, is none of the above.
Only 32% of the respondents in the Instagram poll who thought that a top-up degree is a direct entry to the final academic year have the correct perception. A top-up degree is designed to be the equivalent of the final year of undergraduate studies, providing students with a faster route to graduation.
This is, however, subject to meeting specific and varying entry requirements such as a relevant diploma and minimum of eight years of working experience*. Hence, it is particularly suitable for mid-career professionals with a few years of working experience and a relevant qualification, which is usually a private or polytechnic diploma, seeking to enhance their skills and advance in their careers.
The most significant difference between a top-up degree and a full bachelor’s degree lies in the duration of the programme. A top-up degree programme can typically be finished in as short as 12 months’ time, whereas a bachelor’s degree programme may require at least 16 months or more to reach completion.
*Different top-up degree programmes may have varying minimum entry requirements. The following is quoted as a generic example without any reference to a specific top-up degree programme.
Benefits of a Top-Up Degree Programme
1. Direct entry to academic year 3
Studying for a top-up degree is more efficient as compared to starting a full bachelor’s degree programme from scratch. By leveraging your existing qualifications, you can expedite the completion of the remaining modules necessary to complete the top-up degree. This leads to time and cost savings.
2. Improves Career Prospects
Pursuing a top-up degree can enhance your career outlook. This is because employers prefer higher tertiary qualifications, and together with a bachelor’s degree, having a top-up degree can make you more competitive in the job market and open doors to management positions.
3. Provides an Opportunity to Pursue Higher Education
A top-up programme is also a launch pad for working professionals who wish to pursue higher education, such as a master’s degree. It provides you with the necessary minimum entry requirements for many postgraduate programmes, as well as help you build a robust foundation for your higher education exploration.
4. Allows You to Tap into the Experience of Established Professionals
A top-up programme opens a realm of networking opportunities for you, which extends far beyond the confines of the classroom. You can connect with a diverse array of professionals, including alumni, mentors, and leaders within your field of study through workshops, seminars and industry events. These interactions provide the ground for building meaningful relationships that could help you in your career.
An Attractive Learning Opportunity
Overall, a top-up programme offers many benefits and is an attractive option for many people looking for a flexible, short-duration learning experience. If you decide to pursue a top-up degree, you may want to consider PSB Academy, which offers four top-up business management degrees awarded by UK universities. You can choose to do hybrid learning, face-to-face lessons, or via e-learning*. Explore the suite of top-up degree programmes in business, accounting and finance and hospitality and tourism management at PSB Academy below, each uniquely catered to suit your interests, learning needs and career aspirations.
- Business Management Top-Up Degrees
With a relevant private or polytechnic diploma, you can complete any of these top-up degrees within a 12-month timeframe, which allows you to elevate your business and management acumen.
The University of Hertfordshire offers a top-up degree that is entirely coursework-based, eliminating the need for examinations.
- Accounting & Finance Top-Up Degrees
With a relevant private or polytechnic diploma and a minimum of 2 years of work experience, you have the opportunity to secure up to 7 ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) paper exemptions, which allows you to complete your degree within just 8 months.
* Only applicable to the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Business Administration (Top-Up) (E-Learning), University of Hertfordshire only.