Degree apprenticeships: a guide for higher education providers

What are apprenticeships?

A degree apprenticeship is a job, which combines work with higher-level learning. The apprentice works for an employer, but spends at least 20 per cent of their time in study or training with an apprenticeship training provider.

There are many types of apprenticeship. Degree apprenticeships, on completion, result in the awarding of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

In the apprenticeship model, employers select the programme of study and the training provider of their choice to deliver that programme.

'Higher' and 'degree' apprenticeships

A degree apprenticeship is an apprenticeship where the employee is studying towards an undergraduate or postgraduate degree as part of their apprenticeship.

Tuition fees are paid by the employer using the apprenticeship levy, and apprentices are paid a salary. Learning fits around that work commitment and can require flexible learning modes such as day or block release, distance or blended learning.

Higher apprenticeships refers to all apprenticeships from Level 4 up to Levels 6 and 7 respectively. All levels can include vocational qualifications and academic qualifications, although many apprenticeship standards, including some at Levels 6 and 7, do not result in an academic qualification upon completion.

Name Level Educational equivalent
Intermediate 2 5 GCSE passes
Advanced 3 2 A-level passes
Higher 4, 5, 6 and 7 Higher National Certificate (HNC) and above. These include a number of apprenticeships at Levels 6 and 7 that do not result in the awarding of a degree.
Degree 6 and 7 Bachelors' or masters' degree

What are their benefits?

  • They strengthen links with employers
  • They are programmes designed to meet employer needs, and many are accredited by professional bodies
  • They expand the range of programmes on offer to prospective students.

What does the OfS do?

We have helped the sector to develop and deliver degree apprenticeships.

Find out more about funding for degree apprenticeships.

Find out more about how the quality of degree apprenticeships is checked.

Last updated 02 November 2023
02 November 2023
Information about the degree apprenticeship funding competition added.

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