CertHEs: what are they, and why study one?


04th Nov 2020


Online study


If you’re looking into undergraduate education, you may have come across the course type CertHE during your research.

But what is this course, and what are the benefits of choosing it over a BA, LLB or BSc?


What is a CertHE?

CertHE is short for Certificate of Higher Education. It is equivalent to 120 credits at Level 4, which is the same as the first level of a Bachelors degree. They usually take around 16 months to complete.

A key difference at University of Essex Online is that our CertHEs have an open entry route – meaning you don’t need any prior qualifications or work experience to start a course – you only need to pass your first assignment to continue with your studies. This makes them a great choice for candidates without GCSEs or with less than 2-3 years of work experience.

And once you finish a CertHE, you can easily progress onto the corresponding full Bachelors degree.


Why start on a CertHE?

CertHEs are a great choice for a wide range of reasons, besides the open entry route.

For some, their personal or professional goals mean that they don’t want or need a full degree but know that some higher education in their field would be beneficial.

If your circumstances are uncertain and you don’t feel ready to commit to a full four years of studying, you can sign up for the first 16 months, and then make a decision about progressing once you finish. Studying a CertHE also means that you can include the completed qualification on your CV after 16 months.

And finally, you may want to ensure that you enjoy the course first, over a 16-month period, rather than committing to a full four-year course. Note that we also offer a 21-day money back guarantee on all of our courses, so that you can see whether the course is right for you.


Why don’t traditional universities offer CertHEs?

Although you’re unlikely to see CertHEs advertised by traditional universities, if you leave a degree at a mainstream university before completing your studies, you will be awarded a qualification equivalent to a CertHE if you finish your first level successfully, or a DipHE (Diploma of Higher Education) if you leave after finishing two levels successfully.

For the reasons stated above, we have a lot of students that would prefer to begin study on a shorter course, so we offer our CertHEs as standalone qualifications.


How do I progress onto the full Bachelors?

Towards the end of your course, just speak to a Student Adviser about progressing. Once you complete the modules for your CertHE, you will progress seamlessly onto the rest of the Bachelors – it will feel no different than if you started on the full course originally.


What CertHEs can I study with the University of Essex Online?

We offer a CertHE qualification for each of the programmes that we offer at undergraduate level:


If you’d like to find out more about what you will study on these courses, simply download a prospectus today!