Skip to main content

Degree Apprenticeships

More information and useful links

Degree apprenticeships allow you the opportunity to mix vocational work-based learning with studying for a fully funded university degree.

  • Develop your career and boost your earning potential at the same time
  • Earn and learn – benefit by receiving a salary whilst studying for your degree
  • Access to the same facilities, societies and social opportunities as other degree students
  • Get a head start in your sector by gaining relevant skills and experience
  • No need to worry about tuition fees as these will be covered by the government and your employer’s levy payments
  • Dedicated support from both your academic tutor and workplace mentor
  • Possibility of graduating with a degree plus a professional certificate

This can vary depending on the employer you undertake your apprenticeship with, but at the very least you will receive the National Minimum Wage. Some employers will pay more, so it’s a good idea to investigate before you apply.

You will earn the same as your current salary if you are already working.

Unlike conventional degrees where you take a ‘sandwich’ year in industry, you won’t have to pay tuition fees and in effect are being paid to learn! You’ll also have longer to develop a positive working relationship with the organisation in which you are based, and increase the likelihood of gaining employment with that employer in the future.

Degree apprenticeships vary in length, depending on the programme being studied, but usually they are between two to five years in length.

A Level 6 degree apprenticeship will usually last between three and five years and a level 7 degree apprenticeship will typically take around two years to complete, varying slightly dependent on the programme.

You do not need to apply for your degree apprenticeship through UCAS. Instead, you should apply directly to the employer, following the application process outlined in the vacancy details, which may be advertised on the company website, the relevant University site, or on the GOV.UK ‘Find an Apprenticeship page’. Visit our How to Apply page for full details of the process.

If you are already working, you may be able to encourage your employer to support a degree apprenticeship within your current workplace. Head to our inspiring apprentices pages for more information.

Most apprenticeships start at the beginning of the academic year in September / October, to tie in with the delivery of University programmes, but check the individual listing details as this can vary.

Apprenticeships follow a different format to conventional degrees. University of Exeter degree apprenticeships are a mixture of employment, face to face teaching and e-learning. The amount of time spent on each will vary depending on the course you are studying, but typically apprentices can expect to spend approximately 80% of their time at work, and 20% of their time studying

Study time and exams are structured to fit around your employment, as your apprenticeship is designed in partnership with your employer to make sure that your work and study commitments complement one another.

Although degree apprenticeships do not require the same A level grades, they are still academically challenging and employers will expect you to have studied hard in your exams, and to bring valuable skills and a ‘can do’ attitude to your apprenticeship, proving that you are ready for the workplace. The recruitment process is rigorous and competition for apprenticeship places can be fierce.

In addition, although you’ll be a part time university student, you’ll be expected to study just as hard as other full-time students because when you finish your apprenticeship, you’ll be awarded the same quality degree as they’ll receive.

Entry requirements vary, so always carefully check the employer’s website for vacancy details. Typically, degree apprenticeship candidates will need three A Levels (or equivalent) for a Level 6 apprenticeship. Level 7 programmes may require you to have a strong honours degree, and potentially relevant work experience in the industry.

Additional entry requirements from the government include:

  • A minimum of Grade 4 or C in GCSE Mathematics and English or equivalent (for equivalent qualifications please check here)
  • Be a UK/EU/EAA resident for at least three years prior to starting the course
  • Have left full time education when the apprenticeship starts
  • Be at least 16 years old, but there is no upper age limit
  • Right to work in the UK.

You can apply for a degree apprenticeship providing the focus of the apprenticeship is significantly different from that of the degree you hold. This is to ensure that the programme will help you develop new skills and knowledge to enhance your career.

University of Exeter degree apprenticeship programmes include qualifications such as bachelors degrees, masters degrees and MBAs.

In addition, you will also achieve an apprenticeship certificate that is graded at pass, merit or distinction, and some programmes also include professional accreditation or prepare you to sit professional examinations.

As only a small amount of your time will be spent on campus for residential learning, accommodation near to your workplace will be a priority as you will spend the majority of your time at work; or it may be feasible for you to commute from your current home.

All degree apprentices have residential periods on campus where you can immerse yourself fully in university life, meet other students face to face and make new friends. You also have access to the Students Guild and all of the University of Exeter on campus facilities available to regular students.