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Higher education in Great Britain

Exercise 1. Study the list of the given words:

1 degree-степень,

2 a graduate-выпускник учебного заведения,

3 arts- гуманитарные нaуки,

4 to award degree-присуждать степень,

5 a charter-право, льгота, привелегия, хартия,

6 status [#steitəs]-положение, статус,

7 a postgraduate student-аспирант,

8 an undergraduate-студент,

9 to sit (for) an exam-держать экзамен,

10 a thesis-диссертация,

11 a syllabus[#siləbəs]-программа (обучения),

12 advanced studies-учебные курсы,

13 to grant degrees= to award degrees-присуждать степени,

14 to give grants-предоставить субсидии,

15 fee(s)-плата за обучение,

16 grants- субсидии.



Exercise 2. Read and translate the text and then be ready to answer the following questions:


1 What main types of institutions offer higher education in Great Britain?

2 What is the total number of universities in the United Kingdom today?

3 Is higher education free in Great Britain?

4 How is the degree of Bachelor of Arts awarded in Great Britain?

5 How is the degree of Master of Arts awarded?

6 Can students work during the academic year?


There are 36 universities in England, one in Wales, 8 in Scotland and 2 in Northern Ireland: each has its own government and administration. It is from the state, however, that they receive charters which define their status and give them the power to grant degrees to students.

The biggest contrast within the higher educational system is that between so-called “sectors”. The contrast (which is most frequently noted) is between the “university sector” and the “polytechnic sector”. There are other “sectors”, however. There are institutes and colleges of higher education. The universities do not have a monopoly of degree-granting powers in Britain.

There are 8 types of universities in Great Britain. They come in all ages, sizes and shapes with the oldest of them in England: Oxford and Cambridge, being founded in the 12-th and 13-th centuries and with the newest of them coming into existence as a cluster during the 1960’s. (“Red-brick universities: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Hull, Leeds universities; “white-brick” universities=new universities: Essex, Kent< Sussex< York, etc.)

All the universities take both male and female students, and about a quarter of all students are women. Students have to pay fees, but the local authorities of the places where they have their homes give grants, supposedly equal to the full cost of both fees and of living, to most students whose parents cannot pay.

Each university has its own syllabuses, and there are some quite important differences between one and another.

Most students now do some paid work during their vacations, such as helping at the post office, at Christmas and seasonal jobs in the summer, but practically none do paid work during term-time.

The functions of universities are many. As centers of learning the universities have to preserve and interpret the understanding and culture of the past, advance knowledge in the present and create an intellectual springboard for the future. The basic purpose of the universities is to give a first-class education in theories and principle to enable their students to reach a high standard of creativeness, criticism and flexibility. The academic year is divided into 4 terms, eight weeks each. Students do more work in the vacations than they do during the terms.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the most usual titles for a first degree are Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) and for a second degree Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD or D Phil): in Scotland Master is usually used for a first degree.

After a course of studies lasting from 3 or 4 years which must be pursued at one and the same university the undergraduate student sits for a final examination, which, if he passes it, entitles him to a first degree. The present 3-year degree course in Britain is one of the shortest in the world.

Some variation in degree classes is found among the universities, but most award their undergraduate degree in five categories: First Class Honours, Upper Second, Lower Second, Third Class and Pass or Ordinary. After taking a first degree the graduated who are interested in research work follow postgraduate or advanced studies. Postgraduate students are granted the Master’s degree by thesis or examination after a minimum 1 or 2 years of advanced studies.

Exercise 3. Give the English for the following combinations:

система высшего образования, выпускники ВУЗов, колледж высшего образования, разряд степени, научно-исследовательская работа, плата за обучение, полномочия на присуждение степеней, бакалавр наук, магистр наук, доктор философии.


Exercise 4. Complete the following sentences:

1 A college or a university offering academic instructions suitable for students who have completed secondary schooling is called…. 2 University teachers are often called…. 3… A person who has been awarded a degree after a period of study at the institution of higher learning is called…. 4 Fees paid for teaching alone are called…. 5 The requirements for an MA or PhD degree usually include the preparation of ….

Exercise 5. Read the text and then be ready to name what is characteristic of Oxbridge:

The most famous and the oldest Universities in England are Oxford and Cambridge. Oxford has twenty-seven colleges for men and five for women. The university is a sort of federation of colleges. It prescribes syllabuses, arranges lectures, conducts examinations and awards degrees. Cambridge University, like London, Durham and Dublin Universities, is a collegiate university, comprising 31 different colleges. The first Cambridge College was founded in the late 13-th century by Bishop of Ely. It is a college and not to the university itself that a student will apply. They will live and study there whilst attending departmental lectures provided by the University. Admission is determined by interview and is conditional on students attaining certain (very high) grades in their exams at the end of school, at age 18.

The organization system of the two Universities (Oxbridge) differs from that of all other universities and colleges.

The teachers are commonly called “dons”. Apart from lectures teaching is carried out by tutorial systems. This is a system of individual tuition organized by the college.

Lectures at Cambridge are relatively few- since the overall emphasis is on independent study. The focus of study is the supervision: students meet regularly, often on a one-to-one basis, with a college fellow, their supevisor/tutor, with whom they discuss their work. The tutor requires a student to write essays on their various subjects every week and these show what he/she has mastered. The classifications are not the same in all universities, and students do not normally move from one university to another during studies.

All tastes are catered for sport, music and drama, for example, being especially popular. Most colleges have their own sports ground and boathouses, therefore sport is highly popular, rowing most of all.


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