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How Long is a Degree Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to gain practical skills and knowledge while earning a wage. However, you may wonder, “How long is a degree apprenticeship?”

Degree apprenticeships have recently gained popularity as an alternative pathway to higher education. Combining practical work experience with academic learning, these apprenticeships allow individuals to earn a degree while gaining valuable workplace skills. 

This article will delve into the details and provide a comprehensive guide on the duration of degree apprenticeships.

How Long is a Degree Apprenticeship

Understanding Degree Apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships are a form of higher education that combines on-the-job training with part-time study. They allow individuals to work for an employer, usually, four days a week, while spending the remaining day studying towards a degree at a university or higher education institution. This unique structure ensures that apprentices gain both practical skills and theoretical knowledge, making them highly employable upon completion.

Duration of Degree Apprenticeships

The duration of degree apprenticeships can vary depending on the specific program and the level of study. Generally, degree apprenticeships last between three to six years. This timeframe takes into account the part-time nature of study alongside full-time employment.

Levels of Degree Apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships are offered at different levels, aligning with the higher education qualifications framework. The most common levels include:

  1. Level 4 and 5: These apprenticeships are equivalent to a foundation degree or higher national diploma (HND) and typically last around two to four years. They provide a solid foundation of knowledge and skills in a specific industry or profession.
  2. Level 6 and 7: These apprenticeships are equivalent to a bachelor’s degree (Level 6) or a master’s degree (Level 7) and typically last three to six years. They offer a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of a subject area, allowing apprentices to develop advanced skills and expertise.

Flexibility in Duration

One of the advantages of degree apprenticeships is their flexibility in duration. The duration can be influenced by prior qualifications, work experience, and the individual’s ability to complete the required coursework. For instance, individuals who already hold relevant qualifications or have significant work experience in a particular field may be eligible for exemptions or fast-track options, which can shorten the overall duration of the apprenticeship.

Integrated vs Discrete Apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships can be offered in two different formats: integrated or discrete. Integrated apprenticeships blend work and study throughout the duration, with apprentices spending most of their time in the workplace. On the other hand, Discrete apprenticeships involve alternating blocks of work and study, with apprentices spending more concentrated periods of time either working or studying. The choice between integrated and discrete apprenticeships can also affect the overall duration, with integrated apprenticeships generally lasting longer.


Degree apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity for individuals to earn a degree while gaining practical experience in the workplace. The duration of degree apprenticeships can range from three to six years, depending on the level of study and the specific program. However, flexibility exists within this timeframe, considering prior qualifications and work experience. Whether you choose a level 4 apprenticeship or aim for a higher-level qualification, degree apprenticeships offer a valuable pathway to academic and professional success.

Updated on July 20, 2023

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