Degree Apprenticeships

As the big boss of apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships do pretty much what they say on the tin - combine apprenticeships with university degrees.

Degree apprenticeships offer school leavers a brilliant opportunity to gain work experience while studying towards a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. They’re an ideal option if you’ve finished your A-Levels and want to earn a degree for free.

To learn more about degree apprenticeships and all they offer; including how degree apprenticeships work, how much you’ll get paid, and what the entry requirements are, read our comprehensive guide below.

Or you can skip straight to one of the following sections...

Apply for Degree Apprenticeships

What is a degree apprenticeship?

Degree apprenticeships are aimed at 18 to 19-year-old school leavers who want a unique and alternative route into higher education. Apprentices combine full-time work for an industry-leading company with part-time university study.

England and Wales both offer degree apprenticeships. Scotland too - except they come under a different name: graduate apprenticeships. Northern Ireland offers higher level apprenticeships and these take you all the way up to a level 7, which is the equivalent of a Master’s degree.

Want some fun facts on degree apprenticeships?

  • Degree apprenticeship candidates work towards a Bachelor's or Master’s degree

  • They get three to six years of professional work experience

  • All apprentices earn a salary

  • Apprentices pay ZERO university tuition fees, saving you an average of £45,000 in debt

"You really do experience the best of both worlds on a degree apprenticeship – gaining real industry experience whilst gaining a brilliant qualification."(Ade, DTS degree apprentice at Jaguar Land Rover)

How do degree apprenticeships work?

Apprentices work a minimum of 30 hours a week for 30 weeks a year. Depending on your employer, you’ll typically work four days a week and spend the fifth day studying.

Degree apprenticeships are a full-time job. That said, you'll get the benefits of gaining degree-level qualifications and on-the-job experience working in a professional environment.

And because they’re a full-time job, you’ll earn a wage too.

How much you earn varies from employer to employer. The salaries for degree apprenticeship vacancies on range from £16,000 to £21,000 a year.

Do apprentices pay tuition fees?

Degree apprenticeships are funded by the government and your employer. The government pays two-thirds of your costs and fees, capped at £18,000, while your employer coughs up the rest. Essentially, you’re getting a free degree.

How are degree apprentices assessed?

As a degree apprentice, you’ll need to sit an End Point Assessment (EPA) after finishing your programme. An EPA tests your ability to do your job and determines whether you’ve picked up the skills and knowledge that were originally set out during your scheme.

Wondering what a degree apprenticeship is really like? Hear from Luke, a Chartered Manager Degree Apprentice and Service Advisor at Vertu Motors and Northumbria University...

Is a degree apprenticeship better than university?

Both have benefits and will land you jobs in the future. However, some might argue that degree apprenticeships are better than university because you’re earning while learning. So by the time you graduate, you’ll have tons of industry skills that employers would fight tooth and nail for.

And a hefty amount of money in your bank account...

On the fence? Check out some pros and cons of degree apprenticeships below:

✅ On-the-job training alongside your degree studies ❌ Juggling work and studies
✅ No tuition fees, as they’ll be fully covered ❌ Unable to take out a student loan
✅ Earn a salary (potentially £30K a year by age 21) ❌ Different university experience (to traditional)
✅ Finish your programme without debt ❌ Having more responsibilities early on

Which industries offer degree apprenticeships?

There are a wide range of industries that you can do a degree apprenticeship in (we’ll cover this a little later). However, some industries prefer you to have a traditional university degree.

For example, you’ll need to go to university if you want to work as a...

  • Psychiatrist

  • Psychotherapist

  • Surgeon

  • Nanotechnologist

  • ...and many more

However, university is an expensive business. The average university student pays a minimum of £9,250 a year in tuition fees, meaning they graduate with thousands of pounds in debt.

On the other hand, a degree apprenticeship gives you invaluable work experience, a university degree, and a monthly wage, saving you thousands of pounds on university fees.

Want to know what it’s really like to work for a company? We host thousands of honest reviews written by students just like you. Take a read by clicking below...


What kind of degree apprenticeships are there?

There’s a huge variety of degree apprenticeships in many industries across the UK. So, no matter where your interests or skills lie, you can find a degree apprenticeship that suits you.

Currently, the industries and employers offering degree apprenticeships are...


Which universities offer degree apprenticeships?

Universities across the UK, including Anglia Ruskin, London South Bank, and Manchester Metropolitan, offer degree apprenticeships with various employers.

However, most degree apprenticeships are advertised by the employer, and you typically apply directly to the employer rather than the university.

Want a degree apprenticeship with one of the UK’s Best Student Employers? The Best 100 is based on honest reviews and feedback from students who completed an apprenticeship last year. Have a look below to find your dream company and scheme.


What qualifications do you need for a degree apprenticeship?

The entry requirements for each degree apprenticeship vary from programme to programme. Most employers set requirements similar to traditional university degrees - typically three A-Levels graded at 9 - 4 (A* - C).

Not all employers require candidates to have A-Levels to qualify for applications. Degree apprenticeships are suitable for school leavers who have completed lower-level apprenticeships (usually advanced and higher apprenticeships).

If you don’t have A-Levels in english and maths, you’ll be able to get your Level 2 or 3 Functional Skills qualification during your apprenticeship. So no worries on that front.

Some employers have also set a particular number of UCAS points as entry criteria. This means students who have BTEC qualifications are also eligible for these schemes.

For full entry requirements, it’s best to look at university websites and employer recruitment materials. You may be surprised about which degree apprenticeships you are eligible for!

Interested in finding out how much you could earn as an apprentice?

Read our blog on The Highest Paid Apprenticeships in the UK to learn more.

Can you do a degree apprenticeship if you already have a degree?

Absolutely. You can most definitely apply for an apprenticeship after university.

However, you can’t apply for an apprenticeship in a subject you already have a degree in. To be eligible for an apprenticeship, you have to be gaining new skills.

For example, if you already have a degree in nuclear engineering — you won’t be able to do a degree apprenticeship in the same subject.

London degree apprenticeships

There is an incredible range of degree apprenticeships available in London.

Not only does the capital have over 40 higher education institutions, but there are also hundreds of small and large businesses to work for, so degree apprenticeship opportunities are plentiful!

London also has some of the best cultural experiences in the UK with international cuisine, some of the world’s best museums, and incredible nightlife making it a brilliant city to live in, especially as an ambitious young person.


How do I apply for a degree apprenticeship?

Congrats on taking the leap! We couldn’t be more excited for you. All that’s left for you now is to find the right degree apprenticeship and then hit apply.

You apply the same way you would for a job - CV and cover letter to the prospective employer. Degree apprenticeships can be applied to all year round.

Here are some things to include in your application:

  • Your contact details - Name, email address, mobile number

  • Personal statement - Introduce yourself and express your interest in the company

  • Key skills - Time management, organisation and teamwork. Employers love these

  • Education - Put your grades in chronological order (A-Levels before GCSEs)

  • Employment - List any work experience or volunteering you have done

  • Interests - Mention any hobbies or extracurricular activities you’re involved with.


Are degree apprenticeships competitive?

Degree apprenticeships can be highly competitive. So you’ll need to make sure you put together the application to end all applications. Remember, as long as you meet the entry requirements and put the time in to prepare, the odds are in your favour.

Once you’ve applied, you’ll normally have a quick telephone or video interview to discuss your interest in the role before being invited to an interview and assessment centre.

Read our blog on The Application Apprenticeship Journey to learn more about the application process.

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