What Is a Top-Up Degree?

Take your existing Level 5 degree to a Level 6 undergraduate degree to accelerate your career.

UK Higher Education is widely recognised for its excellent teaching and research quality. But recently, the QS Best Student Cities survey named London the best city to study in the world.

UK Universities offer students a huge variety of programmes to suit their career aspirations. No matter where you are in your student journey, there are course options waiting for you – like top-up degrees. And we can introduce you to what they are, who they’re for, and how they could kick-start your career in business.

What is a top-up degree and what qualifications can you top-up?

As the name indicates – a top-up degree complements your existing Level 5 qualification to a full undergraduate, Bachelor’s degree (Level 6). Essentially, it is the equivalent of the final year of undergraduate study but it’s recognised the same way as full degrees are.

Typically, a UK undergraduate degree takes three years to complete. However, if you already hold a Level 5 qualification, a top-up degree allows you to enter at the final year of study. So essentially, you can get a bachelor’s degree in only one year. 

You can top-up various NQF Level 5 qualifications such as a foundation degree, HND or any other equivalent.

Why would I top-up my qualifications?

Your choice will depend on your career path. Students often choose to top-up their Level 5 qualification (HND, foundation etc.) to gain access to graduate schemes, graduate-level jobs or postgraduate levels of study.

Our student, Shunan, chose to study our BA (Hons) Business (Top-Up) degree for the following reason:

“After I finished my studies, I want to try and find a job in the UK and apply for postgraduate study in a different subject so that I can learn something new and gain more knowledge.”

Northumbria University London Campus top-up programmes

Our Northumbria University London Campus currently has eight top-up degrees on offer, with programmes covering subject areas such as business, international banking and accounting.

If you don’t already hold a Level 5 degree, you can still join one of our two-year top-up degrees. And if you don’t hold a Level 4 qualification, you can join our International Year One, progressing onto any of the specialisms below.

Infographic showing degree levels and progression

Top-up degrees available at our London Campus:

To learn more about how they can fast-track your career in business, you can visit our full range of Top-Up and Undergraduate degrees here.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2020 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in March 2023.

Related posts

Icon courses ENQUIRE NOW

Quick contact

This field is required
This field is required
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter a valid telephone number
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
This field is required
By providing your email address and/or phone number, you are confirming that you give us permission to respond to your enquiry via these means. We will process your information in accordance with our data policy, more details of which can be found on our privacy statement. In future we would like to contact you with relevant information on our courses, facilities and events. Please confirm you are happy to receive this information and indicate below how you would like us to communicate with you. Please note, this will overwrite any previous communication preferences you may have already specified to us.
Marketing Opt-in
This field is required