New year resolution - start a degree now

It's not too late to apply to universities offering courses beginning in January and February
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The Independent Online

Has your university ship sailed? And did you miss the boat? Never fear - if you didn't apply for a course in the autumn and thought you were going to have to wait until next September to start your degree, there is another option. Plenty of reputable universities offer degrees starting in January and February - and some are open for applications. Perhaps you missed out on clearing, or changed your mind about that gap year a few weeks in. Even if you started a degree that turned out to be wrong for you, the next six months needn't be wasted.

Has your university ship sailed? And did you miss the boat? Never fear - if you didn't apply for a course in the autumn and thought you were going to have to wait until next September to start your degree, there is another option. Plenty of reputable universities offer degrees starting in January and February - and some are open for applications. Perhaps you missed out on clearing, or changed your mind about that gap year a few weeks in. Even if you started a degree that turned out to be wrong for you, the next six months needn't be wasted.

Most of the calendar-year degrees are offered by new universities, and there are a huge variety of courses available, depending on how far from home you're happy to stray. London Metropolitan University has a host of honours undergraduate courses beginning in February, in everything from accounting to sports science, with biochemistry, creative writing, food science, multimedia and something called "peace and conflict studies" in between. It also has traditional degrees available in February - English literature, history and politics among them. What's more, the vast majority of its courses are available as half of combined honours degrees.

Elsewhere in the Greater London area, Kingston University offers a selection of diplomas, masters and foundation degrees beginning in January and February, in education, nursing, business, legal studies and management. The university's highly respected foundation in aircraft engineering has a February start date, and the Kingston courses simply stop taking applications when they are full. Of course, the universities receive far fewer applications for January starts than for autumn, but there are fewer places up for grabs.

If nursing is your calling, the adult nursing diploma at Kingston is not your only option for the new year. Adult nursing is available as a Dip HE or an honours degree at the University of the West of England in Bristol, as are children's and mental health nursing. At De Montfort University's Charles Frears campus in Leicester, three-year Dip HEs in nursing and midwifery start at the end of January, and NHS bursaries are available for some people.

Northumbria University's few undergraduate degrees beginning in the new year are in applied computing, business IT, international business management and midwifery. The university has a large amount of postgraduate degrees beginning in January and February, including the Newcastle Business School one-year MBA.

Napier University in Edinburgh has a small number of full-time and part-time undergraduate degrees beginning in February. The Ucas deadline for its full-time degrees (a BSc in sport and exercise science, customised BScs in engineering and computing, and customised BAs in arts, social sciences and business courses) is 15 January.

Oxford Brookes has a January intake for its popular business-related degrees: BAs are available in, for example, business and marketing management, business and international finance or business innovation and enterprise. In IT, there are BScs in business innovation systems, computing and computing science. Brookes' more specialist management courses include hospitality management studies, hotel and restaurant management, international business management, tourism management and retail management.

Like London Met, Brookes starts some more traditional courses in January - English language, geography and politics. If you like the sound of both geography and politics, then perhaps the BA, BSc or Dip HE in international relations will be up your street.

Anglia Polytechnic University in Norwich perhaps stands out from its peers in the variety of arts courses it is planning to offer in early 2005. There are single honours degrees in art history, communication studies, English and modern visual culture. These can be combined with film studies, graphic design, printmaking and photography. Alongside a number of IT and management courses, there are a pair of degrees for aspiring social workers: a BSc in counselling and a BA in professional social work practice.

The New Year doesn't offer the breadth of choice a prospective student can expect come autumn, but if you're impatient to start university, then there's a good chance you'll do just that.

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