Tertiary education

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Students attend a lecture at a tertiary institution.

Tertiary education, also referred to as third stage, third level, and post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education. The World Bank, for example, defines tertiary education as including universities as well as institutions that teach specific capacities of higher learning such as colleges, technical training institutes, community colleges, nursing schools, research laboratories, centers of excellence, and distance learning centers.[1] Higher education is taken to include undergraduate and postgraduate education, while vocational education and training beyond secondary education is known as further education in the United Kingdom, or continuing education in the United States.

Tertiary education generally culminates in the receipt of certificates, diplomas, or academic degrees.

Transition from a secondary education into a tertiary study[edit]

University students who undergo their first years in tertiary education face new challenges as university life is a learning environment where independent study is central to education. Interaction between the students and lecturers is limited. In tertiary education, analytical skills take precedence over the ability to memorize. Hence, for a successful academic result, students must strive hard and utilize all possible resources. This includes writing down all the major points from lectures and taking advantage of all available materials - using the supportive mediums provided by institutions such as online lecture notes and PowerPoint presentations.[2]

In the United Kingdom[edit]

"Tertiary education" includes further education (FE), as well as higher education (HE). Since the 1970s specialized FE colleges called “tertiary colleges” have been set up to offer courses such as A Levels, that allow progression to HE, alongside vocational courses. An early example of this which expanded in September 1982 as part of a reorganization of education in the Halesowen area which also saw three-tier education axed after just 10 years in force.[3]

In some areas where schools do not universally offer sixth forms, tertiary colleges function as a sixth form college as well as a general FE college.

Unlike sixth form colleges, the staff join lecturers' rather than teachers' unions.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tertiary Education (Higher Education)". The World Bank. 
  2. ^ Devlin, Marcia (30 March 2009). "The shock of the new". The Age. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Lambert, Tim. "A Brief History of Dudley, England". A World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 


External links[edit]