September 21, 2013

Five British Universities with an Online Undergraduate Programme

By Aldric

Together we Achieve Sarawak Gemilang 2030

Brian Tracy, in many of his recordings, begin by saying “we are living in the most exciting time in human history for innovation and success”. More so in Malaysia where we are racing to becoming a high income nation by the year 2020. In Sarawak, we aim to be the richest state in Malaysia by 2030.

Sarawak Gemilang 2030 vision incorporates the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) as its primary thrust. Yet without the investment in human capital, knowledge and expertise, the aim is futile. The Right Honourable the Chief Minister of Sarawak points out the need to update our region’s education and training policy. Fortunately there is hope, especially for busy folks who cannot enrol in a full-time or part-time undergraduate degree because of their family or financial commitments.

In this entry, I’d put to you five reputable British universities with an Online Undergraduate Programme. By the end of it, you can agree with me that the potential to acquire a strong paper qualification is greater now than ever before. Whether you want something from the London School of Economics, or obtaining greater knowledge and insight in Criminology, or perhaps to becoming a Chartered Psychologist.


But Before That, Why British?

You can find many online degrees offered by colleges and universities. However, a lot of these may be degree mills. Their qualifications may not be recognised by employers in Malaysia – or globally. The British Higher Education Standard has always been in the forefront. Collectively, its brand stands out –especially among Malaysians.

Secondly, some British Universities have extensive experience in online education. The University of London, for instance, has been offering distance learning programmes since 1858! As of 2013, they have 54,000 students from every corner of the globe taking over 180 courses (Source).

Thirdly, cost. In my search, some degrees go all the way to six figures – especially U.S. universities and colleges. British universities, especially the older ones, sit on a huge pool of resource that allows it to charge at a minimal rate. You may be charge with a one-time registration fee and a semester’s enrollment fee and a minimal examinations fee per course/subject.

Based on recognition, experience and cost, I give you the top five British universities with online undergraduate Programmes for your consideration…


#1: University of London International Programme – International and Established Reputation for Localised Education and Learning

The University of London offers an array of courses through its constituent colleges. You can find BA or BSc programmes in Economics, Accounting, Finance, Divinity, Computing, Law, International development and more (Source).

You are given the flexibility in managing the subjects you are taking. Unlike conventional classes, you will be reading a lot of materials. You decide how fast – or slow – you wish to proceed. Support is given via an online forum and email exchanges with tutors and other students.

Qualifications are obtained progressively. You may enrol in an undergraduate in the beginning. As you complete and pass the relevant subjects, you may be entitled to a Certificate or Diploma prior to the Degree in Divinity or Philosophy – for instance. Once you complete all stages, you will receive the degree. What this means is say you cannot complete the degree programme, but you manage to cover the first four topics. You may end your studies with a Certificate. The idea is you will be rewarded a qualification should you meet a prerequisite.

That single feature stands out from all Malaysian universities and colleges. If you enrol in a distance learning programme, say e-PJJ. You may not obtain any qualification should you fail to complete all modules. You wasted time, money and other resources there.

You gain access to many premier resources. Students undertaking the study of economics, for instance, will be guided by the London School of Economics! This is because the University of London International Programme appoints a lead college to draw up the necessary materials for that course.

At the present exchange rate, the BSc Business Administration with Marketing, for example, costs a total of RM22,356, or £4411. This £4,411 covers your three to six years of study fees. However, the University does advise an allocation of £100 per subject/course for reading materials.

Here is the University of London International like for further information and exploration:


#2: University of Essex Online – Meeting Society’s Needs

Established in 1963 and granted a University Charter in 1965, the University of Essex is ranked ninth in its quality of research. 90% if its research is recognised internationally for its quality. 22% is regarded as “world leading”.

Through its partnership with Kaplan Online, the University offers both local and international students the chance to pursue degrees in the following field:

  1. Business
  2. Marketing
  3. Criminology and Criminal Justice

It offers an online Master of Science in Infection Control, MBAs and Masters Degrees in Business at the postgraduate level.

Unlike the University of London, the University of Essex charges at a higher rate of £17,640 in total for a BA(Hons). For the full course, the postage charge for textbooks and resources is £950 (19 text books), or £50 per course.

Business and marketing are key degrees which supports the business operations. Just like its qualification, students are required to fit into the UK education mould of learning. This is what many Malaysians may find difficult. It is not merely focused on remembering facts, but also understanding and applying it. To a degree, students are expected to analyse and break it down further for localised application.

Criminology and Criminal Justice, too, is a specialised niche that we could not find here locally. With the change in technology and mindset, crime becomes more complex, subtle and extensive. As it is, our police force is bogged down by many limitations. An infusion into the force by an aspiring officer would do us well. Its degree covers three primary specialisations – Police, Probation and Youth Justice.

For further information, visit their website


#3: University of Derby Online – Access an Accredited Psychology Degree

The University of Derby bags over 160 years in teaching expertise – it began as the Teachers’ Training College in 1851. Although it was granted a University Charter in 1992, it continues to make headways in its transformation into the choice for teaching and learning in the United Kingdom.

You can enrol in a variety of courses grouped into six main categories:

  1. Business and Management
  2. Information Technology
  3. Education
  4. Master’s Degree in Law
  5. Psychology and Health
  6. Top-Up Degrees

Online undergraduate programmes of the University of Derby are accredited by the following bodies:

  • The British Psychological Society – Required if a graduate wants to be a Chartered Psychologist (CPsy);
  • The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
  • The Chartered Management Institute (CMI)
  • Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA)
  • Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors
  • Institute of Hospitality

What stands out is the Bachelor of Psychology programme offered by the University of Derby. Psychology, the study of the human mind and behaviour, is an important field. As we progress into a more advanced nation, we need to become more specific in identifying and addressing psychological problems. Why? As of July 23, 2013, one in five Malaysians suffer from mental health problems. How much can that cost us in terms of human capital development? Remaining silent will just hide the problem, but it is still lurking in the corner and waiting to pounce on us when we are least prepared.

The total fee for the Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) is £16,650. Derby offers three options of payment: first, by paying only the modules that you are taking. Second option, you can pay the whole fees up-front – with a 5% discount. When you do that, you are protected from any fee hikes. The third option is by paying all modules taken in the year. Here you get a 5% discount.

For further information, visit


#4: University of Leicester

Consistently ranked among the top 15 universities of Great Britain, the University of Leicester boasts to being among the biggest suppliers of Higher Education distance learning courses in the UK. Despite being granted university charters only in 1957, it has become among the leading research universities in that country. Among its famous finds are the remains of King Richard III and the genetic fingerprinting.

Like most universities, Leicester also offers undergraduate degrees in business and management. However what stood out for me are:

  • Archeology
  • Drug and Alcohol Counselling
  • Security and Risk Management

Leicester has a larger array of options for post-graduate studies.

If you decide to enrol in the Bachelor of Arts in Security and Risk Management, you will need to fork out a total of £6,260!

For further information, visit


#5: The Open University

In 2005, 2006, and 2012, The Open University was ranked as the top university in terms of student satisfaction. With over 50,000 international students, it is among the largest – if not the largest – university in the world by student size. Established in 1969, it is not only accredited in the United Kingdom, but also in the United States!

Where it lacks in prestige like London’s, it gains more in quantity of courses. You can find undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Psychology, Business, Social Work, Engineering, Design, Health Science and more! The list is just so extensive you have to check them out for yourself at!

For Malaysians, undergraduate degree programmes available are BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and BSc (Hons) Natural Science. They also offer certificate and diploma programmes related to assist progression.

It may take you 4 to 16 years to complete. Why? It depends on how many credits you are taking. Fees are calculated based on the total credit you take in a year. Ranges from £5,124 to as low as £1,281.

For further exploration, visit