Tertiary education

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Students attend a lecture at a tertiary institution, Helsinki University of Technology.

Tertiary education, also referred to as third stage, third level, and postsecondary 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 trade schools and colleges[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.

In the United Kingdom

"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.[2]

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.

In Australia

Within Australia "Tertiary Education" refers to continuing studies after a students Higher School Certificate[disambiguation needed]. It also refers to any education a student receives after final compulsory schooling, which occurs at the age of 17 within Australia. Tertiary Education options include University, TAFE or private colleges.

See also



  1. ^ "Tertiary Education". World Bank. Retrieved 2017-12-09. 
  2. ^ Lambert, Tim. "A Brief History of Dudley, England". A World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 


  • Brick, Jean (2006). "What is academic culture?". Academic Culture: A Student's Guide to Studying at University. Sydney, N.S.W: National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research. pp. 1–10. ISBN 978-1-74138-135-1. 

External links

  • Tertiary education statistics, UNESCO
  • Master of Tertiary Education Management, LH Martin Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Management, The University of Melbourne
  • Quality Research International - (Glossary)
  • TAFE NSW Official Website
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