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The Barbados Higher Education System

The Ministry of Education is responsible for education sector in Barbados. The higher education in Barbados is provided by the four higher education institutions which fall under the administration of the Ministry of Education. The tertiary level division of the Ministry and Human Resource Development is responsible for the giving scholarships and grants to the students that enable them to go for tertiary level education in the country as well as international higher education institutions.  It is additionally in charge for the waiver of fees of the Barbadian pupils who are financially weak. These waivers are given for the studies at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and the Barbados Community College . 

Students who have completed secondary school education are eligible for tertiary level studies. The tertiary level education is provided at academic, technical and vocational colleges as well as universities in Barbados. 

Higher Education Institutions 

In Barbados, there are four higher education institutions which fall under the Ministry of Education. These are:

The University of WEst Indies: The UWI consists of 3 campuses in the Caribbean region- Mona (Jamaica), Cave Hill(Barbados) and St. Augustine(Trinidad).  The University provides a multitude of diploma and certificates, undergraduate-bachelor and postgraduate degrees in a wide range of fields, such as engineering, natural science, humanities, education, law, science and technology, medicine, agriculture, and computer science.

Barbados Community College (BCC): This institutions offers a wide range of courses in academic, technical and vocational areas and covers arts, science and education subjects. It offers associate degree, post-grad and post-associate degrees. 

Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP): This institutions offer day and night programmes in areas such as commerce, garments, electrical, agriculture, building and engineering trades.

Erdiston Teachers' College: This institution was established in 1948 and is co-educational college. It provides training for non-graduate and graduate teachers.

Higher Education Qualifications

The Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP), Barbados Community College (BCC), and the University of the West Indies- the Cave Hill campus, provides degree level education in the country.

Following are the higher education qualifications provided in Barbados:

Undergraduate Degree

Associate degree: This qualification is a level of certification that is awarded at the higher educational level. Associate degree in arts or science is offered by the Barbados community college. This qualification generally requires 2 years of full-time study at the university. Some of the professional programmes, such as nursing and pharmacy require 3 years of full-time study. 

Bachelor’s degree: The bachelor degree is awarded by some of the higher education institutions in the country. This degree lasts for 3 years and is offered in a wide range of areas, such as law, science and technology, medicine, humanities and education, and social sciences. Bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery require 5 years of study.

Diploma and Certificates: Certificate and diplomas in a wide range of fields is awarded by the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic. Certificate in teaching is awarded by the Erdiston Teachers' College after completion of the programme that is of 2 years. 

Postgraduate Degree

Master’s degree: This degree is a postgraduate academic degree that is of 1-2 years in duration. It is awarded in many fields, such as arts, education, sciences, philosophy, law, and applied science. In order to gain admittance into the master’s degree programme, one must hold a bachelor’s degree. Many of the master’s programmes require completion of a master’s thesis or research paper.

Research Masters: Research degrees comprises of an independent study that is assisted by a Supervisor, and the presentation of a thesis. 

Doctoral degree: A PhD is awarded by some of the higher education institutions in Barbados. The doctor of philosophy, doctor of medicine and the Doctor of Business Administration degree is awarded. This qualification is a postgraduate degree programme awarded to students who has done in-depth research in a particular area of subject. The duration of the doctoral degree varies depending upon the programme. Candidates are required to publicly defend their thesis. The title of a Doctor is given after the successful completion of the degree programme. 

Admission Requirements

Admission to higher education institutions varies depending on whether the students hold a Barbados Secondary School Certificate Stage I and/or Caribbean Examinations Council Certificate, or G.C.E (General Certificate of Education) advanced level qualification. To know more about the admission requirements and procedure for higher education in Barbados, click here.

Grading System

The Universities and colleges in Barbados use percentage marking system.

 Grade Scale US Grade Description
 A 85.00-100.00 A 
 A-minus- 80.00-84.99 A-minus- 
 B+ 75.00-79.99 B+ 
 B 70.00-74.99 B 
 B-minus- 65.00-69.99 B-minus- 
 C+ 60.00-64.99 C+ 
 C 55.00-59.99 C 
 C-minus- 50.00-54.99 C-minus- 
 D 40.00-49.99 F Fail
 E 0.00-39.99 F Fail
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