Would a university degree help with career progression?

#1
If I were to join the Infantry, or the Royal Armoured Corps, would having a degree from a university (Russell group) help with my progression through the ranks? I know that my character and suitability as a leader will dictate what level I reach, but would a degree help with that directly?

Cheers for all the responses.
 
#2
Yes.
As long as it's not in media studies of golf greens management.

However the services are looking for people who are prepared to put the effort in to "go the extra mile" as well as having a degree.

A good degree will ease entry to officer training assuming that is what you are thinking.

Doubtless others will have more information than I do.
 
#4
With large numbers of young people entering the job market with a degree you ought to consider it, if only to be competitive. These days many soldiers (not just officers) across the Army have degrees, including the combat arms. As a potential officer you should give yourself the best possible chance of success at both selection and career progression. A degree, although not everything, offers some demonstration of academic application.
 
#5
I'll buck the trend - obviously, everything you bring to the table is a benefit.

However, if its an eventual commission you're seeking then it wont make a huge amount of difference - its your characteristics that are the most important factor.

Plenty of total spankers have degrees. Plenty of great officers started out without one.

Also, if you're just planning on serving as a tom, it wont have any significant affect on career progression.
 
#6
I know that my character and suitability as a leader will dictate what level I reach
If you really believe that then methinks a large helping of disappointment awaits you ...............
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
Career civilian perspective.

Having a degree if/when you leave the army is also good for the civilian job market - many firms use it as a filter: "Applicants must be qualified to degree standard or better".

I'm not in a position to comment on the impact a degree would have on your army career, but as a life choice, a good degree in a pertinent subject (a science for example) would be a good investment should you decide the army is not for you at some point in the future.

Good luck,

Wordsmith
 
#10
Last time I was briefed, about 80% of the Reg CC who turn up on 'Ironing Board Sunday' at RMAS have a degree. If you don't have one, and are going to a career stream that doesn't include a degree programme, you can apply and be selected for the Army Higher Education Programme (AHEP). This will start you off on a degree programme funded by the Army and delivered by Reading University and Henley Business School. There is also provision for a master's post ICSC through the same scheme for those who already have a first degree.

It all boils down to how you do at AOSB: you may be told to bugger off and come back when you have more chance of passing. Hence, a degree may be useful as a time filler and a qualification, one less thing to do at Regimental duty if you do commission, and thirdly, highly useful for your second or subsequent careers.

Halloumikid
 
#13
Last time I was briefed, about 80% of the Reg CC who turn up on 'Ironing Board Sunday' at RMAS have a degree. If you don't have one, and are going to a career stream that doesn't include a degree programme, you can apply and be selected for the Army Higher Education Programme (AHEP). This will start you off on a degree programme funded by the Army and delivered by Reading University and Henley Business School. There is also provision for a master's post ICSC through the same scheme for those who already have a first degree.

It all boils down to how you do at AOSB: you may be told to bugger off and come back when you have more chance of passing. Hence, a degree may be useful as a time filler and a qualification, one less thing to do at Regimental duty if you do commission, and thirdly, highly useful for your second or subsequent careers.

Halloumikid
Thanks for the reply.
I already have an AOSB pass, as I managed to get a scholarship last year. I am due to start university in September but may decide to go to Sandhurst instead instead of waiting 4 more years. Would you say that, theoretically, if I were to leave the Army after 8 years with just my A-Levels and qualifications gained in the military, I would be able to find employment in the civilian world?
 
#14
I hate to say this, but unfortunately your commissioned experience does not guarantee you "graduate status" when you leave.

A number of guys I served with left to find that they had to go to university in their late 20s. It was unfair - they had the maturity of a graduate, a proven ability to construct & explain an argument, and more resilience than most guys their age.

The fact they'd been selected to lead men aged 20, and chosen to be Adjutant or Battalion Operations Officer in Iraq/Afghanistan ( classic "top third" appointments ) cut no ice with the HR departments of big firms. Off you go to university - build up some debt, write some essays, atrophy a little.

Its not always this way - you can enter the lottery for an in-service degree, bag an MBA after leaving or find a firm small or smart enough not to be prescriptive when recruiting. And who knows what the educational & jobs scene will be like in 8 years time?

But not getting an undergrad degree is a risk, especially if you have high aspirations in the long term to go into competitive fields like banking, law, consultancy etc.

It pains me because I think its unnecessary and expensive but I'd recommend going to University first.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
If I were to join the Infantry, or the Royal Armoured Corps, would having a degree from a university (Russell group) help with my progression through the ranks? I know that my character and suitability as a leader will dictate what level I reach, but would a degree help with that directly?

Cheers for all the responses.
No-one ever got fired for hiring IBM.

Rightly or wrongly (wrongly in my view), the graduate will always be favoured, even if that's not officially acknowledged.

Despite what you might believe if you spend too much time on Arrse, the Army will still be there when you graduate, and your degree will still be valid when you leave the Army.
 
#16
He can get the degree in service, without the debt, and without the lottery of the old 'in service degree' as many would know it. The AHEP is designed to attract those without a degree, earlier.
I hate to say this, but unfortunately your commissioned experience does not guarantee you "graduate status" when you leave.

A number of guys I served with left to find that they had to go to university in their late 20s. It was unfair - they had the maturity of a graduate, a proven ability to construct & explain an argument, and more resilience than most guys their age.

The fact they'd been selected to lead men aged 20, and chosen to be Adjutant or Battalion Operations Officer in Iraq/Afghanistan ( classic "top third" appointments ) cut no ice with the HR departments of big firms. Off you go to university - build up some debt, write some essays, atrophy a little.

Its not always this way - you can enter the lottery for an in-service degree, bag an MBA after leaving or find a firm small or smart enough not to be prescriptive when recruiting. And who knows what the educational & jobs scene will be like in 8 years time?

But not getting an undergrad degree is a risk, especially if you have high aspirations in the long term to go into competitive fields like banking, law, consultancy etc.

It pains me because I think its unnecessary and expensive but I'd recommend going to University first.

The AHEP is designed exactly for the OP. At the end of his SSC, RMAS plus 3 years, he will have the service he craves, no student debt and a degree. There are 150 undergrad places and 300 masters places on the AHEP per year. ( The old In Service Degree lottery is no more. There are almost more places than people!) If you have already got an AOSB pass, to accrue all that student debt seems silly. £26k per year at RMAS too. However, you have to balance that against the pleasures of 3 years at uni. However, as my eldest finishes her 1st undergraduate year this week, fun seems to be less on the agenda these days and more about getting value for £9250 pa!
 
#17
As @Charlie_Cong said. Lots can happen. I left home at 17. Finished A-levels in a bed sit and did an ONC then HNC and a degree and post grad masters by day release. As one of my bosses said, they can't take that away - and I went on to chartered status. The degree didn't guarantee a job but it opened doors. As previously posted, if an advert says degree education, unless you can tick the "I have a degree" box HR will bin your form. My wife dropped out of college after 6 months and bitterly regretted it. "Everyone has a degree and I feel stupid" She isn't and is now doing an OU degree which is hard. The army may help you gain a degree however sometimes the army courses aren't recognised. Before moving jobs and being lucky enough to be supported by an employer to take a degree, I went to the recruiting office in Plymouth and discussed joining the Royal Engineers on the basis that they could train me and I would have a career. The recruiter sat me down and suggested I joined a sponsored reserve RE unit to get the feel of things an army life on the basis that, as he said, "I had a nice flat, a car, lived in a lovely part of the world - why would I want to give it all up to live in a barracks?" I think I was probably a little immature and also looking at ways out of what I thought may be a dead end. I followed his advice and the regular army missed out but the reserves and I didn't and I now run my own business.

We don't know you and we don't know what you are like. Speak to a recruiter - he may say sign here, he may well say come back in four years with a degree as you'll be rounded and add value ....and in four years you may end up with a partner, a settled life, a different career path and be looking at the reserves as an option.....

In the nicest possible way, we really can't make the decision for you. We all have different life experiences. The main thing is whatever you decide, make the best of it, make opportunities for yourself by being enthusiastic and willing even if it's not in your job description, and grasp every opportunity with both hands.
 
#18
As @Charlie_Cong said. Lots can happen. I left home at 17. Finished A-levels in a bed sit and did an ONC then HNC and a degree and post grad masters by day release. As one of my bosses said, they can't take that away - and I went on to chartered status. The degree didn't guarantee a job but it opened doors. As previously posted, if an advert says degree education, unless you can tick the "I have a degree" box HR will bin your form. My wife dropped out of college after 6 months and bitterly regretted it. "Everyone has a degree and I feel stupid" She isn't and is now doing an OU degree which is hard. The army may help you gain a degree however sometimes the army courses aren't recognised. Before moving jobs and being lucky enough to be supported by an employer to take a degree, I went to the recruiting office in Plymouth and discussed joining the Royal Engineers on the basis that they could train me and I would have a career. The recruiter sat me down and suggested I joined a sponsored reserve RE unit to get the feel of things an army life on the basis that, as he said, "I had a nice flat, a car, lived in a lovely part of the world - why would I want to give it all up to live in a barracks?" I think I was probably a little immature and also looking at ways out of what I thought may be a dead end. I followed his advice and the regular army missed out but the reserves and I didn't and I now run my own business.

We don't know you and we don't know what you are like. Speak to a recruiter - he may say sign here, he may well say come back in four years with a degree as you'll be rounded and add value ....and in four years you may end up with a partner, a settled life, a different career path and be looking at the reserves as an option.....

In the nicest possible way, we really can't make the decision for you. We all have different life experiences. The main thing is whatever you decide, make the best of it, make opportunities for yourself by being enthusiastic and willing even if it's not in your job description, and grasp every opportunity with both hands.
Thanks for the response, enormously helpful
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
Thanks for the reply.
I already have an AOSB pass, as I managed to get a scholarship last year. I am due to start university in September but may decide to go to Sandhurst instead instead of waiting 4 more years. Would you say that, theoretically, if I were to leave the Army after 8 years with just my A-Levels and qualifications gained in the military, I would be able to find employment in the civilian world?
There will always be employment in the civilian world providing you're not a total mong. However, with a degree your earnings potential and range of potential jobs will probably be better than if you just have A levels.

Another factor would be what transferable skills you brought out of the army. The ability to sneak up quietly and garrote someone is not unfortunately a transferable skill (although I'll happily nominate a victim or two where I work). The ability to be a computer ninja or mechanical whizz is more likely to arose the interest of a civilian employer.

Wordsmith
 
#20
Any degree will not help you.

A good degree from a good university will teach you things that RMAS and the Army will not teach you.

A good degree from a good university will help you when you leave the army.

3 years at university is seldom wasted socially. It helps you build a network, helps you shag, helps you grow up - an 18 yr old is less mature than a 21 yr old.

Your army career will progress fine if you start at 21 or 18. Getting a degree later on in life, or missing out on 3 yrs of having fun, or dropping the ball because you’re a 19 yr old platoon commander and make the wrong decision is hard. Especially if you have a scholarship and join the OTC (circa £5k a year is earnable).
 

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