If you are studying with a degree as your ultimate goal, you need to be aware that there are specific requirements for each degree. Some degrees can only be studied for via programmes (especially those leading to a professional qualification). Some degrees require you to take freestanding courses. There are also degrees where you can choose for yourself if you want to complete your degree by following a programme or by taking freestanding courses.
When you follow a programme, you are following a ready structure that includes all of the courses required for your degree. If you are taking freestanding courses instead, it is important that you regularly check with a study counsellor within your subject area to ensure that you are studying the courses that are required for the degree that you are aiming for.
Another difference between following a programme and taking freestanding courses is that, as a programme student, you are guaranteed a place in the mandatory courses included in the programme. As a student taking freestanding courses, however, you have to apply for a place in each course before it starts.