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University Level Qualifications Explained

University Level Qualifications are available at a wide range of levels from Level 4 (HNCs, Level 4 diplomas) to Level 8 (Specialist qualifications).  The below information provides an overview of the study at each level so that you can gain a better understanding of the level for you!

The College currently offers University Level Qualifications at Level 4 (HNCs) and Level 5 (Foundation degrees, HNDs, Level 5 diplomas) and can help you progress your education through our University partnerships on completion*.

Higher Apprenticeship

Higher Apprenticeships are work based programmes

which include the study of a recognised level 4 or 5 qualification. They take at least a year to complete but can take up to 4 years depending on the qualification.

Higher National Certificate (HNC)

A Higher National Certificate (HNC) is equivalent to the first year of university level study, delivered full time in one year or part time over 2 years. An HNC can allow progression onto a Higher National Diploma.

Higher National Diploma (HND)

A Higher National Diploma (HND) is equivalent to the second year of university level study and is delivered full time over 1 year. If you have already completed a HNC in a relevant subject, you can apply directly for the HND.

Foundation Degree

Foundation Degrees (Fda or FdSc) are the equivalent of the first two years of university study. They can be studied full time or part time and many students choose to top up their Foundation Degree by completing a third year at an awarding university.


Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s Degree is the most common type of university level qualification and can be taken in a wide range of subjects. You can study for either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Sciences (BSc). These degrees normally take 3 to 4 years to complete on a full time basis. Completion of either a Foundation Degree or an HND can provide access to Bachelor Degree programmes.

Post-Graduate Qualifications

There are a wide range of Post-Graduate Qualifications available to study including Masters degrees, postgraduate certificates, postgraduate diplomas and Specialist qualifications such as PhDs.

*Entrance to final top up year is subject to selected univeristy criteria and cannot be guaranteed.



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