What, where, how to study



Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) and Higher National Certificates (HNCs) are work-related courses available in a wide range of vocational areas such as:

  • agriculture
  • electrical and electronic engineering
  • computer science
  • business studies
  • tourism, transport and travel.

They can be taken through universities and further education colleges and it may be possible to progress directly onto an HNC or HND from your Level 3 college course.  

HNDs are usually full-time programmes that take two years to complete (equivalent to two years of a degree), and go up to qualification Level 5. HNCs usually take one year full time or two years part time and are Level 4 (equivalent to a first year of a degree). Higher National qualifications can sometimes be taken on a sandwich basis, i.e. include an industrial placement.

It may be possible to progress from an HND/HNC to the second or third year of an Honours Degree course and this will depend on individual institution's entry requirements. 

Entry requirements for an HND/HNC vary but will usually require evidence of Level 3 studies and a Level 2 qualification in English language and maths; relevant professional or technical experience is often taken into account.

An example of a Higher National qualification is the HNC in Building Services at Exeter College.

Higher Technical Qualifications

Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) were introduced in 2022 are either new or existing Level 4 and 5 qualifications (such as HNDs/foundation degrees/Diploma HE). These qualifications can lead to the following job roles and more will be available in the future:

  • network engineer
  • software developer
  • data analyst
  • construction 
  • health science

They have been developed to address the skills shortages in the UK and are likely to lead to good employment opportunities. View HTQ subjects available now and in the future.

They are available for adults as well as younger learners and are suitable if you prefer an employer led, more practical course that will give you high level skills for a specific job. These courses will take place in colleges, universities and independent training providers.

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