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University Level Qualifications Explained

Our University level courses come in all shapes and sizes. Here's our guide to explaining what all these different qualifications mean.


Higher National Certificates (HNCs):

Are one-year Level 4 employer-focused qualifications which can either lead directly to employment or to a Higher National Diploma (HND) or the second year of an honours degree programme depending on the subject studied.

Certificates of Higher Education (Cert HE):

Are also one-year Level 4 qualifications which follow the same curriculum as the first year of our Foundation Degrees. On completion you can either opt to go into employment or, if you decide to continue your studies, join the second year of the corresponding foundation degree.

Higher National Diplomas (HNDs):

Are one-year Level 5 qualifications which build on the knowledge and skills acquired in a corresponding HNC. On completion, you can either go into employment or join one of our topup programmes to gain a full honours degree.

Foundation Degrees (FdAs):

Which are studied over two years (Levels 4 and 5), integrate academic and work-based learning through close collaboration with employers to provide an industry-relevant qualification. They also provide a route through to top-up degrees.

BA/BScBEng (Hons) Topup Degrees (Level 6):

Provide successful B&FC Foundation Degree graduates with the option of 'topping up' their degree to an Honours degree in just one year.

BA/BScBEng (Hons) Degrees (Levels 4, 5 and 6):

Are traditional 3 year programmes available at B&FC that lead to the award of an Honours degree.

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships:

Combine skilled on-the-job training with higher level study to allow those already in employment to move their career forward.

Postgraduate programmes (Level 7):

Are typically studied after an Honours degree, such as our Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

Subject to Validation & Revalidation

All our Honours degrees and Topup programmes are validated by our awarding body, Lancaster University, and subject to periodic revalidation to ensure that the courses we deliver are of the highest quality, incorporate new academic research and, where appropriate, reflect current industry best practice. We always indicate if a course is subject to revalidation but this does not mean that the course is likely to be withdrawn.