By completing a Higher Education qualification, students gain specialist skills and knowledge enabling them to enter employment at a more senior level. Students can choose between a Higher National Certificate, Higher National Diploma or Foundation Degree courses and we also deliver Higher and Degree Apprenticeships in conjunction with local employers.
- A Higher National Certificate (HNC) is equivalent to one year of university level study, in a vocationally oriented subject, normally delivered full-time in one year, or part-time over two years. An HNC can allow entry to Year 2 of a Higher National Diploma in many cases.
- A Higher National Diploma (HND) is equivalent to two years of university level study. This is normally delivered full-time over two years. Again, HNDs are most common in vocational subject areas. An HND can often be completed in one year, if a relevant HNC is held by the candidate. It is sometimes possible to gain entry to Year 2 or Year 3 of a university degree programme with an HND.
- Foundation Degrees (FdA or FdSc) are provided by both Universities and Further Education colleges. In the case of the latter, they are validated by a specific university, and are essentially the first two years of an undergraduate degree. In most cases, students who perform well will have the opportunity to ‘top-up’ to full Honours Degrees (BA or BSc) by completing a third year at university.
- Honours Degree Top-Ups: are provided by both universities and Further Education colleges. As with FdAs they are validated by a specific university. They are often only available to graduates of a specific FdA who have achieved at least a Merit profile (over 60%). They represent the final year of an undergraduate degree.
- Higher Apprenticeships offer an employer-sponsored work-based learning programme typically at Level 4 or Level 5 with the academic component often being an HNC, HND or Foundation Degree. However, as with all apprenticeships application is made to the employer, not the College. Degree Apprenticeships are very similar but cover Level 6 or Level 7. They can take from 3 to 6 years to complete depending on the Level and the intensity of study.
To find these opportunities, you can use the Government’s Apprenticeship Service:
- Professional Courses are Level 4 or 5 qualifications accredited by various awarding bodies such as AAT or CIPD, typically completed on a part-time basis. Particularly beneficial for those looking for accreditation in various industries or to progress in their profession. Successful completion of the qualification can lead to progression onto higher level courses.
Entry requirements will vary by course, so please refer to the specific course pages of the Higher Education guide for further details or see the summary of HE courses offered for the current application cycle.
Higher Education Courses
Generally speaking, you will need at least 64 UCAS points, gained from Level 3 qualifications, to be eligible for a place on one of ESC’s Higher Nationals or Foundation Degrees. For popular courses, where there is high competitive demand, you are likely to need at least 80 UCAS points. The relevance of your prior study will also be taken into account, as may any work experience and volunteering.
The most common sources of UCAS points are A-levels or BTEC National Diplomas. For more details on UCAS points, or to calculate how many you have or are predicted, use the following link:
In the case of mature students (defined as over 21), substantial and meaningful experience in a relevant role may be taken in lieu of UCAS points. You should discuss this informally with the appropriate course leader before applying.
Entry requirements for professional courses vary from course to course. Please refer to the individual course pages for further information.
For more information on our current courses, view the Higher Education Guide online or get in touch with the Client Services team by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling direct on 01737 788444.