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University level qualifications explained

Go higher with an employment focused degree at an Activate Learning college.

Find out about University Level qualifications

Higher National Certificate (HNC) - Level 4

An HNC takes one year to complete and is generally equivalent to the first year of university. It can be used to progress to a Higher National Diploma (HND).

Higher National Diploma (HND) - Level 5

An HND is equivalent to the second year of university and is a work-related course.

Foundation Degree (FdA) - Level 5

A Foundation Degree is the equivalent to the first two years at university and is a combination of workplace learning and studying at college.

They are usually offered full-time over two years and part-time over three years. In many cases, you will be allowed to continue studying on completion of your foundation degree to achieve a full honours degree.

Foundation Degrees combine work-based learning with academic study. Attendance at college can vary
from one to four days a week, depending on the mode of study and your chosen programme. This
means a Foundation Degree allows you to combine work and study, so you can earn while you learn.

BA/BSc Honours Degree - Level 6

This is the most common type of university degree, taking three to four years to complete on a full-time basis. Foundation Degrees and HNDs can lead on to Bachelor Degree courses.

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) - LEvel 6 & 7

The postgraduate certificate in education – or PGCE is a one- or two-year academic qualification you can achieve during your teacher training.