Higher National Diploma

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Not to be confused with National Diploma (UK).

A Higher National Diploma (HND) is a higher education qualification of the United Kingdom.[1] A qualification of the same title is also offered in Malta,[2] Nigeria,[3] and some other countries with British ties. This qualification can be used to gain entry into universities at an advanced level, and is considered equivalent to the second year of a three year university degree course.

Edexcel describes an HND as "A vocational qualification, usually studied full-time, but can be studied part-time. It is roughly equivalent to the first two years of a 3 year degree (with honours), or to the Diploma of Higher Education".

In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the HND is a qualification awarded by many awarding bodies, such as The Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (CTH Advanced diploma) , Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and BTEC (Vocational programs) . In Scotland, a Higher National is awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).[4][5] The attainment level is roughly equivalent to second year of university, a Diploma of Higher Education, but in some cases may be marginally below that of a bachelor's degree. An HND takes two years of full-time study, or one year full-time following successful completion of a Higher National Certificate; part-time study takes longer.[6]

In Scotland an HND is Level 8 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework and in England, Wales and Northern Ireland it is Level 5 on the National Qualifications Framework.[7][8] It is quite common for those who have achieved an HND to add to their qualification by progressing to other levels such as professional qualifications, or a degree.

In Ireland, the nearest equivalent is a HETAC Higher Certificate, (a two year higher educational qualification), however differences exists in terms of grading methods, learning outcomes & progression.

Many universities[9] will take students who have completed their HND onto the third year of a degree course (particularly in areas such as Business) - and the second year of a computer science or an engineering degree. This is often called a "top up". Usually which of these years depends on the modules taken in the HND. It also means that after three years (or four if a business placement year is taken) a student could have both the HND and an honours degree if studying in a university in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Scottish & Irish Honours Degrees are normally four year courses, and so an extra year of study is required. In Ireland progression to the final year of a three year ordinary degree in an Institute of Technology (IT) is possible (referred to as an "add-on" year.)

On graduation, students are permitted to use the postnominals HND or HNDip after their name, usually followed by the course name in brackets.

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