Higher National Diploma

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Not to be confused with National Diploma (UK).

A Higher National Diploma (HND) is a further education qualification of the United Kingdom.[1] A qualification of the same title is also offered in India, 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 (hons) degree course. This helps in gaining better knowledge and skill based experience as compared to the advances in the three year degree or masters degree course. Thus being equivalent to the second year of three year (hons) degree at the same level of ordinary bachelor degree course in the UK higher Education Framework.

Edexcel describes an HND as "A semi vocational / semi professional qualification, usually studied full-time, in 2 to 3 academic years time and can be studied part-time. It is equivalent to the first two years of a 4 year degree (with honours), and its at the same level of the 2nd year of an ordinary bachelor degree 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.

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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