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 Finland,[2] India, Malta,[3] Nigeria,[4] 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 a 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 it's 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).[5][6] 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. A 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.[7]

In Scotland a 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.[8][9] It is quite common for those who have achieved a HND to add to their qualification by progressing to other levels such as professional qualifications, or a degree.

In Nigeria the HND programme takes 5 years on an average to complete, making it competitive and equivalent to the country's bachelor degree with takes the same time frame to complete it or less in some Institutions that offers a four years bachelor degrees. The Institutions that award the HND is governed by a separate governmental body, quite different from the one that governs the universities.

In recent years there have been tussles within the Nigeria Education sector on the basis of Equality for HND and BSC. The Bachelor degree is rated higher than the Higher National Diploma, but the main bone of contention is that these two awards take the same years to complete and these institutions ( Polytechnics, Institute of technology and Universities ) award them using same course outlines through the years of studying for these awards base on different courses being offered with little or no variation according to research. Even though the governmental body that governs these Institutions ( Polytechnics, Institute of technology and Universities ) are different their operations are so synonymous.

In Nigeria before you can attain an HND you must attain a National Diploma (ND) in a relevant course with a compulsory Industrial Training. The ND takes two years on average for completion and a year for compulsory Industrial training, making it three good years. After the successful completion of the ND and Industrial Training the student can now apply for the HND award programme in any choice of institution that offers them, once the criteria is met. Actually, the HND award programmes takes two years on average to complete, taking the time frame to acquire the ND award and a year Industrial Training into consideration and as a prerequisite makes it a five years on average.

Many universities[10] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAndLearning/QualificationsExplained/DG_10039026
  2. ^ "HELBUS homepage". HELBUS Helsinki School of Business. 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-11. 
  3. ^ "LIST OF FULL-TIME COURSES". MCAST. 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  4. ^ "Directory of Polytechnics and Colleges in Nigeria". United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria. Retrieved 2012-09-26. 
  5. ^ "Qualifications : BTEC Higher Nationals". Edexcel. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  6. ^ "HN Homepage". SQA. 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 
  7. ^ choosing your qualification : Aimhigher[dead link]
  8. ^ The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework[dead link]
  9. ^ http://www.qca.org.uk/493_15772.html[dead link]
  10. ^ "Swansea Metropolitan University - HND Computing". Smu.ac.uk. Retrieved 2012-07-07. 

External links[edit]