Preston;s College

Qualifications Explained

Access to HE

The Access to Higher Education (HE) is a full level 3 qualification that is completed within 1 year. Successful completion of this qualification enables you to enter HE on a variety of programmes including Degrees and Foundation degrees. If you are 24+ you may be eligible for an Advanced Learning Loan to pay the fees for the course. If you successfully complete the access programme and complete a programme in HE you will have the amount outstanding for the Access programme written off on completion of your degree.

HNCs and HNDs

HNCs usually take one year to complete and are a Level 4 qualification (equivalent to the first year of study on an Honours Degree). HNDs usually take two years to complete and as a Level 5 qualification equate to the first two years of Honours Degree study.

Foundation Degrees

This is a Level 5 qualification, sitting below the Honours Degrees (at Level 6) and is at the same level as a HND. It is possible to ‘top-up’ your Foundation Degree to an Honours Degree through a period of further study. You can also use them to progress to further professional qualifications. This qualification is work-related which provides the specialist knowledge and skills needed within the relevant sector.

Top-up Degrees

Following the successful completion of a Foundation Degree or HND you may be entitled to continue your studies in order to achieve a full Honours Degree. These qualifications usually take between 1 and 2 years of study on a full-time basis.

Higher Apprenticeships

These are worked based programmes that are delivered at levels 4-6 dependent upon the framework you undertake. They combine full-time employment with higher education and you will gain a nationally recognised qualification equivalent to a HNC, HND or foundation degree. These allow you to earn while you learn and give you the opportunity to develop professional-level, job specific skills.