Levels of study we offer

These higher education qualifications have a real focus on industry skills and are valued by employers as a recognised alternative to university. HNCs and HNDs are mainly assessed through assignments, projects and practical tasks that you complete throughout the course – not through exams – and they’re designed to lead straight to a career in industry or on to further study at university.

Higher National Certificates (HNC) are Level 4, and are equivalent to the first year of a university degree.

Higher National Diplomas (HND) are Level 5, and are equivalent to the second year of a university degree.

How long do they take?
HNCs take between one and two years to complete depending on the study route you choose to take, and are generally equivalent to the first year of a full Bachelor’s degree at university. You can continue your studies at The Bedford College Group by moving on to the HND qualification after your HNC.

HNDs represent the next level of study up from HNCs, taking an additional one to two years to complete depending on the study route you choose to take. They’re generally equivalent to the second year of university and you can ‘top-up’ your HND with a further one or two years of study at university to convert it to a full Bachelor’s degree. Alternatively a HND is a standalone, recognised qualification that prepares you to progress directly into employment.

Use our FIND A COURSE tool (top right of screen) to find the course you’re interested in.

Higher Technical Qualifications(HTQs) are new or Level 4 and 5 qualifications that the Institute has approved for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. These new qualifications have been designed to meet new occupational standards for the relevant sectors. These qualifications have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that students get the specific training, knowledge and skills required for their chosen career. These courses are great routes for those who have studied T Levels at College. The Bedford College Group’s Higher Technical Qualifications will be available with our new Digital courses this September. Over the next four years, the Group will be offering HTQs in Construction and Health and Science in 2023.

Higher Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to study towards a high level qualification, the equivalent of a Foundation Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree, whilst working.

To start a Higher Apprenticeship, you will need to have Level 3 qualifications such as A-Levels, an Advanced Level Diploma, NVQ Level 3 or an Advanced Apprenticeship.

We are the largest provider of Apprenticeships in Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. Training over 1,500 apprentices last year and working with over 1,000 employers.

Over 10,000 learners have already started a Higher Apprenticeship in England, and The Bedford College Group is offering them in the following areas:

  • Business & Management
  • Computing & IT

Use our FIND A COURSE tool (top right of screen) to find the course you’re interested in.

Foundation Degrees are higher education qualifications that have been developed with employers to develop your practical skills in a specific industry sector. They’re assessed through project work, reports, exams, practical work and presentations.

Foundation Degrees are Level 4 and 5, and are equivalent to the first an second year of a university degree.

How long do they take?
A Foundation Degree takes two to four years to complete depending on the study route you choose to take. It’s equivalent to the first two years of a full Bachelor’s degree and, just like HNDs, you’ll have the option to ‘top-up’ your Foundation Degree and convert it in to a full Bachelor’s degree through an additional year of study at university.

Use our FIND A COURSE tool (top right of screen) to find the course you’re interested in.

Each of our degree programmes are validated by, and lead to an award of, one of our partner universities – either the University of Bedfordshire or The University of Northampton. If you have graduated with a Foundation Degree or HND in the same subject, you can go on to study with one of our partner universities in order to top-up your existing qualification to a full Bachelor’s degree.

Top Up Degrees are Level 6 and are equivalent to the third and final year of a university degree.

How long do they take?
It will take one year full-time to achieve your degree. The Animal Sciences and Engineering degrees are taught partly at College and partly at the relevant university. The Graphic Design degree is taught at the College, but validated by the university.

Use our FIND A COURSE tool (top right of screen) to find the course you’re interested in.

Computing HTQs

BTEC Higher Nationals in computing are level 4 or 5 qualifications which have been quality marked by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to indicate their alignment to employer-led occupational standards.

Find out more