UCC | Qualifications Explained

Which course is for me?

There are many ways to study for a higher education qualification and choosing the right course will help you get the most out of your study at University Centre Colchester. If you have questions or would prefer to chat to our Academic Services department then please give us a call on (01206) 712777.

Higher Education Course Levels

Course Levels

degree-level Qualifications

Certificate of Higher Education

These are practical vocational courses aimed at developing your knowledge and skills within a particular employment sector. The qualification is a similar level to the first year of an undergraduate degree. The Certificate in Higher Education in Construction at University Centre Colchester is a two year par-time course for existing construction employees. The Certificate in Higher Education in Business Innovation and Applied Management can be studied full-time or part-time.

Diploma of Higher Education

The Diploma of Higher Education enables you to gain specialist understanding of your chosen subject, the critical and analytical skills needed for further study, and a valuable qualification that’s highly rated by employers. The Diploma is a similar level to the second year of an undergraduate degree and can be used stepping stone towards an Honours Degree.  The Diploma of Higher Education in Person Centred Counselling at University Centre Colchester is available as a full-time or part-time study programme.

Higher National Certificate

A Higher National Certificate (HNC) is a work-related qualification that provides practical vocational training, to prepare you for a career in a particular area. HNCs are a similar level to the first year of an undergraduate degree. The Engineering HNCs at University Centre Colchester are offered as full-time or part-time study. When you’ve successfully completed the HNC you can continue your studies and convert the qualification to a HND.

Higher National Diploma (HND)

A HND is similar to a HNC but you study additional units. HNDs are a similar level to the second year of an undergraduate degree. The Engineering HNDs at University Centre Colchester are offered as full-time or part-time study. When you’ve completed a HND you could enter the third year of a degree course.

Foundation Degree
Foundation Degree

Foundation Degrees are work-related qualifications, designed to give you the skills and knowledge to take your career forward. The qualification includes a work placement and links with employers, and is equivalent to the first two years of a degree course. On completion you can either explore employment opportunities, or do a further year’s study to get an Honours Degree. Foundation Degrees at University Centre Colchester are available as full-time or part-time study.

All our Foundation Degrees:

  • Are vocational courses and are highly valued in the job market.
  • Include work placements or equivalent professional experience.
  • Have been developed through close collaboration with employers.
  • Include the key skills needed by graduates.
  • Enable you to go straight into employment or progress to an Honours Degree.
  • Can normally be completed in two years.
  • Provide 240 credits (360 are required for an Honours Degree).

You will see that many of our Honours degrees have an associated Foundation Degree. In these cases, you may share some modules with those students registered for the Honours degree. This integrated approach will help you make a smooth transition into a final top-up period leading to the relevant Honours Degree, if that is what you decide to do.

Of course, you may want to move directly into employment after graduation and return later to top-up to the Honours Degree.

Entry Requirements

Vocational qualifications, such as Diplomas, Vocational A Levels (Advanced Vocational Certificates of Education – AVCEs), Apprenticeships and NVQs are all appropriate entry qualifications.

Students who have successfully completed the Access Course, or who have appropriate working backgrounds, are also encouraged to apply.

Honours Degree

An Honours Degree can be in an academic or vocational subject. A full-time degree usually takes three years, while part-time degrees can take up to six years. The most common degrees are Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Sciences (BSc).

Honours Degree

Master’s courses enable you to develop advanced knowledge and skills in a particular subject area. The most common qualifications are Master Arts (MA), Master of Sciences (MSc) and Master of Business Administration (MBA). At University Centre Colchester we offer a full-time and part-time taught MA’s in Education.

Certificate in Education (Lifelong Learning Sector)

The part-time two year Certificate in Education (Lifelong Learning Sector) is aimed at those working in a post-compulsory education or training role, who need to gain a professional teaching qualification. The full-time one year course is for applicants who wish to teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (post-compulsory education).

Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (Lifelong Learning Sector)

The part-time two year Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (Lifelong Learning Sector) is aimed at those working in a post-compulsory education or training role, who need to gain a professional teaching qualification. The full-time one year course is for applicants who wish to teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (post-compulsory education).