What is Higher Education?

Higher Education (HE) refers to qualifications at Level 4 or above.  A full honours degree course is not the only way to gain a higher education qualification, there are lots of other flexible study options that will help you to achieve your goals.

What's the right level for you?


A Higher National Certificate (HNC) is a work-related qualification that is highly valued by employers.  This vocational course offers an industry relevant qualification at Level 4.


A Higher National Diploma (HND) is a higher level work-related qualification that it valued by employers. This vocational course offer an industry relevant course at Level 5.

Foundation degree

A foundation degree is equivalent to the first two years of a full honours degree programme and is a standalone Level 5 qualification. This career focused qualification is designed with employers and can be topped-up to a full honours degree with further study.

Top-up degree

A top-up degree is designed as a natural progression from a foundation degree or HND to achieve a Level 6 degree qualification.

Honours degree

A traditional full honours degree programme will support you in developing a thorough understanding of a subject.

Post-graduate Diploma

A professional qualification that aims to develop knowledge and skills required for specific jobs in a variety of sectors and industries. They are usually awarded by professional bodies in line with their charters.


Higher Apprenticeship

Study and work at the same time with a higher apprenticeship.  These work-based learning programmes will allow you to gain nationally recognised higher education qualifications, such as a foundation degree or an honours degree while being employed and learning job specific skills at a high level.

Investing in your future with outstanding new facilities.


Why choose Northumberland College?

We are the largest further education provider in Northumberland with campuses throughout the county.

Our student transport scheme is available for eligible students to make getting to and from college as easy as possible.

Our extensive re-development programme will create outstanding new facilities.