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About HNDs

About HNDs

What is an SQA HND?

An HND is a Higher Education qualification. ‘HND’ stands for Higher National Diploma. HNDs are vocational qualifications that use practical approaches to learning – including project and assignment work, team and group work, and research into real business practice.

HNDs are specially designed to meet the needs of employers both locally and nationally. They are developed by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) in partnership with colleges, universities and industry.

Because employers and universities recognise Higher National Qualifications as good evidence of your ability, having an HND will help you progress into an overseas university or get a job. If you are serious about getting a job and want a career with prospects, getting an HND is one of the best ways to achieve your ambition.

HND Structure

SQA HND consists of a total of 30 Unit credits. Each unit comprises of approximately 40 timetabled learning and 40 hours self-guided learning and study. They usually take two academic years to complete but this time frame is flexible.

As with all courses, the final year can be more difficult. Your results in the first and second year will determine whether you have the ability required to move on to a degree course.

HND assessment may be quite different to what you are used to. Units are assessed on a pass or fail basis. You have to pass all unit credits. There are many different ways of assessing units. This will depend on the subject – it could be projects, research or doing a piece of practical work.

There will be one Graded Unit assessment credit in Year 1 of the course and one or two in Year 2 worth 2 credits. The Graded Unit assessment can be an examination, a case study, an investigation or a practical assignment (depending on the HND that you are studying). Your result will be an A, B, C or Fail.

Entry to University

Currently the most popular choice for students after studying an HND is to go to on to a degree in a university. If you complete an SQA HND you will be able to apply to a university.

The university will also require evidence of English language ability. Depending on the degree you select, you may have to undertake some form of bridging programme.

Universities that accept SQA HNDs

SQA HND courses

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