Higher National Diploma

Not to be confused with National Diploma (UK).

A Higher National Diploma (HND) is a higher education qualification of the United Kingdom.[1] A qualification of the same title is also offered in Argentina,[2] Finland,[3] India, Malta,[4] Nigeria,[5] and some other countries with British ties. This qualification can be used to gain entry into universities at an advanced level, and is considered equivalent to the second year of a three-year university degree course.


Pearsons describes an HND as "A semi vocational / semi professional qualification, usually studied full-time, in 2 to 3 academic years time [that] can be studied part-time. It is equivalent to the first two years of a 4 year degree (with honours), and it's at the same level of the 2nd year of an ordinary bachelor degree or to the Diploma of Higher Education".

In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the HND is a qualification awarded by many awarding bodies, such as The Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (CTH Advanced diploma), Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and BTEC (Vocational programs). In Scotland, a Higher National is awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).[6][7] The attainment level is roughly equivalent to second year of university, a Diploma of Higher Education, but in some cases may be marginally below that of a bachelor's degree. An HND takes two years of full-time study, or one year full-time following successful completion of a Higher National Certificate; part-time study takes longer.[8]

In Scotland an HND is Level 8 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework and in England, Wales and Northern Ireland it is Level 5 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework/Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales.[9][10] It is quite common for those who have achieved an HND to add to their qualification by progressing to other levels such as professional qualifications, or a degree.

Many universities[11] will take students who have completed their HND onto the third year of a degree course (particularly in areas such as business) - and the second year of a computer science or an engineering degree. This is often called a "top up". You can progress directly to third year degree at these universities across the globe.[12] Usually which of these years depends on the modules taken in the HND. It also means that after three years (or four if a business placement year is taken) a student could have both the HND and an honours degree if studying in a university in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Scottish and Irish Honours degrees are normally four year courses, and so an extra year of study is required. In Ireland progression to the final year of a three-year ordinary degree in an Institute of Technology (IT) is possible (referred to as an "add-on" year.)

On graduation, students are permitted to use the postnominals HND or HNDip after their name, usually followed by the course name in brackets.

See also


  1. "Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas". Directgov. Archived from the original on 2012-10-15.
  2. "National Academic and Technical Education, Argentina, Chap. 2 by Prof. Marcelo A. Sobrevila" (PDF). CONET. 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-28.
  3. "HELBUS homepage". HELBUS Helsinki School of Business. 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-11.
  4. "LIST OF FULL-TIME COURSES". MCAST. 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  5. "Directory of Polytechnics and Colleges in Nigeria". United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  6. "Qualifications : BTEC Higher Nationals". Edexcel. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  7. "HN Homepage". SQA. 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  8. choosing your qualification : Aimhigher Archived August 24, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Archived October 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. "The structure of the NQF". Archived from the original on September 26, 2006. Retrieved October 15, 2006.
  11. "HND Computing". Swansea Metropolitan University. Archived from the original on 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  12. http://www.mercuryvirtual.com/course/progression_university_list.pdf
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