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A Higher National Diploma (HND) is a higher education qualification in the United Kingdommarker. This qualification can be used to gain entry into universities, and is considered equivalent to the first two years of a university course.The related BTEC OND which is a high level qualification, equal to A-levels.

In Englandmarker, Walesmarker and Northern Irelandmarker the HND is a BTEC qualification awarded by Edexcel and in Scotlandmarker is a Higher National awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. 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.

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 National Qualifications Framework. 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. It's graded similar to GNVQ - modules are graded, rather than the HND award itself - Pass, Merit and Distinction with Distinction the highest grade and Pass the lowest grade.

Many universities will take students who have completed their HND onto either level 2 [2nd year] or level 3 [3rd year if a 4 year degree] of a degree course. [This is often called a 'top-up.] Usually which of these years depends on the modules taken in the HND. It also means that after three years [or four if, say, a business placement year is taken] a student could have both the HND and an honours degree if studying in a UK university excluding Scotland. Scottish Honour Degrees are normally 4 year courses, and so an extra year of study is required.

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


  1. Edexcel : Qualifications : BTEC Higher Nationals
  2. SQA - HN Homepage
  3. choosing your qualification : Aimhigher
  4. The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework
  6. Swansea Metropolitan University - HND Computing

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