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Once you finish year 13, you can progress on to higher education. Deciding what to study after College or Sixth Form can be a tricky decision.

After school you can progress onto a range of courses from Foundation Entry Degrees, HNCs, HNDs, Degrees, Masters, professional courses or you choose a higher-level Apprenticeship.

Whichever route you decide on, you can study most on a full time or part time basis. There's a wealth of resources available online which might help make your choice of course easier. Visit UCAS for information on some well recognised resources.

No matter which route you choose, the University Centre at Blackburn College can help.


Degrees are the traditional academic route suitable for students with higher entry qualifications. Degrees are generally usually studied over three years full-time.

There are other ways to complete a Degree at the University Centre at Blackburn College.

If you have a Foundation Degree already then you may choose to ‘top-up’ your Foundation Degree to Honours level. You should look out for the ‘Top Up’ courses that run alongside the Foundation Degree courses.

If you do not have the necessary entry requirements for an Honours degree you may still be able to join one of our Honours degrees with Foundation Entry. These last four years (full-time) but your first year will focus on preparing you for Honours level study.

We can help you choose the right Degree for your future career.


Higher National Certificates (HNCs) are generally suitable for candidates who do not have the necessary skills or experience to progress onto a HND or degree programme and will provide you with an introduction to a subject.

This qualification is designed to equip you with the basic knowledge, understanding and skills required for a general vocational area.

HNCs are usually studied two years part-time or one year full-time and many candidates then go on to other qualifications or areas of study.


Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) are equivalent to two years of undergraduate study and can often be used to progress to an Honours Degree programme. HNDs are substantially coursework based and do not generally involve any examinations.

HNDs are also designed to equip students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required for a general vocational sector.

These courses are usually two years full-time or three years part-time.

Masters Degree

Masters degrees are qualifications that are usually taken at post-graduate level - after you've already completed an Honours Degree programme or a relevant Professional Qualification. Masters degrees can be research-based or taught programmes or a combination of the two.

Assessment on Masters programmes usually involves the production of a dissertation or thesis.

Professional Qualifications

Professional Qualifications are specialist industry courses which can help you gain the qualifications required to practice at a high level in certain jobs or professions.

They are suited for professionals wanting to develop their careers. Courses are approved by well-respected organisations including; AAT, AMSPAR, CIMA, CILEX, CIPD, CIPS and ILM.

Higher and Degree Level Apprenticeships

Higher Level Apprenticeships offer an excellent alternative to the traditional route to gaining higher level qualifications, by offering you practical industry skilled training combined with study.

Higher Apprenticeships are available from level 4 to 7 and are equivalent to a foundation degree and above e.g. a professional qualification.

Degree apprenticeships are available at levels 6 and 7 (full Bachelors and Masters).

Higher and degree apprenticeships combine work with study and may include a work-based, academic or combined qualification or a professional qualification relevant to the industry.

Levels 4 and 5 are equivalent to a Higher Education Certificate/Diploma or a foundation degree, level 6 is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree and level 7 is equivalent to a Master’s degree. Typically, higher apprentices study part-time at college, university or with a training provider.