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University Centre

Higher National Certificate (HNC) Engineering

Subject Area
Start Date
September 2023
Study Mode
Full-time or part-time
1 Year full-time or 2 Years part-time
£3,100 per year
Entry Requirements
32 UCAS points. Completion of relevant Level 3 qualification or A Levels. Applicants with relevant skills and experience will be considered.
Validated by

This is a Institute of Technology programme and has two available specialist pathways:

  • HNC in Engineering – Electrical and Electronic
  • HNC in Engineering – Multi-skill General Engineering

With excellent facilities and industry experienced tutors, studying Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Engineering with us will help you develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to meet the demands of employers in a rapidly evolving engineering sector; helping you adapt to a constantly changing world.

The mandatory elements of the course provide students and higher apprentices with core engineering knowledge, skills and techniques which all engineers require, irrespective of current or future specialism; such as engineering maths & science and project design & management. Specialist units have been selected to reflect regional engineering & manufacturing employer skills requirements (as much as possible), whether following the ‘general multi-skill’ pathway or the ‘electrical electronic’ pathway. Full-time and part-time available - 1 year full-time/2 years part-time.

Part-time : two years, one day per week, course runs September - July, during the usual college term times.

Full-time : one year, two days per week; joining both the Year 1 and Year 2 part time students course runs September - July, during the usual college term times.

This course is typically* aimed at Level 3 Engineering apprentices who wish to progress to the next level of study whilst still working full time in the engineering sector, some of whom will complete this qualification as part of a Higher Level 4 Apprenticeship. A significant number of these apprentices will then go on to a ‘top up’ Higher National Diploma (HND), and then ‘top up’ to a full degree.

It is possible to study this course as a ‘full-time’ student by studying with the part time students, alongside both the Year 1 and Year 2 groups, as these are on two different days of the week. However, we would highly recommend an engineering work placement alongside; 1 day per week for the academic year. We can provide help sourcing this placement.

It is also possible to study this course as a mature student who is currently working in the engineering industry, who has an existing Level 3 engineering qualification, and perhaps is looking for a promotion or career development opportunities. With this type of application we would provide a pack of ‘refresher’ materials to complete leading up to the start of the course.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to demonstrate a sound knowledge of the basic concepts of engineering. They will be able to communicate accurately and appropriately and they will have the qualities of personal responsibility needed for employment. They will have developed a range of transferable skills to ensure effective team working, independent working with growing fault finding and problem-solving strategies, and organisational awareness. They will be adaptable and flexible in their approach to work, showing resilience under pressure and the ability to meet challenging targets within a reasonable, preset, timeframe. They will also demonstrate regard for the ethical responsibilities of the engineer, for cost and for the importance of protecting and sustaining the environment.

The combination of units offered gives students a broad introduction to the subject area through the mandatory core of learning, whilst developing some sector-specific skills and experience through the specialist units. The intention is that students will gain a wide range of sector knowledge tied to practical skills gained in research, self-study, directed study and workplace activities (hence the need for ‘full-time’ students to have a work placement). Please note that specialist units are subject to change.

UCAS Code: H6Y8

UCAS Institution Code: Y70

Level 4 Core Units Level 4: Multi-skill General Pathway Level 4: Electrical & Electronic Pathway
Engineering Design Instrumentation and Control Systems Instrumentation and Control Systems
Managing a Professional Engineering Project Automation, PLCs and Robotics Automation, PLCs and Robotics
Engineering Maths Electrical Electronic Principles Electrical Electronic Principles
Engineering Science Mechanical Principles Digital Principles

Entry requirements

32 UCAS tariff points.

BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Engineering (MP+)/Extended Diploma in Engineering (MMP+) or relevant A Levels subjects, including Maths (D+) and Physics (D+).

Students with significant relevant prior learning and experience may be considered.

How will I be assessed?

There are a range of assessment methods across the units which integrate both academic and vocational learning. Assessment is assignment based and these are weaved throughout the year. Each unit will require a number of assignments to be completed using a range of assessment methods from creation of a design/project portfolio to giving a presentation, from carrying out a practical task to more academic report writing.

A full assignment schedule will be published at the beginning of the year to ensure that the workload is well balanced throughout the year.

Skills you will learn

Throughout the course, students will develop skills in critical and strategic thinking, basic engineering concepts, team working and independent work, problem solving, organisational awareness, flexible and adaptable working, time management and regard for the ethical responsibility of an engineer.

Method of delivery

Delivery will consist of lectures, assignment support, project mentoring and practical workshops depending on the unit. Units will be fully supported through the College’s virtual learning environment, and/or shared drives and/or the Microsoft Teams environment.

Students will have access to the relevant software such as Matlab, Multisim, AutoCAD, Solidworks, etc.

Our expert tutors bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from a range of engineering sectors; however, as the majority of students are employed by a broad range of engineering and manufacturing companies, tutors have designed the programme to maximise the opportunity for students to share their own industry sector experiences. This benefits both students and tutors by sharing a broad range of current industry practices and technologies.

Additional costs

No additional costs are expected for this course.

Your next steps

On successful completion of the HNC, you will have the opportunity to progress on to the HND in Engineering. We currently offer this top-up at
York College University Centre.

Future job roles could include:

  • Production & Manufacture Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Electrical/Electronic Design Engineer
  • Operations Engineer
  • Field Service Engineer
  • CAD Technician
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