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BTEC HN Engineering Course Booklet

Course name

Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Engineering

With specialist pathways available (numbers permitting)

  • Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Engineering (General Engineering)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Engineering (Electrical and Electronic Engineering)


With excellent facilities and industry experienced tutors, studying HNC/HND Engineering at York College 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.

Awarding body

Pearson BTEC; course and unit specifications can be found on the Pearson's website.

Course Length

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.

Who is this course aimed at?

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 (if you wish to know more about this contact our Business Development Unit or Head of Engineering).  A significant number of these apprentices will then go on to a ‘top up’ HND, and then ‘top up’ 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.

Overview of the course

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.  The year 2 specialist units are subject to change year on year as there is an intention to match the specific requirements of each year group where ever possible.  The units and assignments have been designed to help students progress and be successful across a broad range of careers in engineering at the Associate Engineer level.  As well as the technical content (see units below) the course has been designed to develop wider skills, and professional behaviours; such as fault finding and problem solving, timely achievement of tasks, behaving in a professional manner, being able to self-reflect and evaluate to improve performance, to understand the responsibilities of the engineer within society, to work with integrity, have regard for cost, sustainability and the rapid rate of change experienced in world class engineering, allowing students to make a positive contribution to the environment they operate within.

The course also provides the opportunity for students to make progress towards achieving internationally recognised registration with a Professional Body regulated by the Engineering Council.

Entry Requirements

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

Level 4 Course Units (specialist units are subject to change)

The combination offers 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).

Year 1 : General Engineering and Electrical Electronic Engineering Pathways

Unit 1 : Engineering Design (Mandatory)

combined with

Unit 4 : Managing a Professional Engineering Project (Mandatory : externally set theme)

Unit 2 : Engineering Maths (Mandatory)

Unit 3 : Engineering Science (Mandatory)

Plus … Pastoral Support

Year 2 : either / or … both pathways will be offered subject to numbers … units may be altered

Year 2 : General Engineering Multi-skill Pathway


Year 2 : Electrical Electronic Engineering Pathway

Unit 16 : Instrumentation and Control Systems


Unit 16 : Instrumentation and Control Systems

Unit 15: Automation, PLCs, Robotics


Unit 15: Automation, PLCs, Robotics

Unit 19 Electrical Electronic principles


Unit 19 Electrical Electronic principles

Unit 8 : Mechanical Principles


Unit 20: Digital Principles

Teaching Methods

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 “Blackboard” 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.

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 industry sector experiences. This benefits both students and tutors by the sharing of a broad range of current industry practices and technologies.


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.

Course Fees

Part Time over 2 years : £6200 (pro rata £3100)

Full Time in one year : £7200

Reasons to choose this 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.

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