Qualifications explained

The following information will give you an idea of the range and level of the main qualifications available at Glasgow Kelvin College. You can obtain most qualifications in a variety of ways - full time, part time and in some cases through flexible and on-line delivery.

National Qualifications (NQ)

National Qualifications can be taken as individual units or combined to form distinct courses such as Higher Mathematics or Higher English.

The purpose of these awards is to encourage higher and broader achievement by all students. The system is designed so that all students can undertake relevant subjects at the right level leading to recognised national qualifications.

National Certificate (NC)

The National Certificate (NC) is based on an extensive system of SQA units. These units may be grouped together or taken on an individual basis. The most common grouping is a range of related units which give you a full NC programme of study. Full-time NC courses, funded by a College bursary, normally last one year.

An NC award demonstrates to employers that you have achieved a certain level of training. It can also be used to continue studying at HNC or HND level. Alternatively, you can take any number or grouping of NC units to meet your own needs.

Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ)

SVQs are part of a national drive to improve the skills of the Scottish workforce. Each SVQ has been designed with a particular job in mind and has been developed by employers in each business and industrial sector. SVQs reflect real-life demands of the working world and guarantee your ability to do a particular job.

Higher National Certificate (HNC)

Together with Higher National Diplomas (see below) these are more advanced vocational qualifications which have been developed in partnership with industry and commerce.

An HNC is normally a one year, full-time advanced programme offering greater access to the jobs market and funded by a grant from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). Successful completion of an HNC usually ensures access to year two of an HND programme or sometimes to a University Degree course.

It is common for an HNC to be regarded as year one of an HND in the same subject area and you can often be awarded an HNC if you leave an HND programme after one year. HNC and HND programmes are made up of a number of units which are each given a value or SQA 'credit' level. You normally have to gain 12 credits for an HNC award.

Higher National Diploma (HND)

An HND is normally a two year, full-time advanced programme funded by a grant from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

HNDs are highly regarded by employers for jobs at supervisory, junior management and higher technician levels.

In addition, successful completion of an HND programme can very often enable transfer to year two or three of a University Degree course. HND programmes, like HNCs, are made up of a number of units which are each given a SQA 'credit' level. You normally have to gain 30 credits for an HND award.

Professional Development Award (PDA)

These awards are intended to help in career development and/or to facilitate career changes.

The awards are related to specific occupational areas and cover subjects such as Book-keeping, Engineering, PC Maintenance and Teacher Training.

Like other SQA qualifications, PDAs are made up of a number of units which are combined to form a coherent group.