DGHE & Coronavirus

Should I top up my HND to Degree?

Jun 26, 2020 | Students Career Progression


Dear students,

Welcome to this week’s career’s blog. 

At this time many of you will be asking yourself,” Should I top up my HND by undertaking the final year of a degree course?”, so I thought we should consider this topic in the career blog today.    There are a number of issues to consider before making a decision and the article below addresses most of them.  However, before you read on, I wanted to also add one point which I feel is vital to address.

Do you want to continue studying? 

Some sectors may be satisfied with applicants presenting with an HND only. There will be some sectors and roles where you have no choice – an HND is simply not the level of qualification required, you will need a degree, possibly also a Master’s degree and maybe even a PhD.  Other sectors may not stipulate a degree for entry, but look more favourably on graduate applicants.  So, there is much to consider…  

While the practical skills gained from a Higher National Diploma (HND) can lead directly to the workplace, many students 'top up' this qualification to a full Bachelor’s degree

For an explanation of undergraduate qualifications in the UK, see our guide to qualifications.

Should I 'top up' to a degree?

Depending on the course, the majority of HND graduates are eligible to enrol onto the final year of a Bachelor’s degree to 'top up' their qualification. This may be to become fully qualified for a specific role or to continue pursuing an area of interest.

Whether you choose to top up your HND qualification depends on the career path you'd like to take. While HND courses offer direct routes into many roles, you'll need a full Bachelor’s degree to apply for graduate schemes or graduate-level jobs. A significant number of HND graduates choose to top up their qualification for this reason.

Before you commit to a top-up year, search job profiles to see if your HND is enough to pursue your chosen career.

How do I get on to a degree course?

If your HND meets the required standard - usually at least a Merit certification - and the contents of both courses have similarities, you should be able to enrol onto the final year of a Bachelor’s degree with your HND qualification. This can be either with the same institution that validated your HND, or at another university.  For more information on topping up with DGHE, please contact the centre. 

However, if you're looking to pursue a degree with little relevance to your HND, you may have to enter the second year or start a course from the beginning. Contact your chosen university to discuss your individual circumstances.

Find out more about how to apply for university.