Higher Education Courses

HE Qualifications at SERC

A Higher Education (HE) course at SERC leads you to a recognised and respected qualification. SERC offers a range of degree and foundation degree courses in partnership with:

liverpool John Moores University Logo Open University Logo Queens University Logo Ulster University Logo Pearson Logo

Higher Education at SERC also encompasses Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Higher-Level Apprenticeships.

Select a subject below to view a list of the various courses that SERC have to offer.

Please Note: To ensure students get the best experience possible our Higher Education programmes will run subject to numbers. If we are unable to meet our minimum threshold, we will aim to direct you to a provider who has a similar offer. Please also ensure that you are familiar with our Terms and Conditions before you apply.

More than a qualification

At SERC, we understand that you want more than a qualification; like employers, you value experience and skills which prepare you to join the workforce and unlock the future career you want.

We are very proud that project-based learning, which engages students in practical problem-solving and develops a range of skills such as collaboration and time-management, is at the core of our teaching.

The Higher Education experience at SERC includes:

  • Small classes with professionally-experienced tutors – no sitting in a lecture-hall!
  • An enterprise-driven curriculum
  • Work placements and links with industry
  • Opportunities to travel overseas
  • SERC support services
  • State of the art facilities
  • Lower annual course fees than university
  • Hands on practical learning
  • An active Students Union
  • Flexibility – move to part-time or full-time study at the end of the academic year, to fit around your life
  • Opportunities for progression to university or into employment

Higher Education Prospectus

Full Time Higher Education Prospectus

Clicking on a course will redirect you to the latest course description and allow you to apply online.

HE Student Handbook

The HE Student Handbook is intended to be a reference point for all HE students. It is an overall summary of HE structure, regulations and support services at SERC. You will also receive detailed information directly related to your programme in your Programme Study site. Used together they will provide the information needed through your Programme of Study (POS).

View the HE Student Handbook

View the Student Protection Plan

More information

Click on the headings to expand them.

Higher Education qualifications range from Level 4 to Level 7 (post-graduate) . You can find out about the different awarding bodies and the qualifications they offer here.

Degree - Level 6

Bachelors’ Degree

This usually takes three to five years to complete depending on whether you study full-time or part-time.

Foundation Degree – Level 5

This is a Higher Education qualification that combines academic study with work-based learning. A foundation degree can lead to a full degree, or employment.

Higher National Diploma (HND) - Level 5

HNDs are a work-related, vocational Higher Education qualification. While Degrees tend to focus on gaining knowledge, HNDs are designed to give you the skills to put that knowledge to effective use in a particular job. HNDs are highly valued by employers both in the UK and overseas, and can also count towards membership of professional bodies and other employer organisations.

 Progression opportunities include entry to enhanced level 6 Degree.

Higher National Certificate (HNC) – Level 4

HNCs are a vocational Higher Education qualification that are usually studied part-time over two years or full-time over one year. HNCs are popular with students who are already in employment as they enable you to put the skills you learn into practice in your current job. Progression opportunities to enter degree programmes can be available.


Professional Qualifications – Level 4 and 5

Qualifications which are accredited by professional industry bodies and demonstrate a student’s depth of knowledge and understanding of a subject and also a commitment to succeed within the industry.

Level 6 – Bachelor Degree

Equivalent to: BA (Honours) Degree


Typical Entry Requirements:  Level 4/5 or Relevant level 3 qualification (e.g. BTEC, A-levels). See individual courses for details. Certain GCSE grades may also be required. Industrial or other experience may also be acceptable as part of APL (Accreditation of Prior Learning Process).


Progression: Progress to a Master Degree or use your skills to start work.

Level 5 – Foundation Degree / HND / Higher Level Apprenticeship

Equivalent to: Second year of a Bachelor Degree


Typical Entry Requirements: Level 4 or Relevant level 3 qualification (e.g. BTEC, A-levels). See individual courses for details. Certain GCSE grades may also be required. Industrial or other experience may also be acceptable as part of APL (Accreditation of Prior Learning Process).


Progression: Progress to a Degree course at College or University or use your skills to start work.

Level 4 - HNC / Higher Level Apprenticeship

Equivalent to: First year of a Bachelor Degree


Typical Entry Requirements: Relevant level 3 qualification (e.g. BTEC, A-levels). See individual courses for details. Certain GCSE grades may also be required. Industrial or other experience may also be acceptable as part of APL (Accreditation of Prior Learning Process).


Progression: Progress to Higher Education at SERC/University or use your skills to start work.


*Please check specific entry requirements for specific courses



  • Level 4- Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • Level 5- Higher National Diploma (HND)

Ulster University (UU)

  • Level 4- Certificate
  • Level 5- Foundation Degree 

The Open University (OU)

  • Level 5- Foundation Degree (FD)
  • Level 6- Top- Up Honours Degree 

Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU)

  • Level 6- Honours Degree  Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI)
  • Level 4- Certificate
  • Level 5- Diploma City and Guilds (C&G)
  • Level 4- Award/ Certificate
  • Level 5- Award
  • Level 6- Award
  • Level 7- Award

Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI)

  • Level 4- Award/ Certificate
  • Level 5- Diploma

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

  • Level 5- Diploma
  • Level 7- Advanced Diploma

Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

  • Level 5- Award/ Certificate/ Diploma
  • Level 7- Certificate Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB)
  • Level 4- Diploma

Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCNNI)

  • Level 4- Award
  • Level 5- Certificate

Northern Council for Further Education (NCFE)

  • Level 5- Diploma Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT)
  • Level 4 Award/ Certificate/ Diploma
  • Level 5 Certificate/ Diploma

Many students return to study with us who have been out of education for several years and have relevant experience at an appropriate level. If you are returning to study you may be eligible through the Accreditation of Prior Learning process (APL) :

  • Accredited Prior Certification Learning (ACL) – this is learning associated with a formal course of study that has been assessed either in Higher Education, by a professional body or achieved through staff development.
  • Accredited Prior Experience Learning (APL) – this is learning acquired through life, work experience and study not previously certified through formal education.

If you would like further information please discuss APL when you make your application, or contact Stuart Rankin (Head of Higher Education).


At SERC we welcome students from far and wide, from China to Poland and Belarus to Sudan.


Our International students have the opportunity to study in a safe environment for a wide range of courses in one of the world’s most advanced education systems. Our students benefit from a high standard of teaching provided by well qualified, committed staff, delivered through small class sizes for a more supportive environment.


We have an International Office, from where you can get advice about preparing to come to the UK to study, including advice on visa issues where relevant, finding accommodation, opening a bank account and other issues related to helping you settle into a new country.


For more information please visit our International Department


Find out more about our Higher Education courses, speak to our lecturing staff, see around our state of the art facilities and enrol on a Higher Education course at our annual open evening, or our enrolment days.


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Fees are applicable for all HE courses. The rate of fees that you pay will depend upon where you live. Northern Ireland domiciled students can apply for a loan for tuition fees, a maintenance loan for living costs and a non-repayable maintenance grant (for lower income households). 


For further information please visit: www.studentfinanceni.co.uk


Students from England, Scotland and Wales will pay a higher rate of tuition fees and should contact the agencies below for further information on the support available:

  • Student Finance England (in England) www.gov.uk/student-finance
  • Student Awards Agency for Scotland (in Scotland) www.saas.gov.uk
  • Student Finance Wales (in Wales) www.studentfinancewales.co.uk

For more information please visit our Fees & Finance section or view our Fees Policy