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Why study HE with us?

  1. Better career prospects

  2. Flexible delivery

  3. Industry-experienced lecturers

  4. Vocationally-focused

  5. Chance to top-up to honours degree

  6. Smaller class sizes

  1. Strong links to industry

  2. Plenty of support

  3. Save time and money

  4. University validation

  5. Dedicated HE Centre

  6. Work placement opportunities

Funding for HE courses

If you are thinking of applying for a HE course you will need to find out about your funding options

Student finance explained

Student finance information for academic year 2020-2021

Students with disabilities or additional learning needs

Part time students

Students with children or adult dependants

Help with transport costs

Gower College Swansea bursary

Hardship fund

Higher Education Graduation 2019​

Higher Education Explained

Foundation degrees

Foundation degrees are degree level qualifications that combine academic study with work place learning.

Designed in association with employers, they are qualifications to equip people with the relevant skills, knowledge and understanding to achieve academic results as well as improve performance and productivity in the work place.

Foundation degrees focus on a particular job or profession.

They are intended to increase the professional and technical skills of current or potential staff within a profession, or intending to go into that profession.

They are the equivalent of two thirds of a full honours degree and a fully flexible qualification allowing students to study part time or full-time to fit their lifestyle.

A full time foundation degree will usually take about two years to complete, and part time courses may take longer, and there is an option to top up to a full honours degree at the end. This normally takes an extra year.


Higher National Certificates (HNC) and Higher National Diplomas (HND) are work related courses usually designed to prepare students for a specific career.

Unlike many degrees, they are vocationally focused and can therefore lead straight to a career.

They’re also a great stepping stone to a higher qualification and can be topped up to convert to a bachelor’s degree.

The HNC is one level below a HND and generally equivalent to the first year of university.

A HND is equivalent to the second year of university.

A full time HNC takes one year to complete (two years part time) while the HND takes two years to complete when studying full time (three to four years part time).

Professional qualifications

Professional qualifications are specifically linked to certain career choices and recognised by the relevant professional bodies (such as the CMI, CIM, CIPD).

Professional certification proves that someone has the knowledge, experience and skills to perform a specific job, and has achieved a recognised level of competence.

Obtaining a professional qualification can offer rewards such as entry into a chosen career area, promotion or an increase in salary.

Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE)

A certificate of higher education is a stand-alone qualification that focuses on either a particular profession or academic subject. At Level 4 it is the lowest level of qualification that a student can gain in higher education. It is an academic rather than vocational qualification.

Completing a CertHE can demonstrate individuals’ capability of studying at university level. It can raise confidence, support a career change, or progression. It can also be used as the first step of several degree levels to go on to achieve a foundation degree, diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) or a full honours degree through additional study. 

A CertHE might be useful for getting a job, depending on the profession, as they’re equivalent to other qualifications.

You can use a CertHE as a stepping stone to a full degree, and you might be able to skip one year of a degree course. You still need to make sure you meet the entry requirements of the course you’re interested in, and find out whether your previous studies are transferable.

Left school without qualifications?
Fancy a career change?

It’s still possible to go to university, even if you don’t have the traditional qualifications. Sign up for one of our Access to Higher Education courses and you’re one step closer.
Find out more

Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma is a qualification which prepares people without traditional qualifications for study at university. It’s designed for those who would like to study in higher education but who left school without qualifications such as A Levels or went straight into the workplace and now fancy a career change. Access courses attract a diverse range of students and there’s no maximum age limit. Once completed, the diploma is held in the same standing as A Levels. Access courses are generally tailored as pathways; they prepare students with the necessary skills and imbue the appropriate knowledge required for a specific undergraduate career. For example, there are 'access to law', 'access to social welfare’ and 'access to nursing' pathways.