Which Course Should I Choose?

Deciding what to study requires lots of research, so take time to look at what's available at Blackburn University Centre.

There are so many choices available that sometimes it's hard to know where to start. You need to make sure you're choosing a course for the right reasons and consider questions such as whether you are you going to be happy studying on the course, or, if you have a specific career in mind, whether a specific qualification will be necessary.

There's a wealth of resources available over the internet which might make your choice of course easier. Visit UCAS for information on some well recognised resources.

Have a read of the resources below and then Find Your Course.

Access to Higher Education Diplomas

Want to study at university but don’t have the correct qualifications? One of our Access to Higher Education Diplomas  can help you bridge the gap and prepare yourself for university study. We offer a range of Access courses to enable you to enter both degree level study at Blackburn University Centre or courses at other universities.


Higher National Certificates (HNCs) are generally suitable for candidates who do not have the necessary skills or experience to progress onto a HND or degree programme and will provide you with an introduction to a subject. This qualification is designed to equip you with the basic knowledge, understanding and skills required for a general vocational area. HNCs are usually studied two years part-time or one year full-time and many candidates then go on to other qualifications or areas of study. If you imagine higher education courses to be on a ladder, the HNC is the first rung before you move on to an introductory higher level qualification.


Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) are equivalent to two years of undergraduate study and can often be used to progress to an Honours Degree programme. HNDs are substantially coursework based and do not generally involve any examinations. HNDs are also designed to equip students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required for a general vocational sector. These courses are usually two years full-time or three years part-time.

Foundation Degrees

A Foundation Degree is a degree level qualification that combines academic study with Work Based Learning. Foundation Degrees are designed in association with employers and are qualifications that equip you with the relevant skills, knowledge and understanding to achieve academic results as well as improve performance and productivity in the workplace. Because of this, Foundation Degrees focus on a particular job or profession and are intended to increase the professional and technical skills of current or potential staff within a profession, or intending to go into that profession. Once you have completed your Foundation Degree you can "Top Up" to Honours level with one additional year of full-time study.

Honours Degrees and Honours Degrees with Foundation Entry

Degrees are the traditional academic route suitable for students with higher entry qualifications. Assessment is likely to include examinations. Degrees are generally usually studied over three years full-time. If you have a Foundation Degree already then you may choose to ‘top-up’ your Foundation Degree to Honours level. You should look out for the ‘Top Up’ courses that run alongside the Foundation Degree courses.

If you do not have the necessary entry requirements for an Honours degree you may still be able to join one of our Honours degrees with Foundation Entry. These last four years (full-time) but your first year will focus on preparing you for Honours level study.

Joint Honours Degrees

If you study a subject in a Joint Honours programme, you work at exactly the same level and to the same academic standard as students taking that subject in a Single Honours programme but get to choose two subjects making them a great choice if you can’t decide quite what you wish to study. Joint Honours students are simply required to choose fewer topics from the range of options available in each half of the programme.

Masters Degrees

Masters degrees are qualifications that are usually taken at post-graduate level - after you've already completed an Honours Degree programme or a relevant Professional Qualification. Masters degrees can be research-based or taught programmes or a combination of the two. Assessment on Masters programmes usually involves the production of a dissertation or thesis. This course is likely to be delivered over one year full-time or two years part-time.

Professional Qualifications

Professional Qualifications are the qualifications required to practice at a high level in certain jobs or professions. They are as suited to younger members of staff as they are to senior management. Courses are approved by well-respected organisations such as the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) or the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS), for example.