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Higher Education


Studying Higher Education (up to degree level) at college is a great way to further your studies whether you are returning to study, continuing after college or studying alongside work – and it is extremely cost-effective! 

What’s more, after completing a Foundation Degree or an HND, you can then progress to university to complete the final year of your study. In fact, in some areas, you can complete your full degree at HSDC! Our UAL courses also qualify as the first year of a creative degree with certain partner universities, and these courses are free to those under 19.


SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS ON FEES – but still with full access to tuition fee loans via Student Finance England 

STAYING CLOSE TO HOME – save on accommodation costs and/or stay close to family and friends

CONVENIENT FLEXIBLE STUDY – most courses take place one day a week; allowing time to work, for family, industry placements and professional development

GREAT ON-CAMPUS FACILITIES – including car parking, children’s nursery (for children between 6 months and 5 years), gym and restaurants

SMALL CLASS SIZES – approximately 15 students in each class, providing greater quality tutor support and guidance from our expert lecturers, helping you progress and excel

LINKS TO LOCAL EMPLOYERS – providing opportunities for employment, work experience and mentoring. We work with a number of employers developing the professional and technically focused curriculum, with opportunities of gaining real life experience

AWARDED BY REPUTABLE UNIVERSITIES – the course curriculum is provided, supported and awarded by local universities such as University of Portsmouth, University of the Arts London and University of Chichester providing you with access to their on-site resources and highly regarded qualifications

Our courses range from Level 4 (HNC and UAL Professional Diplomas), Level 5 (HND) and Level 6 (Full BA Degree). 

Higher Education courses are normally studied after achieving Level 3 qualifications, however applicants who have relevant work experience are also welcome to apply. Please see specific course requirements for your chosen subject in our course finder.

UAL, Professional Diplomas

University of the Arts London (UAL) is the leading provider for creative and performing arts courses and a specialist for the creative industry. All of our Creative Arts courses are accredited by the UAL Awarding Body.

Through our progression agreements, suitably qualified HSDC students are able to progress to designated university undergraduate degree programmes, and the qualifications they have earned at HSDC will count toward their Bachelor’s degree requirements. 

These courses are free to students under 19 years old, or you can apply for an adult learner loan.


Higher National Certificate (HNC) and Higher National Diploma (HND) courses are equivalent to the first (HNC) and second (HND) year of a university Bachelor’s degree. Each are qualifications in their own right and having a Higher Education qualification can significantly improve your career opportunities. Once you have completed your course you’ll also have the opportunity to top up your qualification to a full degree thanks to our links with a range of universities. Annual course fees for HNCs and HNDs are less than a full degree.

Foundation Degree

A Foundation Degree is the equivalent to the first two years of a Bachelor’s Degree. Designed in consultation with employers, this focuses on developing the skills sought after in a working environment. Because of this, it is ideal for those who are seeking progression into employment or are wishing to further their current career. Equally, upon completion, you also have the opportunity to top up your qualification to an undergraduate degree.

BA (Hons)

With two of our courses you can gain a full BA (Hons) Degree. 

This is exactly the same qualification you would get if you were attending a traditional university. On completion of the course, you can then progress on to employment or a Master’s level qualification.

From 2023, HSDC will be part of the brand new South Coast Institute of Technology, working as a collaboration between five Further Education colleges and two universities, backed by more than £13 million in funding from the Department for Education.

Read more about the programme and how we are investing in our facilities and courses.

Whether you’re aspiring to pursue a new career, or want to continue your professional development within your current job role, our Higher Education courses allow you to progress onto your chosen destination.

University and Progression Agreements 

All of our courses enable progression onto a Level 6 (Top-Up) course at local and national universities.

We have also established progression agreements with local universities, including Solent University Southampton, allowing students to move seamlessly onto the next level.

Suitably qualified HSDC students are able to progress to designated university undergraduate degree programmes, and the qualifications they have earned at HSDC will count toward their Bachelor’s degree requirements. For example, students on the Level 4 UAL Professional Diploma in Music Production who receive a pass will receive direct entry into Year 2 of the BSc (Hons) Popular Music Production degree at Solent University Southampton.


Many of our students advance within employment after studying with us, whether progressing into management roles in their current employment or seeking new exciting opportunities within their chosen sector.

Degree Apprenticeships

Some students have also moved into degree Apprenticeships, furthering their learning within the workplace.

All of our courses cost substantially less than studying at a traditional university and you will still qualify for a student loan from Student Finance England.

Student Loans

Student loans are only repayable when you have finished your Higher Education course and are earning over £27,295 a year.

Free Higher Education Courses for under 19s

The Art & Design, Music Performance and Production, Creative Enterprise and Performance courses are free to students under 19, or can be funded by an Advanced Learner Loan which is written off, if you continue onto Higher Education.

Maintenance loans and non-repayable grants

You may be eligible for a maintenance loan or non-repayable grant whilst studying a Higher Education course at HSDC. Find out on the Student Finance England website.

Direct funding

If you do not qualify for a student loan or would prefer to fund your studies directly, you can pay upfront or set up an instalment plan via our internal student finance team. Terms and conditions will be stated on your application. Go to the Financial Support page for more information.

Entry Requirements

We offer different entry requirements – real world experience counts so you may not need the qualifications you would need for the same course at university. Please look at the course for individual entry requirements.

Full Time Courses (except UAL courses)

Our full time Higher Education courses can be applied for via the UCAS website. Just head to the course page you want to apply for and click ‘how to apply’. We will then explain how to complete your application on the UCAS website.

UAL Courses

Applications for UAL courses is processed by HSDC and can be applied for by clicking on the ‘apply now’ button on the course page. If you are already a student at HSDC, please contact your tutor or lecturer who will provide you with the relevant course application form and further information.

Part Time Digital, Engineering and Further Education and Training Courses

If you are applying for our Digital, Engineering or Further Education & Training part time course, you will need to apply by filling out our part time application form which can be found on our website here.

The information published below shows:

The number of students who attained a particular degree or other academic award, or a particular level of such an award, on completion of their course with us.

It shows these numbers by reference to:

  • the gender of the individuals to which they relate
  • their ethnicity
  • their socioeconomic background.

Table 1a: Percentage of classified first degrees at grade 2:1 or above by characteristic for 2021-22 qualifiers.

OFS Transparency Data Table 1a.

Table 1b: Detailed information on attainment for 2021-22 qualifiers.

OFS Transparency Data Table 1b.

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