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Certificates and Diplomas of Higher Education

Certificates and Diplomas of Higher EducationDegree courses lasting three years or more aren't the only option at university. Find out about these one- and two-year qualifications.

Both these qualifications are studied at university and are equivalent to part of a degree:

  • a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), for one year
  • a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), for two years

Although the courses are shorter than a degree, the teaching is at the same level, and you might go to the same lectures and sit the same exams as degree students.

Where can I find a course?

You can find courses using the UCAS course finder, or by looking at university websites or prospectuses. In some cases, they may be a part of the same programme as a degree course, but with students taking fewer modules.

In some cases, you may be awarded a CertHE or DipHE if you leave a degree course early but completed the first year or two successfully.

What can I do afterwards?

A CertHE and a DipHE are both recognized qualifications that you can put on your CV and show to employers. They may also qualify you for some professions: for example, a DipHE in nursing allows you to work as a nurse in the UK and abroad.

They can also be a stepping stone to a full degree. On many courses, you'll be able to stay on for the full degree course even if you originally registered for a DipHE or CertHE. Alternatively, you may also be able to skip the first one or two years of a degree course in a related area if you already have a DipHE or CertHE.

What about student finance?

Because these are higher education qualifications, student finance works the same way as it does for a degree: you get a loan to cover your fees, and money for living costs through loans and grants. Loans don't have to be paid back until you have graduated, when you'll start paying 9% of anything you earn over £21,000 a year.

Find out more about student finance.

If you choose to 'top up' to a degree, you should be able to get student finance for the extra study required. However, if you do a full degree course starting in the first year, you may only receive funding for part of your course.

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