HND Engineering Systems candidate information

HNC/D Engineering Systems

The HND Engineering Systems is a flexible single or multi-disciplinary engineering award. The mandatory core units have a strong focus on a systems approach to engineering, with equal emphasis being given to mechanical and electrical engineering. The optional section spans many different engineering disciplines. It also includes all the units in the PDA in Renewable Energy Systems at SCQF Level 8 which means that it may be possible for you to achieve the PDA in Renewable Energy Systems as you complete the HND.

The centre where you are studying may adapt the content of the award to reflect different engineering systems. For example, while one centre may use the award as the basis for studying advanced manufacturing systems another centre may use it to examine renewable energy systems.

As you work towards your HND, you will also develop improved technical communication skills and enhanced mathematical knowledge and skills. You will be able to apply analysis and synthesis skills when solving engineering problems. You will also develop knowledge and understanding of the factors that influence the performance of modern engineering companies, and practical skills in two of the following: fitting, turning, milling, sheet metalwork or welding, and in electrical installation and electronics.

The HND will enhance your ability to apply analysis and synthesis skills when solving engineering problems. You will also develop skills in project management (eg managing project relationships, a budget, risk etc) and in giving a technical presentation, as well as developing good learning techniques.

Employment and progression opportunities

The HND will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to work as an Engineering Technician and, with some additional studies, as an Incorporated Engineer in a wide range of industrial, service and public sector organisations.

If you are already in employment, you may be able to study the HND on a part-time basis as a way of enhancing your professional and career development. Alternatively your centre may allow you to study individual units in the award to provide you with certificated, professional development opportunities (eg modelling of engineering systems, principles of safe engineering systems, renewable energy systems, managing an engineering project etc.)

On successful completion you may be able to progress to a degree course in engineering. Some universities may allow you admission to more advanced stages of their degree programmes. This is likely to depend on the grades you achieve in the Graded Unit Examination and Project. Ask your lecturer about progression arrangements between your centre and any universities.

The HNC partially satisfies the academic requirements to become an incorporated engineer (a degree is now required for registration).


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • One Higher from Physics, Technological Studies, Mechatronics or Mathematics and at least three Standard Grades 1–2/Intermediate 2 passes including Mathematics, Physics/Technological Studies and English.
  • A National Certificate in Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering,  Fabrication and Welding Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Measurement and Control Engineering or Mechanical Engineering at SCQF Level 6 or equivalent.
  • An HNC Engineering Systems.
  • An HNC in Electronics, or Electrical Engineering, or Engineering Practice, or Fabrication, Welding and Inspection, or Manufacturing Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering or Mechatronics. If you  are coming through one of these award routes you will be best served if you have studied the units Principles of Engineering Systems, Engineering Communication and Engineering Measurement and System Monitoring together with a suitable breadth of mathematics at SCQF level 6 as part of your HNC studies
  • Equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies, such as City and Guilds, Edexcel etc.