HNC Hospitality

The Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Hospitality at SCQF level 7 develops a general knowledge of the hospitality industry, food and beverage services, the supervisory function, financial and control systems, and food hygiene. The optional Units allow candidates to choose the operational areas they are most interested in. These include: food production, accommodation services, front office, and services of the licensed trade.

This qualification is widely available in colleges.

Why deliver this qualification

The HNC in Hospitality meets the needs of employers in a broad range of Hospitality businesses.

This qualification develops practical skills as well as supervisory and management skills. It also encourages planning, analysis, study and research skills, and critical and evaluative thinking.

HNC Hospitality can be delivered on a part-time or open-learning basis and opens up the possibility of continued study for candidates.

Who does this qualification suit

Who does the qualification suit?

HNC Hospitality is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

school leavers
adult returners to education
candidates in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
candidates who wish to start their own business


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.

Candidate Information

HNC Hospitality helps candidates to gain an understanding of supervisory roles within the Hospitality industry and the skills required for such roles. Candidates will also gain an understanding of the structure and organisation of the industry, and its influence on the economy. 

Candidates will develop knowledge and skills in the main operational areas, such as food and beverage service styles and techniques, and food hygiene and control systems. There are a number of optional Units to choose from, allowing candidates to pursue an element of vocational specialism in areas including food production, accommodation services, front office, or alcoholic beverages and licensed house operations.

Candidates will also be able to develop their planning, analysis, study, research and critical and evaluative thinking skills.


It is possible to progress from HNC Hospitality to HND Hospitality Management.

The HNC/HND provides a route to degree level study.


What approvals are needed?

Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Guide to Approval.

How to assess

Ongoing course assessment will apply. Units are assessed via a number of methods including case study reports, practical performance and written assessment under controlled conditions. Unit specifications are available for each Unit and detail exactly what the evidence requirements and assessment procedures are.

The single-credit HNC Hospitality Graded Unit is assessed through a case study. The case study involves gathering and interpreting information, analysing, decision-making, and planning for action.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification Structure

HNC Hospitality

Group Award code: GF4P 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

The HNC in Hospitality consists of six mandatory Units (64 SCQF points at SCQF level 7) and the optional units section comprises a minimum of 32 SCQF points (4 HN credits). Learners must achieve 96 SCQF credit points (12 HN credits) to gain this qualification.

For information on the structure of this qualification, please refer to the Group Award Specification document.

Group Award Specification

Version 12 (May 2015) HNC Hospitality (GF4P 15) (823 KB)

Any other information

For candidates where English is not their first language it is recommended that they possess English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) level 5 or a score of 5.5 in IELTS.