Diploma to Degree FAQ

Q: What type of qualifications are HNDs?

An SQA HND is a short-cycle higher education qualification at SCQF level 8/QCF level 5 with an emphasis on practical approaches to learning. Study methods include: project and assignment work, team and group work, presentations, case studies, and research. The central purpose of HNDs is to develop the high-level transferrable skills and academic knowledge that are required for work or degree study.

Q: Where are the SQA HNDs delivered internationally?

SQA has a growing number of international centres, with HNDs delivered in countries such as America, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kingdom of Bahrain, Myanmar, Oman, Qatar, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. SQA is the only Chinese Government approved UK awarding body operating in China.

Q: What HND subjects can international HND students study?

The SQA catalogue of HNDs spans a wide range of different sectors. International students can choose HNDs from a number of different subjects including: Business, Administration, Accounting and Finance, Computing & IT, Construction, Engineering, Nautical Studies, Logistics, Retail, Hospitality, and Travel & Tourism.

Q: How many international HND graduates go abroad to study?

It is difficult to determine exactly how many HND graduates go on to university for further study. Information from recent research suggests that over the past 10 years around 60% of HND graduates from China have continued their studies in more than 100 universities across 15 countries, from the UK, to USA and Canada.

Q: What is the process for our University to become a progression partner?

Universities are asked to review the HNDs that are delivered within international centres and identify which year of entry this would map to on the relevant degree programmes. If the university can consider advanced standing with entry to years 2 or 3 then this can be formalised via an agreement which is then promoted by SQA to its international centres and HND students. If you are interested in becoming a progression partner, please contact the SQA International Articulation team to discuss further.

Q: How will the details of our articulation agreement be communicated to the HND students?

SQA will add your institution’s details to our website and our International Business Development team will begin communicating this new route to our centres delivering the appropriate HNDs. Our dedicated International Business Development Managers visit these regions regularly and will promote on your behalf directly to our centres/students. SQA has a quarterly ‘Diploma to Degree’ newsletter which informs international centres of new or revised agreements. Feature articles are also included on individual universities and/or subjects, and we aim to work closely with universities on specific marketing materials and targeted campaigns.

Q: What level of English language are international HND students at when starting their HND/ when graduating from their HND?

In China, SQA specifies that students entering the HND should have an ‘English for Speakers of Other Languages’ (ESOL) qualification at SCQF level 5 and have achieved a minimum of 50%. Alternatively, students could have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 4.5 to enter the HND in Year 1. In other regions, the entry requirements are at the discretion of each centre. All SQA HNDs are delivered and assessed in English. By the time the student completes the HND over two years their IELTS score will have increased to around 6/6.5.

Q: When do students receive their transcripts/ certificates?

All students who successfully complete their HND will receive an SQA certificate. Some centres have the SQA certificates sent to the delivering centre where a graduation ceremony is held and the certificates presented to the HND graduates.

Q: Which other Universities have an agreement with SQA?

SQA has a growing number of agreements with universities throughout the world. For a full list of all progression partners, please see the Diploma to Degree web page..

Q: What are SQA's quality assurance procedures for international HND delivering centres?

All approved centres are subject to SQA’s quality assurance procedures and processes. Please see the Quality Assurance web page for details of our processes and criteria..

For further information and details on how to become a progression partner, please contact the SQA International Articulation team at articulation@sqa.org.uk