HNC/HND Rural Animal Health

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HNC in Rural Animal Health (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in areas such as animal behaviour and health and nutrition.

This qualification covers areas such as

  • large animal healthcare studies
  • livestock growth, health and welfare
  • communication practical skills
  • livestock production systems
  • animal behaviour
  • livestock nutrition

The HND in Rural Animal Health (SCQF level 8) builds on the knowledge and skills of the HNC and also covers management and diagnostic techniques.

This qualification covers areas such as

  • livestock breeding
  • livestock physiology
  • livestock management systems
  • livestock health: approaches to disease control
  • animal care: diagnostic techniques

This qualification is available through colleges, training providers and some universities. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete and an HND takes two years to complete.

Higher National qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities, and industry — so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The unit-based structure supports flexibility. A unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

There is a wide choice of optional units which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs.

This HN provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

The HNC and HND in Rural Animal Health are suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

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


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

  • appropriate groupings of National Units
  • an SVQ at SCQF Level 5 or 6 in a relevant area
  • relevant work experience

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.

HNCs and HNDs can provide progression to degree-level study. For example, the HNC in Rural Animal Health allows direct entry into the second year of most degree programmes, and the HND in Rural Animal Health allows direct entry to the third year of most programmes.

Higher National qualifications also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs), such as the SVQ in Animal Care.

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

Centres without devolved authority require 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 Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

Each unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

HNC Rural Animal Health

Group award code: GT85 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

The HNC in Rural Animal Health at SCQF level 7 consists of seven mandatory units (56 SCQF credit points) and five optional units (40 SCQF credit points).

HND Rural Animal Health

Group award code: GT86 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

The HND in Rural Animal Health at SCQF level 8 consists of 16 mandatory units (160 SCQF credit points) and a number of optional units (80 SCQF points).