HNC Professional Cookery

Higher National Qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers.

The HNC in Professional Cookery (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in areas such as specialist culinary skills, food hygiene and control systems. Learners can specialise in either production cookery or pastry, gaining valuable leadership skills and an understanding of the role of the supervisor.

This qualification is available through colleges. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete.

Centre and Student Surveys

We are inviting centre staff and students to take part in short surveys to share feedback on the HN Professional Cookery qualifications:

Centre Survey: Professional Cookery Qualifications

Student Survey: HN Professional Cookery

The surveys will be available until 30 June 2024.  The information you provide will help us review and evaluate these qualifications, allowing us to ensure they remain relevant to future needs.

This subject will not have alternative assessment guidance for session 2023-24. You should refer to the Group Award/Unit specifications for detailed delivery and assessment information. For general support on delivery and assessment see the HNVQ assessment guidance 2023-24.

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 and/or employment.

The HNC Professional Cookery is 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.

Progression and employment

Learners who achieve an HNC Professional Cookery can progress to the HND in Professional Cookery.

Higher National Qualifications also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs), for example, SVQ in Professional Cookery.

Centres interested in offering this qualification 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

The specific delivery requirements are set out in the Group Award Specification. Please also see our Professional Cookery information sheet (113 KB) for detailed guidance on approval requirements.

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

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

HNC Professional Cookery

Group award code: GR1V 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Professional Cookery at SCQF level 7 consists of six mandatory units (80 SCQF credit points) and one to two optional units (16 SCQF credit points).