HNC/HND Social Sciences

HNC/HND Social Sciences

Higher National Qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers and higher education. The HNC in Social Sciences (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in areas such as human society and social relationships. The HND in Social Sciences (SCQF level 8) builds on the knowledge and skills of the HNC and also covers analysis and evaluation.

This qualification covers areas such as Sociology, Psychology, Research and other Social Sciences.

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

February 2021

Subject guidance 2021 - HNC Social Sciences (145 KB)

Subject guidance 2021 - HND Social Sciences (145 KB)


Qualification content and delivery tools


Qualification Structure

HNC Social Sciences

Group award code: GP1K 15 (96 SCQF credit points).

HNC Social Sciences at SCQF level 7 consists of 5 mandatory units (48 SCQF credit points) and 5 optional units (48 SCQF credit points).

HND Social Sciences

Group award code: GP2N 16 (240 SCQF credit points).

HND Social Sciences at SCQF level 8 consists of 10 mandatory units (96 SCQF credit points) and a number of optional units (144 SCQF points).

Group Award Specification

GP1K 15 GP2N 16 (1.02 MB)

Qualification Verification Summary Reports

Social Anthropology

There are 3 Higher National units in Social Anthropology. The units are:

HG55 33 - Social Anthropology: Who does it and how to do it (SCQF level 6)

HJ2V 34 - Social Anthropology: The Body and its Life Course (SCQF level 7)

HK4Y 35 - Social Anthropology: Ethnographies of Scottish Peoples (SCQF level 8)

The units are included in the optional section of the HNC and HND Social Sciences awards.

There is a National unit at SCQF level 5:

HG1M 45        Social Anthropology: Understanding Our Place in the World

This unit is included in the optional section of the National Certificate in Social Sciences at SCQF levels 5 and 6.

This resource list includes books, journals and websites (156 KB) 

Teaching anthropology in England

The University of Edinburgh played host to a group of teachers and lecturers interested in SQA's new Social Anthropology units. Tomislav Maric gave a presentation about his experience of teaching anthropology in England.


These group awards have been replaced and will enter their Lapsing Periods on 31/07/2019.

The finishing date for these qualifications is 31/07/2022.

Centres should note that when a group award is entered into its lapsing period, the following will apply:

  • The group award will be deleted from the relevant catalogue.
  • The group award arrangement document will remain until the qualification reaches its finish date at which point it will be removed from the SQA website and archived.
  • No new centres may be approved to offer the group award.

Centres should only enter candidates whom they expect to complete the group award during the defined lapsing period of 3 years (HNC) and 4 years (HND).

Qualification Structure

HNC Social Sciences

Group award code: GC3J 15

HND Social Sciences

Group award code: GC3K 16

Group Award Specifications

Social Science Event 2018

The annual update will take place on Monday 5 November. The programme is being finalised, but will include an update on the revised awards and a chance to meet the external verifiers.

For further information, please contact

Guidance Notes

HNC/D Social Sciences revalidation 2018

The HNC/D Social Sciences has been reviewed and will be revalidated in June 2018. The new awards will be available to deliver as of 1 August 2018. The current units and awards will have a finish date of 31 July 2022.

Revised units are being uploaded to the SQA web site on a rolling basis. Revisions are relatively minor.

A refreshed group award specification will be available in July 2018.