HNC Data Analytics

HNC Data Analytics

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

The HNC in Data Analytics (SCQF level 7) provides a foundation in the theory, techniques and management of big data.

  • It covers a range of specialist knowledge and skills in data analytics, statistics, mathematics and software development.
  • It also develops employment skills and enhances learners’ employment prospects for entry into the analytics, statistics or related professions.

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

Why deliver this qualification

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.

Big data is an emerging technology that has attracted the public interest and media attention. This HNC in Data Analytics has been designed to meet the growing demand for knowledge and skills in this area.

The qualification will allow centres to maintain an up-to-date qualification within the ever-changing and volatile employment market. There is a range of optional units which will allow centres to easily adapt the focus on the award to suit regional employment opportunities and articulation pathways.

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

Who does this qualification suit

The qualification will be suitable for a range of learners who would like to progress to relevant university degree programmes or enter employment in the fields of data analytics, computing, statistics or mathematics.


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre.

Learners would benefit from having attained the skills, knowledge and understanding required by one or more of the following or equivalent qualifications and/or experience:

  • two new National Courses at Higher, one of which should be Mathematics at level B or above and one relevant computing-related subject at grade C or above, based on Curriculum for Excellence, together with three passes at National 5 level in appropriate subjects
  • relevant industrial experience

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable, as would suitable vendor qualifications at an appropriate level.


Learners who achieve an HNC Data Analytics will have opportunities to progress to higher education in the relevant fields. 

The award has been designed to allow learners to progress to degree level study. Several universities have confirmed that, in principle, learners who achieve the HNC will be suitable for direct entry into year two of their related courses. More information can be found in the group award specification. 


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.

How to assess

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

The Graded Unit 1 is assessed by an examination and a grade of A, B or C is awarded to learners.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Assessment support packs will be available for this qualification.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification Structure

HNC Data Analytics

Group award code: GM0N 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

The HNC is made up of 96 SCQF credit points. The mandatory section consists of 6 mandatory units, 48 credit points at SCQF Level 7. This includes HNC Data Analytics Graded Unit 1 with 8 SCQF credit points at SCQF Level 7.

Group Award Specification