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Higher Education

Whether you are at the start of your career journey or looking to take on a new challenge, studying a degree-level course is a great pathway for your future.

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Studying for a degree is a great pathway for your future. Whether you are at the start of your career journey or looking to take on a new challenge, there are so many reasons why University Centre Petroc is the perfect place to study.

And, whilst we know that money can sometimes be a worry when studying, we don't believe your financial circumstances should be a barrier to you fulfilling your potential. That's why we offer a range of bursaries and loans to support you on your journey.

When you study at University Centre Petroc, we will offer you a high-quality standard of higher education courses (delivered in partnership with the University of Plymouth), we will help you achieve excellent results (over 70% of students achieve a First Class or 2:1 degree), we provide exceptional partnerships with local businesses, and we will provide you with a highly supportive learning environment with small class sizes and flexible learning. And, by staying local, you can also avoid incurring the living and travel costs which students usually face when moving away for university.

From foundation degrees to honours degrees, and professional qualifications to degree-level apprenticeships, as well as new HTQs, we have a qualification to suit you. And if you want to study for a degree, but don't feel you currently have the right skills or qualifications, take a look at our Access to Higher Education Diplomas, which have been designed to prepare students for higher-level study.

View our full list of courses and qualifications below:


Respected qualifications through the University of Plymouth
Inclusive and welcoming community
Outstanding support with small class sizes
Excellent links with employers
Study close to home and save costs
Loans and bursaries available (subject to eligibility)

Please note: If you are applying to University Centre Petroc as well as other higher education institutions, please go to www.ucas.co.uk. You will need to enter the institution code name ‘PETRO’, institution code ‘P51’ and the course code. Alternatively, if you are only applying for courses facilitated by Petroc, you can do so through the website.

Qualifications available

Access to Higher Education Diplomas are specifically designed for learners aged 19 or over, who wish to take a university-level course but don’t have the normal entrance requirements for Higher Education. These qualifications are recognised by universities and other Higher Education institutions as an alternative to the standard A Level/BTEC entry.

There are many reasons why studying an Access course may suit you; you may be a student who has completed some qualifications and can show the right level of skill and maturity for this programme, or you may be a mature applicant who has not studied A Levels but possesses a wealth of experience in your chosen field. 

Our Access to HE Diplomas are available to study either full-time over one year (three days a week in our University Centre), and/or part-time over two years, offering you greater flexibility and the opportunity to balance your home and work life.

Year after year, our students secure places at the country’s leading universities on courses such as midwifery, nursing, psychology, paramedic science, sport and exercise science, optometry and many more.

Our foundation degrees, delivered in partnership with the University of Plymouth, are equivalent to studying for the first two years of an honours degree at university. They have been created in collaboration with employers and offer you the opportunity to combine academic study with the skills and attributes needed in the workplace. 

Most of our foundation degrees are available to study full-time over two years, or part-time over three years, offering you greater flexibility and the opportunity to balance your home and work life.

Our foundation degree courses are designed with built-in progression routes to Honours Degrees at our own University Centre, the University of Plymouth and other HE institutions - enabling you to further develop your skills and knowledge.

Our BA (Bachelor of Arts) and BSc (Bachelor of Science) honours degree programmes are awarded by the University of Plymouth.

Successfully completing an honours degree will demonstrate to prospective employers a higher capacity for independent learning and research, along with enhanced problem-solving, critical thinking and communication skills. If you hope to progress to further studies, the degree will prepare you for higher-degree study at master's and PhD level. Many of our graduates have gone on to postgraduate study, to qualify as teachers and social workers, develop their own businesses or progress in their roles as graduate employees. 

Most of our ‘top up’ honours degrees are available to study full-time over one year, or part-time over two years, offering you greater flexibility and the opportunity to balance your home and work life.

An apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme. Higher and degree apprenticeships were developed by employers to enable businesses to train more of their employees in the high-level industry-specific skills that are critical for growth in the UK and internationally.

Apprenticeships can last for between 18 months and three years. They combine work with study and may include a work-based, academic or combined qualification relevant to the industry. 

Our higher and degree apprenticeships are available at Levels 4-6. Levels 4 and 5 are equivalent to a HNC/Diploma or a foundation degree, and Level 6 is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.

Higher National Certificates (HNCs) are a Level 4, one-year vocational qualification.

They focus on ‘learning by doing’ and teach you very specific skills relating to a particular job. These qualifications are very highly regarded by employers both in the UK and overseas and can also count towards membership of professional bodies and other employer organisations. 

Most of our HNCs are available to study full-time over one year, or part-time over two years. offering you greater flexibility and the opportunity to balance your home and work life.

Because HNCs are specifically designed to give you the skills for a particular field of work, they can lead straight to a career. You can also use the qualifications to progress within your current career to gain professional status.

A Higher National Diploma (HND) is a Level 5, two-year vocational qualification.

If you know exactly what industry or career you want to work in, completing an HND can offer a faster and more direct route into your chosen job by training you in the specific skills you need to excel in your career.

You can complete an HND direct from sixth form or from full-time employment.

CERTIFICATE IN EDUCATION: The Certificate in Education is the main professional qualification for teachers who require the necessary knowledge and skills for a teaching career. This qualification is delivered over two years on a part-time basis in partnership with the University of Plymouth.

Studying with support from Next Steps South West (NSSW)

Some adult learners face barriers and obstacles when wanting to progress to higher education. This shows how some of our students have positively overcome these challenges to successfully embark on their study journeys, with help from NSSW.

Your HE experience

Whatever you choose to study, we're here to provide support and information.

See what our lecturers have to say, find out about fees and loans, and take a look at our range of new courses!

Why Petroc should be your first choice

Petroc offers high quality education and training across North and Mid Devon. We provide outstanding learning, excellent facilities, strong connections to employers and a supportive environment to help you fulfil your education goals and set you on your path to the career of your dreams.

A group of Petroc students having a conversation


We offer a supportive and inclusive environment where you can flourish and feel a valued member of the college and wider community. 


Our teaching spaces and facilities are some of the best in the region, providing stimulating and true-to-life learning environments. 


We’ll provide you with the experiences you need to be ready for employment or the next step on your educational journey.