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Higher Education overview

  • All of Northern Ireland’s Regional Colleges offer a range of Higher Education (HE) programmes.
  • Over 11,000 people study HE across the 6 regional FE colleges in NI
  • HE enrolments in the FE Colleges increased by 11% over the past year
  • Approx 1/5 of all of NI's HE students are studying at one of the 6 regional FE Colleges

The quality of HE in our Colleges is assessed by the same body as the Universities and validated by Higher Education Intuitions across the UK, including Queens University and the University of Ulster. 

BUT HE in Colleges is also fundamentally different from that in our Universities.
  • smaller class-sizes allowing for individualized learning plans and pastoral support for learners;
  • lecturers who are focused on teaching and can provide individual learning support;
  • significantly reduced costs for the learner;
  • a focus on many courses on work-related learning.
  • AND did you know that by studying an HE course with one of your local Colleges could save you up to £10,000?

Higher Education courses will help you develop a range of skills such as technical expertise, entrepreneurship skills, improve your employability and help your personal development. Students are usually aged 18 or over and have previously completed further education study paths such as A Level, AVCE or BTEC National Diplomas. However, applications from mature students who have relevant industry experience will also be considered subject to interview.

Types of Higher Education courses available in the Colleges

  • FOUNDATION DEGREES are stand-alone two-year degree programmes which can lead to employment or into a University Degree. They are career focused and will provide the practical skills and knowledge which employers want. You will have the opportunity to participate in work placements and projects which will give you invaluable experience. 
     Visit our Foundation Degree page for more information - Click here 

  • HIGHER LEVEL APPRENTICESHIPS  The Colleges are continuing to pilot higher level apprenticeships in engineering and ICT, with further pilots taken forward in both the public and private sectors.
  Visit our Higher Level Apprenticeship Page for more information  - Click here 

  • HIGHER NATIONAL DIPLOMAS can lead directly to employment or onto a Foundation Degree or university degrees. They are very practical and will include placements and projects to help you apply theory into practice. HNDs are well recognised by employers.

  • TRADITIONAL HONOURS DEGREES are developed in conjunction with validating Universities. Colleges offer a range of BA and BSc Degree programmes.