Careers start here.

Your Study Options

  • Your alternative to university Your Alternative to university is right here
  • he web banner 2
  • he web banner 01

Higher Education

Stay local, go far!

You don’t have to go to university to achieve a higher education qualification. Whether you are looking to upskill, retrain or future proof your career, we can help you achieve your ambitions.

At Harlow College, we offer a whole range of courses for adults, with the opportunity to learn online, take classes in College, or a mixture of the two, all designed to help you with your personal or professional development. Our HE courses are flexible, allowing you to fit your study around personal commitments or a part-time job.

We are Ofsted graded Good as a College and have excellent teachers who can help you develop your skills. We also have great links with industry and access to a wide range of professional resources.

We offer Higher Education courses at Levels 4 and 5. These include Higher National Certificates (HNCs), Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), Professional Diplomas and NCTJ Journalism qualifications. These qualifications are designed to give you the skills to put your knowledge to practical use.

HNCs and HNDs are highly valued by employers and can also count towards membership of professional bodies and other employer organisations.

If you plan to study Higher Education at Harlow College, you may not have to pay for tuition fees upfront. Help may be available towards the cost of your college course as well as maintenance with either a 19+ Advanced Learner Loan or a loan or grant from Student Finance England. If you are under 19 at the start of your course, some of these courses will be free.

Higher Education FAQs

Why study Higher Education at Harlow College?

Harlow College is a vibrant, state-of-the-art campus with fantastic teaching facilities and tutors with years of industry experience. You will learn in smaller class sizes, meaning you get more one-to-one support from your tutor. The College is easily accessible by car and public transport. Harlow Town station is served by the Stansted Express, with frequent fast train s from London Liverpool Street and Cambridge. The College also offers a range of services to students which include: The Skylight Restaurant, our fully licensed restaurant offering delicious food at affordable prices; the Food Court, our onsite canteen for breakfasts, hot dinners and snacks; Costa Coffee Shop and Starbucks in our University Centre building; great discounts available at our Hair and Beauty Salons and an onsite gym.

How do I pay for my Higher Education course?

There are several options of financial help available for Higher Education courses, ranging from 19+ Advanced Learner Loans to a Student Loan from Student Finance England.19+ Advanced Learner Loans:Advanced Learner Loans are available for courses at Level 3 to 5 and are only paid back once you start earning £27,295 a year (before tax and other deductions).The Student Loan:

Colleges and universities charge tuition fees for Higher Education courses. Most people are eligible to receive a student loan to cover this fee. This loan is available from the government via Student Finance England.

As a Higher Education student you can apply for a range of financial help with living and study costs, loans (which have to be paid back), and grants which don’t have to be paid back. If you plan to study Higher Education at Harlow College, you may not have to pay for tuition fees upfront. Every new student may be entitled to a Tuition Fee Loan that will cover your fees and this won’t be paid back until you're earning a certain level of income.

More information about Tuition Fee Loans

Financial advice and guidance is always available from our Admissions team. Call 01279 868100 or email:

Do I qualify for a Higher Education course?

To qualify for one of our higher education courses you need to be:
  • Aged over 18 years 
  • Have either a level 3 qualification like A-levels or a vocational qualification like a BTEC or Access to Higher Education Diploma 
  • Have relevant work experience in the field you want to study if you haven’t got a level 3 qualification 
  • Non-native English speakers or those who have not studied the final two years of school in English should demonstrate capability in English at IELT 5.5 standard. 
  • Mature students with relevant knowledge and skills, demonstrating a commitment to the chosen subject will be considered.

Study in our new Institute of Technology

The South East Institute of Technology (SEIoT) is situated on the Harlow College campus and is a close partnership between high-performing further education colleges, universities and employers, helping to ensure that what we offer is based on what the economy and local communities need and that our students have the best possible career prospects. 

Underpinned by significant government investment to fund industry-standard facilities and equipment, IoTs represent an exciting new model for skills delivery. We will be opening our brand new Institute of Technology Centre in September 2023, where students will be able to study advanced technical courses in the areas of computing and cyber security, engineering, business, healthcare, and travel and tourism management. 

See our range of higher level courses at the Institute of Technology

What if I’m not quite ready for a Higher Education course?

Not got the qualifications yet to progress to one of our HE courses? Don’t worry. We have a range of intensive one-year courses aimed at students over 19 years of age. We will help you find your path with pre-Access and Access courses to your preferred HE course. 

If you are over 23, you may not have to pay anything upfront. An Advanced Learner Loan may be available to you. If you complete the course and your degree, the loan for Access may be wiped. Find out if you are eligible for Advanced Learner Loans

Call 01279 868100

Read our Access and Participation Statement

Read our Student Protection Plan

Built Environment – Access to Higher Education Diploma

SUBJECT TO VALIDATION

Access to Built Environment is an intensive construction/civil engineering based course designed to provide an alternative route for non-traditional students into higher education.

It is a course for mature students who may include:

  • Those with experience in the built environment / construction industry who are looking for formal qualifications
  • Those who wish to change from their field of employment to the built environment industry
  • Those who have previously studied in further or higher education but whose studies did not constitute a suitable preparation for industry

Childhood Studies – Access to Higher Education Diploma

SUBJECT TO VALIDATION

This course will be in line with the current T-level course in Early Years to give the Access to HE learners a similar experience in a shorter time frame. Students graduating from this course will be able to apply to different professional roles and or progress onto Early years in Education Foundation Degree or Early Childhood Studies BA such as advertised at Anglia Ruskin University.

This Access to HE Diploma is to include a two week placement at minimum. This will be optional for the Access course but highly recommended.

The Course will give learners a great foundation of knowledge and confidence to go onto the next level of education such as HNC, Degree apprenticeship or university.

The one year intensive course prepares them for the fast pace intensive nature of courses. 

Criminal Justice and Policing – Access to Higher Education Diploma

SUBJECT TO VALIDATION

This Access course is designed for students to gain entry to approved degrees that offer Criminology/ Criminal Justice & Policing Studies. The course is specifically designed to cater for students who want to learn about crime, psychology and the criminal justice system. They will gain a criminology and criminal psychology foundation and explore topics such as offender profiling, stalking psychopathology, gender, race and discrimination, crime scene investigation.

AAT Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting (Online and On Campus)

This AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) professional level course is a higher-level accounting qualification. If you successfully complete this qualification and fulfil the AAT’s work experience requirements, you can apply for AAT full membership and achieve professional AAT Accountant status. This flexible course is delivered in partnership with Mindful Education and combines online learning with face-to-face lessons in the classroom.

You can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the cost of this course. Please ask a member of college staff for details. 

Please note: The course starts on 19th September. Classroom attendance is weekly, every Tuesday.

Business Higher National Certificate

The Pearson BTEC HNC in Business course will provide you with a well-rounded and challenging programme of study. The engaging programme will cover essential business and management knowledge, practical skills that are relevant for successful progression to the HND in Business, into the world of work or a related degree.

A Level 4 Higher National Certificate (HNC) is a vocational Higher Education course. A full-time HNC takes one year to complete or two part-time.  An HNC is one level below an HND (it's generally equivalent to the first year at university). This will be carried out through pre-blended learning using HN Online.

If you are interested in a career in Business and/or are seeking to progress further in your career or starting your own business then the nationally recognised HNC course is ideal for you.

Business Higher National Diploma

The Pearson BTEC HND in Business course will provide you with a well-rounded and challenging programme of study. The engaging programme will cover essential business and management knowledge, practical skills that are relevant for successful progression to the HND in Business, into the world of work or a related degree.

A Level 5 Higher National Diploma (HND), is a work-related course provided by higher and further education colleges in the UK. A full-time HND takes two years to complete, including the HNC year. Generally, an HND is equivalent to two years at university. Graduates can gain entry into their final (third) year at university and obtain the Honours Degree.

If you are interested in a career in Business and/or are seeking to progress further in your career, or starting your own business then the nationally recognised HND course is ideal for you.

  • Ask a Question
  • Level: 5
  • Study Mode: Part-time
  • Start Date: Wednesday, 20 March 2024 | Wednesday, 16 October 2024

CMI Level 5 Diploma in Management and leadership (Online and On Campus)

The Level 5 qualification in Leadership and Management, designed for middle managers, is designed to develop personal management capabilities and grow professional management skills including decision-making, managing team dynamics and delegation capability. Learners will complete a number of units and each unit will require a piece of work to be submitted and all deadlines will be provided during the induction.

In addition to monthly classes all learners will be expected to complete independent study outside of the classroom. This varies from week to week but could include set readings, research or gathering information from within the workplace.

There are 3 course options available if you’d like to gain a qualification in Level 5 Diploma in Management and leadership:

CMI Level 5 Award in Management and leadership – 10 weeks – Study 1 unit – £350

CMI Level 5 Certificate in Management and leadership – 20 weeks – Study 2 units – £650

CMI Level 5 Diploma in Management and leadership – Study all units – 1 year – £2000

Computing for England (Cyber Security Pathway) Higher National Certificate/Diploma

An exciting and informative study programme that stimulates and challenges students.

  • Ask a Question
  • Level: 4
  • Study Mode: Part-time
  • Start Date: Thursday, 28 September 2023

Counselling – Level 4

This course is now full. Please contact  to be added to our waiting list.

After you have developed knowledge and understanding in the main approaches to counselling, you will evaluate the underlying concepts and principles of a core chosen approach to/model of counselling. You will learn how the chosen approach views human development and psychological change, with comparison to another approach. You will also understand the practical application of your chosen approach to clinical practice. The placement requirement in this qualification is essential to the personal and professional development of the practitioner.

Creative Enterprise Professional Diploma – Creative Business Start-Up

The UAL Level 4 Professional Diploma in Creative Enterprise is an exciting, practical one year creative business start-up course aimed at those with the dream of starting their own creative business.

The qualification develops business skills and awareness, expands your industry contacts through professional collaboration and networking, and helps you build a strong creative portfolio within your own creative specialism.

The qualification is for anyone who is interested in starting their own creative projects or company.  It will support those who want to gain industry knowledge and experience and test a business idea with the support and guidance of specialist mentors.

Early Years & Education Foundation Degree (FdA)

In your first year, we’ll introduce you to current theories of learning and their application, as well as the research skills you need in order to study children effectively and ethically.

In your second year, you’ll learn about the crucial importance of healthy eating, physical activity and play to children’s well-being. You’ll learn how to safeguard and protect children in line with the English legislation. You’ll observe, develop, carry out and evaluate an action plan to improve practice in your workplace.

*Modules are subject to change and availability.

  • Level: 4-5
  • Study Mode: Part-time
  • Duration: 2 years part-time (1 day per week)
  • Start Date: September 2024

General Engineering Higher National Certificate

Subject to validation, this course may change to a Foundation Degree validated by ARU from 2024 with a direct top-up to a full degree available.

This course provides an extensive knowledge and skills in engineering with specialist units available in Advanced Manufacturing and Automated Systems. You will be studying in the new (£11m) state-of-the-art Harlow Advanced Manufacturing Centre (HAMEC) equipped with over £2m worth of industry standard machinery and equipment. There is a huge demand for qualified engineers locally, nationally and internationally. We work closely with industry to ensure our courses meet the requirements of employers.

General Engineering Higher National Diploma

Subject to validation, this course may change to a Foundation Degree validated by ARU from 2024 with a direct top-up to a full degree available.

This course provides an extensive knowledge and skills in engineering with specialist units available in Advanced Manufacturing and Automated Systems. You will be studying in the new (£11m) state-of-the-art Harlow Advanced Manufacturing Centre (HAMEC) equipped with over £2m worth of industry standard machinery and equipment. There is a huge demand for qualified engineers locally, nationally and internationally. We work closely with industry to ensure our courses meet the requirements of employers.

International Travel & Tourism Management Higher National Certificate

You will study approximately 8 units per year on the HNC/D course, all closely related to the industry you have chosen to pursue your career in. In the HND year (Year 2) there is the option to follow 2 different pathways, Aviation Operation or Events Management, a decision that is made at the start of Year 2.

International Travel & Tourism Management Higher National Diploma

You will study approximately 8 units per year on the HNC/D course, all closely related to the industry you have chosen to pursue your career in. In the HND year (Year 2) there is the option to follow 2 different pathways, Aviation Operation or Events Management, a decision that is made at the start of Year 2.

Journalism NCTJ – News & Magazine – Fast Track
  • Ask a Question
  • Level: 5
  • Study Mode: Full-time
  • Start Date: September 2024
  • Start Date: Cohort 1: September 2023 – February 2024 – Cohort 2: February 2024 – July 2024

Journalism NCTJ – News & Magazine – Fast Track

This fast track course, regarded by many editors as the gold standard in training, helps to open doors into the industry. The course is intensive and the pressure to meet deadlines is real. You need to be committed but there will be plenty of fun on the way. You will meet lots of like-minded people who could be good contacts in the future. The course offers pathways in news and magazine journalism and includes a range of modules specifically designed to maximise your employability once you graduate. Final assessment is conducted via examination and coursework and will help to prepare you for the pressures of the newsroom, where you will be asked to produce concise and accurate stories to deadline.

Mechatronic Engineering Foundation Degree (FdA)

The course will enable you to learn how mechatronics systems work from design to build. You’ll hone your skills in systems design, development, and optimisation by working on a variety of projects.

You will learn to design and manufacture products efficiently. You’ll also acquire project management and commercial skills that will make you a well-rounded, engineer career-ready for the engineering industry and beyond.

*Modules are subject to change and availability.

Medicine – Access to Higher Education Diploma

Subject Descriptor CompliantAccess to Medicine is an intensive science‐based one year full time course tailored to the requirements of a medical degree, designed to provide an alternative route for non-traditional students into medical training.

It is a course for mature students who, having achieved in other areas, now wish to retrain as doctors. These include:

  • those with experience in other health-related professions
  • those whose initial career choice has proved unsatisfying and who wish to change their field of employment to the health care sector
  • those who have previously studied in higher education, but whose studies did not constitute a suitable preparation for medical training

What is an Access to Higher Education course? 

An Access to Higher Education course is a 1 year pre-university course that prepares adults for study at university. This course is ideal if you have been out of education for a while, planning a career change or upskill in your current job. A typical Access course is 2-3 days a week, 9.30am-3pm and are taken by students of all ages and backgrounds.

NCTJ Journalism – News & Magazine (1 year)

NCTJ Journalism – News & Magazine (1 year)

This one-year course, regarded by many editors as the gold standard in training, helps to open doors into the industry. The course is intensive and the pressure to meet deadlines is real. You need to be committed but there will be plenty of fun on the way. You will meet lots of like-minded people who could be good contacts in the future. The course offers pathways in news and magazine journalism and modules comprises: news reporting, public affairs, press law, shorthand, video journalism, online, and production. Final assessment is conducted via examination and portfolio to help prepare you for the pressures of a newsroom, where you will be asked to draw on knowledge of press law and public affairs and be able to produce concise and accurate stories to meet deadlines.

Nursing, Midwifery & Health Studies – Access to Higher Education Diploma

Get on the fast track to a professional career in nursing, midwifery or other supporting health-based practices. If you want to go to university but don't yet have the necessary qualifications this course is for you.  

What is an Access to Higher Education course? 

An Access to Higher Education course is a 1 year pre-university course that prepares adults for study at university. This course is ideal if you have been out of education for a while, planning a career change or upskill in your current job. A typical Access course is 2-3 days a week, 9.30am-3pm and are taken by students of all ages and backgrounds.

Performance – Professional Diploma

This course provides a bridge between education and the industry and/or specialist Higher training. You will experience professional weekly masterclasses and collaborations with the industry. The qualification has a holistic approach, encouraging experimentation and risk taking. It provides for you to test your creativity which stimulates and provides a supportive transition from general to more specialised study.

Psychology and Counselling - Access to Higher Education Diploma

This pathway is for those who wish to study for a Counselling and/or Psychology degree at university or undertake the Higher National Diploma at college. The Counselling Diploma programme is the most suitable route for you if you are looking to go on to study a degree in subjects such as: Psychology, Psychology with Counselling, Criminology, Counselling and Psychotherapy, Education with Psychology, Sociology, Psychology with Professional Development or other similar subjects.

What is an Access to Higher Education course? 

An Access to Higher Education course is a 1 year pre-university course that prepares adults for study at university. This course is ideal if you have been out of education for a while, planning a career change or upskill in your current job. A typical Access course is 2-3 days a week, 9.30am-3pm and are taken by students of all ages and backgrounds.

Quantity Surveying Foundation Degree (FdA)

Quantity surveyors play a vital role in deciding whether construction projects are financially viable. You’ll learn how to financially manage construction projects from initial concept, through to design, build and maintenance.

*Modules are subject to change and availability.

Salon Management Level 4 Diploma

This course has been specifically designed for existing or aspiring managers who work in a spa, beauty therapy,hairdressing or nail salon environment. The course is also for those wishing to set up or enhance their own business.

Sport and Exercise Science Higher National Certificate

Passionate about a career in sport? This full-time qualification will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need for a successful career in the sport industry as a Practitioner, Manager or Coach. The curriculum will develop your knowledge and understanding, opening up a broad choice of career options.

Year 1 of this two year course is studied at Level 4 (HNC). Year 2 is at Level 5 (HND).

Sport and Exercise Science Higher National Diploma

Passionate about a career in sport? This full-time qualification will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need for a successful career in the sport industry as a Practitioner, Manager or Coach. The curriculum will develop your knowledge and understanding, opening up a broad choice of career options.

Year 1 of this two year course is studied at Level 4 (HNC). Year 2 is at Level 5 (HND).

TAQA Level 4 Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice

A knowledge only Award for anyone starting their journey as a quality Assurance practitioner, i.e.  senior teachers, trainers or assessors who need to know about quality assurance , but not carrying out IQA themselves.  This Award consists of 1 unit 

  • Ask a Question
  • Level: 4
  • Study Mode: Part-time
  • Start Date:

    Cohort 1: 12 January – 2 February 2024
    Cohort 2: 19  April – 10 May 2024

TAQA Level 4 Award in Understanding Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice

A knowledge only Award for anyone starting their journey as a quality Assurance practitioner, i.e.  senior teachers, trainers or assessors who need to know about quality assurance , but not carrying out IQA themselves. This Award consists of 1 unit.

  • Ask a Question
  • Level: 4
  • Study Mode: Part-time
  • Start Date:

    Cohort 1: 12 January – 2 February 2024
    Cohort 2: 19  April – 10 May 2024

TAQA Level 4 Certificate in Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice

For practitioners who conduct internal quality assurance of the assessment process from within a centre or organisation, by sample planning, monitoring and advising on the practice of assessors.. This award consists of 2 units.

Teacher Training Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training

This course will prepare you with everything you need to start work in a full teaching/training role. You will learn and apply the practical and theoretical aspects of planning, teaching/training and assessing in Further and Adult Education or the private or public sector. This 30 week course is for perfect for anybody working either full or part-time in a full teacher, trainer or instructor role.

Teacher Training Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training

This course will prepare you with everything you need to start work in a full teaching/training role. You will learn and apply the practical and theoretical aspects of planning, teaching/training and assessing in Further and Adult Education or the private or public sector. This 51 week course is for perfect for anybody working either full or part-time in a full teacher, trainer or instructor role.