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Computing Higher National Diploma (HND)

This qualification prepares you for employment in the IT and computing industry. It offers a progression route into a number of roles, generalists can enter system management, while ICT system support specialists can install or manage IT networks.

If you decide to focus on software development you will be prepared for entry into employment in that area. You can also progress on to a Professional Development Qualification or vendor qualifications offered by Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, CompTIA, Oracle and VM Ware.

TEF Silver
Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that Activate Learning delivers high quality teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It consistently exceeds rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education.

Programme details
Year 1 units include core subjects such as:

Programming- introduces the core concepts of programming including algorithms, object-orientated and event-driven programming.

Networking – provides the skills to successfully install, operate and troubleshoot a small network.

Database Design and Development- provides the underpinning knowledge to design and develop database systems.

Security- examining security measures, detection of threats and how to manage risks.

Year 2 is designed to develop specialist knowledge with units such as:

Business Intelligence- developing a range of tools, techniques and technologies for acquiring data to support business functions.

Computing Research Project- producing your own independent project centred around a chosen theme in computing.


You will be provided with a suitably equipped place to work when attending college, which will include access to specialist staff, IT facilities and other learning resources which will be appropriate for the nature of work you will be required to undertake.

Additionally, the College offers a wide range of other resources and facilities including additional learning support, which will be available to you, further details of which can found in the higher education student handbook.

Study support

If you do not have a recognised disability or specific learning difficulty, but feel that you require additional support with your studies, you may be eligible to access some discrete sessions in one of the following areas:
• assistive software training
• IT upskilling
• essay planning and structure
• proof reading and editing written work
• bibliographies and referencing
• time management and personal organisation
• revision and exam tips
• presentation techniques

N.B. Your eligibility for any of the above support will be reviewed with your course tutors and a member of the study support team on your campus.
Skills and assessment
To experience a specialist vocational programme, linked to professional body requirements with a strong, sector-related emphasis on practical skills alongside the development of knowledge and understanding.

• HNDs are recognised by employers and allow direct progression into employment
• to study with a teaching team of dedicated, experienced individuals who have expertise in computing and systems development
• to develop a range of skills, techniques and attributes essential for successful performance in working life and be able to make an immediate contribution to employment

Assessment methods

The units are delivered through a variety of techniques to suit different learning styles. The class work includes group work, pair activities, investigations, discussions, experiments and note taking.

The assessments you undergo could be formative or summative:
Formative - Designed to provide you with feedback on your progress and inform you of your on-going development. Formative assessments, such as class exercises, tests, activities, do not form part of your grade.
Summative - Designed to provide a measure of your achievement and performance against learning outcomes, using end of unit assignments to determine your grades.

At each level of study you will be asked to participate in formative and summative assessment procedures which may require you to consider and grade your own work against the agreed assessment criteria. This allows you to reflect upon your own practice with tutors, and to take responsibility for areas of strength and weakness in your work.
Entry requirements
Typical offer

64 UCAS points, equivalent to two A-levels grade A - C or MPP Extended Diploma with Maths at Merit.

Other entry routes

We will consider a range of alternative qualifications or experience equivalent to the typical offer. Contact us for details.

Admission with credit

Applicants with prior certificated or experiential learning may be admitted with credit for up to a maximum of 120 credits at Level 4.

English language

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate that their level of English is acceptable, by achieving a score in a recognised test such as:
• British Council IELTS: normally minimum level 6.0 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in the reading and writing components;
• TOEFL minimum score of 550 paper-based or 213 computer-based or 80 internet-based
The Computing and Systems Development HND prepares students for employment in the computing industry. For those wanting to continue to a BSc (Hons) this should be discussed with their personal tutor at the end of a successful year one. Upon successful completion of the HND course you may apply to progress to a BSc (Hons) course to gain a degree following a further one or two years of study. The HND has been designed to give its graduates skills, knowledge and experience so that on successful completion they can progress directly into employment, or continue with their studies and will provide necessary transferrable skills for the computing industry.

Destination of graduates

As this is a new programme, there are no available destination statistics, however, it is expected that students will use the programme to enable them to enter employment in a relevant specialist area and/or progress onto a university or college that enables them to ‘top up’ their HND to a full BA (Hons) degree.
How to apply
Applicants should apply via UCAS. Please log on to: www.ucas.ac.uk

UCAS code: 13II

Institution code: O25

Fees information
Home/EU Fee for 2018 entrance: £6,165 per year

International Fee please contact the HE Admissions Co-ordinator, Sue Taylor on sue.taylor@activatelearning.ac.uk

Further information

For more information please contact the HE Admissions Co-ordinator, Sue Taylor on sue.taylor@activatelearning.ac.uk

UCAS code :

Institution code :

Location :

Mode :

13II O25 Kings Road, Reading Full-time

Year of entry

Duration :

2018 2 Years

case study

Former computing student, Natalie Harmsworth, is forging a career in IT thanks to the skills and experience she gained while at Reading College.
After finishing her education, Natalie spent a year working as an IT User Support Technician at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Having returned to the UK, she is now a Graduate Oracle Developer at BUUK - a Cardiff-based utilities company. Find out more. 
Anthony chose this course as he wanted to study part-time alongside his current job. He was keen to undertake the additional Cisco qualification on offer. 
He works for an IT software development company. Read more.
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