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Higher National Certificate in Electronics - Part-time

Level 4
Course Code:
North Devon Campus
Two years

A Higher National Certificate (HNC) is the perfect choice for those of you who have a clear idea of the industry in which your future career lies, and want a qualification that’ll give you access to higher-level study; or provide you with the option to top-up your qualification to degree-level at a later date. Our HNC in Electronics is specifically designed to provide you with a broad understanding of the theoretical knowledge, and technical skills, that you’ll need for a successful and rewarding career in the electronics industry. Covering everything from analytical methods and electronic principles, through to advanced CAD techniques and engineering software - and combined with our strong professional links with key electronics industry employers - this course could be the spark you need to bring your future to life. Available as both a full-time and part-time programme, the HNC in Electronics can be fitted around your existing work, study, or homelife commitments.

Successfully completing this programme will give you the chance to progress to Petroc’s FdSc in Electronics and Communications. This Higher National Certificate can also be used as a foundation year for those of you who wish to progress to university, but do not currently reach the minimum academic entrance requirements; or it can also be used as part of a Higher Apprenticeship.


You’ll study a number of modules that are essential to the electronics sector. These can either be studied in the same academic year for full-time students, or spread over two years for those studying part-time. The modules are designed to provide you with a firm base of understanding, to allow you to advance to higher-level study and qualifications, or progress directly to employment.

The course modules you’ll study are:

Analytical Methods: This module focuses upon the mathematical strategies and processes involved in solving a wide range of engineering problems, to enable you to:
- Develop an appreciation of the need for accurate analysis of engineering problems
- Improve your confidence and competence in the use of numerical and analytical techniques
- Be motivated to use mathematics software packages for engineering solutions

Electrical and Electronic Principles: This module provides an introduction to electrical and electronic theory, to enable you to:
- Develop a good fundamental understanding of electrical and electronic principles
- Gain an understanding of simple and complex waveforms
- Analyse complex quantities and design methods

Electronics: This module provides an introduction to electronic theory, to enable you to:
- Develop a good fundamental understanding of analogue and digital electronic principles
- Build on your knowledge by carrying out analysis of electronic circuits and devices
- Mathematically model electronic circuits and investigate their performance

Part-time learners will cover the following units in year two:

Advanced CAD Techniques: This module develops both 2D and 3D modelling skills, and the use of computer simulation in support of engineering tasks, to enable you to:
- Evaluate the differences between 2D drawing, wire-frame, surface and solid modelling techniques, and their relationship to the manufacturing process
- Develop the skills necessary to produce models in the development of a design brief
- Develop the skills necessary to produce visualisations
- Investigate the use of simulation software

Introduction to Engineering Software: This module allows you to use engineering software skills to solve real engineering problems, to enable you to:
- Develop the skills necessary to create software solutions
- Develop the skills necessary to present information in engineering formats
- Evaluate the results of engineering software activities

Engineering Project IV: This module is an individual investigation of a routine problem in any of the engineering disciplines encountered in the programme. It represents a significant amount of work, in which you must be proactive in the managing of your own learning and finding the resources needed to find a solution to the task, which will normally relate to your place of work. The key aims of the engineering project are to ensure that you’ve developed the following:
- An understanding of the inter-relationships in a range of engineering disciplines
- An ability to integrate engineering topics within the context of a range of project tasks
- A sense of responsibility and self-reliance in project developme
You’ll be assessed via a combination of assignments, coursework, project work, and end-of-module formal examinations.
Your CAD assessment and extended Engineering Project will both be entirely coursework-based.
You’ll require 64 UCAS points for admission on to this course; this equates to the following:
Merit/Merit at National Diploma level
Merit/Merit/Pass at Extended Diploma level
A-Level equivalents in a related subject

You’ll also need GCSE Maths and English at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent qualifications).

Mature learners will be subject to an interview prior to entry; where any related experience will be taken into consideration.
Successful completion of this course will provide you with the opportunity to progress to Petroc’s FdSc in Electronics and Communications, but please note that an additional 160 credits will be required for admission on to the FdSc course.

Alternatively, successful students can apply for an apprenticeship in a variety of engineering settings; progress to higher-level study, further qualifications, and university; or advance directly to employment.
You will be based at Petroc’s state-of-the-art Institute of Technology; providing industry-standard facilities and equipment, for the study of both Digital Science and Engineering.

Our newly-developed South West Institute of Technology (SWIoT) has been created as part of the Department for Education’s (DfE) ?£170 million investment, to establish a network of technology institutes across the country.

In addition to our purpose-built facilities, our industrial partners have given us the benefit of their expertise, so that the specialist equipment we have installed is of the highest professional quality, and is at the cutting edge of current industry-standard specifications.

The Engineering facility will house clean room fabrication capabilities; electronics design, manufacture and testing laboratories; additive technologies (3D); and production robotics.

The Digital Science suite contains a bespoke area for developing virtual environments; a large space for drone experimentation; and the latest specification networking, software, and data engineering facilities.

Petroc’s dedicated SWIoT building also has a large, welcoming social space, in which you can work and relax, while enjoying excellent connectivity.
Please contact the Faculty Admin Team on 01271 852427 for more information.

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Course Fees

Annual Fee: £4625