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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 Petroc is the perfect place to study.

By studying higher education courses locally, you have access to academic experts, excellent links to business and industry and opportunities for educational visits, without the expense of accommodation costs associated with studying further afield.

We offer a wide range of qualifications that match your starting point to higher education (HE). The following pages will explain in more detail the opportunities available to you.

When you study at Petroc, we will offer you a high-quality standard of HE courses (delivered in partnerships with the University of Plymouth and the University of Bolton), 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 BA (Hons), and professional qualifications to degree-level apprenticeships, 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.

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 college), 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.

Petroc’s foundation degree courses are designed with built-in progression routes to Honours Degrees at Petroc, 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 either the University of Plymouth or the University of Bolton, depending on your programme.

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. 

Higher and degree apprenticeships are available at Petroc 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) 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.

Our portfolio of professional qualifications are suitable for those looking to develop their knowledge and skills in the fields of Management, HR and Teaching.

CMI: The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the UK's leading organisation for professional managers which promotes and sets the standards in management excellence.

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.

CIPD CERTIFICATE: The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is a globally recognised, well-respected accrediting body in the fields of Human Resources (HR) and Learning and Development (L&D). CIPD qualifications are highly sought after by employers and frequently referenced in job advertisements.


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.

Photo by Guy Harrop. Pic of Petroc college students, Devon

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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.