Which qualification?

There are so many levels, degrees and diplomas out there that sometimes it can be confusing. Here, you'll find a breakdown of all the courses and qualifications we offer, from entry to Postgraduate level. Scroll through and find which courses suit your preferred level, duration and style of study.

Foundation Studies (Entry & Level 1)

How long is it?
Various durations.

What do you need?
No prior qualification required.

What is it?
These Entry Level and Level 1 courses are designed to enable students with learning difficulties and disabilities to obtain the skills they need to participate within the community. Many programmes are tailored to your individual need and have a flexible approach.

Employability (Entry, Level 1 & 2)

How long is it?
Various durations.

What do you need?
No prior qualification required.

What is it?
These programmes put an equal emphasis on qualifications and work experience leading to an Apprenticeship, Further Education or paid employment.

You will be able to develop your skills to ensure that you are ready and able to obtain a full-time job or an Apprenticeship. Alternatively you may decide that after your work placement, Further Education is required to obtain your career aspirations; as a Truro and Penwith College student you will have access to all of the relevant courses that the College has to offer.

Progression (Level 1 & 2)

How long is it?
One year.

What do you need?
Progression 1: No prior qualification required. Progression 2: Three GCSEs at grade D or above including English or Maths.

What is it?
These courses are focused on progression, either to further study or into employment. You will develop knowledge and understanding by applying your learning and skills in a work-related context.

Progression 1 pathways include Functional Skills English and Maths up to Level 1 and a Work Skills qualification. Achievement at Level 1 is essential for progression onto Level 2 courses. A Progression 1 Vocational Taster course is also available to allow you to sample many different subject areas. Progression 2 is the pathway to Level 3 courses including Extended Diplomas and in specific instances, to A Levels. Progression 2 involves Level 2 English and Maths plus either an Extended Certificate in a vocational area or two Certificates. This provides the platform for progression to a wide range of courses. Assessment will be through a combination of external examination and coursework.

Vocational Course (Entry-Level 3)

How long is it?
Various durations depending on subject and level.

What do you need?
Entry Level and Level 1 courses require no formal entry requirements. Level 2 and 3 courses may require successful completion of a lower-level qualification in an appropriate subject. You will be required to attend a course interview.

What is it?
Other vocational qualifications are also available which involve studying both the theory and practical elements of a chosen subject. These will enable you to develop occupational knowledge and progress into industry. They are available in a variety of subjects (e.g. hair, beauty, construction, catering, motor vehicle and secretarial) and at various levels. Awarding bodies include IMI, City and Guilds and DSA.

Extended Diploma (Level 3)

How long is it?
Two years. In year one you will complete a Level 3 Foundation Diploma before progressing to gain the full Extended Diploma at the end of Year 2 unless otherwise stated.

What do you need?
Four GCSEs at grade C or above or a Level 2 Diploma in appropriate subjects, to include GCSE grade C in either English or Mathematics.

What is it?
Previously known as the National Diploma, the 180 credit, 18-unit qualification is now referred to as the Extended Diploma. This Diploma is equivalent to three subjects at A Level. It is an excellent route if you have decided on the broad area of employment you wish to pursue. The combination of a range of specialist modules with the depth of knowledge acquired enables you to progress successfully into Higher Education or into employment. You will also be required to undertake several hours of independent study. Assessment is through coursework, external written assessments and evaluation of practical skills.

Subsidiary Diploma (Level 3)

How long is it?
Two years.

What do you need?
Four GCSEs at grade C or above or a Level 2 Diploma in appropriate subjects.

What is it?
The Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma is an excellent addition if you are studying A Levels. It can add breadth to an academic programme of study and provide a vocationally relevant dimension. This six-unit diploma is equivalent to one A Level. Assessment is through coursework and evaluation of practical skills including a final major project.

Apprenticeship (Level 2 & 3)

How long is it?
A minimum of one year.

What do you need?
There are no formal requirements as Apprenticeships are not just based on previous academic achievement. Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16 and start throughout the year, meaning you can apply at a time that suits you most. You will need to be committed, motivated, enthusiastic and reliable. Applicants will typically be interviewed prior to starting an Apprenticeship programme.

What is it?
As an apprentice you will be working for a local business, earning a real wage, gaining practical skills and completing nationally recognised qualifications. Apprentices are paid at least £119 per week if working full-time. Choosing the Apprenticeship route gets you straight into the career of your choice. After finishing, the majority of apprentices (85%) will stay in employment, with two-thirds (64%) staying with the same employer. You will be employed for at least 30 hours per week and take part in a mixture of taught courses, workshops, work-based assessments and e-learning. You will also have a dedicated training adviser who will help and support you throughout your Apprenticeship.

Costs: Age 16-18 = fully funded, aged 19+ = employer contribution of £500 or £750 for large organisations (correct at time of print).

For further details please visit the government Apprenticeship website or contact our Apprenticeship recruitment co-ordinator by email at apprenticeships@truro-penwith.ac.uk

A Level (Level 3)

How long is it?
AS Level: one year, A2 Level: two years.

What do you need?
Five GCSEs at grade C or above including grade B or above in appropriate subjects and grade C in English or Mathematics.

What is it?
Advanced Level programmes consist of formal lectures, class activities and assessments, set homework and problem solving. For each subject, you will also be required to undertake several hours of independent study. Modern study facilities are available in the College and successful students use these effectively. Students who successfully complete the AS Level units in Year 1 may progress to A2 Level in Year 2 where further units are assessed. We strongly encourage a broad programme for A Level students. Most subject specifications will contain a combination of examinations and coursework assessment.

From 2017 all A Levels will be delivered in the new linear format with no qualification at the end of year one. Unlike old modular A Levels, academic assessment for Linear A Levels will take place at the end of two years of study. A Levels are however, also available as a stand alone one year AS Level qualification. These AS Level qualifications do not lead on to the second year of study and a full A Level qualification.

IB Diploma (Level 3)

How long is it?
Two years.

What do you need?
Five GCSEs at grade C or above in a broad range of subjects, including English and Mathematics. Grade A or B in subjects appropriate to Higher Level options.

What is it?
The IB Diploma (International Baccalaureate) is an excellent alternative to A Levels. It will be attractive if you have enjoyed studying a range of subjects at GCSE and want to continue doing so at an advanced level. You will study three subjects at Higher Level and three subjects at Standard Level. You will also follow a Theory of Knowledge course, produce an extended essay and undertake Creativity, Action and Service-based projects. Specialised forms of assessment are used as appropriate to each subject as well as written examinations, all reflecting the balance and educational diversity of the IB programme. The IB is fully recognised by all UK universities.

HNC (Level 4)

How long is it?
One year.

What do you need?
Normally GCSE English, Maths and any relevant subjects at Grade C or above, together with a minimum of 60 tariff points at A Level or an equivalent Level 3 qualification.

Applicants with an Access to Higher Education Diploma and mature students without academic credentials will be considered on an individual basis. Please check your desired course for specific entry requirements.

What is it?
A Higher National Certificate (HNC) is a vocational Higher Education qualification that is specifically designed to meet the needs of employers and is a reputable qualification that they highly value. Successful completion of an HNC means you can progress to Stage Two of a related Foundation Degree or HND. Alternatively, students may progress to professional qualifications or employment within their chosen area.

HND (Level 5)

How long is it?
Two years.

What do you need?
Normally GCSE English, Maths and any relevant subjects at Grade C or above, together with a minimum of 60 tariff points at A Level or an equivalent Level 3 qualification. Applicants with a relevant HNC can progress to Stage Two of an HND.

Those with an Access to Higher Education Diploma and mature students without academic credentials will be considered on an individual basis. Please check your desired course for specific entry requirements.

What is it?
A Higher National Diploma (HND) is a vocational Higher Education qualification that focuses on the world of work. HNDs provide a thorough grounding in practical skills and key theoretical concepts. They are recognised nationally by employers and therefore support students in finding relevant higher level vocational employment. All Higher National Diplomas will help develop essential career skills such as: creative problem solving, planning and scheduling your work, and applying complex theories to work related challenges.

Successful completion of an HND means you can progress to either the second or third year of a related degree programme. Alternatively many students progress on to professional qualifications or to occupational vocational qualifications in their chosen area of employment.

Foundation Degree (Level 5)

How long is it?
Two years.

What do you need?
Normally GCSE English, Maths and any relevant subjects at Grade C or above, together with a minimum of 60 tariff points at A Level or an equivalent Level 3 qualification. Applicants with a relevant HNC can progress to Stage Two of a Foundation Degree.

Those with an Access to Higher Education Diploma and mature students without academic credentials will be considered on an individual basis. Please check your desired course for specific entry requirements.

What is it?
A Foundation Degree (e.g. FdA or FdSc) is a vocational higher education qualification which combines academic study with work based learning. Foundation degrees are designed in collaboration with employers to ensure students completing the programmes are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue their chosen profession. Foundation degrees are suited to students from a variety of backgrounds: post A Level/Level 3 vocational; employees wanting to improve their skills; those wanting to change career; those wanting to return to education or those who are unemployed and looking for a way into work.

Upon successful completion of a Foundation Degree, there are normally one or more articulated progression routes, typically to the third year of a Bachelor's Degree. Completion of a Foundation Degree can also lead to other professional qualifications.

Certificate in Education (Level 5)

How long is it?
One year full-time, two years part-time.

What do you need?
Maths and English GCSEs or equivalent at grade C or above; successful completion of a Disclosure and Barring Service; Level 3 qualification or equivalent in your subject specialist area; and positive references from two referees.

What is it?
A Certificate in Education (CertEd) is a professional teaching qualification. It involves theoretical, practical and self-directed learning, combining in-class tutoring, a professional placement and independent study and research. Your professional placement will be at either Truro or Penwith campus.

This programme of study provides an opportunity to learn the skills, knowledge and professional values necessary for a teaching career within the Further Education (post 16) and Skills Sector. This area of teacher training covers the teaching of academic and vocational subjects. The Further Education and Skills Sector includes Further Education colleges, adult and community education, work-based training providers, offender learning and public sector organisations.

Bachelor's Degree (Level 6)

How long is it?
Three years.

What do you need?
Entry requirements vary depending on the course and university you apply for, so please check the course description for specific requirements. Usually you need GCSE English, Maths and any relevant subjects at Grade C or above, together with a minimum of 60 tariff points at A Level or an equivalent Level 3 qualification.

Applicants with an Access to Higher Education Diploma and mature students without academic credentials will be considered on an individual basis.

What is it?
A Bachelor's Degree (e.g. BA or BSc) is a self-contained study of a chosen discipline, completion of which indicates specific levels of understanding of the discipline as well as a commitment to following a programme of study for three years.

Your route into a chosen career could be through studying for a particular degree or, if your career plan is not finalised, your degree will still give you the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge that employers will value. Your degree is seen as a mark of your intellectual ability and your potential. Undergraduate degrees are awarded either as an ordinary degree or an Honours Degree, the latter denoted by the appearance of ‘(Hons)’ after the degree abbreviation. An Honours Degree requires the student to have completed a self-directed piece of work in their final year.

Upon successful completion of a Bachelor's Degree, students can progress onto Masters level study, Doctoral studies or Postgraduate teacher training programmes.

Top-up Degree (Level 6)

How long is it?
One year.

What do you need?
A relevant Foundation Degree, HND or equivalent Level 5 qualification.

Applicants with an Access to Higher Education Diploma and mature students without academic credentials will be considered on an individual basis. Please check your desired course for any specific entry requirements.

What is it?
Top-up degrees are the equivalent to the final year of a BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons) degree. Students who have completed an HND, a Foundation Degree or equivalent are eligible to apply for top-up degrees and on successful completion will graduate with a BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons).

Cornwall SCITT (Level 6 & 7)

How long is it?
One year.

What do you need?
Grade C or above for GCSE Maths and English Language; a relevant degree class 2:1 or above (other degrees and overseas qualifications will be considered); a minimum of two weeks school placement experience prior to starting the programme; successful completion of a Disclosure and Barring Service.

What is it?
The Cornwall School Centred Initial Teacher Training (Cornwall SCITT) programme combining academic study at Truro College campus and school-based professional practice at a variety or partnered primary and secondary schools. You’ll develop the skills, knowledge and values needed to progress in the teaching career, and will be awarded Qualified Teacher Status. You will have the choice to complete the course as a Postgraduate Certificate in Education with 60 Master Level 7 credits or as a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education at Level 6, validated by the University of Cumbria.

For more information, view the Cornwall SCITT website.

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Level 7)

How long is it?
One year full-time, two years part-time.

What do you need?
Maths and English GCSEs or equivalent at grade C or above; successful completion of a Disclosure and Barring Service; a Bachelor’s Degree in your subject specialism; and positive references from two referees.

What is it?
A Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is a professional teaching qualification. It is similar to the CertEd, though at a higher level. The course involves classroom learning, a professional placement at Truro or Penwith campus and self-directed study and research. On completion, you will have the skills, knowledge, professional values and nationally recognised qualification needed to teach in Further Education (post 16) and the Skills Sector.

Successful completion of the PGCE can enable you to progress on to the Masters in Education (International Masters Programme) at Plymouth University.