Engineering Systems HNC

UCAS code 356H

What is special about this course?

The HNC Engineering Systems will give you the required technical training to be a technician in design, research, development and service support activities in engineering, manufacturing and consultancy.

You may also be able to use the HNC as a spring-board into the second year of our engineering degrees, including: BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering; BEng (Hons) Electrical and Mechanical Engineering; BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; or BEng (Hons) Energy Engineering.

Special features

  • You will study both mechanical and electrical engineering
  • The course is designed to meet the needs of employers
  • You can study full-time or part-time to suit your personal and professional circumstances: please see study mode tab for modes and locations of study offered


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 1 Scottish Higher at grade C or above in Maths or Physics OR
  • 1 A level at grade D or above in Maths or Physics OR
  • Alternatively, NC/NQ Engineering at level 6 or equivalent OR the completion of a Foundation Apprenticeship Engineering
  • Prospective students without the standard entry requirements as listed above are encouraged to apply, appropriate industry related experience will be taken into consideration
  • You may be required to attend an interview

Access routes

  • SVQ 3 Electrotechnical Services
  • NC Engineering Systems
  • NC Engineering

Year 1 - HNC

Mandatory units are:

  • Communication: practical skills
  • Engineering communication
  • Engineering measurement and system monitoring
  • Engineering systems: graded unit 1
  • Mathematics for engineering 1: mechanical and manufacturing
  • Principles of engineering systems

Option units may include:

  • Engineering: practical skills
  • Computer aided draughting for engineers
  • Materials selection
  • Mathematics for engineering 2
  • Thermofluids
  • Digital electronics
  • Electronic construction skills
  • Engineering principles
  • Analogue electronic principles
  • Applications of programmable logic controllers
  • Combinational logic
  • Renewable energy systems: overview of energy use
  • Dynamics
  • Electrical engineering principles 1
  • Pneumatics and hydraulics
  • Statics and strengths of materials
  • High level software
  • DC and AC principles

Option units available may vary depending on study location and mode of study: for more information contact your chosen campus.

How will I study my course?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will continue to review government guidance as lockdown measures shift over the next few months and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. In semester one, September 2020, the theory elements will be delivered online through a combination of video conference seminars, tutor-supported study and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You will also have the opportunity to do an online induction at the start of the course. On-campus activities and practical sessions will be introduced in line with the developing Scottish Government public health measures and guidance, including social distancing. Opportunities for campus attendance will be planed from semester one if it is safe to do so, practical sessions will most likely be in semester two.
  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • Evening (North Highland College UHI only)
  • You will study by way of face-to-face lectures and tutorials in the classroom, and practical sessions
  • For those studying at Orkney College UHI, there are twilight video lectures and up to two-day visits to North Highland College in Thurso for practical work

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 1 year
  • Part-time: 2 years

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll College UHI - September and January part-time evening only
  • Inverness College UHI - full-time / day release for September start only
  • Lews Castle College UHI - September and January start
  • Moray College UHI - September and January start
  • North Highland College UHI - September and January start
  • Orkney College UHI - September and January part-time only
  • Perth College UHI - September start only

Start date

  • September
  • January (only available in certain locations and for part-time study only)


For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2019-202020-21
Full-time per year £1,285 £1,285
Part-time (per HN credit) £86 £86

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2019-202020-21
Full-time per year £6,720 £6,720
Part-time (per HN credit) £448 £448

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2019-202020-21
Full-time per year £6,855 £7,020
Part-time (per HN credit) £457 £468

Part-time study is not open to international student requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact your enrolling college for more information.

Additional Costs

  • For those studying at Orkney College UHI, there are twilight video lectures and up to two-day visits to North Highland College in Thurso for practical work

What can I do on completion of my course?

This course prepares you for a variety of jobs in engineering, including:

  • engineering design
  • manufacturing
  • offshore engineering
  • the developing renewables sector

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress to year two of the HND Engineering Systems. You may also be eligible to progress to the second year of:

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I would definitely like to continue on to the degree course, as the theory you learn can be applied to your job situation. If you’re willing to put in the work, it is really worth the effort and can lead to a successful career. Having support for my studies from my employer is also a great help.

Kirsty Robertson started on the HNC Engineering Systems and continued on to the HND at North College Highland UHI (Thurso) campus.

Apply for Engineering Systems HNC

I want to start in Jan/Feb 2021 or Aug/Sep 2021 or Jan/Feb 2022

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.