Foundation Degrees

Foundation Degrees (completed in two years full-time, or three years part-time) combine hands on practical learning with academic study which can later be topped up to a full degree. All Foundation Degrees are accredited by the Ulster University, Queen’s University Belfast or the Open University and all have direct articulated pathways to honours degrees at each respective university.

View all available Foundation Degrees

Explore your options Today

All of our Higher Education and Higher Level Apprenticeship courses are career-focused, to help you get where you want to be at work, with many available to study as part-time and day release options, to fit your schedule.

Why get your degree at SWC?

For a long time, university was considered the only option for undergraduate or Higher Education study, but in recent years, many students have chosen to a University equivalent course at Further Education Colleges like SWC.

At SWC students can choose from a range of full-time and part-time Higher Education courses, across a number of curriculum areas in levels such as Higher Level Apprenticeships, Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Foundation Degrees. Completion of these vocationally led courses often result in direct employment, continued education and training, or they serve as a stepping stone to a Full Honours Degree.

Alternatively, Higher National Diplomas and Higher National Certificates focus on ‘learning by doing', providing skills that can be used in a particular job. They are highly valued by employers and can also count towards membership of professional bodies and other employer organisations.

There are other reasons why many students opt to study at their local college. As well as the extensive range of courses, many students prefer the smaller class numbers, and the benefit of added individual hours with lecturers and tutors. Studying an undergraduate course at SWC is also a more affordable option, with much lower tuition frees, and students have to option to live at home, reducing the substantial living and maintenance costs that come with moving away.

  • The support from tutors, our relaxed and friendly atmosphere are amongst the top reasons for learners studying here
  • 91% student satisfaction rate*
  • 39% of learners achieved a first-class honours and 76% achieve a 2:1 or above**
  • Designed in partnership with local universities and employers
  • Delivered by tutors who have industry experience
  • Full-time or part-time study options available, giving you the flexibility to balance study around work and family commitments, or enable you to keep your part-time job to help with the cost of living.

*NSS results 2022
**Students who completed an Open University Degree programme in 2021/2022

Quality Higher Education

South West College sides itself on offering only the highest quality higher education qualifications. Check out how we ensure the qualification you're aiming towards is assured.

View Higher Education Policies and Procedures

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

If you feel you have covered the content of a module/ modules via your work/ life experience, APEL is a way to provide the evidence to show this and to gain credit for it.

Find out more about APEL

SWC also focuses time and energy into improving the health and wellbeing of students, recognising the positive impact this can have on study and future success. The college’s thriving student services facilities offers a number of extracurricular activities as well as advice and support on careers, student finance, safeguarding, learning support and equality.

At SWC we encourage students to aim further, go higher and study local, and we can provide a range of options designed to kick start your journey to graduation or employment, no matter what grades you receive or what path you want to follow.

The College has a number of scholarship initiatives which full-time Higher Education students can apply for in the academic year 2023/24.

South West College Scholarships and Bursaries

The College has a number of scholarship initiatives which full-time HE students can apply for in the academic year 2023/24. For more information read through the information below or speak to your Course Tutor.

Scholarships & Bursaries