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HNC Civil Engineering

Take the first step towards an interesting and exciting career in Civil Engineering!


Equivalent to the first year of a university degree, our Civil Engineering HNC will develop the practical and personal skills needed for a role in the sector. We will give you an appreciation of key Civil Engineering principles, including materials, numeracy, construction technology, mechanics and health and safety. 


The programme is delivered flexibly, so it will fit easily around your current employment and other commitments. 


Interested? Find out more below...



Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment (Civil Engineering)

  • Introductory Course Information

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    Award: Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment (Civil Engineering) 

    UCAS Code: N/A 

    Location: Bolton College – Deane Road  

    Location of PlacementN/A 

    Awarding BodyPearson  

    Professional body accreditations:  None 

    Duration2 Years (part-time)    

    Academic Year 1: TBC September 2018  TBC June 2019 

    Academic Year 2: TBC September 2019 - TBC June 2020 

  • Part-time Study & Work Experience

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    Part-time study: When studied part time the duration of the course will be over 2 semesters per year. As a part time student you will be expected to study 10 units over the 2 year programme: this equates to 5 units per year. The timetabled classes will take place 1 day per week. The qualification requires that you gain a minimum of 125 credits, of which 125 are mandatory core units.  

    Work placements/experience: This HNC Day Release course is designed for people already employed in the industry and therefore work placements / experience are not necessary. 

  • Timetable

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    Timetables are normally available one month before enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are a student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Further details of scheduled classes can be obtained from your course leader: Email   

  • Entry Requirements

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    • Edexcel BTEC National Certificate or Diploma OR 
    • One A level, plus Grade 4 or above in four GCSEs OR 
    • City & Guilds Construction Crafts Supplementary Studies  
    • Mature learners without these qualifications may be considered. You will need to demonstrate the skills and experience required to successfully complete the course 
    • If you intend progressing onto a HND and then a top-up degree at a university after completing the course, you will need to consider taking GCSE maths and English while undertaking your course, if you have not already achieved these. Universities require applicants to have gained passes in GCSE maths and English. Please speak with the course leader about taking GCSE maths and/or English while completing this course. 
    • If English isn’t your first language you’ll also normally need IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent). 

    Additional requirements: You will be expected to have an interview with the course leader prior to starting the course. The course leader will be able to explain in more depth the requirements and commitments that are needed to successfully complete the course. 

    Credit transfer or accreditation of prior learning or experience: If you have already achieved a qualification that is comparable to this course, you may be able to gain credit/s for comparable units. If you think you have relevant work experience that you want to be considered for accreditation then this may be taken into account. Further information is available at our Accreditation of Prior Learning page:

  • Course Overview

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    This stimulating, part time programme is delivered by highly professional teaching staff with broad experience and a proven track record of bringing out the best in their students. This course provides the relevant vocational knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a career in Civil Engineering. You will have the opportunity to apply critical reasoning and analysis techniques to solve engineering problems using industry standards and appropriate codes of practice. You will also develop personal and business skills, enabling you to contribute to the demands of a professional environment. 

    Throughout the 2 year course you will gain knowledge and understanding; practical, professional and subject specific skills. You will develop cognitive, intellectual and thinking skills; and you will gain valuable key, personal and transferable skills. In order for you to develop and enhance your employability skills, taught, developed, and assessed learning will involve crucial skills such as: communication, teamwork, organising and planning, numeracy, problem solving, flexibility and adaptability, action planning, self-awareness, initiative, personal impact and confidence, environmental sustainability, and social, public and ethical responsibility.  


    In line with Pearson BTEC requirements the Level 4 HNC programme must contain a minimum of 120 credits. 

    • Qualification credit value: a minimum of 120 credits. All units are at level 4 
    • The units include core units (mandatory), specialist units (mandatory) and optional units 
  • Module/Unit Map

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    This module/Unit map provides a list of modules that make up your course. Each module/unit is worth a specified number of credits: you take a combination of compulsory and optional modules/units, enabling you to cover key subject knowledge while developing some of your own interests. You must take modules/units worth a total of 120 credits overall. 

    Our teaching is informed by research and experience, and modules/units change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. You can always find the most up-to-date information about your modules/units and who is teaching them in the module guides or by contacting your course leader. 

     If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module/unit, this may not be offered. Typically, if low student numbers or changes in staff availability result in changes of options offered, we will advise you as soon as possible and help you chose an alternative module/unit. 

     The course combines ALL of the following modules: 

    Module Code  Module Title 


    Year 1
    Y/615/1388  Construction Technology  C 15
    D/615/1389  Science and Materials  C 15
    R/615/1390  Construction Practice and Management  C 15
    K/615/1394  Mathematics for Construction  S 15
    J/615/1404  Civil Engineering Technology  O 15
    Year 2
    R/615/1387  Individual Project  C 15
    D/615/1392  Construction Information  S 15
    R/615/1406  Principles of Structural Design  S 15
    H/615/1393  Surveying, Measuring and Setting Out  O 15
    M/615/1400  Building Information Modelling  O 15
    Optional courses are selected by the College 

    Module GuidesModule/Unit Guides can be found by following the link:  

  • Teaching & Learning

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    • Teaching: The diverse nature of the Civil Engineering programme necessitates the deployment of a variety of teaching and learning methods in order to ensure the acquisition and development of the appropriate concepts, knowledge and skills. Many of these will be experienced during formally timetabled classes whilst others will be appropriate to student centred learning.  
    • Independent LearningWhilst there are significant opportunities to spend time with the tutors and technicians during timetabled classes, practical work and tutorials, there is an expectation that students will devote a significant amount of time to personal study. This personal study time might be spent, for example, engaging in general background reading, revisiting practical work, attending technical meetings and lectures provided by the professional bodies or working on assignments. During the early stages of studies, guidance will be provided on how students can make the best use of their personal study time. However, as students’ progress through the programme, this guidance will become less structured and prescriptive.  
    • The learning and teaching methods described below are those most commonly adopted by the programme during the formally timetabled sessions. However, individual module tutors are free to introduce techniques that they view as especially suitable in aiding learning in their specialist area.  
    • Lectures: Lectures play an important part throughout the course and will feature in all modules of the programme. They involve the dissemination of theoretical and empirical information by a lecturer and provide a basic framework that students can build upon through their reading and through other classroom activities. Guest Lectures by specialists from industry, the professional bodies and other academic institutions, enhance the learning experience. 
    • Practical Sessions: Tutor-led practical sessions which can take place in laboratories, be field based or located in computer suites or studios, are a key aspect of this programme. These may comprise demonstrations by staff members, hands-on practical activities or project work. These activities help develop subject specific practical skills. 
    • Site Visits: Site visits are an important aspect of the programme as they provide the opportunity for students to view state-of-the-art projects. Such events also help to promote a synthesis between academic and professional based activities. 
    • Workshops: Workshops are also employed in some modules and may involve the development of skills, e.g. research methods, the application of statistics, presentations etc., as well as problem solving through the evaluation of case-study material. Assistance with assignment work may be offered in workshops, and they play an important part in increasing students’ confidence in dealing with the subject matter. 
    • Tutorials:  These are group or individually based and may be shared with students who are studying a similar area/issue.  Students should prepare for tutorials, which are usually associated with an assignment, by bringing any plans for discussion. 
    • Informal Group Study Sessions: Laptops can be booked out via the ‘Laptop Bank’ issue system and used for group work in the LRC and other areas. 
  • Overall Workload

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    Your overall workload consists of 15 hrs per week, class contact hours, around 22.5 hours per week independent learning, and assessment activity plus field trips, with each credit taken equating to a total study time of around 10 hours. While your actual contact hours may depend on the optional module/units you select, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each year of the course. 


    Year 1: 

    40% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity and 60% of your time is spent on independent learning. 

    Teaching, learning and assessment: 15 hours per week. 

    Independent learning: 22.5 hours per week. 


    Year 2

    40% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity and 60% of your time is spent on independent learning. 

    Teaching, learning and assessment: 15 hours per week. 

    Independent learning: 22.5 hours per week. 

  • Academic Support

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    Academic supportour academic support team provide help in the following areas: 

    • Study skills (including reading, note-taking, presentations, Turn it in requirements, in conjunction with the library)  
    • Written English (including punctuation and grammatical accuracy) 
    • Academic writing (including how to reference) 
    • Research skills (in conjunction with the library) 
    • Critical thinking and understanding arguments 
    • Revision, assessment and examination skills if required 


    Our Learner Support service helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia. 


    Teaching staff: You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules/units on the course. The team includes academic tutors, professional practitioners with industry experience, and technical personnel when relevant. The teaching is informed by the research and industry experience of our team and 100 per cent of tutors have a teaching qualification. 

  • Assessment & Feedback

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    The course provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark or grade. Each module/unit will normally contain at least one piece of practice or ‘formative’ assessment for which you will receive feedback from your tutor. Practice assessments are developmental and any grades/marks you receive for them do not count toward your module/unit mark or grade.  

    There is a formal or ‘summative assessment at the end of each module/unit. Assessment methods include a range of coursework assessment such as exams, essays, reports, portfolios, presentations, and final year major project. The grades from the formal assessments count towards your module/unit mark or grade. 

    Percentage of course assessed by courseworkThe balance of assessment by either examination or coursework assessment depends to some extent on the optional module/units you take. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by course work is as follows: 

    • Year 1: 100% coursework 
    • Year 2: 100coursework 


    Feedback: You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examinations performance is available upon request from the module/unit leader. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module/unit tutor. 

     We aim to provide you with feedback within 10 working days of hand-in (practice assessment) and 10 working days of hand-in (formal coursework assessment). 


  • Learning Resource Centres

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    There are a number of comfortable and contemporary Learning Resource Centres (LRCs) at Bolton College, here to support the needs of learners and staff by providing quality resources for independent or group study.  

    The LRCs at Deane Road are among the most technologically advanced in the country, featuring: 

    • Apple Mac computers 
    • Interactive White Boards for use by students and staff 
    • Overhead TVs to provide easy to read visual information 
    • RFID self-check machines for book issues  
    • Self-issue laptops that can be used anywhere in the building 
    • State of the art printers and scanners 

    In all of the college LRCs, our staff are available to provide you with advice and support.  Bolton College are proud of the friendly, responsive, innovative and proactive service that we provide. Out of college hours, the quality of learning support is excellent. 

    If you'd like to know more about the accessibility of our LRCs via Disabled Go 
    Click here for information on the Deane Road LRC  
    Click here for information on the Construction & Arts Block LRC 

    disabled go

    The Virtual Learning Environment 

    Moodle is an on-line gateway to all sorts of information about college courses.  Wherever or whenever you want to learn, you will find assignment details, tests, and links to websites, videos and forums.  Through Moodle, Bolton College is able to support your learning even when you are not in the classroom. Many students find this to be a convenient and enjoyable way to learn. 

    The Library tab on Moodle allows you to access the library catalogue, e-books, e-magazines, and many specialist websites: You can also find information on how to book a computer, how to renew books online, library opening times and much more. 

    Technology - an exciting way to learn 

    Bolton College recognises the need to keep up-to-date with technology which is why we like to give you the edge in all learning experiences. You can read more about the equipment in use around the college on our Technologypage. 

    For further information visit our Learning Resource Centre facilities page.

  • Costs & Financial Support

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    • For new students starting in 2018-19 the tuition fees are £2,996 
    • For continuing students going into Year 2, (who started in 2017-18) the tuition fees are £2,200  

     The following course-related costs are included in the fees: 

    • Loan of equipment required for modules 
    • Annual printing allowance 

    The following course-related costs are not included in the fees: 

    • Field trips to sites 
    • The costs of books you might wish to buy 
    • Additional printing over and above the annual allowance 

     Accommodation and living costs are not included in the fees. 


    Sources of financial support: If you receive funding from Student Finance you may be eligible to apply for additional benefits. Details can be obtained from Student Services about how to fund you course AND addition to being able to apply for student loan if you are doing a Foundation Degree, a Full time HNC or HND, you can apply for a Student Loan for doing a part time HE course such as a HNC:  

    Bursaries, scholarships and prizes: The College also provides Progression Awards for students who progress from a level 3 Bolton College course onto a HE Bolton College course. For further information visit our bursaries page.

    Useful links for Bolton College Regulations, Policies and Procedures:  If you need information regarding any of the HE policies and procedures or how to make a complaint or appeal then please visit our key strategies and framework page. 

  • I'm interested, what do I need to do next?

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    Speak with the course leader, and to apply, simply fill out our online application formOffers are made based on the content of the HE Application Form, followed by an interview with the course leader. 


    For any course queries, please contact:
    Lawrence Atherton (Course Leader 
    Tel: 01204 482 556 
    Email:  or  


    For any queries regarding the application process, please contact:  
    Admissions Office 
    Tel: 01204 482 181 

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