HNC in General Engineering (Edexcel) (BTEC)

The Edexcel BTEC Level 4 HNC in General Engineering course provides you with a specialist work-related programme of study that covers all the key knowledge, understanding and practical skills required to work and progress in the general engineering sector. It also offers a choice of specialist modules, which allow you the opportunity to choose what you’d like to specialise in and learn more about.

The HNC is a nationally recognised work-related qualification for students who are taking their first steps into employment or those already in employment and seeking career development. If you are interested in a career in general engineering, are looking to progress or further your engineering career or want to progress onto a HND or full Honours degree, this is the ideal course for you.

Earn your BTEC Level 4 HNC from home with our flexible distance learning course. Fit learning around your work, everyday life and commitments and access everything you need at any time of day. Learn at your own pace, this course has no exams or tight deadlines, simply submit your coursework when you’re ready. It can be completed in as little as a few months, up to a few years. Once completed you’ll be awarded a BTEC Higher National Certificate in Engineering.

There’s no waiting round for summer to start your course, enrol now and get started today!

Module Details - How Will It Work?

To achieve the HNC in General Engineering you need to complete eight units in total. This includes four core units, and then you select four optional units. This offers students a broad introduction to the subject area, whilst also allowing students to gain skills and experience in areas that interest them, through the selection of optional units which can help prepare you for subject specialisation at Level 5. All resources can be accessed at any time online through our online learning portal or on our mobile app, and these will guide you through each of the modules. You can also speak to our expert tutors whenever you need them, 7 days a week. There are no exams, all assessments will be based on coursework assignments that you submit to us, in your own time.

U1 Engineering Design

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the methodical steps that engineers use in creating functional products and processes; from a design brief to the work, and the stages involved in identifying and justifying a solution to a given engineering need.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to prepare an engineering design specification that satisfies stakeholders’ requirements, implement best practice when analysing and evaluating possible design solutions, prepare a written technical design report, and present their finalised design to a customer or audience.

U2 Engineering Maths

The aim of this unit is to develop students’ skills in the mathematical principles and theories that underpin the engineering curriculum. Students will be introduced to mathematical methods and statistical techniques in order to analyse and solve problems within an engineering context.

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to employ mathematical methods within a variety of contextualised examples, interpret data using statistical techniques, and use analytical and computational methods to evaluate and solve engineering problems.

U3 Engineering Science

This unit introduces students to the fundamental laws and applications of the physical sciences within engineering and how to apply this knowledge to find solutions to a variety of engineering problems.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to interpret and present qualitative and quantitative data using computer software, calculate unknown parameters within mechanical systems, explain a variety of material properties and use electromagnetic theory in an applied context.

U4 Managing a Professional Engineering Project

This unit introduces students to the techniques and best practices required to successfully create and manage an engineering project designed to identify a solution to an engineering need

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to formulate and plan a project as well as conduct planned project activities that will provide a solution to an identified engineering problem, produce a project report analysing the outcomes of the project processes and stages and present this report and draw conclusions on the outcomes of the project.

U5 Renewable Energy

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to renewable energy resources and technologies, including current storage and generation technologies, and explore their advantages and limitations.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to determine the optimum combination of renewable energy technologies and evaluate their efficiencies, describe how to conduct a cost–benefit analysis to determine the most viable option between renewable and conventional energy sources, and consider the relevant political, socio-economic and legal factors that influence the selection of appropriate energy technologies.

U6 Mechatronics

Mechatronics is the combination of mechanical, electrical and computer/controlled engineering working together in automated systems and ‘smart’ product design.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to explain the basic mechatronic system components and functions, design a simple mechatronic system specification for a given application, use appropriate simulation and modelling software to examine its operation and function, and solve faults on mechatronic systems using a range of techniques and methods.

U8 Mechanical Principles

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the essential mechanical principles associated with engineering applications.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to explain the underlying principles, requirements and limitations of mechanical systems.

U9 Materials, Properties and Testing

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to explain the relationship between the atomic structure and the physical properties of materials, determine the suitability of engineering materials for use in a specified role, explore the testing techniques to determine the physical properties of an engineering material and identify the causes of in-service material failure.

U11 Fluid Mechanics

This unit introduces students to the fluid mechanics techniques used in mechanical engineering. The hydraulic devices and systems that incorporate the transmission of hydraulic pressure and forces exerted by a static fluid on immersed surfaces.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to work with the concept and measurement of viscosity in fluids, and the characteristics of Newtonian and non- Newtonian fluids; examine fluid flow phenomena, including energy conservation, estimation of head loss in pipes and viscous drag; and examine the operational characteristics of hydraulic machines, in particular the operating principles of various water turbines and pumps.

U12 Engineering Management

This unit introduces students to engineering management principles and practices, and their strategic implementation.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to investigate key strategic issues involved in developing and implementing engineering projects and solutions and explain professional codes of conduct and the relevant legal requirements governing engineering activities.

U13 Fundamentals of Thermodynamics and Heat Engines

This unit introduces students to the principles and concepts of thermodynamics and its application in modern engineering.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to investigate fundamental thermodynamic systems and their properties, apply the steady flow energy equation to plant equipment, examine the principles of heat transfer to industrial applications, and determine the performance of internal combustion engines.

U14 Production Engineering for Manufacture

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to illustrate the role and purpose of production engineering and its relationship with the other elements of a manufacturing system. They will be able to select the most appropriate production processes and associated facility arrangements for manufacturing products of different material types and design a production system incorporating a number of different production processes.

U15 Automation, Robotics and PLCs

The aim of this unit is for students to investigate how Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and industrial robots can be programmed to successfully implement automated engineering solutions.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to program PLCs and robotic manipulators to achieve a set task, describe the types and uses of PLCs and robots available, write simple PLC programs, and program industrial robots with straightforward commands and safety factors.

U16 Instrumentation and Control Systems

This unit introduces students to the important principles, components and practices of instrumentation in the controlling of a process system, together with the terminology, techniques and components that are used in such a system.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to explain why the measurement of system parameters is critical to a successful process control performance, describe when and how such measurements are carried out, and develop skills in applying predicted values in order to ensure stability within a control system for a range of input wave forms.

U17 Quality and Process Improvement

This unit introduces students to the importance of quality assurance processes in a manufacturing or service environment and the principles and theories that underpin them.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to illustrate the processes and applications of statistical process, explain the quality control tools used to apply costing techniques, identify the standards expected in the engineering environment to improve efficiency and examine how the concept of Total Quality Management and continuous improvement underpins modern manufacturing and service environments.

U18 Maintenance Engineering

This unit introduces students to the importance of equipment maintenance programmes, the benefits that well-maintained equipment brings to an organisation and the risk factors it faces if maintenance programmes and processes are not considered or implemented.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to explain the importance of compliance with statutory regulations associated with asset maintenance, illustrate maintenance techniques adopted by the industry, work safely whilst performing maintenance tasks in an industrial environment and identify inspection and maintenance techniques.

U19 Electrical and Electronic Principles

This unit will give a wide overview of the electrical and electronic principles used in engineering.

On successful completion of this unit students will have a good and wide-ranging grasp of the underlying principles of electrical and electronic circuits and devices and will be able to proceed with confidence to further study.

U20 Digital Principles

The unit introduces the two main branches of digital electronics, combinational and sequential. Thus, the student gains familiarity in the fundamental elements of digital circuits, notably different types of logic gates and bistables. The techniques by which such circuits are analysed, introduced and applied, including Truth Tables, Boolean Algebra, Karnaugh Maps, and Timing Diagrams.

On successful completion of this unit students will have a good grasp of the principles of digital electronic circuits and will be able to proceed with confidence to further study.

U21 Electrical Machines

This unit introduces students to the characteristics and operational parameters of a range of electromagnetic powered machines that are used in a variety of applications.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to identify the constructional features and applications of transformers; investigate the starting methods and applications of three-phase induction motors and synchronous machines; investigate the types of generator available in the industry by assessing their practical application; and analyse the operating characteristics of electromagnetic transducers and actuators.

U22 Electronic Circuits and Devices

This unit introduces students to the use of electronics manufacturers’ data to analyse the performance of circuits and devices, the operational characteristics of amplifier circuits, the types and effects of feedback on a circuit performance, and the operation and application of oscillators. They will also be introduced to the application of testing procedures to electronic devices and circuits and use the findings of the tests to evaluate their operation.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to determine the operational characteristics of amplifier circuits, investigate the types and effects of feedback on an amplifier’s performance, examine the operation and application of oscillators and apply testing procedures to electronic devices and circuits.

U29 Electro, Pneumatic and Hydraulic Systems

The aim of this module is to develop students’ knowledge and appreciation of the applications of fluid power systems in modern industry.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to explain applications of hydraulic and pneumatic systems in the production industry, determine the fundamental principles and practical techniques for obtaining solutions to problems, appreciate real-life applications of pneumatic and hydraulic systems, and investigate the importance of structured maintenance techniques.

U30 Operations and Plant Management

The aims of this unit are to develop students’ knowledge of the engineering fundamentals that augment the design and operation of plant engineering systems, and to furnish them with the tools and techniques to maintain technological equipment.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to describe the fundaments that underpin the operation of the systems they deal with on a daily basis and apply these fundamentals to the successful maintenance of these systems.

U31 Electrical Systems and Fault Finding

This unit introduces students to the characteristics and operational parameters of a range of electrical system components that are used in a variety of applications; and how to fault find when they go wrong.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to follow electrical system circuit diagrams, understand the operation of the various components that make up the system and select the most suitable fault-finding technique.

U32 CAD for Maintenance Engineers

The aim of this unit is to enable students to produce 2D CAD drawings (using industry standard CAD software), and to modify and construct electrical and mechanical drawings e.g. distribution systems, fire alarms, steam ranges, electrical and hydraulic circuits.

This unit will support the development of the students’ CAD abilities and build upon those skills to introduce the more advanced techniques that are used to create and modify schematic drawings quickly and efficiently.

U73 Materials Engineering with Polymers

This unit will provide students with the necessary background knowledge and understanding of the structure and property relationship of polymer materials to guide their selection of material and manufacturing techniques to produce a sustainable, fit for purpose product.

This unit will provide students with an understanding of the relationship between a polymer’s structure and properties and between processing technique and product performance.

Entry Requirements - How Do I Apply?

To gain entry onto the HNC in General Engineering, the usual entry requirement is a level 3 qualification in this field. However, mature candidates who do not possess such qualifications but have experience in the engineering field, can also be accepted onto the course. Please contact our admissions team, who will be able to tell you if you meet the entry requirements and provide advice on what you will need to enrol on this course.

How many points do I require?

The usual entry requirements for this course are a minimum of 64 UCAS points obtained from level 3 qualifications.

Examples of this includes:

1. AS/A2 A-levels in Maths and another relevant subject such as Science, at a minimum grade of C.

2. Extended/90 Credit Diploma in Engineering

Can I be accepted with experience?

Yes. If you do not possess the relevant qualifications but have experience in the engineering sector, you can also be accepted onto the course. We consider each application on an individual basis.

Relevant experience includes:

1. Those who already work in the engineering sector and have obtained relevant skills.

2. Those who have obtained relevant skills through voluntary work.

Can I be accepted from overseas?

Unfortunately, no. Edexcel courses are available to UK residents only.

Level Of Education

All students must have Maths and English at GCSE grade C/4, or a Level 2 equivalent.

A-Levels in Maths and another relevant subject such as Science or Engineering, at a minimum grade of C, or an equivalent Level 3 qualification in a relevant subject.

Experience working in the engineering sector, if you don’t have a level 3 qualification in engineering.

Payment Plans

At UniCourse we have a wide range of payment plans to support everyone, pick one of the below plans and start your Journey.

If you would like to take advantage of the cheaper plan 1 payment option but it isn’t suitable to pay this all in one go, you have the option to pay at least 40% of this price upfront and then set up a monthly payment plan to pay the remaining balance (up to 12 months). Please state you would like to take advantage of this on your application form.

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Progression - What Can I Do After My Course?

This course provides students with a straight path to employment or progression onto a HND or a university degree course. Once you’ve achieved this Level 4 HNC in General Engineering you can progress onto our level 5 HND or even the second year of a BSc (Hons) full university degree. Many campus-based universities will accept this qualification as an entry requirement to year two of their degree programmes.

This qualification is approved by the Engineering Council as contributing to the requirements for professional registration as an Engineering Technician. Completing this course can help you on your way to achieving your career goals. For those already in employment, it is a nationally recognised qualification that can offer career progression.

If you want to progress onto a HND in General Engineering, you could save yourself up to £600 by buying our combined HNC and HND course. For more information see our ‘Fees and finance’ section.

Opportunities After Unicourse

What can I do after my course?

This course builds up core skills whilst preparing you for further subject specialisation if students wish to progress onto a level 5 HND or onto the second year of a full Honours degree course. It prepares and equips those taking their first steps into employment in the engineering sector, with the relevant knowledge needed to succeed. It can also help those already employed in the engineering sector to further their skills to progress in their careers, specialise in certain areas, and gain promotions.

1. Improve current skills

2. Progress into the engineering sector

3. Gain promotion opportunities

More workplace opportunities

The skills you learn as part of the HNC in General Engineering can provide you with the opportunity to take your first steps into employment in the engineering sector or can help those already in employment to progress further in their careers and gain promotions.

Some of the job roles this qualification can lead to include:

1. Engineering Maintenance Technician

2. Maintenance Engineer

3. Other engineering professionals or engineering technicians

Further education opportunities

The Level 4 BTEC HNC in General Engineering is recognised by many Higher Education providers – such as the Open University - as meeting admission requirements for progression onto many relevant workplace-related courses, including:

1. A Level 5 HND in General Engineering

2. Year two of a BSc Honours degree programme

Will my chosen University accept this qualification?

The HNC in General Engineering will allow you to apply for year 2 of a BSc (Hons) degree with the Open University. Many campus-based universities will also accept this qualification as an entry requirement to year two of their degree programmes.

Please check with the university you have in mind.

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