Here, universities can find out more about developing and delivering their own Higher National qualifications under the Pearson Licence Agreement.

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What is the Pearson Licence Agreement?

The Pearson Licence Agreement enables any university in the United Kingdom to validate, deliver and award its own Higher National Diplomas and Certificates under licence, and use the Pearson trademark 'Higher National'.

Making a Pearson licence agreement work for you

  • The Higher National qualifications are validated and awarded by the university, so the university has control of the quality assurance procedures; 
  • Universities now have the option to use the entire content of the new BTEC (RQF) Higher Nationals qualifications in order to offer them as their own validated awards*;
  • A university can strengthen, or develop, new collaborative arrangements by working with partner colleges to deliver its validated and awarded Higher Nationals;  
  • Universities are able to offer progression routes to their own courses;
  • The recruitment and achievement of Higher National students can help to meet university targets for widening participation and access;
  • Universities can design the awards to meet the specific needs of employers, students and socio/economic needs of a particular geographical area; and
  • Higher Nationals may be be used as part of apprenticeship frameworks.

*Universities who want to use the qualifications content will be asked to sign a Pearson IP Licence Agreement protecting the use of Pearson’s intellectual property in the awards. This specifies that the content cannot be used for any other purpose.

What oversight will Pearson have?

Universities need to fulfil certain Pearson requirements to meet the specifications of the licence agreement. These requirements are to ensure that:

  • Students are registered by a specified date.
  • Student withdrawals are entered on to the system by a specified date.
  • An Annual Institutional Review Report is completed by universities and submitted to the UPE.

Centre support

Centres can download the Centre Guide below. It provides practical support and information for UK HEIs operating under licence, including guidance on becoming an HEI licence centre and on-going administration and communication requirements.

Support for the national programme of Higher Nationals, including delivery guides, student guides and sample assignments, can be found on the Higher Nationals subject pages.

Branding queries

For branding guidelines, please see the Centre Guide. For high resolution files, please email  

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