Higher Education

HE ceremony 2023

With a dedicated Higher Education Gateway Centre, strategic partnerships with the University of Sunderland and the Open University and excellent student support and careers guidance. Bishop Auckland College has the courses to help you move higher.

Why study higher?

There are many benefits to studying a Higher Education course including:

  • Increased career prospects
  • Potential to lead to higher earnings
  • Improved job opportunities

Bishop Auckland College offers Access to Higher Education, Higher National Diplomas (HND) and Foundation Degrees.

Click here to view higher education courses.

During your time with us we aim to give you the necessary research and study skills to successfully complete your course, as well as the confidence and self-discipline to help you grow as an independent learner with a lifelong appetite for education.

On average graduates tend to earn more over the course of their lifetime than people without formal university qualifications.

Why study at Bishop Auckland College?

Strong partnerships with local universities
Bishop Auckland College strong links with local universities such as University of Sunderland with whom we work in partnership delivering a range of Higher Education programmes.
Small class sizes and high quality teaching
An advantage of studying in a college environment is the fact that class sizes are significantly reduced, meaning that students receive a high level of academic and personal support from lecturers and personal tutors, many of whom have postgraduate qualifications and extensive teaching and industry experience.
Supportive environment
We provide a high level of support to all our students at the College. Each student is allocated a personal tutor and will receive regular tutorials or one to one meetings, if required. Our Student Support and Additional Learning Needs teams are also available for all our students to access if they need to do so. We want our students to achieve their goals, therefore if one to one support in the classroom.
Modern state-of-the-art facilities
We want our students to learn in the most up-to date environments, helping them enjoy their studies as much as possible. Significant and on-going investment into our facilities helps us to attract new students as well as helping our current students to progress internally.

Meet our 2023 graduates

Watch the video of our students graduating at Durham Cathedral in October 2023.

A lifechanging experience I had only ever dreamed of

Sandra Dodd

Studying at Bishop Auckland College has led to academic successes and employment opportunities Sandra Dodd had only ever dreamed of.

Training initially as a nursery nurse in the mid-1990s, she has spent her entire career working with children and young people in education.

But after completing a Level 3 Diploma in Counselling Skills and now graduating with a BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling Practice, Sandra’s career has gone from strength to strength.

She is now a school-based counsellor supporting young people in secondary schools.

The 53-year-old mother-of-one said: “Bishop Auckland College offering degree level progression made higher education more accessible to me at both a practical and financial level. I was able to live at home and study for a degree whilst continuing to work part time.

“Working for the local education authority, I initially supported children in primary school before I moved into working with children and young people experiencing difficulties with movement and coordination with the Movement Difficulties Service.

“Gaining a degree has enabled me to further progress my career. I still work for the LEA in the education sector, only now as a school-based counsellor supporting young people in secondary school.

“Currently I am embarking on a new academic journey, studying on the new MA in Psychotherapy Studies at Bishop Auckland College.

“Starting out on the Level 3 Diploma four years ago has been a life changing experience leading to academic successes and employment opportunities that I had only ever dreamed of.”

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Sandra, of Stanhope in Weardale, added: “Today actually feels very surreal. To actually walk up to Durham Cathedral and think ‘wow, I’m graduating in the cathedral’ is a dream come true. It’s unbelievable and I feel so proud. The whole experience of studying at the college has been amazing – I would recommend it to anybody.”

Ben nets top job after securing first class degree

Ben I Anson HE

It was a great end of season feeling for Ben I’Anson, who netted a top job just days after learning he had secured a first class honours degree.

The 24-year-old, from Darlington, was still celebrating his stunning 82% overall mark for his BSc (Hons) in Sports Coaching at Bishop Auckland College when he took the call to tell him he had top scored in his interview with Education Enterprise Legacy.

The company supports more than 50 nursery, primary and secondary schools with their physical education provision. And in his new role as PE & School Sport Coordinator, Ben will help teachers with the planning, delivery and assessment of their PE curriculum and assist in the administration and delivery of leagues, festivals and competitions.

He said: “Having wanted to pursue a career in sport from a young age, Bishop Auckland College has helped me secure this dream with the fantastic opportunities they have provided me with over the last year.

“The help, support and challenge the lecturers have given me has been unbelievable and I’d recommend the course and Bishop Auckland College to anyone. Obtaining a first class honours degree in sports coaching will be one of my proudest achievements and I am looking forward to continuing with my studies as well as starting a new career with Education Enterprise Legacy.”

Ben, a former student at Longfield Secondary School in Darlington, studied Level 4 and Level 5 Sports Coaching at Leeds City College before joining Bishop Auckland College to complete his degree.

No stranger to hard work, he supported his degree with a part-time role as a Learning Support Assistant at the college and also coached children from deprived backgrounds in a variety of sports during school holidays for Darlington Borough Council. Ben is also a volunteer coach at Darlington Railway Athletic (RA) Cricket Club.

Andrew Dixon, Head of Teacher Development and Sport at Bishop Auckland College, said Ben deserved his double dose of good news: “If ever there was an example of hard work paying off, this is it. We are all ecstatic for him.”

Lewis Marr, Partnership Manager at Education Enterprise Legacy added: “Ben really impressed us during the interview process. Obviously a methodical thinker when it comes to planning and delivering sessions, he engaged the whole group immediately with his craft and charisma. In this domain, working with both teachers and children respectively, we needed someone who could engage with the desired audience from the onset and Ben demonstrated that clearly."

Really proud to walk away with a first class honours degree

Kendra Hubbert

Kendra Hubbert, who works in the healthcare sector, has just graduated with First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Sociology and Criminology.

The 37-year-old mother-of-three said: “The reason I chose to do a course at Bishop Auckland College was because I wanted to challenge myself academically. I needed something local to fit around my lifestyle, so having something like this that offered a higher education programme was just ideal.

“It really fitted around my lifestyle and childcare options as well so if there was ever a time I needed to be there for the children, having somewhere local and in a supportive environment was just wonderful.”

Kendra, from Spennymoor, added: “To sum up my time at Bishop Auckland College I would just say it’s been really empowering. I feel really confident and really driven since completing this course.

“At the beginning I was really nervous, you know, coming as an adult learner but everyone has been so understanding and supportive – from my peers to everyone that has supported me on my academic journey. The tutors, the lectures – it’s just been wonderful.

“Combining this degree that I’ve now got with my current employment which is in healthcare, I just want to utilise that now – all my academic achievements and my work experience and really put that into professional practice to go out there and reach more dreams.

“I’m really proud to say that I am walking away with a first class honours degree.”

Ellie pursues teaching dream after securing sports coaching degree

Ellie Gibson

With a lifelong passion for sport, Ellie Gibson is pursuing her dream of becoming a PE teacher after graduating with a BSc (Hons) Degree in Sports Coaching.

Ellie, 21, of Newton Aycliffe, said: "One of the benefits of this course is it has enabled me to get a job in a special needs school in Darlington as the one-to-one classroom support assistant.

"I did work very hard for my result but when I opened the letter and saw that I'd got a first I was so amazed and so happy. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who wants to get into teaching or coaching, because it's just amazing."

HNC proves prescription for success for James

James Garland

An HNC qualification has proved a prescription for success for James Garland.

For it has transported the 23-year-old from part-time work to a full-time engineering role at a global pharmaceutical giant.

James, from Shildon, was working at a transport firm after completing his A-Levels and also studying part-time at South West Durham Training.

But after talking to his tutors and GSK apprentices he decided to apply for the Higher National Certificate in Engineering.

James, who graduated at a ceremony at Durham Cathedral on October 5, said: “I enjoyed the course; the tutors made it enjoyable despite me being much more of a practical-minded person as opposed to classroom-based.

“Passing this course has allowed me to become an engineering technician at GSK.”

College felt like a second home to me

Bethany Beard

Supportive tutors made college feel like a second home to artist Bethany Beard.

The 23-year-old, from Crook, has just graduated at Durham Cathedral with a Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Art and Design.

It is the fourth art and design qualification that Bethany, who has dyslexia, has completed during her six years at the college, having previously qualified in Level 1, 2 and 3.

She said: “The tutors at Bishop Auckland College are incredibly supportive, fair and treat everyone equally. It truly felt like a second home rather than just a place of study.

“I am interested in graphic design and animation and during my HND course I even created three-minute animations, which I never thought I would be able to do before joining.

“I would highly recommend the art and design courses at Bishop Auckland College to anyone interested in pursuing a career in the creative field. This course has provided me with a higher level qualification that will greatly benefit me in my pursuit of a BA (Hons) degree.”

One of the best decisions I ever made

Michelle Dodds

After 20 years in the hospitality sector, Michelle Dodds has secured a new career working with children in schools after graduating with a degree in counselling at Bishop Auckland College.

Michelle, 39, described her time studying the BA (Hons) in Integrative Counselling Practice as “one of the best decisions I ever made”.

She said: “I have established a whole new career to take forward and continue to grow with. The knowledge I have gained has been vital to support me on this journey.

“I have secured a counselling role within schools working with children and it is a privilege to be given the opportunity to support children in such a huge developmental stage of their lives and help to maintain their wellbeing.”

The mother-of-two, from Newton Aycliffe, had left Woodham Community Technology College in 2000 with four GCSEs but decided to get back into education after her sister enrolled on a Foundation Degree in Counselling at the college.

Michelle said: “I developed an interest in the self-awareness and personal development modules within the counselling programmes. The desire to become a counsellor developed soon after I enrolled.”

But the taste for learning has not left her, and nor has her ambition for further career development: “I have now enrolled onto the MA in Psychotherapy Studies at Bishop Auckland College and, on completion of that, my goal in the future is to have my own private practice.

“Enrolling on the degree programme at Bishop Auckland College has been one of the best decisions I ever made.”

How to apply

It’s never too early to apply. Browse our available courses, once you have found a suitable course click the ‘Apply’ button and fill in your details.

Alternatively, get in touch with the college and arrange to talk with a subject specialist by contacting Katy Dixon at Katy.Dixon@bacoll.ac.uk

The College's student admissions policy can be accessed on the footer links below.

Students going to university or college can find out more about Student Finance here

Academic Appeals

The documents linked below detail the process and criteria of academic appeals:

Higher Education Documents

Policies and Procedures