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Andrew Froude B.Eng (Hons), CMIOSH, MIIRSM, OSHCR

Is the NEBOSH Diploma a Degree?

The NEBOSH Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management Professionals is the most comprehensive Health and Safety training course available. Discover the NEBOSH qualification level of the course at and whether the NEBOSH Diploma is equivalent to a degree. Read more in our updated 2022 blog here. 

January 2020

This blog has been updated in 2022 to analyse the latest changes to the course.


  1. The NEBOSH Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management Professionals can be compared to a UK University Degree because it shares the same NQF/QCF Level 6 rating in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, it is not a degree. Instead, it is a leading Health and Safety qualification.
  2. The NEBOSH International Diploma is globally recognised and approved by learning bodies that ensure the course adheres to international law. The NEBOSH International Diploma also replicates the standard of the UK University Degree. We recommend that learners who aspire to study and work outside of the UK choose the NEBOSH International Diploma. 
  3.  We continue to recommend that learners view the course as a major undertaking requiring a massive investment of time and effort - likening it to the structure and difficulty of a Degree.

This blog features in a series of question-based NEBOSH Diploma blogs, aiming to shed light on the most frequently asked questions we receive concerning the course. This blog will look at whether the NEBOSH Diploma is a Degree and how global learning bodies and organisations view the qualification.

 NEBOSH Qualification Level: Is the NEBOSH Diploma a Degree?

The NEBOSH Diploma level is comparable to an Honours Degree. However, it is a vocational qualification and cannot be referred to as a degree.

Only institutions with degree-awarding powers, for example, universities, can offer degrees. 

The level of study is Degree standard, with the main difference being the amount of time it takes to complete. A typical Honours Degree will take around three to four years to complete. In contrast, the NEBOSH Diploma requires approximately 475 hours. The good news is that you can achieve the NEBOSH Diploma qualification within just over a year. However, some learners might prefer to spread their training over a more extended period to fit their work and home life.

The course is recognised to be at the same level globally. For example, India views the NEBOSH International Diploma as highly as the UK sees the NEBOSH Diploma. It potentially differs when it comes to country-specific credit values

The Credit value of the NEBOSH Diploma is the numerical point value of the course. It exists to rank the course alongside other qualifications. The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) is responsible for rating the course. The SCQF values the course at SCQF Level 10 with 51 SCQF credit points. So, for context, SCQF Level 10 is comparable to a RQF/CQFW Level 6 qualification in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The NEBOSH Diploma is the highest ranking health and safety training course in credit value. Therefore, the level of the NEBOSH Diploma differs from the level of the NEBOSH General Certificate

 Studying Guide: Is the NEBOSH Diploma Studied the Same as a Degree?

Traditionally, degrees will be studied in classrooms or virtual learning and self-study. Many people assume this is how they will have to learn their NEBOSH Diploma. However, there are wide berth of learning formats that can fit all learner requirements. 

The NEBOSH Diploma can be studied remotely, for example, Online or via Distance learning. It is similar to an Honours Degree, which can be taken through institutions such as the Open University at your own pace. These learning formats are ideal for more independent learners who prefer complete control over their studies. 

One of the fasted growing learning methods is the Virtual Classroom. It revolutionises the Health and Safety learning experience by bridging the gap between online and classroom learning. Learners will be directed through their education by a fully accredited tutor who leads Virtual Classroom sessions. Astutis also offer an Evening Virtual Diploma course. This format allows learners to dedicate a couple of hours each week to the course at a time that suits them.

 How Much Does the NEBOSH Diploma Cost: Is it the Same as a Degree?

The good news is that the cost of the NEBOSH Diploma tends to be significantly lower than studying for an Honours Degree. Tuition fees for full-time university courses can cost tens of thousands of pounds. To learn more about the cost of the NEBOSH Diploma, read our blog here. 

The Diploma provides a high academic level of study for a fraction of the price of a traditional degree. It is a tremendous vocational qualification that employers highly value globally. For the very latest information on the cost of the NEBOSH Diploma and International Diploma, we encourage readers to visit the course page.

 How Hard is the NEBOSH Diploma?

The course can present a challenging training experience. We encourage learners to view the NEBOSH Diploma as difficult as a UK University Degree. The course warrants determination and perseverance. The NEBOSH Diploma can present a challenging training experience. Learners are required to demonstrate their learning through three assessments:

  • ND1 Assignment: NEBOSH recommends that learners take sixty hours to complete this stage. 
  • ND2/ND3 Case Studies: Learners are given an in-depth case study. In response, learners must analyse the risks present and answer specific questions. NEBOSH recommend that learners take approximately forty hours to complete each case study assessment. 

The NEBOSH International Diploma features the same assignment structure and mark scheme as the NEBOSH National Diploma. Learners must achieve 50% of the marks to pass each assessment stage. 

Discover more on how hard the NEBOSH Diploma is here. 

 Is the NEBOSH Diploma Worth It?

The NEBOSH Diploma is widely considered the gold training standard in the Health and Safety industry. The course embeds a progressive and competent safety culture in businesses worldwide. Individuals who aspire to progress in their careers will find the course ideal, especially learners who have passed the NEBOSH General Certificate and have experience in the health and safety industry. 

Find out why Astutis' learners took the NEBOSH Diploma and the positive difference it has made to their life. See if the NEBOSH Diploma could be the right next step to take your career to the next level.

 Final Takeaways:

  1. The NEBOSH Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management Professionals is equivalent to a UK University degree. The course is comparable to an NQF Level 6 qualification in England.
  2. NEBOSH suggest the course should take 475 hours. Depending on the course format, that time is split over time. 
  3. With the Online format, learners can have their study spread over three years. Meanwhile, Virtual or Classroom learners can have their training spread over thirty working days. Learners who opt to study on the Evening Virtual course can have their study spread over twenty months.

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