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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 level of the NEBOSH qualification and whether the NEBOSH Diploma is equivalent to a degree. Read more in our updated 2024 blog here. 

January 2024

 Summary:

  1. The NEBOSH Level 6 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 sizeable  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 Level 6 Diploma, NEBOSH Diploma, 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  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 Diploma has been credit rated by Ofqual at RQF Level 6 with 43 credits.

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


NVQ Level 6 Health and Safety vs NEBOSH Level 6 Diploma: What's the Difference?

When researching and reviewing all available Level 6 Diplomas in Health and Safety, we are often asked about the difference between the ProQual Level 6 NVQ Diploma and the NEBOSH Level 6 Diploma. 

The NVQ Level 6 in Health and Safety and the NEBOSH Level 6 Diploma are both qualifications related to Health and Safety. However, when evaluating which Level 6 Health and Safety qualification would be best for you, there are some key differences to take into consideration.


Nature of Qualifications


The NVQ Level 6 in Health and Safety qualification is competence-based. It assesses learners' ability to perform practical tasks in the workplace. The NEBOSH Level 6 Diploma is a knowledge-based qualification. It offers a broad understanding of the fundamental Health and Safety principles, practices and legislations.


Assessment Methods


NVQ Level 6 in Health and Safety evaluates learners' success through their portfolio of work. The portfolio includes a collection of evidence from relevant work activities, e.g. written statements, reports and practical observations. The qualification is favoured by learners who prefer a practical approach to assessments over written exams.

The NEBOSH Level 6 Diploma consists of written assessments submitted through the NEBOSH exam portal after completing each unit and a workplace practical activity. The NEBOSH Diploma offers a comprehensive understanding of health and safety principles, making it the ideal qualification for a higher-level career in Health and Safety management.

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 fastest 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 NEBOSH tutor who leads Virtual Classroom sessions. 

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:

  • DN1 / DI1 Assignment: NEBOSH recommends that learners take sixty hours to complete this stage. 
  • DN2 / DN3 / DI2 / DI3 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 an overall mark of 150+ overall to pass the qualification 

Discover more on how hard the NEBOSH Diploma is here. 

In Conclusion: 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 Classroom or Classroom learners can have their training spread over thirty working days. 

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