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Engineering BTEC (Extended Diploma) Level 3 at Alton College

Course description

The BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Engineering is a full-time two-year course designed for students considering a career in any branch of Engineering. During the course you will gain knowledge and skills which will prepare you for a career, or further study, in the Engineering sector.

During the course you will cover subjects such as Materials and Processes, Design, Mathematics and Mechanical principles, Electronics, Mechanics, CAD and Engineering Project.

This qualification programme provides access to some highly specialist units and topics which will help you develop the skills you need to start or progress to a career in Engineering.

The BTEC National Extended Diploma is equivalent to three A Levels which means when you have finished the course you can choose whether to follow a career straight away or to apply for higher education first.

Course content

Practical work is just one element of the course.  Most lessons will be taught in our new state-of-the art Sonardyne Technology Centre. This has an electronics lab, CAD room and two superbly equipped engineering workshops. For much of your time on the course you will be carrying out assignment based projects. Indeed the majority of the units you cover are assessed by coursework type projects and tasks. At the beginning of the second year you will carry out a work experience placement at one of a wide range of local companies. The College will help you to identify a suitable placement.

Entry requirements

Students studying a BTEC National Extended Diploma programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 4.5 or above and at least a Grade C in Mathematics and preferably English. Alternatively, students who have studied a suitable Level 2 BTEC should have achieved at least Merit grades including a merit in Mathematics.

In addition to the general requirements for starting an advanced course of study you should have achieved a Grade C at GCSE in Science.


You will need to be well-organised and able to manage your time effectively, as there are many coursework assignments to be completed to strict deadlines.


You will study a range of units during the two years of the course. The units are to be assessed by a combination of internally and externally assessed coursework, this may include the production of portfolios, presentations, practical projects, and staff observations.

For each unit you complete you will be awarded a Pass (P), Merit (M), or Distinction (D) grade. As this qualification is equivalent to 3 A Levels, you will also be awarded an overall grade consisting of three grades – such as PPP, MMP, or D*DD.

Students must complete the full two years of the course to receive the full National Extended Diploma in Engineering.

Financial information

All students will be expected to provide their own textbook and stationery, USB memory stick and calculators (where appropriate). Estimated costs are outlined below:

Essential:  Steel toe capped leather footwear and 100% cotton full overalls for workshop use. An independent supplier will visit the college during the first week so students can purchase these at a competitive cost.
Students are required to make a contribution of £30 for materials and resources used on the course. This needs to be made through the online store after enrolment.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Future opportunities

This course is good preparation for anyone wishing to go into employment, or to higher education in the engineering field. Local companies sometimes contact the College to help them recruit staff, and sometimes the work experience placement results in the offer of full-time employment at the end of the course.

Many students have found that the BTEC National Extended Diploma in Engineering course has been a very successful, and a more appropriate route into university, either at HND, foundation degree or degree level, than the A Level route. A number of students who were not considering university at all at the beginning of the course have been encouraged successfully to pursue this route. Our previous students have gone on to a wide variety of courses and jobs. Here are some examples:

Sammy was at Alton College for four years. She successfully completed a Level 2 course in  Engineering, progressed onto the Level 3 Engineering course and is now completing an Aeronautical Engineering apprenticeship at ATC Lasham.
Andy went on to an Electronic Engineering Degree course at York University.
Kieran successfully completed the course and is now studying for a Foundation Degree in Mechanical & Electronic Engineering at Alton College in conjunction with Portsmouth University.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Alton College directly.

Last updated date: 09 August 2016

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