Higher Education Certificate

Higher Education Certificate

The Higher Education Certificate (HEC) Programme is an intensive programme intended for students who have successfully completed the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) or its equivalent but who may not have attained sufficient grades to enrol for Diplomas or Degree programmes

The Higher Education Certificate provides students to attain basic introductory knowledge and conceptual tools and practical techniques needed in their chosen field of study. For a learner to qualify for HEC must have attained a basic level of higher education knowledge and competence in a particular field or occupation and is capable of applying such knowledge and competence in an occupation or role in the workplace.

It is also intended for teachers with Grade III certificates who would like to upgrade to degree programs as well as students from countries whose secondary school qualifications are not considered equivalent to UACE but permit admission into Higher Education in those countries.

The minimum duration of the HEC  programme is 8 months for full-time students and one academic year for those doing  modular sessions.


The current admission requirements to any higher education programme require at least two principal passes for degree programmes and one principal pass and two subsidiaries for a diploma programme.  Unfortunately, there is no remedial programme for candidates who qualify for UACE but have not scored sufficiently good grades to enrol for degree or diploma programmes.  The only available option is for them to repeat Senior Six or enrol for Certificate programmes using the Uganda Certificate of Education. In addition, teachers holding a grade III take a longer route through a diploma to enrol for the degree The programme is therefore intended to provide an alternative route to join higher education.  

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • UCE or its equivalent and UACE with at least two subsidiary passes obtained in principal subjects or its equivalent. For the avoidance of doubt, a holder of UACE with only one principal pass shall be deemed to meet the admission requirements.
  •  Grade III Teacher’s Certificate
  • Qualifications equivalent to the UACE shall be determined by the National Council in consultation with the Uganda National Examinations Board
  • An ordinary certificate from an institution recognized by NCHE.
  • Students whose foreign secondary school qualifications are not considered equivalent to UACE but permit admission into Higher Education in a foreign country. Such students shall have passed at least five subjects with at least a credit in each of the five subjects. In addition, foreign students whose studies were not conducted in English shall show proof of proficiency in the English Language. The English proficiency centres shall be accredited by NCHE.