All FAQs

How long will it take me to get a degree?

For the majority of our honours degrees, it usually takes 3 or 4 years depending on whether you have chosen to study full-time or part-time. The length of a Foundation degree varies between 2 years and 3 years, with a once a week attendance requirement. Your initial advice interview with a Support Tutor will inform you of the particular details for specific degrees.

Can I afford to study for a degree?

Full and part time students from England do not have to pay their tuition fees upfront. If you are studying for your first degree or higher education course you can get a Government loan to cover your tuition fees.

You will begin to repay your loan in the April which falls four years after the anniversary of the start date of your course, even if you are still studying. But you will only make repayments if you are earning over £21,000 a year. If your course is shorter than four years, you will start to repay your loan from the April after your course has finished.

You will then repay 9% of your income above £21,000. The amount you repay depends on how much you earn, e.g. if your salary was £25,000, the 9% would apply to £4,000, meaning you would pay only £30 per month.

Repayments will be deducted from your salary through the tax system and any outstanding balance will be written off after 30 years.

For more information please discuss your options fully with a Support Tutor and check out for up to date details about student support.

When can I start?

Most of our degree programmes begin in late September / early October but some course may start in January or April. Please check with the University Centre for more information about this.

I've heard Holy Cross is a Catholic College. I have a different religion/no religion. How well would I fit in?

You will be made extremely welcome at Holy Cross. We encourage diversity, accepting and valuing all beliefs. We offer excellent facilities and a friendly, supportive environment for staff and students of all faiths and from all walks of life. The College provides the opportunity for each person to develop spiritually, morally and intellectually and welcomes students and staff of all faiths.

How do the facilities compare with studying at a main university campus?

Holy Cross offers excellent IT facilities and support which are available both in quality and quantity and these are available for use by students in the daytime and evening (Monday to Thursday).

We also have a well-stocked, modern Library and via the internet, we offer access to the library facilities at all our partner universities.

Students are also offered excellent pastoral support.

There is a coffee shop at Holy Cross which is open in the evenings from 3.30pm - 8.15pm. The coffee shop provides hot and cold drinks, hot and cold sandwiches, paninis, soup and specials of the day.

I'm not sure if I have the necessary qualifications to study for a degree, so can I still apply?

As part of our support system, we prefer to invite all potential students in for an informal discussion (Initial Advice) about their course choice, enabling the Support Tutor to best advise them, so that students join the course most suitable for their ambitions and aspirations.

Many students may have been out of education for a while, or have no formal qualifications. The Initial Advice enables Support Tutors to look for a student's potential to succeed at degree level. To that end, an alternative student entry paper may be appropriate for certain courses for applicants with related skills and experience.

For those who need extra study experience, it is worth considering an Access to Higher Education programme at a local further education college, Learn Direct National Tests in literacy and numeracy or GCSE equivalency tests in English, maths and science. Edge Hill equivalency tests are offered at Holy Cross (subject to numbers). Support Tutors will give further advice about suitable preparation study.

I am nervous about returning to learning. What support will I get?

At Holy Cross, we pride ourselves on the proactive support we offer to our students. You will be assigned a Support Tutor who will provide you with support, help, guidance and encouragement throughout your studies. Your academic subject tutors will also provide an appropriate level of support. Sharing the learning experience with other students will also help develop your skills and confidence.

How can I find out my career options when I have completed my degree?

Each of our partner universities has a career's service that you can contact for advice.
Edge Hill University -
Liverpool Hope University -
Newman University College -

How much time will I need to commit to study?

This tends to vary from individual to individual depending on your own learning style and skills. However, on average for part time study, as well as attending the taught sessions, you would be expected to complete 12 - 15 hours of independent study per week. For a full time course the expectation would be 30 - 35 hours study per week.

I am anxious about returning to academic study. How can I get help with this?

Lots of degree students are concerned about academic writing simply because it has been a long time since they have studied, so they lack the confidence or they have never been taught how to write in an academic style and lack the necessary skills, such as time management, researching, reading and note taking, structuring an essay and other relevant techniques.

Holy Cross University centre offers pre - course and on-course study skills and entrance preparation sessions which we recommend students attend if necessary.,

Who teaches on the courses?

Academic tutors from each of the universities travel to Holy Cross to deliver your programme.

Who studies at Holy Cross University Centre? Will I fit in?

Studying at a local centre like Holy Cross gives people of all ages and backgrounds, who may have work and family commitments, opportunities to continue learning and to develop personally and/or change their careers. All our staff are very friendly and make everyone feel welcome and at ease, so no-one has any reason to worry about embarking on a course.

How do I apply/find out more?

Contact Holy Cross University Centre on 0161 762 4513 to discuss your options with a Support Tutor or email

Do you offer places to students from outside the area?

Absolutely. Many students from schools outside of Bury currently study at Holy Cross and made a very full contribution to the College.

Do I have to be Catholic to come to Holy Cross?

The majority of students studying at Holy Cross are not Catholics. The College is looking for students who are committed to their subjects and the nature of the College itself and who look to make a full contribution to this environment while they are with us.

What if a student is ill?

We would prefer that all absences are reported by telephone on the day of the absence. Please ring Student Services on 0161 762 4523 or 0161 762 4500 option 4. If there is no reply you can leave a message quoting the student's name, pin number and the reason for the absence and this will be recorded. If you are unable to contact College on the day you can telephone or send a note in up to a working week after the absence. If we have received no notification after one working week the absence will remain unauthorised.

What if a student has a medical appointment?

College would ask that where possible all medical appointments are made when the student does not have a timetabled lesson. Please try to give Student Services 24 hour's notice (phone call from parent/carer will suffice). However, in cases where it is an emergency and it is not possible to give 24 hour's notice, then Student Services will require sight of an appointment card or note from the hospital/doctor/dentist/orthodontist's receptionist confirming the student's attendance so that this may be authorised.

Who do I contact if I have any concerns regarding a student?

The first person to speak to is the student's Progress Tutor. The direct numbers for the tutors can be found on the 'Policies and Documents' page here: Policies and Documents  If you would prefer to speak to the College Safeguarding and Pastoral Manager please ring 0161 762 4537.

I need a letter confirming that a student is a full time student at college for council tax, child benefit purposes etc.

Please either ask the student to request a letter from their Progress Tutor or contact them directly via the details on the 'Policies and Documents' page here: Policies and Documents. A text will be sent to the student when the letter is ready for collection.

What grades will I need to be offered a place?

Currently the minimum requirement to start an advanced level course is 5 grade 4s at GCSE or equivalent (any vocational subject will count as no more than one towards this) and must include Maths or an English. To begin a 4 A Level course the tariff is higher. Please also check the entry requirements for specific subjects.

How do you prioritise applicants?

Due to its distinctive religious character, Holy Cross gives preference in principle for its non-vocational admissions to Catholic students, but we warmly welcome applications from students of all faiths, and in practice we have a very balanced and mixed student population in this regard.

In offering places we take into account:

  • Your application form;
  • The interview, which will concentrate on the course you have chosen and whether Holy Cross is suitable for you;
  • Information which high schools provide us with;
  • The school attended by the student;
  • The date of receipt of the application form, if after the closing date.

Do students take 4 A Levels in year 12?

The majority of students now take 3 A Levels, however, they can take 4 if this is felt to be an appropriate course for them. The final course agreed at enrolment will reflect appropriate advice from staff and will take into account the students' GCSE results.

Do all students drop one subject at the end of year 12?

In line with recent Government changes students in the main start on a course of 3 linear A levels and continue these for two full years with exams at the end of the second year.  There are no AS levels with exams at the end of Year 12 anymore.

Can I study an A Level that I haven't studied at GCSE?

Very often you can but this very much depends on the subject in question. Please check the specific entry requirements for the subject of interest.

What advice would you give students wishing to study Maths & Science at A Level?

Are you good at these subjects? Do you enjoy the content? Are the skills required ones you feel you have and are competent in? Be sure they are subjects you wish to study. It is crucial you make a choice that is best for you and not one that results from ‘advice' or ‘pressure' from family or friends.  Please check the specific entry requirements for the subject(s) of interest.

Can I choose a combination of subjects?

Essentially, yes you can but you need to give thought to breadth. Too narrow a combination may create issues for you later. Do consider the advice you will receive at various stages of the application/enrolment process.  Certain University courses will ask for specific subjects.

What happens if I am offered a place and don't get the grades I need?

Talk to us about your options. We offer a range of alternative courses to advanced level and would want to discuss these with you in detail. Please ensure you still attend your enrolment appointment so that we can have this discussion with you.

Can I study BTECs with A Levels?

Certainly you can and students often do. Your options will be discussed in detail during application and enrolment.

How long is the College day?

Currently the College day starts at 8.40 am and final lessons finish by 3.45 pm Monday to Thursday, lessons finish at 2.15 pm on a Friday. What time you actually start and finish on any given day will depend on your timetable but will not be outside these times.

What can I do in my free time?

Many things! We offer a huge range of enrichment activities and are proactive in encouraging students to take part in these. In addition, your non-contact time can be used for study, research and accessing appropriate support. Establishing a good balance in the use of this time is key to benefitting fully from your time at Holy Cross.

How do I get my A Level results?

The main summer results will be available to collect in person at college from 8.00 am on Results day, they can also be obtained by the student logging into their intranet area later that morning. Students can view and print out a full Statement of Results at this time. Results issued for other exams taken throughout the academic year are provided in paper format from the Exams Office.

How do I obtain my certificates?

On receipt from exam boards, student certificates are stored by the Exams Office. Certificates can be collected and signed for by the student or their authorised representative, or posted home on receipt of payment to cover Recorded Delivery postage. Certificates are stored by the College for a maximum of 5 years after which they are confidentially destroyed.

Is there financial assistance available?

We are committed to providing support for our students and ensuring that financial hardship is not a barrier to education and academic success. Students can apply for the 16-19 Bursary Fund which will give them a fortnightly payment towards the costs of trips, books and equipment.

Can you offer help with transport and transport costs?

The 16-19 Bursary Fund can offer help towards the costs of transport to College.

Who qualifies for the 16-19 Bursary Fund?

There are 3 categories to the bursary fund:

  • Cat A for vulnerable students
  • Cat B for those students who have a total household income below £16,190
  • Cat C for those students in financial hardship and paid at the discretion of the college.

How do I apply for the 16-19 Bursary Fund?

Bursary application forms will be made available during the enrolment process. You can also collect an application form from the College's Student Centre or call the college main reception on 0161 762 4500 for further assistance. Details of the Bursary fund can be found on the Government's website