Course Info

Higher Education
Art & Design
  • creative

Useful Information

  • Mode of study:

    Full Time

  • Level:


  • Duration:

    1 year

  • Fees:

    £4,800 per year (subject to change) (International students please refer to separate fees information)

  • Awarding/validation body:



Course Overview

HNC Art & Design has 2 specialist pathways, Fashion and Textiles, Photography, Graphic Design, Digital Design and Art Practice.

The purpose of BTEC Higher National Certificate in Art and Design is to develop students as professional, self-reflecting individuals able to meet the demands of employers in the creative industries sector and adapt to a constantly changing world. The qualifications aim is to widen access to higher education and enhance the career prospects of those who undertake them.

This qualification has been designed to meet the needs of the contemporary creative industries. This dynamic and rapidly changing sector of the global economy covers a wide range of subjects, including those of art and design. The pathways of this qualification are intended to provide students with opportunities to explore the creative industries through a focused curriculum that prepares them for further degree-level studies or working in the industry.

Course Highlights

The L4 course is a Full Time Course over 1 academic year.  You will complete 8 Units each worth 15 credits at L4.  On successful completion of the course you will be able to progress onto the level 5 Higher National Diploma in Art and Design at UCC enter employment in the Creative Industries sector such as the fashion industry or continue employment or progress into a university degree.

At Level 4 students will develop a broad knowledge and awareness of key aspects of the creative industries sector through four core units, which includes one unit assessed through a Pearson-set assignment.

The core units are:

  • Professional Development
  • Contextual Studies
  • Individual Project (Pearson-set)
  • Techniques & Processes

Depending on the ‘specialist pathway’, at Level 4, students will undertake a further

three specialist units (related to their Level 4 pathway) from:

  • Materials & Structures
  • 3DPractices
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
  • Pattern Cutting & Garment Making
  • Fashion & Textiles Practices
  • Lighting for Photography
  • Photographic Practices
  • Screen-based Practices
  • Typography
  • Graphic Design Practices
  • Digital Design Practices
  • Media Practices
  • Material Practices
  • Art/Craft Production

The centre can also choose a further optional unit at Level 4 from the following:

  • Packaging Design
  • Ceramic & Glass
  • Fashion Accessories
  • Fashion Collection
  • Printmaking
  • Visual Merchandising
  • Surveying & Measuring
  • Darkroom Techniques
  • Textile Technology
  • Communication in Art & Design
  • Workflows
  • Surface Design
  • Visual Narratives

Career Opportunities & Further Study

Graduates successfully completing the BTEC Higher National Certificate in Art and Design will be able to demonstrate a sound knowledge of the basic concepts of art and design. They will be able to communicate accurately and appropriately and they will have the qualities needed for employment that requires some degree of personal responsibility. They will have developed a range of transferable skills to ensure effective team working, independent initiatives, organisational competence and problem-solving strategies. They will be adaptable and flexible in their approach to Art and Design, show resilience under pressure, and meet challenging targets within a given resource.


The Details

The Higher National Certificate (HNC) is a Level 4 qualification made up of 120 credits. It is usually studied full-time over one year, or part-time over two years. The Higher National Diploma (HND) is a Level 4 and Level 5 qualification made up of 240 credits. It is usually studied full-time over two years, or part-time over four years.

UCC would expect that an HND student would have achieved at least 90 credits at Level 4 before progressing to Level 5 units. This allows for the students to submit the remaining 30 credits at Level 4 while undertaking their Level 5 study.

Students undertaking an HND who fail to successfully complete the full qualification may be awarded an HNC, if their credit achievement permits.

You will be assessed by completing written assignment work to show understanding of theory and projects and completed art and fashion exhibitions and displays which will show understanding of theory into practice.

You will also benefit from opportunities for deeper learning, where you are able to make connections between units and select areas of interest for detailed study. In this way BTEC Higher Nationals provide a vocational context in which

students can develop the knowledge and academic study skills required for progression to university degree courses, including:

  • active research skills
  • effective writing skills
  • analytical skills
  • critical thinking
  • creative problem-solving
  • decision-making
  • team building
  • exam preparation skills
  • digital literacy
  • competence in assessment methods used in higher education.

To support you in developing these skills in your students, we have developed a map of Higher Education relevant transferable and academic study skills.

BTEC Higher Nationals consist of core units, specialist units and optional units:

  • Core units are mandatory
  • Specialist units are designed to provide a specific occupational focus to the qualification.
  • Required combinations of optional units are clearly set out in the tables below.

All units are usually 15 credits in value, or a multiple thereof. These units have been designed from a learning time perspective, and are expressed in terms of

  • Qualification credit value: a minimum of 120 credits. This is made up of eight units, each with a value of 15 credits.
  • Total Guided Learning (GL) Higher National Certificate (HNC) = 480 hours
  • There is a required mix of core, specialist and optional units totalling 120 credits.

Some examples of activities which can contribute to Guided Learning include:

  • Classroom-based learning supervised by a tutor
  • Work-based learning supervised by a tutor
  • Live webinar or telephone tutorial with a tutor in real time
  • E-learning supervised by a tutor in real time
  • All forms of assessment which take place under the immediate guidance or supervision of a tutor or other appropriate provider of education or training, including where the assessment is competence-based and may be turned into a learning opportunity.

Entry Requirements

BTEC Diploma at Level 3 or equivalent in an appropriate area; or

A Level profile which demonstrates strong performance in a relevant subject area; or

Other related Level 3 qualifications; or

An Access to Higher Education Certificate awarded by an approved further education institution; and

A GCSE at grade 9-4/A*-C (or equivalent) in English and Mathematics; or

English and Mathematics assessed at Level 2 or above by College assessment.

Mature applicants may be considered on relevant experience without having the required entry requirements. However, an interview will always be required.

How To Apply

Use the below link to apply for the above course.