Computing HNC

Course code 304G

What is special about this course?

The HNC Computing will provide you with useful foundations for a successful career in computing and technology.

It is a broad-based course which will introduce you to, and develop your knowledge of, aspects of software development, technical support, networking and web development.

Special features

  • You will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to follow a career in technical support, software development and as an IT technician
  • Successful completion of the HNC Computing may allow progression to the second year of the HND Computer Science
  • You can study full-time or part-time to suit your personal and professional circumstances


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 1 Scottish Higher at grade C or above and 3 National 5 passes in appropriate subjects, such as: Computing Science; Mathematics; English; Engineering; Physics; Chemistry; Music; Business Management; or Design and Manufacture OR
  • 1 A level at grade D or above and 3 GCSEs at grade 4 (or C) in appropriate subjects, such as: Computing Science; Mathematics; English; Engineering; Physics; Music; Business Management; Design and Technology; or Environmental Science OR 
  • Any one of the following: NC Digital Media Computing at SCQF level 5 or 6 or a combination of both; NQ Multimedia Computing at SCQF level 5 or 6 or a combination of both; NQ Computer Technologies at SCQF level 5 or 6 or a combination of both; Intermediate 2 Pass in Business, Administration and Computing Studies; SVQ Information Technology at SCQF level 2 or 3 OR
  • a Relevant National Progression Award, such as: Computer Games Design; Cyber Security; Digital Media Production; Mobile Technology; or Software Development; or National Units at SCQF level 5 or 6 combined with any of the above
  • Foundation Apprenticeship ICT: Software Development or Foundation Apprenticeship ICT: Hardware/System Support
  • You may be required to attend an interview
  • Applicants without the standard entry requirements as listed above are encouraged to apply and will be considered on an individual basis

Access routes

  • NC Multimedia Computing
  • PDA in Database Programming
  • CISCO Certified Networking Associate
  • Other courses equivalent to SCQF level 5 or 6 may also be accepted

Year 1 - HNC

Mandatory units are:

  • Computer systems and network fundamentals
  • Developing client and server sided websites
  • Developing mobile applications
  • Professionalism and ethics in computing
  • Programming languages and programming paradigms
  • Team working in computing
  • Troubleshooting computing problems

Optional units may include:

  • Cloud computing
  • Database design
  • Ethical hacking and digital forensics
  • Operating systems
  • Relational databases and SQL
  • Software development testing
  • Software development: applications development
  • Systems development: introduction
  • Web development and publishing web sites

Option units available may vary depending on study location, for more information contact your chosen campus.

How will I study my course?

Additional information for course delivery in 2021-22

From September 2021, it is our intention that physical campuses will be open to all students for access to study facilities, support services and social activities, subject to Scottish Government guidance. Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will continue to review government guidance as restrictions shift and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. From September, where practical and safe to do so, on-campus practical delivery will be prioritised and placements introduced in line with the Scottish Government guidance, including social distancing. Where this is not possible alternative options will be available. The theory elements may be delivered online through a combination of tutor-supported study, video-based seminars and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You can access your online and video-based classes from home however it is our intention to provide on-campus space for individual students where required as far as possible. Further information will be provided by your home campus. You will have an opportunity to attend an online, face to face or blended induction at the start of the course. International students requiring a Student Route visa to study with us must access scheduled classes on-campus.
  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • Evening (subject to demand)
  • You will study by way of face-to-face lectures and tutorials in the classroom

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 1 year
  • Part-time: 2 years

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll College UHI
  • Inverness College UHI
  • Lews Castle College UHI
  • Moray College UHI
  • North Highland College UHI
  • Orkney College UHI
  • Perth College UHI
  • Shetland College UHI
  • West Highland College UHI

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2020-212021-22
Full-time per year £1,285 £1,285
Part-time (per HN credit) £86 £86

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2020-212021-22
Full-time per year £6,720 £6,915
Part-time (per HN credit) £448 £461

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK, including EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2020-212021-22
Full-time per year £7,020 £7,230
Part-time (per HN credit) £468 £482

Part-time study is not open to international student requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact your enrolling college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

On completion of your course you might like to consider a career as a trainee programmer, systems analyst, or database administrator.

Can I progress into further study?

On successful completion of the HNC Computing, it may be possible to progress to the second year of the HND Computer Science, and then to the third year of the BSc (Hons) Computing degree.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I’d previously studied with the university and enjoyed the environment. I found the lecturers more than helpful but also, on a more subject-related topic, loved the highly practical aspect that the course offers. There are only 2 exams (one per semester) and the rest is more development or research. Since development is what I wish to go into, it made so much sense to do a course that heavily focused on the practical aspects and not memory-based exams which are questionable in a world where Google exists.

My favourite aspect of the course is the practicality of developing software, websites or scripts. It’s cool being able to have an idea and go ahead and make it an actual product. The versatility of what we learn (mobile development, web development, application development) also comes into play as you’re not just stuck with one platform.

Jamie Simpson studied on the BSc (Hons) Computing at Moray College UHI campus.

Thinking about computing? Do it! This is the future, this is where job opportunities are going to be. Together, humanity and technology are helping us to advance more rapidly than we can imagine.

There is an emphasis on practical learning combined with the latest innovations in the field to ensure that students are ready to excel in a competitive industry when they graduate.

Dr Ian Barnes,BSc (Hons) Computing Programme Leader.

After completing the NC Computing and Digital Media, I returned to do the HNC Computing. I realised that I was more interested in pure computing. We go into things in a lot more depth. We cover a lot of ground and that makes it more engaging. It’s been challenging for me but I like that and I have enjoyed this year enough to make me want to continue. I have applied to study more advanced computing either at Abertay or Inverness College UHI.

Connor Murphy completed the HNC Computing at West Highland College UHI.

Apply for Computing HNC

I want to start in Jan/Feb 2022 or Aug/Sep 2022

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.