Contemporary Art Practice HNC

UCAS code 209W

What is special about this course?

If you would like to develop and express your artistic side, and even make a career from it, this HNC Contemporary Art Practice will allow you to explore the practice and context of contemporary art through such mediums as drawing, painting and sculpture, with up-to-date topics such as conceptual processes and digital art form.

You will develop your inquiring, analytical and problem-solving skills in tandem with technical and artistic skills, ensuring that you are suitably equipped to turn your artistic talent into a successful career.

Special features

  • You will be introduced to a variety of media, processes and techniques, including: drawing; painting; sculpture; film; and photography
  • Historical and contextual studies will inform and support practical work
  • There is also the opportunity to study modules that develop your personal work and projects, such as portfolio-building and personal development planning
  • It is an imaginative exploration of creative ideas and concepts where you will not be restricted by medium


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

Entry requirements

  • 1 Scottish Highers at grade C or above OR
  • 1 A level at grade D or above OR
  • NC Art and Design OR
  • Foundation Apprenticeship Creative and Digital Media
  • Prospective students without the standard entry requirements as listed above are encouraged to apply
  • We will consider individual competence in art, design or lens-based skills, evidenced by a portfolio of your work, and you will be required to attend an interview
  • This is a Category 2 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required for specific optional modules/unit(s), where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in optional module/unit(s), but an alternative pathway exists to achieve target qualification. For further information visit our PVG scheme webpage


Access routes

  • NC Art and Design

Year 1 - HNC

Mandatory units are:

  • Art and design context 
  • Contemporary art practice: conceptual processes 
  • Contemporary art practice: graded unit 1 
  • Contemporary art practice: introduction to digital artform 
  • Contemporary art: three dimensional practice 
  • Contemporary art: two dimensional practice 
  • Developmental drawing 

Optional units may include:

  • Communication: practical skills 
  • Community arts: visual arts 
  • Life drawing 
  • Observational drawing 
  • Painting: exploratory techniques 
  • Personal development planning 
  • Photography: an introduction 
  • Portfolio production
  • Printmaking and producing print 
  • Public art: introduction 
  • Art practice: collaborative project

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

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • You will study by way of face-to-face lectures and tutorials in the classroom, with practical design work in the studio
  • Assessment is continuous, with external assessment of the graded unit

How long will my course last?

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

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll College UHI - Lochgilphead centre
  • Inverness College UHI
  • Perth College UHI
  • West Highland College UHI - (part-time only)

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?

This course prepares you for a creative career as a practising artist, or as a creative practitioner within community arts, education or galleries.

Can I progress into further study?

You may be able to progress to the:

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Contemporary Art Practice HNC

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2021

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.