Visual Communication HNC

Course code 712W

What is special about this course?

Looking to combine your love of design with your interests in technology and communication? Join our dynamic and multi-disciplinary programmes, using state-of-the-art software and printmaking facilities to explore creative tools and techniques relevant to graphic design; photography; design for screen and print; animation and illustration.

Enhance your employment opportunities with live project work in liaison with industry. These courses form the first two years of our BA (Hons) Visual Communication and Design.

Special features

  • Introduction to a breadth of visual communication tools and techniques
  • State-of-the-art software and printmaking facilities
  • Dynamic project briefs aligned to industry standard skills development
  • Opportunities for field trips to enhance your experience
  • 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 OR
  • 1 A level at grade D or above
  • Individual competence in art, design or lens-based skills evidenced by a portfolio of work will be considered
  • Prospective students without the standard entry requirements as listed above are encouraged to apply
  • You may also be required to submit a portfolio and may be invited for an interview

Access routes

Year 1 - HNC

You will study the following modules:

  • Art and design context
  • Visual communication: an introduction
  • Visual communication: graded unit 1
  • Working in the field of visual communication
  • Digital imaging
  • Art and design project
  • Graphic design
  • Illustration
  • Developmental drawing
  • Portfolio production
  • Photography: an introduction 
  • Graphic production for commercial printing
  • Typography

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)

You will study by way of face-to-face lectures, tutorials and remote class sessions, tutorials and practical work in the classroom and design studio.

Students will be expected to supply most of their own materials, approximate cost £350. However, there may be grants available for eligible students to help cover these costs.

How long will my course last?

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

Where can I study my course?

  • Inverness
  • Perth

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) 2023-24 2024-25
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) 2023-24 2024-25
Full-time per year £7,110 £7,110
Part-time (per HN credit) £474 £474

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) 2023-24 2024-25
Full-time per year £7,980 £8,775
Part-time (per HN credit) £532 £585

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


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

Additional costs

Students are expected to fund the materials required for the production of projects and should allow a starting budget of £150 per year for this.

Optional course trips are available in some campuses at a fee of between £300 – £600, dependent upon selected destination.

What can I do on completion of my course?

On completion of your course you might like to consider careers in art, digital media, design, broadcast, graphics or illustration.

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress to the HND Visual Communication.

Is there more information available online?

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You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

I choose UHI as I don’t like larger cities and here felt more relaxed. This course had a good variety of projects which allowed for us to explore different types of visual communications. I have used software that is employers look for designers to have experience with as well as teaching me how to balance and prioritise large workloads. 

I made a lot of friends living in the halls of residence, I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere here and the lecturing staff are great! For me, the best thing about living here is the outdoors. You never need to go too far away to take a break from everything.

Robyn studied Visual communication at UHI Inverness.

Apply for Visual Communication HNC

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2024

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.