Art and Design (Photography Pathway) HNC Level 4

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    One Year

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    September 2019


The Pearson BTEC Level 4 Art and Design (Photography Pathway) HNC is the equivalent to the 1st year of a University Degree and provides a specialist programme of study that covers the technical knowledge, understanding and practical skills relevant to careers in the photography sector.

The purpose of BTEC Higher Nationals in Art and Design (Photography Pathway) is to develop you as a professional, self-reflecting individual able to meet the demands of employers in the creative industries and adapt to a constantly changing world.

The HNC aims to widen your access to higher education and enhance career prospects. The course 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 photography.

What will I do?

The Level 4 Art and Design (Photography Pathway) HNC is made up of four core units, and four specialist units. The focus of the course will be to explore the contemporary photographic landscape alongside developing practical knowledge and ability.

Standard mandatory units for Level 4 include:

  • Professional Development
  • Contextual Studies
  • Individual Project (Pearson set unit)
  • Techniques and Processes

Specialist units for Level 4 include:

  • Lighting in Photography
  • Photographic Practices
  • Darkroom Techniques
  • Communication in Art and Design

Studying the one year HNC will provide units that can be carried forward towards the HND. In this case, the overall grade will be on your HND performance. The course is delivered using a balance between practical and theory. We include e-learning, one-to-one support, events and speakers.

You will have access to Boston College's photography facilities including; photography classroom, two photographic studios equipped with Bowen's lighting, Apple Mac computers with industry standard software installed, digital SLR cameras, alternative processes suite, medium format camera, large format cameras, iPads, film making facilities, darkroom, library, art shop, studio space and computer suites.

Alongside your theory based studies, you will also take part in work experience with both local and national companies.

The entry qualifications for the Level 4 Art and Design (Photography Pathway) HNC are a Merit or Distinction at Level 3 in a related subject, or Access to HE qualification, or an A level equivalent (minimum 80 new UCAS points) in related subjects.

You will also need to have GCSEs in English and Maths at grade 4 (C) or above, or Functional Skills Level 2 and/or minimum IELTS score of 6.

Individual cases will be considered, as well as relevant work experience will also be taken in to consideration if you fall outside of any of the above entry qualifications.

If you are concerned about the above entry requirements alternative courses available are the Level 3 Diploma in Photography or Art and Design.

The Level 4 Art and Design (Photography Pathway) HNC will take you one year to complete. You will attend College for two days a week.

You will also need to undertake around 60 independent study hours per unit within the HNC. This will include reading, and completing the assessment tasks.

The Level 4 Art and Design (Photography Pathway) HNC will cost you £5500.

Fees may vary depending on personal circumstances, please enquire for further information.

You can apply for a student loan to cover the costs of course fees. You may also be able to apply for various grants and loans to support your learning.

Specific advice regarding student loans and other benefits can be obtained from

The careers team based in college can also assist your application. Please contact them via the Information Line on 01205 313218.

Please note that all fees are subject to change.

The HNC in Art and Design (Photography Pathway) is a mixture of practical and academic assessment.

The assessment of Pearson BTEC Higher National qualifications is criterion-referenced and you will provide evidence in the form of written assignments and practical which are assessed against the unit learning outcomes and assessment criteria. Most of the HNC units will be assessed through two assignments with the first assignment covering the theory and the second assignment covering practical aspects of a unit.

All units are individually graded as pass, merit or distinction. A pass is awarded for the achievement of all outcomes against the specified assessment criteria. Merit and distinction grades are awarded for higher-level achievement.

Upon completion of the Pearson Art and Design (Photography Pathway) HNC you can develop your career in the creative industries sector through entering employment, continuing existing employment or progressing on to a full BA (Hons) in Photography.

You may need to buy a start kit of basic art materials. Most equipment will be supplied by Boston College, but some materials may need to be purchased. This will depend on your chosen specialist pathway.

Funding for educational trips may be available, but this will be confirmed on confirmation of trips.

Approx costs:
Books - approx £100
Trips - approx £400
Equipment - approx £200
Kit - approx £50

How to Apply.

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Creating an account is easy, just click ‘Apply for this course’ below.

If you live outside of the UK and would like to apply for this course, please complete the International Enquiry Form.

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You can download our course guide