HNC Creative Practice

Start Date
Course Course
Media, Photography & Journalism
Hillsborough Campus

About this Course

Our contemporary and highly creative one year Higher National Certificate in Creative Practice is tailored specifically for those students who have studied either photography, film making or graphic design at either A Level or on a Level 3 technical qualification, and who now wish to go on the study the subject of their choice at a higher education level. This qualification is the equivalent to year one of a three-year Bachelor (Hons) Degree.

Key Units

This HNC addresses both the historical and contemporary context of creative practice within the photography, film making and graphic design specialisms. Tutors will guide you on how to become exceptional practitioners, by learning key technical skills, developing their own unique style, understanding key aspects of the industry and becoming confident and independent. We endeavour to ensure that our students are prepared for the realities of the contemporary creative industries workplace.

Taught by our highly experienced, industry expert tutors and lecturers, you will utilise the industry standard facilities we have at our Hillsborough Campus, which includes; Mac suites, Wacom tablets, large studios with state-of-the-art Prophoto equipment, TV studio, green screens, DSLR and Medium format stills cameras and Panasonic film cameras.

Our smaller cohorts ensure that you receive significant and essential one-to-one time with your tutors. This enables you to produce a high level of academic work, be creative and gain independence across this essential year of study. Alongside studio and classroom lectures, workshops, seminars and critique sessions, there will be opportunities for external workshops, industry visits, visiting lecturers and guest speakers from across the creative industries. 

This HNC further includes essential visits to galleries and industry each semester. Visits can include but are not limited to: Sheffield Galleries, Bradford Science & Media Museum, The Tate, Open Eye & Another Place in Liverpool, Media City, Manchester and The Photography Show, Birmingham NEC. 

Units that you will study (by pathway) include:

  • Individual Project
  • Professional Development
  • Contextual Studies
  • Techniques & process
  • Lighting for Photography
  • Photographic Practices
  • Location Photography
  • Studio Photography

Graphic Design
  • Individual Project
  • Professional Development
  • Contextual Studies
  • Techniques & process
  • Typography
  • Graphic Design Processes
  • Packaging design
  • Communication in A&D

Film Production
  • Individual Project (Pearson Set)
  • Professional Practice
  • Creative Media Industry
  • Film Practices
  • Film Studies
  • Editing for Film & Television
  • Light and Sound
  • Principles of Photography

Entry Requirements


18+ Foundation Degree. 

19+ Access to HE Diploma in a creative subject.  

Applications from mature students, who do not have the UCAS entry points, but who have the appropriate industry or freelance experience and employer references are also welcome to apply (place offered at our discretion).

All applicants are required to attend an interview and will be expected to present a portfolio of creative work.


  • Presentations
  • Idea development
  • Research led projects
  • Live assignment briefs
  • Work experience 
  • Essays
  • Portfolio of work

Where does this Lead

We aim to provide students with the experience, knowledge and confidence to function in their specialist pathway. For next steps we do offer a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Creative Practice which is a continuation of the work begun on HNC. Completing this can further lead progression on to our level 6 BA Hons (Top-up) Creative Practice course or the opportunity to apply to a top up to a full degree at Sheffield Hallam University.

This HNC is designed to ensure that by the end of year two, students have the skill, knowledge and confidence to enter the workforce either as a member of salaried staff, or as a freelance professional. 

Future Opportunities

A potential career following study could include: 

  • Photographer 
  • Advertising art director
  • Picture editor
  • Film maker
  • Video editor
  • Graphic designer
  • Magazine features editor
  • Teacher
  • Press photographer
  • Photojournalist
  • Camera operator 
  • Art therapist
  • Community arts worker 
  • Digital marketer
  • Media planner
  • Multimedia specialist
  • Museum/gallery curator
  • Digital retoucher
  • Visual merchandiser
  • Web content manager
  • Web designer
  • Gallery curator
  • Archivist
  • Blogger
  • Set stylist
  • Director
  • Assistant director
  • Script writer

Tell Me More

To view the course handbook, click here.

Extra Costs

NB: Trips may incur travel and admittance fees. You will be responsible for paying for your own materials (memory cards, prints for example)

Tell us what you think

Did you get everything you need? Rate the course information we've provided using the stars below.

If you would like to contact us please Get in Touch.