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Art and Design, Media & Performing Arts

Art and Design (Graphic Design Pathway) - Level 5 Higher National Diploma

Start Date: 18th September 2023
Code: PHFB01074


Duration: 2 Years Full-time
Start date: 18th September 2023
End date: 2nd June 2025
Information Event: Yes

Course fees for each year.

  Year 1 Year 2 Total Fee
Fee £2700 £2700 £5400

Fees are payable annually.
The fees for year 2 may be subject to change.

Find out more about eligibility for reduced course fees, payment options and financial support available in our fees and funding page.

Course Content


Graphic Design is one of the largest, and consistently growing specialisms within the creative industries with a focus on visual communication and storytelling through both digital and print media. The role of the Graphic Designer within an organisation is interpreting ideas, producing visually engaging content, and satisfying the needs of both the client and the target audience. The skills developed as a Graphic designer allows you the opportunity to work across a range of specialisms within advertising, editorial, Illustration, product design, tv and film, fashion design, photography and many more.

This 2-year HND course will give you experience in developing imaginative concepts, interpreting client briefs, creating effective layouts, combining text and imagery and using industry standard software to produce professional quality designs with the aim to building an effective and diverse portfolio of work. Within the course we pride ourselves in our direct industry links, working on live projects, National competition briefs and consistent support from the core teaching team of practicing designers. This will allow you to build up a network of professional contacts, to experience dealing with real life clients, and gaining the up-to-date knowledge required to pursue your career in this competitive industry.

Due to the demand in the local design industry, we have had students successfully pursue careers within many well-established design and advertising studios, build successful careers as freelance designers, as well as providing a vital steppingstone to further education. Some of the units within this 2-year course include;

  • Graphic design practices
  • Branding and identity
  • Typography
  • Professional development
  • Photographic practice
  • Art Direction
  • Collaborative projects

The is a great opportunity for individual who want to embark on a highly-rewarding, higher education programme in Art & Design with Graphic Design.


Course Aims

The aim of this course is to equip students with the skills and knowledge to make a successful career within the creative arts industry. This qualification 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 art and design. The pathways of this qualification are intended to provide students with opportunities to explore the creative industries through a focused curriculum that prepares them for further degree-level studies or working in the industry.

Special Features

Over the duration of the course, learners will work on real creative projects for real companies and both external and internal stakeholders. It is also envisaged that students will embark on industrial work placements in year 2.

Assessment Methods

Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals in Art and Design are assessed using a combination of internally assessed centre-devised internal assignments (which are set and marked by centres) and internally assessed Pearson-set assignments (which are set by Pearson and marked by centres). Pearson-set assignments are mandatory and target particular industry-specific skills. 

Course Update

Please note that due to ongoing major campus construction projects courses at Ballymena, Coleraine and Ballymoney may be relocated to alternative suitable locations as required.

  • A BTEC Level 3 qualification in Art & Design or similar.
  • A GCE Advanced Level profile that demonstrates strong performance in a relevant subject or adequate performance in more than one GCE subject. This profile is likely to be supported by GCSE grades at A* to C (or equivalent).
  • Other related Level 3 qualifications.
  • An Access to Higher Education Certificate awarded by an approved further education institution.
  • Related work experience.  
  • An international equivalent of the above.

Where mature students wish to have prior education and/or experience taken into account, in lieu of meeting the full course entry requirements, they should contact the relevant Course Director or Admissions by 12th August, as an application deadline will apply. It is at the College's discretion to consider APEL enquiries after the date stated.


In circumstances where there are more applications for the course than there are places available, the College reserves the right to select candidates from those achieving the highest grades.

  • Graduates from the HND can apply for Direct entry into second year course at many universities in similarly themed qualifications. This arrangement is usually based upon students' final grades and portfolio of evidence generated across the duration of the HND. It should be noted that this progression route is outside the remit, scope and control of the Northern Regional College.
  • HND will qualify the holder for employment in graphic design or broader creative industries.
  • Possible Career Options include Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Freelance Designer, Art Director and Advertising

Trostan Avenue Building
Trostan Avenue
BT43 7BN
028 2563 6221