Photography BTEC Higher National Diploma – C7573

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Course Overview

This is the first year of a two-year course and successfully completing the first year will lead to a Higher National Certificate (HNC). Successful progression can lead to entry onto the second year, completing a Higher National Diploma (HND).

The HND Photography at Leicester College is a two-year, vibrant, industry-focused course delivered by highly qualified, experienced staff with the intention to prepare students to enter the world of professional photography. It offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional degree courses with the emphasis on preparing students to work in a commercial environment.

This course takes place at St Margaret’s Campus, where our excellent photography facilities contain darkrooms, professional studios, and digital imaging suites that will allow you to explore and develop your photographic techniques and understanding. Learning takes place through lectures, workshops, live client briefs and via our online environments that you can access remotely to support your learning. The Student Adobe Creative Suite subscription and some photographic materials are included within the course fee.

Successful completion of the first year will result in the achievement of the Higher National Certificate in Photography. This achievement will allow learner registration onto the Higher National Diploma in Photography.

What You'll Learn

Year 1

This multi-disciplinary course aims to provide a comprehensive study of photographic and related skills that meet the creative and commercial needs of the sector with an emphasis on developing freelance practice. Your expertise will be developed through technical instruction, client-led briefs, a grounding in relevant business skills, and practical assignments that are linked to current industrial and commercial expectations.

At the culmination of the course, you will host a group exhibition of your work at a central location; you will be expected to source and negotiate a venue, organise the installation and host a private view. In previous years our photography students have won various national competitions including the MTV, Fujifilm, and Ilford Harman Student Photographer Awards. Former student, Tyrone Williams was the joint winner of the inaugural BBC4 Great British Photography Challenge, and we’ve also had students shortlisted for The Times Young Photographer of The Year and the Association of Photography awards.

Year 1 Units
Unit 1: Professional Development
Unit 2: Contextual Studies
Unit 3: Individual Project
Unit 4: Techniques and Processes
Unit 10: Lighting for Photography
Unit 11: Photographic Practices
Unit 26: Darkroom Techniques
Unit 31: Visual Narratives

Year 2

Following completion of the first year (HNC) you can progress onto the HND where you will complete the following units:

Unit 32: Professional Practice
Unit 33: Applied Practice Collaborative Project
Unit 38: Advanced Photography Studies
Unit 52: Moving Image
Unit 67: Photojournalism
Unit 69: Event Photography

Entry Requirements

Standard entry to this course requires a minimum of 32 UCAS points from a recognised related level 3 qualification in a related subject (i.e. two A2s at grade D, extended diploma PPP, or an Access to HE). You are expected to hold GCSE English and maths at grade 4/C or equivalent. We welcome applicants who do not match standard entry requirements but who can demonstrate the ability to study this subject at university level and who can evidence relevant experience. You will need a portfolio of your work. Following receipt of this work, an interview by phone will be conducted.

A minimum IELTS score of 5.5 is required for non-native English speakers.

How you will be assessed

Units are assessed through the completion of either practical or written assignments that are set in a contemporary, work-related context. The final stages of the course involve the production of a professional portfolio. The work you undertake is negotiable and will reflect your individual strengths and career aspirations.

Assessment is continuous throughout both years for each module. All assessment is summative and contributes to progression and achievement. Design assignments are coursework-based, through sketchbooks, presentations, final garment production with accompanied evaluative evidence. Extended writing skills are assessed in Contextual Studies in addition to the creation of a personal photography blog. An assessment submission schedule is issued when the course commences. Upon successful completion, HND students are awarded either pass, merit, or distinction.

Course Fees

Tuition fees

Total Fees: £6165.00

Additional Costs

Educational trips are not compulsory but encouraged as part of your experience. Previous students have paid up to £450 for an overseas trip. We will refund an external Adobe Creative Suite license and also supply you with the majority of your Photography Project Kit, however please expect to pay for additional or specialist printing and presentation.


If the course is longer than one year the total fees are for the first year only and further fees may apply in future years. All fees are based on a ‘home’ learner status. Please contact us for information on overseas fees.

For more information, please see our course fee disclaimers page.

Learn more about fees

Course and Career progression

On successful completion of the Higher National Diploma (HND), you can gain a BA (Hons) by studying your final year on our Professional Studies (Creative Industries) course, this programme aims to enhance your professional work-ready skills and commercial business knowledge for a successful career in the creative industries, photographic or freelance industry

What Happens Next

Applications must be made through UCAS at using the centre ID L36 and the course UCAS code of PH22 . Due to the nature of this programme, you may also be invited to attend an interview or where necessary, other means of interview (i.e. telephone, web-based, TEAMS) can be arranged.

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