Art and Design Portfolio NC Level 6

What is special about this course?

This one-year course is based in the inspiring location of the Isle of Skye. Making the most of our landscape, students will learn to work in a range of environments and gain knowledge from experienced tutors and professional artists. With small group sizes and a purpose-built studio in our Portree centre, the learning experience is full of exciting challenges, enabling students to explore a variety of art and design disciplines. These include drawing, painting, sculpture, print-making, digital imaging, textiles and design. The end of the course is celebrated with a full-scale exhibition, managed and led by the class.

The NC is designed to enable students to prepare a comprehensive portfolio of work suitable for submission to higher education courses across the UK, including HNC Contemporary Art Practice at West Highland College and BA (Hons) Fine Art across UHI.

This course suits a diverse range of students including school leavers, those wishing to advance in Higher Education as well those looking to widen their skill set.

The course may run with students working at 2 levels. The college will ascertain which level is best for you at interview after viewing current samples of your work and informal discussion. Students will achieve either: NC Art and Design SCQF level 6 if the required units are successfully completed, alternatively you may study and achieve NQ Art and Design SCQF level 5.

Entry requirements

You should have 3 National 5 passes or equivalent including Art and English. All applicants must present a folio of recent work at Interview. Mature students will be considered on merit.

  • Drawing
  • Printmaking
  • Textiles
  • Colour
  • Contextual studies
  • Art project
  • Sketchbook development
  • Creative 3D artform
  • Exploratory media handling
  • Digital media
  • Personal project 
  • Presentation and preparing for exhibition
  • Embedded development of core and essential skills

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

Each week will comprise of scheduled, connected learning time and flexible learning time. You need to commit to both, but you can choose when to complete flexible learning to fit around work, caring and personal commitments.  Some flexible learning must be done on a weekly basis.

Connected learning is when you learn together with lecturers,instructors,students and others. Connected learning happens at a scheduled time in a practical workshop, an online-classroom, a studio, a specialist classroom, the workplace or in the outdoors.

Flexible learning covers lecturer directed learning and self-directed learning.

Lecturer-directed learning is weekly learning activity, for example:
• posting your idea in a discussion forum,
• completing a quiz,
• practising a task, activity or idea
• watching a video or reading,
• discussing and working on a solution with another student,
• researching and gathering information,
• completing an assignment or project-based task.

Self-directed learning is your decision about further study and focus.  We encourage you to take ownership of your learning and areas of interest. You can ask us to help you to determine areas for further development.

As and when it is appropriate and safe to do so, your connected learning will take place in the Creative Art Studio.  However, during periods of social distancing restrictions, some of your learning may need to move to an online-classroom.  This will include a combination of video conferencing, interactive chat and sharing of presentation slides and other visuals. Online-classrooms provide you with real time interaction, contact and discussion with your lecturer and fellow students.

How long will my course last?

34 Weeks

Where can I study my course?

    • Portree

Start date



Most students have their course fees paid as this is a full time course. Please read our Fees & Funding information pages for more information regarding residency, previous study and bursary rates. Please contact if you have any further questions.

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), with a term-time address in Scotland, studying full time, the course fee is £5,800.

Some of our courses require students to have essential equipment/clothing.

If you are under 18, you are entitled to have essential equipment paid for whether you are entitled to Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) or not. However you must complete an application even if you know that you're not entitled to EMA.

If you are 18 and over and are eligible for a bursary, these costs will be met through your bursary. If you are not eligible for a bursary, you will need to fund these items yourself.


Students may also qualify for bursary funding.

What can I do on completion of my course?

After this course you could consider applying for BA Fine Art (Hons) with other academic partners within the University of the Highlands and Islands or other art and design courses elsewhere. Additional Highers may be required for this level of study.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I wanted to develop my portfolio and become independent in my own learning. It’s challenging and important to work in unfamiliar media and being in a small class meant we were able to share immediate feedback.

We all had very different art styles and have each learned from watching the other. Being surrounded by other likeminded students creates a positive environment.

Logan Edgar

I did Higher Art and Design at school. Art has always been a passion of mine and I have enjoyed taking the year to focus more on building my techniques and creating a portfolio.

I have really enjoyed the broad range of materials and techniques that we use and the creative freedom within a structured learning environment.

I have particularly enjoyed picking up the new skill of printmaking as it has allowed me to explore the tone and texture of my local coastline.

I believe this year will be a lifelong asset that has increased my love of art and seeking inspiration from the area around us while boosting my confidence to be more expressive within my work.

Jessica Jackson

Apply for Art and Design Portfolio NC Level 6

I want to start in 2021/22

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at West Highland College UHI. West Highland College operates 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 age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.