Mode of StudyFull-time
Duration1 year full-time
Start dateSeptember 2024
Take your illustration practice to degree level and beyond on our HNC Illustration course.
Using your artistic talent, you'll become immersed in the fast-paced, exciting world of contemporary illustration. Learn illustration disciplines, practices, and theories, and enhance your drawing and making skills to create visually compelling narratives and innovative, dynamic briefs – powered by industry-standard software and equipment.
After completing this course, you can take the second year of BA (Hons) Illustration at the University of Portsmouth, or pursue a career in art, design and illustration – and the wider creative sector.
This course takes place at Eastleigh College.
While studying at Eastleigh College, you can access the University's student support services and community, including study support, the Students’ Union and our library's online resources.
- Enhance your exhibition and presentation skills
- Discover professional practices in illustration, art and design through talks by creative professionals
- Display a selection of your work at a final exhibition and learn how contemporary illustration is distributed
- Be taught by teaching staff with professional experience as illustrators and digital media specialist
HNC Illustration requirements
- An A level in an art related subject, or Level 3 vocational equivalent (diploma / extended diploma), or equivalent industry experience in a relevant field. All shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview, to which you should bring a portfolio of recent work. This interview will include an admissions test.
- BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – PPP
All shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview, to which you should bring a portfolio of recent work. This interview will include an admissions test.
You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept at UCAS.
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 5.5 with no component score below 5.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Skills and qualities needed for this course
We're looking for students who love drawing, making, thinking and stories, and are fascinated with history and research.
To maximise your potential on this course, you should be:
- Determined to explore ideas in depth
- Able to see the value in experiment and play
- Passionate about creating professional artwork that makes you stand out within the design industry
- A team player and an independent worker
- Keen to meet deadlines and complete set tasks in a creative, dynamic environment
Preparing for this course
To prepare for this course, we recommend reading a few key texts that give you a grounding in critical thinking and ways of seeing, including:
- ‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger
- ‘Disaster Drawn’ by Hilary Chute
We'd like you to arrive with an open mind for discovery and visual adventure.
Facilities and specialist equipment
Our Workshops are ideal for model-making, with high-grade kit for crafting wood, metal, plastics, polyurethane, concrete and plaster works.
Eldon Art Shop
Whether you're studying a creative degree or want to pick up some supplies, our Eldon Art Shop has the materials you'll need for your coursework or project.
Use our screen printing and screen coating rooms for your graphic materials, artwork, and fabric printing, with a host of traditional and digital equipment.
Photography studios and darkrooms
Our extensive photography facilities allow students to put learning into practice and get creative using high-end professional equipment.
Browse student work
Our students approach illustration in distinct, imaginative, and technically resourceful ways. Click on an image below to view it in greater detail.
Elena Gliebute - An Old Man (Sculpture/Model)
Kitty Turner - The Jungle Book (Book Cover)
Stina Finander - Woman with Rosy Cheeks (Sculpture/Model)
A figure of a woman with curly brown hair and dazzling rosy cheeks. She carries a staff in hand and is bedecked with pearls and gold.
Created by Stina Finander.Read less
Careers and opportunities
Completing this course successfully allows you to enter university-level study of illustration and other visual design disciplines. For instance, you'll only need to complete a further 2 years of study to gain a BA (Hons) Illustration degree.
The skills and knowledge you develop could also allow you to advance your existing career or secure your first role in the industry. Areas you could work in include:
- Traditional print-based media
- Digital publishing
- Graphic design companies and agencies
- Animation/model-making industries
Industry work also delivers a range of flexibility not seen in more traditional sectors and the knowledge and skill that you obtain from this course will be applicable to work in small start ups businesses, global multi-national companies, as well as in a freelance capacity.
What you'll study
You'll study modules worth 120 credits.
Modules currently being studied
The core modules you'll take on this course are:
- Introduction to Illustration
- Cultural Studies and Critical Theory
- Line, Colour, Form and Development
- Narrative and Storytelling
There are no optional modules on this course.
Changes to course content
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, course content is revised and regularly reviewed. This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.
How you'll spend your time
We recommend you spend at least 40 hours a week studying for your Illustration HNC. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures and workshops for about 16 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course.
Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Wednesday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
Teaching on this course includes:
- group critiques
This course has a practical focus, covering the traditional and digital technologies used by professionals.
You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.
For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.
How you're assessed
You'll be assessed entirely through coursework on this course.
The academic year runs from October to May with breaks at Christmas and Easter.
- October to January – teaching block 1
- February to May – teaching block 2
Supporting your learning
Even though you'll study your course at one of our partner colleges, you'll still be a student of the University of Portsmouth.
You'll have access to support via video, phone and face-to-face from University teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following University services:
As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- Academic writing
- Note taking
- Time management
- Critical thinking
- Presentation skills
- Working in groups
- Revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.
Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.
You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.
If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.
They'll help you to
- discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
- liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
- access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
- liaise with external services
Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.
The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2024 start)
- UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £6,165 per year
- EU students – £6,165 per year (includes Transition Scholarship; may be subject to annual increase)
- EU and International students – £18,100 per year (subject to annual increase)
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees. So you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £100 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – W221
- our institution code – P80
If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- Speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.