HNC/HND Sound Production

Higher National Qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Sound Production (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in sound production and related technological disciplines. The Higher National Diploma (HND) in Sound Production (SCQF level 8) builds on the knowledge and skills of the HNC to cover the development of proficiency in the creative use of sound production technology and applications.

This qualification covers areas such as key sound production skills, techniques and standards, critical listening skills, creative listening skills, and the practical and creative application of these skills and knowledge areas across a range of sound production contexts.

This qualification is available through colleges, training providers, and some universities. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete and an HND takes two years.

Subject updates

HN Music, Music Business and Sound Production Webinar

Online webinar sessions help teachers and lecturers develop their understanding of the new Higher National Music, Music Business and Sound Production frameworks to be implemented from session 2018/19.

The following optional guidance can be used to support delivery and assessment as an alternative to the approaches outlined in the Group Award / Unit specification.

Optional assessment guidance 2023-24

Higher National Qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities, and industry ¿ so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The unit-based structure supports flexibility. A unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

There is a wide choice of optional units which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet learners' needs.

These Higher National Qualifications provide progression routes to further study (see Progression).

The HNC and HND in Sound Production are suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • people who wish to start their own business

The Higher National Qualifications are designed for those interested in pursuing a career in sound production and who wish to develop the knowledge, creative, and technical skills required.


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • strong interest in sound production
  • appropriate groupings of National Units
  • Higher (SCQF level 6) in Music Technology and/or Mathematics or Physics and English (SCQF level 6) or a language-based subject such as Economics, History or Modern Studies, along with three National 5 passes or equivalent
  • National Qualifications (SCQF level 6) in Electronics, Music, Media Studies or other relevant technology and/or related area
  • relevant experience

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications, and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.

Progression and employment

The HNC and HND in Sound Production are designed to be of value to learners who hope to progress to employment or further study. Learners who achieve an HNC in Sound Production can progress to the HND in Sound Production, to the first or second year of a relevant university degree, further study, or to employment (eg in sound engineering).

Learners successfully completing an HND in Sound Production could progress to relevant degree programmes, such as:

  • BA Commercial Sound Production
  • BA Sound Design
  • BA (Hons) Audio Engineering
  • BSc (Hons) Music Technology
  • BA (Hons) Sound Design

There are employment opportunities in a range of sectors within the sound production and audio industries, including:

  • sound engineer (music, broadcast, new media, live sound, conference)
  • sound designer (multimedia/TV/film/games)
  • programmer (in the context of music production)
  • audio technician (broadcast, studio, conferences, and events)

Centres interested in offering this qualification are required to come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide. The specific delivery requirements are set out in the Group Award Specification (Arrangements Document).

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Assessments are largely practice based, giving learners grounding in key technical, creative, and organisational aspects of the sound production industries. The units are designed to prepare learners for a variety of roles within the sound production industries and to prepare for progression to further study.

HNC in Sound Production

Group Award code: GP13 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

The HNC in Sound Production at SCQF level 7 consists of 6 mandatory units (80 SCQF credit points) and a number of optional units (16 SCQF credit points).

HND in Sound Production

Group Award code: GP16 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

The HND in Sound Production at SCQF level 8 consists of 11 mandatory units (240 SCQF credit points) and a number of optional units (80 SCQF points).

Qualification Verification Summary Reports were formerly known as Internal Assessment Reports.