NC Art & Design

The National Certificate (NC) in Art and Design at SCQF level 6 is a flexible art and design based programme which provides candidates with the opportunity to develop creative expression by learning an applied range of complementary art and design skills and processes.

The NC provides a coherent and progressive curriculum which can lead to further and higher education, with candidates able to build a portfolio of work. It also recognises and supports skills for industry and employment.

National Certificates (NCs) are designed for full-time delivery over one year (or part-time over two years) and are available through schools, colleges and training providers.

Why deliver this qualification

The NC in Art and Design can be offered on a full-time or part-time basis and some Units can be delivered through open or distance learning. It provides flexibility in the range of options available to candidates, potentially attracting a broader range of candidates to further education.

Who does this qualification suit

The NC in Art and Design is nationally recognised and is aimed at candidates who wish to develop and use a range of traditional and new media approaches for the creation of art and design work, including school leavers and adult returners to education.

This Course has a strong practical focus and offers a particularly wide range of optional Units to allow candidates to specialise in a particular field or area of interest.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre, however candidates would normally be expected to have some knowledge, understanding or skills relating to art and design.


The Course can be a foundation for progression to further study or employment.

Candidates may progress to an HNC/HND in Art and Design, Computer Arts and Design, Contemporary Art Practice, Visual Communication, or 3D Design. Other options include degree courses such as Art and Design, Design Illustration, Painting, and Community Arts.

The NC could lead to employment in the art and design sector, such as design assistant, art/craft shop assistant or art gallery/community art assistant.


Centres with devolved authority are eligible to seek approval through their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact the Business Development Team for guidance in completing the combined CA1/SA1 form.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements as outlined in the guide to approval.

How to assess

Assessment is in the form of practical tasks and assignments which are internally assessed by the centre.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification structure

Group Award code: G96X 46 (72 SCQF credit points)

National Certificate (NC) in Art and Design at SCQF level 6 (464 KB)


To achieve the NC, candidates must complete five mandatory Units, one of four mandatory drawing Units, and six optional Units.

Mandatory Units

Art and Design: Exploratory Media Handling — F5CJ 12
Art and Design: Colour — F5CE 12 Art and Design: Contextual Studies — F5CF 12 Art and Design: Digital Media — F5CH 12
Art and Design: Project — F5CN 11
Drawing Units Art and Design: Analytical Drawing — F5CD 12
Art and Design: Developmental Drawing — F5CG 12
Art and Design: Expressive Drawing — F5CL 12
Art and Design: Life Drawing — F51L 11

Any other information

The NPA in Art and Design: Digital Media at levels 5 and 6 is embedded in the framework for this NC. Candidates who take the appropriate Units can therefore be certificated for both qualifications.

Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) for selected Units are available to download from SQA’s secure website.