Level 6 Top-Up

This morning Cecilia Holmes, from the Level 6 Progression Team, came into College to talk all the HE Students across the Creative Industries department about the Top-Up year that is on offer at Newcastle College.  It was basically a promotional talk from Cecilia but she provided us with a lot of detail about the Top-Up year and what we should expect from it.


So… All Level 6 work is project lead and it leads to possessing a BA Honors Degree. It’s all about having the knowledge and skills to be a successful practitioner. The Level 6 NCG department like to think of it as the “1st Year of Industry, not the last year of education”. Being part of a Top-Up year allows you to sustain your practice you have learnt from the previous Foundation Degree and helps you make money out of the year.

There are five (5) modules, 120 credits,  in Level 6 and 60 credits is all written work. The other 60 credits is portfolio based. The modules you are given at Level 6 are basically like optional modules. And by that I don’t mean you can choose whether or not you want to do them, what I mean is that you fill your own modules with your own ideas. Every student will have a unique project that they are working on in each module.

How the year is split up…

Proposal Document         – Completed before Christmas
Planning Document         – Completed before Christmas
Practical Work                    – Start producing the goods
Development Portfolio   – Showing how you got to your final piece
Realisation Portfolio        – The goods
Dissertation                         – HELL!


Cecilia then handed over to Andy & Ben who are students currently participating in the Level 6 Top-Up year. Andy is an Animator and he is spending his year creating 10/15 very short animations which build up his portfolio. And Ben is an Illustrator who is using this year to pick a handful of stories and then illustrate them for his project. They both explained what they are doing at this moment in time and both made clear what their intentions are for the remainder of the year. It was interesting to hear from them both as it made me understand how self-directed Level 6 work is. It’s a MASSIVE jump from an FdA to a BA!


If I choose to do the Level 6 Top-Up, there will be an interview process that I must go through. At the interview I have been told I need to bring a few things along to help me along the way and they are;

  • An up-to-date CV
  • Passport Photo (That is a sight for them to see!)
  • Statement of Intent – This will be a side of A4 in which I set out what I think I might be interested on working on throughout the year. Like a wee mini proposal.
  • & finally, my portfolio. This has to be presented to a professional standard and can be displayed in many ways. Physically, Digitally, basically however you want as long as its professional!


In conclusion to this morning’s session, I am happy with what has been said and it has made it much more clear of what happens at Level 6. Before today I didn’t really know what to expect but if I were to opt-in, I know what is expected of me and I now have the chance to prepare. To be honest, I don’t intend on doing a Top-Up year, and even if I did I would have to of started my UCAS Application already. In the next week or so, I must declare for sure my intentions with regards to a Top-Up year as this is my chance now to decide whether or not it is a realistic option.