Folded pages featuring typography by Adi Floyde for BA (Hons) Graphic Design
UCAS Code
W210
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2019, September 2020

Overview

On this multi-award winning BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree course, you'll bring your creative ideas to life using the latest software and professional tools. You’ll examine the core principles of graphic design, learning how to apply your talent using traditional and digital media.

You’ll develop creative problem solving skills and learn to use design software including Adobe InDesign and Illustrator to give your design work a professional finish. The skills you acquire will enable you to join and contribute to the constantly evolving world of media and design.

A degree in graphic design could open doors to a creative career in areas such as editorial and print design, interactive and web design, motion graphics and specialist typography.

The curriculum on this BA (Hons) Graphic Design course has a strong emphasis on research- and industry-informed design practice. Many of the course lecturers are active researchers and we have strong links with the design industry.

Past students from this course have been shortlisted for The Society of British and International Design, commended in the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA), and have won the You Can Now (YCN) and British Design & Art Direction (D&AD) New Blood “Ones to Watch” awards. Students have also gained membership of the International Society of Typographic Designers, been featured in Digital Arts magazine, Blueprint magazine and Creative Boom, and won designer of the year and the Screening Prize at New Designers.

93% Graduates in work or further study (Unistats data on DLHE 2017)

98% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)

What you'll experience

On this Graphic Design degree course you’ll:

  • Access specialist production facilities to develop techniques like screen printing, letterpress, laser cutting and dye sublimation printing
  • Take Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) qualifications as part of the course – one of our final-year students won the industry-acclaimed UK Adobe Championship in 2017
  • Get an industry perspective from guest speakers – past guests have included Alan Kitching, Mark Ovenden, and industry professionals from design studios FontSmith and SomeOne
  • Be taught by a mix of academic staff and working professionals
  • Have the opportunity to enter international competitions like YCN, RSA, D&AS and achieve membership of the International Society of Typographic Designers (iSTD)
  • Have the opportunity to take part in events like SKY Creative Day
  • Choose whether to do a traditional dissertation or produce a practical project

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry. You can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.

What can you do with a Graphic Design degree?

You could work in many areas of media, including:

  • magazine design publishing
  • branding and design agencies
  • art direction and advertising
  • website design
  • work in the television and film industries
  • further study and research

Graduates from this course have gone on to work with these companies and design studios:

You could also set up your own business or work as a freelancer. Examples of businesses past students have set up include:

What you'll study on this BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

Modules

Core modules in this year include:

  • Introduction to Graphic Design
  • Fundamentals of Design Practice
  • Information Design
  • Screen Design – Motion Graphics
  • Research-Informed Design Thinking
  • Introduction to Visual Culture

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Developing Design Practice
  • Screen Design – Interactive
  • Ethical Design
  • Professional Practice – Identity and Branding

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • Professional Practice – Live Design Briefs
  • Professional Experience
  • Student Enterprise
  • Visual Culture: Visions of the Body
  • Visual Culture: Cult Films and Postmodernism
  • Visual Culture: Design, Style and Identity
  • Visual Culture: Issues of Representation
  • Visual Culture: Technology and the Image

On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Graphic Design Major Project – Research, Development and Resolution
  • Professional Practice – Design Briefs and Competitions
  • Professional Practice – Promotion and Employability
  • Professional Practice - Design Studio Practice

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Visual Culture: Dissertation
  • Visual Culture: Research Project
  • Visual Culture: Research Paper
  • Visual Culture: Research Extended Project

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, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

It was the open day that convinced me, the broad skills range of the previous students and how much the course sets you up for real-life situations. I was also attracted to the course because of the exposure from competitions and external activities.

Lise Fjulsud Easton, BA (Hons) Graphic Design student

How you're assessed

Not a fan of exams? Don't worry – there aren't any on this course. Instead, you can let your designs do the talking.

You’ll be assessed through:

  • project presentations
  • research and developmental work
  • design portfolios
  • written essays or reports

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. Previous students have completed work placements at the head offices of organisations such as Debenhams and Sainsbury’s, and agencies such as Really B2B.

Fancy setting up your own graphic design company on your placement year? You can start up and run your own company for a year as an alternative to a work-based placement.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.

What you can do on BA (Hons) Graphic Design
An interview with BA (Hons) Graphic Design alumnus Sam Barclay

Find out how BA (Hons) Graphic Design prepared Sam Barclay for the graphic design industry, and opened many career doors – including kickstarting a successful visual book, I Wonder What It's Like To Be Dyslexic.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • group critique
  • seminars
  • individual tutorials

There’s an emphasis on practical sessions, a strong studio culture and developing a creative atmosphere that will inspire you.

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Graphic Design degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, tutorials, seminars, practical classes, workshops and supervised studio sessions for about 11 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. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends. There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

Term times

The academic year runs from September to early June with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Extra learning support

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

You’ll have regular contact with your personal tutor in learning activities or scheduled meetings. You can also make an appointment with them if you need extra support.

Student support advisor

In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you’ll also have access to a Faculty student support advisor. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing and refer you to specialist support services.

Academic skills tutors

You'll have help from a team of faculty academic skills tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

Creative skills tutors

If you need support with software and equipment or you want to learn additional skills (including skills not covered on your course), our creative skills tutors provide free workshops, activities and one-on-one tutorials. Skills you can learn include life drawing, film camera operation and video production.

IT and computing support

Computing support staff are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5pm to midnight at busy times of the year.

Academic skills support

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
  • referencing
  • 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.

Library support

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.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.

Entry requirements​

BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

Selection process
  • Applicants will be required to attend an interview.
  • Applicants without art and design qualifications or experience may be asked to submit a digital portfolio in advance of an invitation to interview.

Qualifications or experience
  • 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

Selection process
  • All shortlisted applicants will need to attend an interview. Applicants without art and design qualifications or experience may be asked to submit a digital portfolio in advance of an invitation to interview.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £13,900 per year (subject to annual increase)

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.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

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 £75 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.

You'll need to pay extra printing costs of around £100–£600 on portfolio work.

Material and production costs are around £100–£500 a year.

Any study trips are optional and you will be expected to pay full cost. Optional study trips abroad will cost in the region of £200–£800. UK trips, where offered, will be £50–£150.

Apply

How to apply

To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:

  • the UCAS course code – W210
  • our institution code – P80

You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.

Not quite ready to apply?

Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

To start in 2020 you need to apply through UCAS. You can start your application now and submit it from 4 September 2019.

In the meantime, sign up to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

When you apply, you'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – W210
  • our institution code – P80

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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