Graphic Design | 4 Year

BA (Hons)

2018 entry

The first year of this four-year course will introduce you 
to graphic design and, 
upon successful completion, you’ll be able to secure a place on our BA (Hons) Graphic Design course without further application or interview.

Our BA (Hons) Graphic Design course at UCA Epsom is ambitious, student-led, focused, and fosters strong connections between practice, theory and industry. Our philosophy of Graphic Design is thinking through making, and our course adopts a practical and hands-on approach to the ever-expanding discipline.

Based on London’s doorstep, you’ll be ideally situated to take inspiration from one of the world’s foremost creative hubs.

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Length of study:

Four years (Year 0 + three-year degree) full-time

Starts:

September 2018

Campus:

UCA Epsom

UCAS code:

W214

UCAS institution code:

C93

UCAS campus code:

E

Course overview:

Our BA (Hons) Graphic Design course at UCA Epsom is ambitious, student-led, focused, and fosters strong connections between practice, theory and industry. Our philosophy of Graphic Design is thinking through making, and our course adopts a practical and hands-on approach to the ever-expanding discipline.

You’ll take a conceptual approach to the art of visual communication, learning both analogue and digital skills such as typography, moving image and social design, within an encouraging and inspiring environment.

Taught by a core team of practising industry professionals and supported by a broad range of visiting lecturers, you’ll have access to our full range of top-class facilities – these include letterpress, screen-printing, an Arduino maker space, and a fully-equipped computer studio with Macs and the latest design software.

Through the first year you can expect to gain all the skills and knowledge you need to establish a critical practice and enable you to specialise within your areas of interest from the second year onwards.

You’ll participate in bespoke live project briefs and studio visits to begin networking with some of the most influential names in graphic design.

Our graduates have gone on to forge successful and rewarding careers for themselves across a range of industries in roles such as editorial design, advertising, interactive design and branding.

Our team of experienced lecturers have years of experience and connections meaning that you’ll have the opportunity to network and learn from distinguished names and take advantage of industry links with the likes of Eye Magazine, Baseline Magazine, and The Typographic Circle.

Course content - 2018 entry

Year 0 provides an early entry point to the course and is specifically focused upon graphic design, offering an alternative to a Foundation Diploma. The year enables you to explore and experiment with a range of tools, methods and processes, to begin developing a portfolio of work.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Accessing Thinking

    In this unit you’ll be introduced to the tools required to allow you to explore the fundamentals of graphic design practice. These tools include (but are not limited to) conceptual and theoretical methods, research processes, and making.

    Through a series of thematic projects, task-based workshops and seminars, you’ll adopt a practice-based approach that enables you to experience different aspects of the discipline, both digital and analogue. Underpinning this practical approach is an exploration of the professional and academic contexts that define the subject, through a series of written assignments. Within this unit, in addition to furthering your own independent practice, you’ll have the opportunity to undertake a collaborative project with other students and/or external partners.

  • Accessing Making

    In this unit you’ll be introduced to the software and methods of production which you’ll need to practice the fundamentals of graphic design.

    Through a series of thematic projects, task-based workshops and seminars, you’ll adopt a practice-based approach that enables you to experience different aspects of the discipline, both digital and analogue. Underpinning and working in conjunction with this practical approach is the initial exploration of the professional and academic contexts that define the subject – through a series of written or equivalent format assignments.

  • Accessing Professional Practice

    Through this unit you’ll undertake an investigation into the different aspects of graphic design practice, though undertaking research and participating in discussions, presentations and workshops that explore a range of historical and contemporary practitioners.

During the first year of the course, you’ll be introduced to a range of practices and theories that underpin the discipline of graphic design. Through projects, workshops and written assignments, you’ll be encouraged to develop a critical, rigorous, and experimental approach to developing work. Additional emphasis is placed upon acquiring technical skills through taught inductions in both digital and analogue processes.

Theory is embedded within broader units and alongside your practice-based projects – you’ll undertake a rigorous investigation into the associated social, economic, political and cultural contexts of the discipline through a series of written assignments.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Developing Thinking

    In this unit you’ll further your existing knowledge and understanding of the tools you need to explore the fundamentals of graphic design practice. These tools include (but are not limited to) conceptual and theoretical methods, research processes, and making. This is delivered through a series of thematic projects, task-based workshops and seminars. Within this unit, in addition to furthering your own independent practice, you’ll have the opportunity to undertake a collaborative project with other students and/or external partners.

  • Developing Making

    In this unit you’ll broaden your understanding of the software and methods of production required to enable you to practice the fundamentals of graphic design. Through a series of thematic projects, task-based workshops and seminars, you’ll work on gaining a broad range of skills which will allow you to develop your work.

  • Platform Rotation

    This unit is a rotation of areas of practice that enable you to prepare for specialised practice within Level 5. You’ll undertake a range of projects, workshops and assignments that encourage you to explore aspects of the discipline in depth.

During your second year of study, you’ll have the opportunity to specialise within chosen aspects of the discipline. You’ll select two units from a range of platforms that will allow you to cover areas of interest in greater depth, through a range of practice-based projects and skills workshops.

Theory is embedded within these units, and alongside your practice-based projects you’ll undertake a rigorous investigation into the associated social, economic, political and cultural contexts of the discipline through a series of written assignments.

Alongside the two platform units, you’ll undertake a work placement. This is structured to help you gain practical, professionally focused skills, and to develop your portfolio and CV. It culminates with a ten-week placement of your choice.

Also, you’ll have the option to take part in the Study Abroad programme during your second year of study, providing you with the opportunity to study at one of our worldwide partner institutions for the second half of the academic year.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Option 1: Platform: Design Laboratory 1

    This optional unit provides an experimental space to explore ideas around the periphery of what is traditionally understood as graphic design. It’s an opportunity to challenge current practice and develop an approach for the future. Your practice may be grounded within a broad context, for example ecological, economic, social, religious, political, or technological. You’ll investigate a range of techniques that enable you to question the discipline, and explore radical and new approaches to design that re-imagine the present.

  • Option 2: Platform: Information 1

    Information design can be defined as the ‘design of understanding’. Everyday, vast amounts of data influence the way we live our lives and how we see the world around us. As designers, we have the ability to shape our world. For information to have impact, it must be easy to find, simple to use, instantly understandable and designed. Through this unit you’ll explore the practice of presenting information and data in a way that is efficient and easily understandable.

    Information design can be designed for static, motion or interactive methods and platforms. It transforms information into experiences through design, encompassing sound and moving image design, animation, interactive data visualisation, and experience design.

  • Option 3: Platform: Interaction and Interface 1

    Interface design necessitates an understanding of the process of information transmission between people – as well as between people and the world. Through this unit, you’ll be encouraged to explore communication theory and practice. Through an exploration into broader social, economic, political and cultural contexts, you’ll investigate the roles of interface design in relation to the human user. It’s a practice-led, experimental unit focusing on the relationship between people and designed objects and experiences.

    Through a range of projects, you’ll explore critical ways of thinking about and questioning design within digital media and interactive design practices, developing skills and practices for interface and interaction design careers – such as web and mobile media. You’ll have the opportunity to explore cutting edge technologies alongside a wide range of design-based media and creative coding tools, design prototyping and physical computing.

  • Option 4: Platform: Typography 1

    Typography and language are one of the key cornerstones of communication design, working across all media platforms, from print to screen. Typography and the printed word are the basis of how we have recorded history, and provide a starting point in the discussion of how we’ll record the future.

    This unit allows you to explore typography as a practice in its own right, and as a vehicle for communication and language. You’ll undertake projects across a range of platforms and will be encouraged to take an experimental and critical approach to their development. You’ll develop a technical understanding of aspects of typographic practice, and also interrogate the transferrable skills which can be applied within other disciplines, such as the use of space, narrative, editing, hierarchy and layout.

  • Work Placement

    This self-initiated unit will prepare you to undertake a ten-week industry placement which will help you gain work experience within the graphic design industry – in the areas that are of personal interest to you.

    Before you start your placement, you’ll have the opportunity to reflect upon your interests, strengths, weaknesses and career ambitions. The first half of the unit will focus upon verbal communication skills, written communication (letters, business emails), presentation skills, mock interviews, assertiveness, and negotiation. The focus will be placed on the development of a professional CV and design portfolio in preparation for the placement.

    The placement will start during the second half of the unit. Throughout the placement/s, you’ll keep a reflective journal in preparation for your critical report – to be presented at the end of the unit.

  • Study Abroad (optional)

    This optional unit is designed to broaden your educational experience and deepen your understanding of cultural diversity, enabling you to study within a different cultural context and gain fresh perspectives.

During the final year of the course, you’ll undertake a further two platform units which you’ll choose from a selection of four. These may be the same and build upon projects and methods of working that you’ve investigated during the second year, or you may choose to explore different options. In addition to these units, you’ll begin to synthesise your practice through the Creative Research and Practice Unit. This unit involves the research, development, and construction of a major self-directed research and design project. This will take into account the knowledge, understanding, skills, experience, and interests that you’ve gained over the duration of the course – resulting in a 6,000 word written dissertation that will form the content of a design project.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Option 1: Platform: Design Laboratory 2

    The unit provides an opportunity to further investigate contradictions in the present that radically shape the future context of many areas of design – which may be ecological, economic, social, religious, political, or technological. You’ll investigate a range of techniques that enable you to question the discipline and explore new approaches to design that re-imagine the present, through a series of practice-based explorations.

  • Option 2: Platform: Information 2

    This unit allows you to explore information design in greater depth. Through this unit you’ll explore the practice of presenting information and data in a way that’s effective and easily understandable, developing complex projects that propose solutions to a range of design problems.

  • Option 3: Platform: Interaction and Interface 2

    This unit allows you to explore interaction and interface design in greater depth. Through a range of projects, you’ll explore critical ways of thinking about and questioning design within digital media and interactive design practices – mastering skills for interface and interaction design. You’ll have the opportunity to further your knowledge of cutting-edge technologies alongside a wide range of design-based media and creative coding tools, design prototyping and physical computing.

  • Option 4: Platform: Typography 2

    This unit allows you to explore typography in greater depth, as a vehicle for communication and language. You’ll undertake projects across a range of media and will be encouraged to take an experimental and critical approach to their development. You’ll master a technical understanding of the aspects of typographic practice which relate to the development of your personal visual language.

  • Creative Research and Practice

    This unit involves the research, development and construction of a major self-directed research and design project. This will take into account the knowledge, understanding, skills, experience and interests that you’ve gained over the duration of the course. Here, the theoretical and practical are entirely intertwined, and you’ll be encouraged to develop an experimental approach to both – using research to inform practice, and practice to inform your research, so that you develop an original and innovative approach to both.

    Your tutors will support you as you develop a rigorous project that brings together your knowledge of key practitioners, theories and developments related to the project’s subject area. You’ll be encouraged to take risks with both the way you think about your subject, and the way you explore your own practice.

    Through workshops, tutorials, and formative critiques, you’ll:
    - Create a project framework
    - Develop your practice and research in terms of this framework
    - Develop a substantial body of written work (totalling 6,000 words)
    - Develop a substantial body of practical work
    - Produce a final submission that brings together your written and practical work.

International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

Our team of experienced tutors bring with them years of expertise and contacts from a number of companies and industries, allowing students the opportunity to network and learn from some distinguished names, including:

  • Eye Magazine
  • Baseline Magazine
  • Vaughan Oliver
  • Why Not Associates
  • Spin
  • Lucienne Roberts
  • David Pearson
  • The Typographic Circle
  • The Design Museum.

We pride ourselves on nurturing creative, resourceful, rounded and hardworking professional designers. Recent graduates have gone on to work in a wide variety of roles, in areas such as:

  • Editorial design
  • Advertising
  • Web design
  • Publishing
  • Interactive design
  • Branding
  • Information Design.

You may also like to consider further study at postgraduate level.

How to apply - 2018 entry

Looking to study in 2017?

It’s still not too late to apply for September 2017 entry. Find out how to apply by following this link…

Entry requirements - 2018 entry:

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 64 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 160 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UALAB Extended Diploma
  • 64 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2)

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance, and who were expected to achieve higher results.

Your portfolio

For Year 0 entry no portfolio is required. However, if you do have a general portfolio or examples of work which you would like to bring with you to interview, we would love to see it. We will require you to attend an Applicant Day which will include an interview. This will also give you the opportunity to visit us, meet the course team and see the facilities.

Fees & finance

Uncover all the costs involved, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations.

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