Graphic Communication

BA (Hons)

2018 entry

Our Graphic Communication degree at our Farnham campus is far from your average graphic design course – you’ll be a designer by the end of your first year and, after three years, we’ll consider you a design expert in your specialist field.

Through a unique mix of creative discovery and business development, you’ll specialise in your area of interest while also building a strong entrepreneurial skill set. You’ll be perfectly equipped to achieve outstanding success in a highly competitive industry.

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Length of study:

Three years full-time


September 2018


UCA Farnham

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Course overview:

At the start of the course we’ll introduce you to the vast array of avenues within graphic communication – from branding, typography and advertising, to print media, digital publishing and graphic design.

With our academic staff offering their expert support, you’ll explore all areas of the discipline to understand where your strengths lie and decide which vocation you would like to pursue.

We’ll also give you ample opportunity to put your learning into practice with challenging live projects, competitions, and extra-curricular industry placements.

Recent students have designed window displays for Benetton’s flagship stores, worked with Sky on the creation of a new television channel, undertaken live projects for Bestival in conjunction with JDO Raw, and have also had the opportunity to take part in competitions held by D&AD and YCA.

You’ll be encouraged to collaborate, socialise and share ideas within our unique community of creative students, as well as utilise the industry knowledge of our experienced design professionals and tutors.

Our graduates go on to achieve high profile roles with leading names such as Burberry, Harper Collins, River Island, and Sonic, working in areas of graphic communication such as branding, typography, editorial design, graphic design, freelance design, and brand strategy.

Open Days

Register for an Open Day to find out more about this course in person.

Course content - 2017 entry

In the first year, you'll learn the technical and conceptual skills that will give you a solid foundation from which to explore the areas of specialist activity that exist under the broad definition of 'graphics'. With tutor guidance and tuition, you'll also investigate the design process itself, ensuring that creative outcomes are reached through a combination of experimentation and formula. The aim is to produce outcomes that have real purpose and that clearly communicate messages and meaning.

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

Course modules

  • Guiding Principles and Ways of Working

    This unit will focus on the investigation, testing and application of the guiding principles and processes associated with graphic communication. It has three main focal points: typography, creative methodology (the craft of graphic image construction) and the overarching principles of visual communication.

  • Principles in Practice I

    We'll encourage exploration and graphical experimentation with the emphasis firmly placed upon communication. You'll focus on the practical employment of graphic principles as a means of relaying information across a variety of outcomes and media types and formats, i.e. digital and print, mainstream publishing and small press, etc.

  • Principles in Practice 2

    You'll have the opportunity to further develop the application of principles within a broad range of graphic communication outcomes with increasing depth of enquiry and knowledge of contemporary visual communication methods and processes.

  • Visual Communications: Context and Theory

    Through a series of illustrated lectures that introduce a number of key historical and contemporary contextual frameworks for visual culture and communication practices, encouraging you to begin to identify changing relationships between visual culture, communication and wider social and cultural concerns.

The second year focus is on finding your own specialist way of working. This will include (but won't be limited to) information design, publishing and narrative, branding, typography and print media, and digital technologies. Research into the overlap and relationships between these specialist areas will be encouraged, to seek out ways of working that reflect the needs of industry whilst simultaneously exploring the outer reaches of graphic communication.

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

Course modules

  • Specialist Ways of Working

    We'll encourage you to reflect on your achievements so far whilst looking forwards into the second half of the course and beyond, taking control of your design direction and giving your work a real purpose and focus.

  • Publishing and Narrative

    This unit examines the use of story telling within our society and culture as a means of communicating to audiences or consumers. You'll explore the message you wish to communicate and to whom you wish to tell your story - this will determine how you speak to your audience. From this point onwards, you'll consider issues of communication methodology, layout, media and design.

  • Graphic Communication in the Professional Context

    We'll introduce you to the working world of the professional designer and creative practitioner; its primary aim is to help you prepare for your work experience and to give you the opportunity to research the world of current graphic communication practice in a range of related industries and areas.

  • Contextual and Theoretical Perspectives

    We'll help you to position your own practice by recourse to a range of theories, contextual frameworks and critical evaluations, introducing you to a variety of research methods to facilitate independent study towards coherent, self-reflective argument in written form.

  • 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.

The third year will see you achieve a greater level of independence with self-managed research, study and practice, resulting in a final major project and a written dissertation.

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

Course modules

  • External Context

    The design industry has a number of national and international awards created specifically for students including D&AD, the International Society of Typographic Designers and YCN. This unit will offer you the opportunity to work on one of these industry-led student competitions.

  • Final Major Project

    This will give you the opportunity to demonstrate the fluency of your design and communication skills, and to examine a subject or theme in depth through a self-determined and challenging assignment. Your final major project will benefit from your increased understanding of theoretical issues - how these inform and contextualise your practical work, your research skills and your creative/strategic design abilities.

  • Option1: Dissertation

    You'll undertake a substantial period of sustained, individually negotiated research on a subject related to the contextual and/ or theoretical concerns of your discipline or chosen area of practice, towards the provision of structured written argument.

  • Option 2: Combined Dissertation / Critical Reflection

    Two periods of sustained, individually negotiated research on subjects which are likely to be related to the contextual and/or theoretical concerns of your chosen areas of practice, towards the provision of structured argument.

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

Course modules

Course leader

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

Interaction with the industry is fundamental to our degree. We engage with industry through studio visits, work placements, 'live' projects and tasks either set by or co-authored by industry practitioners, as well as international competitions and collaborations. Students regularly win D&AD student awards, such as the Yellow Pencil for Best Packaging Design in 2011.

Our connections include:

  • Barnbrook
  • Boeing
  • Channel 4
  • Dalton Maag
  • Design Bridge
  • Design Museum
  • The Designers Republic
  • Fabrica
  • Fitch
  • FutureBrand
  • Holmes & Marchant





  • Landor Associates
  • Naked
  • MetaDesign
  • Mother
  • Preloaded
  • SEA
  • Sky (television)
  • The Stool Pigeon
  • VCCP.

Graduates from the course have achieved high-profile roles with many leading companies. Just a few of them include:

  • Burberry
  • Harper Collins
  • River Island
  • Sonic.


Our recent graduates have been appointed in areas such as branding, typography, editorial design, graphic design, freelance design, consultancy and brand strategy.

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

How to apply - 2018 entry

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Entry requirements - 2018 entry:

As a leading creative arts university, we want to attract the best and most creative minds in the country – so we take a balanced approach to candidate assessment, taking both individual portfolios and exam results into account. 

That’s why your portfolio is an especially important part of your application to study with us – and we can help. Our academics can offer you expert advice on how to showcase your creative work and build a portfolio that will make your application stand out. More advice on how to create an exceptional portfolio is also available here.

Entry requirements

Along with your portfolio, the standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 280 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level.

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. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

Your portfolio

A portfolio is needed to secure a place on this course. Ideally, this should include sketchbooks, design development journals, drawings and other work demonstrative of media and methods, completed graphic design projects, links to blogs, online design journals and creative activity.

More portfolio advice

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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