Graphic Design

BA (Hons) - UCA Canterbury - 2019

Learn to create and spread visual storytelling on our BA (Hons) Graphic Design course in Canterbury – you’ll build a theoretical understanding of different techniques and discover how to use them to develop your own projects in areas such as editorial design, motion graphics, book arts, photography and visual narrative.

Using our dedicated studio spaces and benefiting from our strong industry links, you’ll begin to evolve your own style and voice as a designer, undertaking live projects and collaborating on a diverse range of assignments with other members of our uniquely collaborative creative community.

While studying and learning advanced techniques in graphics and design using top-of-the-range software, you will also learn valuable business insight into the world of graphic design, with insider looks into the process of working in the industry.

Our aim at UCA is to launch you into the world of work as a fully rounded, capable graphic designer with a strong understanding of the underlying theory and history. This is reflected in our 80% practical, 20% theory curriculum.

Tutored by a team of experienced professional designers with connections at the highest levels of the industry, our graduates have gone on to work in a multitude of different roles, including graphic and packaging designers, art directors, picture editors, information designers, screen-based designers and more.

Our course enjoys strong links with respected names across the industry. We attract high-profile guest lecturers, with recent visitors including Bruno Maag (typographer), Jonathan Barnbrook (British graphic designer and typographer), Hans Reichert of Baseline magazine, and representatives from companies such as BCMH, Unicorn Press and Thomas Matthews. 

Length of study:

Three years full-time


UCA Canterbury

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Entry requirements:

112 UCAS tariff points

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Next event

20 Feb 2019

Open Day - all campuses

Course details

  • Year 1

    In the first year, you'll be introduced to the University and the technical workshops and facilities available to you. On the course you’ll learn the technical and conceptual skills that will give you a solid foundation from which to explore your areas of specialist activity.

    Introduction to Visual Communication
    You explore how Graphic Design shapes form and content across the spectrum of media, from the printed page to the Internet, and will work to articulate your own personal voice as a designer and artist, while fashioning messages that communicate to various communities and are relevant to contemporary culture.

    Design Fundamentals 1: Image, Type, Print
    You'll be introduced to how different meanings can be constructed through a variety of type and image constellations. You will also learn how these are applied to and affected by different print mediums and formats.

    Design Fundamentals 2: Motion, Narrative, Screen
    Introduces narrative, sequence and interactivity as thematic concepts that can be applied to a screen based design outcome. You will be will be asked to consider how visual language, such as words, images, materials, format and structure can support narrative.

    Visual Theory: Message, Medium, Meaning
    Through the exploration of examples from historical and contemporary practice and analysis of your studio work, a range of topics will be examined. These will include basic concepts in semiotics, the relationship between word and image, the construction of narrative, photographic language, function and expression, culture connotation and myth, subversion and propaganda.

  • Year 2

    The second year focus is on finding your own specialist way of working and you’ll be encouraged and supported to start working more independently. During this year you may also have the opportunity to complete an industry work placement or even study abroad.

    Social and Cultural Contexts
    Encourages you to examine and explore your personal ethics, values and motivation through the production of work for others.

    The Editorial Process
    Consolidates and develops further your creative, graphic, typographic and technical skills.

    Developing Your Practice
    Graphic designers today don't just respond to design problems identified by others, but often instigate themselves visual/design/cultural changes. This unit prepares you for this future role.

    Spatial Practices
    You'll learn how to manipulate spaces to create identities, multi-sensory experiences, and innovative events/exhibitions in a sustainable and environmentally conscious context.

    Study Abroad (optional)
    This optional unit is designed to broaden your educational experience and deepen your understanding of cultural diversity. It will enable you to study within a different cultural context and gain fresh perspectives.

  • Year 3

    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 project. 

    We also offer Year 3 as a top-up year through the internal progression arrangement for students from the Barking & Dagenham Foundation Degree course. It's also open to students from other courses and circumstances, as long as you meet the entry requirements. Please contact us for further details.

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

    Major Project
    This unit provides you with a framework within which to research, develop and realise a major selfinitiated project of your own choosing. It enables you to draw up a written project proposal that effectively and succinctly communicates the key elements of your conceptual, technical, aesthetic and theoretical concerns and intentions. It allows you to develop work that demonstrates a high level of maturity through its clarity and focus and the synthesis of previously learned practical and theoretical knowledge and to describe your level of achievement on the course through the quality of the concept, research and analysis, contextualisation and the application of practical and technical skills. The unit culminates in a presentation of work that provides you with the opportunity to collaborate with others to present work in a form appropriate to purpose and context. 

  • Study abroad

    This course offers the opportunity to study abroad for part of your second year. To find out more about studying abroad as part of your course please see the Study Abroad section:

  • Fees

    Find out all about the fees for studying with us, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to:


This course has dedicated graphics studios for workshops, group and independent working. In addition to the campus printmaking studio there is a dedicated print room for graphics and illustration students with letterpress facilities, large format digital printers and finishing equipment. There are also campus digital media suites with software including: Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro and Autodesk Maya.

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Course connections

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

  • Industry links

    With a staff of experienced professional designers, our course enjoys strong links with respected names across the industry.

    Calling on our connections, we’re able to attract high-profile guest lecturers, with recent visitors including:

    • Bruno Maag (typographer)
    • Jonathan Barnbrook (British graphic designer and typographer)
    • Hans Reichert of Baseline magazine
    • Representatives from companies such as BCMH, Unicorn press and Thomas Matthews.
  • Careers

    Studying Graphic Design with us will give you a highly transferable set of skills which are desirable across a broad range of creative industries.

    Many of our graduates have landed exciting, fulfilling positions, including:

    • Graphic and packaging designers
    • Art directors
    • Picture editors
    • Information designers
    • App developers
    • Web and broadcast designers.
  • Further study

    Others graduates of this course have chosen to continue their progression by studying at postgraduate level.


How to apply - 2019 entry

I am a UK or EU citizen ...

I am not a UK or EU citizen ...

When to apply:

We are still accepting applications for 2019 entry via UCAS - get your application in now.
If applying directly to us, you can apply throughout the year but we recommend you apply as early as possible so you have time to arrange accommodation and visas.

More information:

Go to our how to apply pages

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

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

One of the following:

  • 112 new 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, see more information about IB entry requirements.

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.

International entry requirements

To view the equivalent entry requirements for your country please select it in the list below.

Pick Your Country

Non-UK equivalent qualifications

English language requirements

Your portfolio

For this course we will require you to attend an Applicant Day and bring your portfolio for assessment. We’d like to assess your creative potential, so your portfolio should include completed project work, sketchbooks or blogs and other preparatory or process work, printed outputs, and screen-based work. Further information on how to compile a portfolio and the specific requirements for examples of work to be included will be provided on the Applicant Portal after you apply.

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