Graphic Design BA (Hons)

UCA Canterbury - Sept 2021

Length of study:

Three years full-time


UCA Canterbury

Entry requirements:

112 UCAS tariff points

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Course entry options:

September 2021

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UCAS institution code:


UCAS code:


Course overview

Our in-depth and multi-disciplinary approach to graphic design at UCA Canterbury will help you become a skilled visual storyteller and a fully rounded designer with a strong understanding of design theory and history.

We have an 80% practical, 20% theory curriculum, with dedicated studio spaces, exceptional facilities and strong industry links. You’ll evolve your own style and voice as a graphic designer, working on industry briefs and collaborating with students on our Illustration and Animation course.

Your learning will be supported by a range of workshops in techniques such as typography, printmaking, photography, darkroom processes, 3D, letterpress and motion design, and you’ll be tutored by a team of experienced professional designers with connections at the highest levels of the industry.

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Course details

  • Year 1

    Introduction to Visual Communication
    You'll 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
    This unit introduces narrative, sequence and interactivity as thematic concepts that can be applied to a screen-based design outcome. You 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, you'll examine a range of topics. 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. We'll enable you to experiment, find your own style and understand the processes and cultures of visual communication.

    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

    In your final year, you’ll undertake a self-directed research and design project and will create your final major project.

    You’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with your fellow students to present your work, preparing you for a career in industry.

    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
    You will research, develop and realise a major self-initiated project of your own choosing. You'll draw up a written project proposal which effectively and succinctly communicates the key elements of your conceptual, technical, aesthetic and theoretical concerns and intentions. Then, you'll produce a body of work which demonstrates a high level of maturity through its clarity and focus and the synthesis of previously learned practical and theoretical knowledge. You'll also present your work, and this will open up opportunities to collaborate with others, if appropriate.

  • 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 and additional course costs

    Tuition fees
    The course fees per year for 2021 entry are:

    • UK students - £9,250 
    • EU students - £9,250 (see fee discount information)
    • International students - £16,950 (standard fee)
    • International students - £16,270 (full early payment fee)

    Additional course costs
    In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2021 entry.

    Further information
    Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:

    These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.


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 have a full programme of visiting designers and lecturers that give valuable insight into Industry and professional practice such as recent guests Bob and Roberta Smith, Le Gun and Why not Associates.


  • 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.


Apply now

UK applications

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting February 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2021:

International & EU applications

If you are applying for more than one course in the UK please apply via UCAS, to apply direct to UCA please use the links below:

Apply for full-time study - Year 1 - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - Year 2 - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting February 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for this course and other courses in the UK - full-time study - starting September 2021:

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa

If you have another category of visa please contact us: to find out if you are eligible to study.

If you're interested in joining Year 3 of this course, please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 892 960 or

When to apply:

We are still accepting applications for 2021 entry - 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.

For more information visit 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 / BTEC National 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 and EU 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

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry courses:

Pre-sessional English courses in the UK or China

UCA International Foundation courses

The UCA International College

Your portfolio

For this course, you’ll be required to submit an online portfolio via your UCA Applicant Portal. 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 and upload your portfolio will be provided once you have applied. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Offer Holder Webinar where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.

More portfolio advice

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