Graphic Design

BA (Hons) - UCA Epsom - 2019, 2020

Our BA (Hons) Graphic Design course at UCA Epsom is ambitious, student-led, focused and fosters strong connections between practice, theory and industry. 

The Graphic Design degree takes a practice-based look at the art of visual communication, covering both analogue and digital skills within an encouraging and inspiring environment.

You’ll be taught by a team of practising industry professionals and researchers, with access to top-class facilities including letterpress, Risograph printer, laser-cutting, screen-printing and an Arduino maker space.

While learning vital graphic design techniques and skills using high-level advanced technology and software, you'll also learn important business skills including the design process, looking for work and networking in the 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 participate in live briefs, talks and studio visits and meet some of the most influential names in graphic design. We have a history of winning world-renowned competitions including the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD). 

Our BA (Hons) Graphic Design graduates forge successful and rewarding careers across a range of industries in roles like editorial design, advertising, interactive design and branding.

With a solid history of winning prestigious competitions at world-renowned institutions – including the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) – 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 has years of experience and connections throughout a number of industries and a range of businesses, meaning that you’ll have the opportunity to network and learn from distinguished names such as Vaughan Oliver and Tony Brook from Spin, as well as take advantage of industry links with the likes of Eye Magazine, Baseline Magazine and The Typographic Circle.

Length of study:

Three years full-time

Campus:

UCA Epsom

Start month:

September

View term dates

Entry year(s):

2019, 2020

Entry requirements:

112 UCAS tariff points

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UCAS code:

W210

UCAS institution code:

C93

UCAS campus code:

E

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Course details

  • Year 1

    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. 

    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.

    Making
    You'll be introduced to graphic visualisation processes, learning to explore topics through experimental visualising approaches, looking at materials, locations, and other settings. Projects are set and critiqued in a manner replicating professional design studio settings, and you’ll be given access to technical skills through taught inductions in both digital and analogue processes. Our projects are designed to seamlessly combine theory and practice, and the series of tasks within this unit deliberately overlap with our theoretical units. Through task-based workshops and seminars, you will work on acquiring a broad range of skills to enable the development of your work.

    Platform Rotation
    This unit supports and guides you through the options as you map your own path towards your design career by examining areas of practice that enable you to prepare for specialised practice later in the course. You will undertake a range of projects, workshops and design tasks that encourage you to explore aspects of the discipline in depth.

  • Year 2

    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. A variety of options are available, covering topics including illustration, typography, interaction design, information graphics and design futures. 

    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. 

    These options will encourage you to specialise in a particular field, hone your skills and, alongside industry experience, begin to apply your knowledge in the real world.

    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. 

    Option 1: Language 1
    Language 1 aims to give you an introductory understanding of designing using all typographic components derived from speech. Studying the principles of language and speech will equip you with confidence in all fields surrounding typography and give you insights into content creation, in addition to the ability to handle mass text and letterforms. Typography is a key method of conveying information, and is a visual cornerstone of design, working across all media platforms, from print to screen and interactive domains.

    Option 2: Image 1
    Image 1 looks at imagery in broadest terms, helping you to visualise ideas by using media appropriate to a specific audience. Image-makers shape our surroundings by making stories, data and commercial messages into easily and instantly understandable experiences. Through this unit you'll explore the practice of visualising your own and others’ content in a way that is fitting and effective in reaching a range of users and audiences. The unit uses a wide range of visualising techniques and media to communicate ideas and messages using primarily image-based solutions, including print, motion, 3D, film and interactive settings.

    Option 3: Data 1
    Visualising information is a key challenge facing designers today as the rise of big data revolutionises the way personal information is gathered and processed. This unit looks at both devising visualising systems and finding ways to use data in an innovative and productive way. It examines the social contexts behind algorithmic processing of data, and gives confidence in the key concepts behind statistical analysis.

    Option 4: Design Futures 1
    You'll explore innovative futures of design practice, leading to the creation of viable professional portfolio outcomes within the field of experimental design. You'll be asked to translate abstract issues into tangible design proposals, grounding projects in real-world social, cultural, technological, and economic issues. The content is concerned both with the expressive, functional and communicative possibilities of new technologies, and also with the social, cultural, environmental, and ethical consequences of living within an increasingly technologically mediated society.

    Work Placement
    This unit will prepare you to undertake a self-initiated industry placement, of approximately five weeks in length, in agreement with your Unit Leader, enabling you to gain work experience within sector/s of the Graphic Design industry that are of personal interest to you. An in-house alternative experience of equal duration is available for students unable to secure an appropriate industry placement.

    Prior to undertaking the placement, you will have the opportunity for focused and supported critical reflection in respect of 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 upon 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.

  • Year 3

    During the final year of the course, you’ll undertake a further two platform units. 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 Critical Design 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 written dissertation that will form the content of a design project. 

    Option 1: Language 2
    Language 2 gives you a deep understanding of designing with all components derived from speech, and will equip you with an industry-ready typographic portfolio on graduation. You are encouraged to select this unit with a working knowledge of Adobe InDesign, the handling of mass text, and familiarity with the ideas behind writing systems and the deployment of language, all of which will be of advantage here.

    Option 2: Image 2
    In this unit you'll on all types of imagery across the spectrum, leading to a portfolio of authorial image-making and the accompanying art direction skills. You are encouraged to select this unit with a working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and basic printmaking and photographic competences.

    Option 3: Data 2
    You'll gain a deeper understanding of data and all its social implications, within the field of information design, to a level where this competence can be expressed in graduate portfolio outcomes. Through this unit you'll explore the practice of presenting information and data in a way that fosters efficient and effective understanding of it, developing complex projects that propose solutions to a range of design problems.

    Option 4: Design Futures 2
    This unit will explore the innovative futures of design practice, leading to the creation of professional portfolio outcomes and an understanding of the professional contexts within the field of experimental design. This will include working with participatory and human-centred design, design as propaganda, social engagement, new user interfaces, and new ways of reaching and working with audiences. It also embeds employability skills by offering key digital competencies, chances to collaborate between years and course, and the opportunity to address live and external briefs. Design disciplines used will include digital tools, moving image, printmaking, branding, and editorial work.

    Critical Design 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. 

  • 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 2019 entry are:

    • UK and EU students - £9,250 
    • International students - £15,500 (standard fee)
    • International students - £14,880 (full early payment fee)

    The fees for 2020 entry have not been confirmed but will be listed here as soon as possible.

    Additional course costs
    In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2019 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.

Facilities

There are dedicated graphics studios for workshops, group and independent working, as well as computer studios with Macs and PCs loaded with the latest industry-standard design software, including Fontographer. In addition to the campus printmaking studio, there is a specialist graphics print area with letterpress, intaglio and book-binding workshop facilities. Campus photographic studios and digital processing equipment.

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What our students say

Course connections

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

  • Industry links

    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.
  • Careers

    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.
  • Further study

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

     

How to apply - 2019 entry

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I am not a UK or EU citizen ...

How to apply - 2020 entry

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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. A portfolio is required at interview for this course. We’d like to see examples of sketchbooks and developmental work, drawing, completed design projects, examples of experimentation with media and different processes, and anything else that demonstrates your interest in the subject. 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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