Graphic Design at UCA

Exploring traditional practice while future-proofing your skills is what our BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree course at UCA Farnham is all about.

We’ll get you ready for the careers and opportunities of tomorrow, while giving you the space to embark on a personal creative journey.

The design industry is changing faster than ever, not least because of the emergence of AI, so it’s important you get the time and support to work out where you want to be.

We’ll coach you to mix old and new technologies and to experiment with confidence, give you a comprehensive foundation of graphic and UX design skills, and provide opportunities to fully explore your craft on exciting live briefs with partner organisations of all sizes.

With a fantastic student-to-staff ratio, you’ll feel supported and guided throughout by our expert team, and our newly refurbished studios will provide all the necessary facilities for you to fulfil your potential.

 

Course entry options

Select from the options below to find out more about the different study options available for this course:

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What you'll study

What you'll
study

The content of the course may be subject to change. Curriculum content is provided as a guide.

UCA’s Integrated Foundation Year is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and more.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated Foundation Year

For our students coming from a non-UK educational background, UCA has launched an Integrated International Foundation Year, based at UCA Farnham to bring students from around the world to one hub of creativity.

This year of preparatory study is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and the English speaking and writing skills you’ll need to succeed.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated International Foundation Year

Launch
The launch week is intended to be a community-led programme that brings together students from across the course – you’ll take part in peer bonding sessions, research trips, design sprint exercises and talks.

Design Concepts
You’ll explore graphic experimentation, with emphasis placed firmly on communication. It focuses on the practical use of graphic principles as a means of conveying information across a variety of outcomes and media types and formats.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 1
As visual practitioners, we are responsible for the socio-political make-up of our lives and the lives of others. You’ll think critically about how our worlds are created, and how they work together within relationships, communities, and collectives.

Typographic Studies 01
You’ll focus on the investigation, testing and application of the guiding principles and processes associated with Graphic Design, with three main focal points – typography, creative methodology and the overarching principles of visual communication.

Opportunity
Opportunity Week is a Hackathon - an opportunity for students to work across year groups to produce and replicate industry practice. You’ll undertake a live brief set by industry, collaborate with students from other courses, and present your results at the end.

Design Thinking
You’ll further develop your understanding of principles within a broad range of graphic design outcomes, with increasing depth of enquiry and knowledge of contemporary visual communication methods and processes. You’ll explore the use of narrative through multiple outcomes to encourage applied testing of consistent and dynamic graphic language.

Design, Creativity and Innovation
There are massive-scale problems and opportunities in the world. As designers, we approach these challenges with the aim of developing critical and meaningful ways to articulate and build cultural change. 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 with the social, cultural, environmental, and ethical consequences of contemporary life.

Proclamation
This unit provides an opportunity to reflect on your activities over the year and present your findings to the wider world. It will offer time and space to resolve and collate the work you have produced over the year and present it back to the public sphere via publication, exhibition or happening.

Launch
The launch week is intended to be a community-led programme that brings together students from across the course – you’ll take part in peer bonding sessions, research trips, design sprint exercises and talks.

Multimodal Approaches to Design
One important aim of this degree programme is to view graphic design as a collection of principles, processes, and methodologies. A key objective of the second year is to explore multimodal approaches to design and relate them to your own practice and to the professional world. You’ll be encouraged you to reflect on your achievements so far while looking forward into the second half of the course and beyond.

The Conscious Practitioner
Visual media form the atmosphere and aesthetics that shape, and determine how we navigate, our worlds. This means that as visual practitioners, we have a responsibility towards the socio-political make-up of our lives and the lives of others. You’ll think critically about how our worlds are created, and how we work together within relationships, communities, and collectives, and interrogate visual culture and communication practices from a global perspective.

Typographic Studies 2.0
This unit explores the critical thinking, creative and technical skills you need when working with large amounts of text. You’ll develop an awareness of the many interpretive possibilities of even simple texts by experimenting with their typographic presentation and configuration, while learning the knowledge and techniques needed for editorial design and exploring the opportunities and challenges of working internationally.

Opportunity
Opportunity Week is a Hackathon - an opportunity for students to work across year groups to produce and replicate industry practice. You’ll undertake a live brief set by industry, collaborate with students from other courses, and present your results at the end.

Design for Screen
You’ll be introduced to design, narrative and sequence as thematic concepts that can be applied to screen-based outcomes. You will be asked to consider how visual language, such as words, images, format and structure can support communication. The unit will also introduce the key principles of graphic identity by asking you to consider the role of a designer in producing digital outcomes.

Building on Identity
You’ll explore in greater depth the working world of the professional designer and creative practitioner. The main aim is to help you prepare for work experience and post-graduation and to give you the opportunity to research the world of current graphic design practice in a range of related industries and associated career paths.

Working in the Creative industries
As a practitioner in the creative industries, you will need a thorough knowledge of the sector and the ability to operate within it. You’ll focus on applying the theoretical knowledge and skills gained in your previous years’ study to the working world, and have opportunities to gain an in-depth understanding of the creative industries.

If you opt to complete a professional practice year, this will take place in year three. You will undertake a placement within the creative industries to further develop your skills and CV.

While on your Professional Practice Year, you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee for that year. This fee will be determined using government funding regulations. Based on current regulations, we expect this to be a maximum of 20% of the tuition fee rate that you are charged for your second year of study. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during this year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this as you approach your Professional Practice Year.

Please note: If you are an international applicant, you will need to enrol onto the course ‘with Professional Practice Year’. It will not be possible to transfer onto the Professional Practice Year after enrolment

Launch
The launch week is intended to be a community-led programme that brings together students from across the course – you’ll take part in peer bonding sessions, research trips, design sprint exercises and talks.

Industry-led competitions
You’ll have the opportunity to work on one or more industry-led student competitions – including Red Dot, D&AD, the International Society of Typographic Designers and YCN.

Contextual research
As a graphic designer you are not a neutral practitioner – your work responds to and shapes the world around it. This unit encourages you to interrogate a particular theme or topic, research it, gather material and analyse how it informs your ideas and your design practice. You’ll develop a position and a perspective in relation to contextual research and theoretical frameworks, and develop a portfolio of contextual research that informs, augments and reflects upon practice.

Opportunity
Opportunity Week is a Hackathon - an opportunity for students to work across year groups to produce and replicate industry practice. You’ll undertake a live brief set by industry, collaborate with students from other courses, and present your results at the end.

Final Major Project
The Final Major Project gives 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 developed over the previous few years of study - how these inform and contextualise your practical work, your research skills and your creative/strategic design abilities.

This course is designed to offer you (if eligible) the opportunity to study part of your degree aboard at a UCA partner university, while still earning credits towards your UCA degree.

For more information please visit the Study Abroad section

Industry placement
offer

Preparing graduates for successful careers underpins everything we do, and all students on this course may be offered support to identify and prepare for an industry placement according to their individual needs. We’ll draw on our wide range of contacts within the creative industries to help provide you with opportunities that align with your interests and future career aspirations.

Course specifications

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.

Explore our gradshows

Each year, we’re privileged to be able to share our graduates’ incredible work with the world. And now’s your chance to take a look.

Visit the online showcase
Fees & funding

Fees & financial support

Tuition fees - 2024/25 entry

  • Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250
  • BA course: £9,250

If you opt to study the Professional Practice Year, for 2024 you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee of £1,850. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during your Professional Practice year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this.

Tuition fees - 2024/25 entry

  • Integrated International Foundation Year: £9,250 (see fee discount information)
  • BA course: £9,250 (see fee discount information)

If you opt to study the Professional Practice Year, for 2024 you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee of £1,850. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during your Professional Practice year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this.

Tuition fees - 2024/25 entry

  • Integrated International Foundation Year: £16,950
  • BA course: £17,500

If you opt to study the Professional Practice Year, for 2024 you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee of £3,390. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during your Professional Practice year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this.

Please note: The fees listed on this webpage are correct for the stated academic year only, for details of previous years please see the full fee schedules.

UCA scholarships and fee discounts

At UCA we have a number of scholarships and fee discounts available to assist you with the cost of your studies.

Financial support

There are lots of ways you can access additional financial support to help you fund your studies - both from UCA and from external sources. Discover what support you might qualify for please see our financial support information.

Additional course costs

In addition to the tuition fees there may be other costs for your course. The things that you are likely to need to budget for to get the most out of a creative arts education will include books, printing costs, occasional or optional study trips and/or project materials.

These costs will vary according to the nature of your project work and the individual choices that you make. Please see the Additional Course Costs section of your Course Information for details of the costs you may incur.

Facilities

This course has dedicated graphics studios which offer spaces for group tutorials and personal working. There are campus digital media suites with Macs and PCs with latest programmes for film editing as well as general design work. Open access printmaking studios with screen printing as well as letterpress facilities, 3D printers and book binding facilities. There is also a modern library with a wealth of books, journals, special collections and online resources.

Graphics studios, UCA Farnham

Print studios, UCA Farnham

Digital Media suite, UCA Farnham

Library, UCA Farnham

Emma Mills

"I loved how broad the work you produce could be. I’d never have thought I could create what I did during the three years. The course encouraged me to try new things, embrace my strengths and helped me grow into the designer I wanted to become."

Emma Mills

Entry & portfolio requirements

Entry & portfolio
requirements

BA (Hons) course
BA (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements* for these courses are one of the following:

  • 112 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 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 9-4/A*-C 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.  

Portfolio requirements

For these courses, we’ll need to see your portfolio for review. We’ll invite you to attend an Applicant Day so you can have your portfolio review in person, meet the course team and learn more about your course. Further information will be provided once you have applied. View more portfolio advice

 


BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements* for these courses are one of the following:

  • 32 UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Pass, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 32 UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 24 points from the International Baccalaureate, see more information about IB entry requirements.

And four GCSE passes at grade 9-4/A*-C 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. 

Portfolio requirements

For these courses, we’ll need to see your portfolio for review. We’ll invite you to attend an Applicant Day so you can have your portfolio review in person, meet the course team and learn more about your course. Further information will be provided once you have applied. View more portfolio advice

 


*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.

BA (Hons) course
BA (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

The entry requirements for these courses will depend on the country your qualifications are from, please check the equivalent qualifications for your country:

Any additional entry requirements listed in the UK requirements section, e.g., subject requirements, work experience or professional qualifications, also apply to international applicants applying with equivalent qualifications.

Portfolio requirements

You will be required to submit a portfolio for review. Further information on specific portfolio requirements and how to submit your portfolio will be sent to you after we have reviewed your application. View more portfolio advice

 


BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

For these courses you need to have completed 12 years of schooling (with good grades) and show strong evidence of your ability to successfully complete the programme and progress onto your chosen degree.

Any additional entry requirements listed in the UK requirements section, e.g., subject requirements, work experience or professional qualifications, also apply to international applicants applying with equivalent qualifications.

Portfolio requirements

These courses don't require a portfolio. 

 


English language requirements

To study at UCA, you'll need to have a certain level of English language skill. And so, to make sure you meet the requirements of your course, we ask for evidence of your English language ability, please check the level of English language required:

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

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

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