Our BA (Hons) Graphic Design at NTU is known for producing interdisciplinary graduates who are industry-ready.
This course gives you the opportunity to explore the different areas of Graphic Design through studio practice and academic research and study. By the end of your degree you'll have developed a professional portfolio, tailored to your own career aspirations, ready to launch your career as a designer.
Follow in the footsteps of NTU student Cairo Hamilton who has recently won the prestigious RSA Student Design Award.
- Gain a professionally accredited degree - this is the only Graphic Design course in the UK to be accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers.
- The course has been awarded the Creative Skillset tick, a mark of quality and strong links with industry.
- Explore the whole subject area of Graphic Design, from typography to illustration, from branding to interactive design.
- Learn in a creative studio environment, using industry-standard equipment and software.
- Spend Year Three developing a professional portfolio in line with your career aspirations.
- Work with national and international companies on live briefs, such as Abercrombie & Fitch.
- Develop your professional skills through self-initiated work experience placements, competitions, collaborations with organisations and visiting lecturers.
- Apply to go on an overseas exchange in Year Two to a partner university in Europe through the Erasmus scheme.
- Go on field trips and optional study visits to cities like New York and Barcelona.
- Be selected to showcase your work at London graduate exhibitions including D&AD New Blood, New Designers and our Royal Society of Arts Portfolio Review event.
- 90% of students are satisfied with this course. (National Student Survey, 2015)
Graphic Design gallery
Have a look at some of the work our students have created, in our Graphic Design gallery.
This course is endorsed by the Chartered Society of Designers.
This course has also been awarded the Creative Skillset tick, a mark of quality and strong links with industry.
Want to find out more?
What you study
Year One: these two year-long modules run side by side.
- Design Studio 1 (100 credit points)
In this module you will learn about, and begin to practise, the process behind the development of effective graphic design solutions. This module will be fast-paced, with a studio and tutorial debate around the design process. Risk taking will be encouraged as well as the development of strong personal visual abilities.
You'll complete a number of different projects that will focus on areas such as typography, image making, branding, packaging, editorial design, illustration, and film / animation. You'll also produce a portfolio of process and outcomes in response to a seven-week workshop rotation which will include screen and analogue printing, photography, visualisation, design and layout, paper craft and book binding, and Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.
- Visual Culture 1 (20 credit points)
This module will give you an introduction to the history of graphic design, from the Renaissance to present day. It will look at the various factors that have shaped graphic design and also the role it has played in spreading ideas.
Through a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials, emphasis is placed on raising your awareness of relevant issues and controversies, as well as establishing a timeline of events. You will also be introduced to research methods, writing and analytical skills.
Year Two: these two year-long modules run side by side.
- Design Studio 2 (100 credit points)
This module gives you the opportunity to build on your Year One experimentation, creative skills and techniques. You will engage with tutor written briefs, live industry projects, negotiated and competition briefs.
You will be encouraged to explore the varied strands of contemporary graphic design practice, in order to identify your personal strengths and interests, and your own personal identity as a designer.
- Visual Culture 2 (20 credit points)
This is a historical and theoretical module which builds on the skills and knowledge developed in Visual Culture 1, and prepares you for your Year Three dissertation module. It aims to enable you to identify characteristics of graphic design through reference to other creative practice and media forms.
This module offers you the opportunity to develop your writing and presentation skills. You will become familiar with a range of current issues in visual culture which will help to give you ideas for your dissertation.
- Design Studio and Visual Culture 3 (120 credit points) (Studio work 84%, Dissertation 16%)
This year-long module includes both studio work and a written dissertation. In your studio work you will complete a number of set or negotiated projects, with a focus on independent learning and portfolio development.
This will include professional membership schemes (ISTD student assessment scheme), student competitions (D&AD, Design InSight RSA, Creative Conscience Awards, YCN, MPA Roses), set projects by tutors, negotiated projects proposed by you, and live briefs and outside commissions. Through these projects you'll develop a portfolio of professional-level design work ready to launch your career.
Your dissertation will be 5,000 words based on a subject relevant to visual culture, which you can negotiate with tutors. This gives you the opportunity to study and write about a subject of personal interest by putting into practise the researching, critical thinking and writing skills you will have developed throughout the course.
Find out what you will cover in each module of our BA (Hons) Graphic Design course in more detail .
How you learn
Studio practice is a key element to this course, and you'll spend a lot of time in a creative studio environment.
You will also learn through:
- studio activities
- peer groups
- group tutorials
- one-to-one surgeries
- portfolio reviews
- self-initiated work experience.
You will be involved in self-directed project work where you will have the support of NOW, our virtual learning environment.
How you are assessed
Assessment for this course is 100% through coursework.
You will be assessed at the end of each module and awarded a grade band (1st, 2.1. 2,2. etc.). You will receive feedback throughout the module so you know what level you are working at.
How you are assessed will depend on the individual module, but may take the form of:
- a portfolio of design work
- presentations (individual and group)
- lecture quizzes
- a dissertation.
To progress through the course you must achieve 120 credits each year. Your final degree mark will be based 100% on your final year work.
In your final year you will exhibit your work as part of our Degree Show. This event includes all final-year students across NTU;s Art and Design courses, and is a great platform for you to celebrate your studies and showcase your work to members of the creative industries.
Visit our Degree Show website to get a taste of what this event is like.
You will also have the opportunity to take part in our final year portfolio review at the Royal Society of Arts and to be selected to exhibit your work at D&AD New Blood and New Designers graduate shows London, where your work will be viewed by industry.
Links with industry
Industry professionals visit the course to guest lecture and share their experience. Recent visitors have included:
- Peter Hollingsworth, Futurebrand
- Anup Parmer, Esquire
- Carolyn Roberts, The Observer
- Jenny Webber, YCN
- Emmi Sanolen, Studio Emmi
- Douglas Wilson, D3 Editions Ltd.
- Noah Harris, Freelance Graphic Designer, Film Director
- Simon Collinson, Freelance Graphic Design
- Fraser Davidson, Sweet Crude
- Kamran Khalvani, AllofUs
- Alun Edwards, Studio Output
- Mike Smith, Channel 4 news
- Stephen Woowat and Ruth Wood, Elmwood
- John Paul Dowling, ISTD
- Design Bridge
- Craig Sinammon, Mind Design
- Eleanor Holton and Richard De Hoxar, Fitch
- Tim Jackson, Rachel Nee and Stuart Watson, venturethree
- Hannah Halliday, The One Off
- Philip Lee, XL Recordings
- Tim Wright, Shave
Trips and study visits
Recent international destinations include New York and Berlin where you'll have the opportunity to visit design studios and meet practitioners working in these countries.
Trips also offer the chance to explore museums and galleries, and gather insights and inspiration to inform your own practice and project development. First and second year students have recently attended Pick Me Up Graphic Arts festival at Somerset House in London.
The University is part of the Erasmus programme and has agreements with a number of partner institutions throughout Europe. If you're thinking about studying part of your degree abroad, Erasmus is a great way of experiencing a new culture, meeting new people, learning a new language and gaining a study experience which will enhance your CV. Exchanges usually take place during Year Two of your studies.
Recent exchange destinations our Graphic Design students have visited include the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
Our BA (Hons) Graphic Design is the only graphic design course in the UK to be accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD).
As a student on this course you will benefit from discounted CSD student membership. You will also have access to CSD online careers advice, guidance and vacancies.
When you have successfully completed this course you will also be eligible for free, automatic entry to the CSD at Associate Member level. You'll have continued access to discounted CSD student membership and its benefit, for one year.
This course has also been awarded the Creative Skillset tick, a mark of quality and strong links with industry.
Learn from expert staff
Our Graphic Design team is made up of expert academic staff, who have extensive experience in both education and industry.
Acting Course Leader: Kathryn Coates
What do the course fees cover?
Find out what is included in the course fees for our BA (Hons) Graphic Design .
Where will I study?
You will study this course on NTU's City site, based in Nottingham city centre.
Our Graphic Design facilities are based in the Waverley building, a dedicated Art and Design building. You may have some lectures in other buildings across the campus, including our recently renovated Newton building.
When does the course start?
This course starts in September. For more information take a look at our academic calendar for details of term start and end dates.
View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change
Our Graphic Design facilities are based in the Waverley building, a dedicated Art and Design building.
We offer fully-equipped Mac suites and studios dedicated to print, interactive media and moving image, all of which are regularly updated and supported by experienced technical staff.
Students also have access to the School of Art & Design's resources which include camera stores, photographic studios, screen printing, laser cutting and 3D printing.
Bonington Art Shop
Our specialist in-house art shop is based in the Bonington building. Run by experience and friendly University staff, the shop stocks a wide variety of arts and crafts materials.
The shop responds to the requirements of our students, and the stock on offer grows each year to support the courses offered within the School of Art & Design.
Bonington Colour Bureau
Located in the Bonington building, our Colour Bureau provides a range of in-house printing for NTU students and staff.
Specialising in graphic arts printing, the Colour Bureau offers high quality prints on a non-standard range of media in any size up to B0. It also operates a drop-off service so you won't have to queue, and aims to offer A4/A3 prints for same-day collection where possible.
Bonington Gallery presents a number of exhibitions throughout the year as part of a comprehensive programme of visual arts and design events.
Exhibitors include national and international artists and designers, current students and staff from within the University and NTU alumni.
Our IT resource rooms and PC clusters are distributed across the City site, with PCs providing access to:
- Microsoft Office
- web browsing
- networked file storage
- high-speed online printing services.
The University's main resource room in the library is available 24 hours a day.
Book and library resources
In our library you will have access to an extensive and diverse range of books and periodicals that focus on specialist areas within Art and Design. The library's OneSearch system provides access to all our:
- electronic resources
We have a liaison librarian with specialist knowledge in Graphic Design. They will be in available in the library to give you detailed help in finding and using print and electronic resources. They can also help you with things such as Harvard referencing and research skills.
This course has a reputation for employment, with many graduates securing jobs at well-known national and regional design consultancies. Graduates have also chosen to use their well-developed interpersonal skills in other fields such as teaching and management, while others have gone on to set up their own businesses or work as freelancers. Some progress to postgraduate study.
Professional practice is embedded in to each year of this degree course through competitions and live projects. Short periods of work experience are also encouraged , giving you the opportunity to find out more about the different roles within the industry.
Recent graduates from this course are now working in a range of design consultancies across the broad spectrum of graphic design including:
- branding and identity
- art direction
- motion graphics and post production
- design for screen / interactive design.
Recent graduate destinations and job roles include:
- 2creatives, graphic design
- BYG Systems, illustrator / artist
- Benoy, junior graphic designer
- Beyond Communications, junior graphic designer
- Creative Spark, junior graphic designer
- Design Bridge, graphic designer
- Elmwood, junior designer
- Fivefootsix, junior graphic designer
- Graphite Print & Design Ltd, graphic designer
- Hallmark Cards, designer
- Household Design, junior 2D designer
- I love Mel, artist / designer
- Ideas Factory, graphic designer
- Interbrand, junior designer
- Little Miss Independent, photographer
- Maggi Rose Training, creative designer
- Mellor & Scott Design Agency, junior designer intern
- Rare Breed Marketing, account executive
- River Island, assistant online graphic designer
- Start Judgegill, graduate designer
- Stockdale and Martin, graphic design
- Storm DFX, 2D designer
- Studio DeathRay, graphic designer
- TAG Europe, TV production assistant
- Tenfold, senior designer
- Container Group, graphic design
- The Creative Branch, graphic designer
- Together Design, junior graphic designer
- Tullo Marshall Warren (TMW), junior motion designers
- UK Greetings, graphic designer
- Webb deVlam, graphic design intern
- Yoda London, junior designer
- Zoocha, junior web designer
- Skew, graphic designer.
YouFirst – working with our Employability Team
Our friendly, experience careers consultants will work closely with you at every stage of your career planning, providing personal support and advice you won’t find in a book or on the internet. You can benefit from this at any time during your studies and up to three years after completing your course. Find out more about our Employability Team.
Work placement and internship opportunities
You will be actively encouraged and supported to undertake informal work experience and professional practice in addition to your studies.
You will normally complete these placements during holiday times, but you will have the option of taking up to two weeks out of term time which you can negotiate with your tutor. Most students attach these two weeks onto the start or the end of a holiday, so they can complete longer periods of work experience.
Our teaching staff, including part-time lecturers who are professionally active, help and support students in directing them towards work placement and professional practice opportunities. This can be through their own contacts, through graduates from the course, or through links with companies and practitioners that have been built by the course over a number of years.
Companies and organisations that our Graphic Design students have worked with on placement include:
- Aardman Animations
- All of Us
- Esquire magazine
- Paul Smith
- Rolls Royce
- Saatchi Design
- Stocks Taylor Benson
- Studio Output
- The Observer
- The One Off
- XL Recordings.
280 UCAS Tariff points achieved from a maximum of four qualifications (two of which must be A-level equivalent).
- We will accept a BTEC Extended Diploma as equivalent to three qualifications.
- We will accept an Art and Design Foundation Diploma as equivalent to two qualifications.
You will also need:
If you hold international qualifications, take a look at the alternative qualifications we accept for this course.
Are you an international student who does not meet the direct entry requirements for this course? You can prepare for it at Nottingham Trent International College. Their Foundation Certificate in Art and Design offers students a direct progression route to this degree on successful completion to the required level.
English language requirements and English support
Find out more about our English language entry requirements and English language support whilst you're studying with us.
We welcome applications from mature students (over the age of 21) for this course. We will assess applicants of this nature on an individual basis.
If you are a mature student, you will still need to apply to us by UCAS form, but you don’t necessarily need to meet our minimum entry requirements. You must, however, have a portfolio to present at interview.
How to apply
Application for this course is through the UCAS application form.
You can follow our step-by-step instructions when applying through UCAS. You can also find out more about the application process on the UCAS website.
Once you have applied, make sure you check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder. We may need to contact you during this time. Good luck with your application.
This course starts in September and applications should be submitted by the UCAS deadline, January 15.
Applications received after this date will be marked as 'late' and only considered if places are still available, after all on-time applications have been assessed.
The admissions process
Selection for this course takes places through UCAS application form, online work submission and, where invited, interview and portfolio.
If you meet the minimum entry requirements for this course (or are a mature student) we will ask you to make an online work submission of 12 examples of your practical work and a short written summary.
Once we receive your UCAS application we will contact you with information about how to submit your work to us. Your online work submission will be used to decide whether to invite you to attend an interview at the University.
If you meet the minimum entry requirements we will ask you to send us 12 examples of your work and a written summary about each piece of work.
When we receive your UCAS application we'll contact you to tell you how to submit your work online. Overseas applicants are not expected to attend an interview at the University.
The UCAS application form requires you to write a personal statement as part of your application. For some tips on what to include, use our guide to writing an effective personal statement.
We are committed to ensuring that all UK students have access to higher education. We recognise the need to invest financially in the future of our students, and have introduced a system of scholarships aimed at enabling home students from lower income families to undertake a degree course.
For information about Nottingham Trent University scholarships please visit our fees and funding webpages.
Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200
or Ask us a question
Why did you choose to study Graphic Design?
"I chose to study Graphic Design because I wanted to explore an art form that appealed to a large audience and was influential in contemporary culture yet still very cutting-edge."
What do you most enjoy about your course?
"One of the best things about the course are the briefs which allow you to learn the foundations of graphic design without being too narrow or over-prescriptive. Having no set rules means you can develop your own personal style right from the start."
How do you find studying at NTU?
"Studying at NTU is excellent! The studios are open, professional workspaces which are bright and lively which inspire me to want to produce great work. Working alongside other students and their ideas in these facilities motivate you to work harder."
Would you recommend studying at NTU?
"Yes, I would definitely recommend NTU! The City site is bustling and lively with plenty going on. There is a great social life and plenty of opportunities to be proactive and get involved in new activities. Everyone on the Graphic Design course is very enthusiastic and there are a real diversity of artistic strengths around you all the time."
Did you complete any work placements during the course?
"I've had work experience at my local university, the University of Chichester, in the Media Studies department and the Marketing and Design unit. My responsibilities included supporting staff and undergraduate students in the making of a film about university life, including sound engineering, video editing and working on industry level software and equipment.
"In the Marketing and Design unit I photographed various open days for their university website and shadowed their graphic designers as they designed new prospectuses and brochures."
What advice do you have for someone thinking of studying this course?
"Be open-minded and don't be afraid to experiment! Experiment and develop your work in as many areas and mediums of design as you can right from the beginning. It's better to try things out even if they don't work out because you can learn a lot from experimental processes."
Read more student profiles