BA (Hons)

Graphic Design

Work by Becky Lysaght
  • UCAS code(s): W211
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2019
  • Course duration: 3 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

FIND US ON

Learn and develop as an ambitious graphic designer on this studio-based degree. You'll work alongside like-minded creatives, exploring all aspects of visual communication in a vibrant studio environment.

We’ll encourage you to think creatively during your time at NTU, gaining professional and technical skills that reflect current and future industry practice.

By the end of your degree, you’ll have a professional portfolio tailored to your own career aspirations. Graduates secure roles in fields such as art direction, advertising, branding and identity, design for screen and interactive design, editorial design, illustration, motion graphics or publishing.

Key features

  • This course produces students that are in high demand - 94% of graphic design students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (DLHE survey 2016/17).
  • NTU is leading arts provider and is ranked 8th in the UK for Art and Design (The Complete University Guide 2019).
  • Study a broad range of disciplines including branding, editorial design, graphic design, illustration, interactive design, information design, motion graphics and typography.
  • Learn in a creative studio environment, using industry-standard equipment and software.
  • Work on live briefs with companies like Brand Opus, JKR, Elmwood and Vault 49.
  • Develop your professional skills through self-initiated work experience placements, industry competitions, collaborations with organisations and guest lectures.
  • Opportunity to apply for an international exchange to one of our partner institutions around the world. Go on optional study visits to cities like New York and Berlin.
  • Develop a professional portfolio tailored to your own career aspirations.
  • Showcase your work at the NTU Degree Show, with the opportunity to be selected to exhibit at other portfolio events, such as New Designers and D&AD New Blood in London.
  • Our graphic design degree has an excellent reputation for producing industry-ready, interdisciplinary graduates.
  • Gain a professionally accredited degree – this course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD).
  • This course has been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick, a mark of quality and strong links with industry.

Follow us on social media

Keep up to date with what our current Graphic Design students are up to by following their Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Student work

What you'll study

  • Year One

    These two year-long modules run side by side.

    The Fundamentals of Graphic Design (100 credit points)
    Learn about, and begin to practise, the process behind effective graphic design. Focus on topics such as typography, image-making, branding, packaging, editorial design, illustration, and film or animation. You’ll also produce a portfolio – from a seven-week workshop rotation – that includes screen and analogue printing, photography, visualisation, design and layout, paper craft and bookbinding, and Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

    Design in Context 1 (20 credit points)
    You’ll be given an introduction to the history of graphic design, from the Renaissance to the present day. Study the factors that have shaped graphic design and the role that this discipline has played in spreading ideas. Through lectures, seminars and tutorials, increase your understanding of relevant issues and controversies. You’ll also cover research methods, writing, and analytical skills.

  • Year Two

    These two year-long modules run side by side.

    Exploring the Professional Context and Personal Direction (100 credit points)
    You’ll build on your Year One experimentation, creative skills, and techniques. You’ll engage with tutor-written briefs, live industry projects, and both negotiated and competition briefs. In order to identify your personal strengths and interests – and your own identity as a designer – you’ll also explore the varied strands of contemporary graphic design practice.

    Design in Context 2 (20 credit points)
    This historical and theoretical module will prepare you for your final year dissertation. Upon completion, you will be able to identify characteristics of graphic design through reference to other creative practices and media forms. You will develop your writing and presentation skills, and study a range of current issues in visual culture to generate ideas for your dissertation.

  • Final year

    Developing a Personal Portfolio (100 credit points)
    Through studio work, you’ll focus on independent learning and portfolio development and complete a number of projects. This includes professional membership schemes (ISTD student assessment scheme), student competitions (D&AD, RSA Student Design Awards, Creative Conscience Awards, YCN, Roses Student Awards), negotiated projects, and live briefs.

    Design in Context 3: Dissertation (20 credit points)
    Write a 5,000-word dissertation based on a subject relevant to visual culture that you can negotiate with tutors. You’ll study and write about this subject, applying the researching, critical thinking, and writing skills you have developed throughout the course.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

How you’re taught

Studio practice is a key element of this course, and you’ll spend a lot of time in a creative studio environment. Teaching and learning experiences will include:

  • studio activities
  • peer groups
  • lectures
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • group tutorials
  • one-to-one surgeries
  • portfolio reviews
  • self-initiated work experience.

Assessment

Assessment is 100% coursework. You’ll be assessed at the end of each module and awarded a grade, receiving feedback throughout.

Depending on the module, you may be assessed through:

  • a portfolio of design work
  • presentations
  • essays
  • seminars
  • lecture quizzes
  • a dissertation.

Your final degree mark will be based 100% on your final year work.

Trips and study visits

Graphic Design students on a recent trip to New York (image credit: Sam Hagan)

Our Graphic Design students have recently travelled to New York and Berlin, where they visited design studios and met practitioners.

Trips also offer the chance to explore museums and galleries, and gather insights and inspiration to inform your own practice and project development.

Exchange opportunities

We encourage students to learn new cultures, and going on exchange can be a great way to do that. The course has exchange agreements with a number of institutions around the world. Exchanges take place in Year Two of the course, for the duration of one semester.

Recent exchange destinations include the University of Lapland in Finland, and the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York.

Degree Show

Students showcasing their portfolios to industry at RSA, London (image credit: Rasha Kotaiche)

In your final year you’ll 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 showcase your work to members of the creative industries.

You’ll also have the opportunity to take part in our final year portfolio review at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), and potentially at other graduating portfolio events such as D&AD New Blood and New Designers in London.

At New Designers in 2017, Kim Grosvenor won the Zizzi Fresh Talent Award, where she won the opportunity to work with Zizzi to create a large wall illustration for one of their restaurants.

In 2016, Graphic Design student Katie Webb was awarded with the New Designers Hallmark Award for her children’s book Little Blue Badger. Katie received a £500 cash prize and a two-month paid placement.

Assessment methods

  • Year 1 coursework (100%).
  • Year 2 coursework (100%).
  • Year 3 coursework (100%).

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

  • Year 1 lectures/seminars/workshops (21%), independent study (79%).
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (20%), independent study (80%).
  • Year 3 lectures/seminars/workshops (20%), independent study (80%).

Learn in a creative studio environment in our beautifully restored Waverley building.

Careers and employability

This course has an excellent employment rate, with 94% of students in employment or further study six months after graduating (DLHE 2016/17). Many graduates secure jobs at well-known design consultancies.

Some choose to use their skills in other fields, such as teaching and management, while others go on to set up their own business or work on a freelance basis.

Recent graduate destinations and job roles include:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch, graphic designer
  • BYG Systems, illustrator and artist
  • Design Bridge, graphic designer
  • Eden Spikermann (Berlin), junior designer
  • Hallmark Cards, designer
  • Interbrand, junior designer
  • McCann Birmingham, junior designer
  • Next, designer
  • Penguin Random House, design assistant
  • Pentland Brands, junior designer
  • Rare Breed Marketing, account executive
  • Refinery, junior designer
  • River Island, assistant online graphic designer
  • Stockdale Martin, graphic design
  • The One Off, motion designer
  • TMW Unlimited, junior motion designer
  • Unidays, designer
  • Usborne Publishing, junior designer
  • Zoocha, junior web designer
  • TMW Unlimited, junior motion designer
  • Usborne Publishing, junior designer
  • Zoocha, junior web designer.

YouFirst – working with our Employability team

Studying a creative degree in a large university has many benefits, none more so than having access to a large employability team.

Our friendly, experienced careers consultants from our NTU Employability team 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 for up to three years after completing your course.

Links with industry

A recent guest lecture from renowned author and illustrator, Alexis Deacon

Industry professionals visit the course to guest lecture and share their experience. Recent visitors have included:

  • Bruno Maag, Dalton Maag
  • Freda Sack, The Foundry
  • Jack Renwick, Jack Renwick Studio
  • James Richards and Sean Murphy, Kind Studio
  • Jonathan Barnbook, Barnbrook
  • Mike Meyer, sign painter
  • Norman Hayes, Waste Studio
  • Phil McNeill, Kin Design
  • Richard de Hoxar, Vault49
  • Roderick Mills, illustrator.

Our students have also recently worked on live projects with Michon Creative, Elmwood, Hallmark, Interbrand, Landor, Oliver Spencer, Purpose, and The One Off.

Our Year One students have recently exhibited at Djanogly Gallery at Nottingham’s Lakeside Arts Centre, giving their work an impressive amount of exposure.

This course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD), giving you free membership during your studies. You’ll also have access to CSD online careers advice, guidance, and vacancies.

Work placement and internship opportunities

You’ll be encouraged to undertake work experience alongside your studies. Course staff and our NTU Employability team will be on hand to support you with advice on how to approach companies and get the most from your experience.

Our Graphic Design students have recently gained work experience with companies such as:

  • Aardman Animations
  • Esquire magazine
  • Interbrand
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Sky
  • The Observer.

This course produces students that are in high demand - 94% of graphic design students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (DLHE survey 2016/17).

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBC; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM; or
  • 112 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels  or equivalent qualifications; and
  • GCSEs – English and Maths or Science grade C / 4.

Other requirements

  • a digital portfolio
  • a creative portfolio

All applications welcome

We welcome applications from prospective students with a range of qualifications and experience, and all are assessed on an individual basis. Mature applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria can still be considered providing they have relevant experience to compliment any qualifications.

All applicants will need to apply through UCAS and will be expected to present a creative portfolio if invited to attend an interview.

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBC; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM; or
  • 112 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels  or equivalent qualifications; and
  • GCSEs – English and Maths or Science grade C / 4.

Other requirements

  • a digital portfolio
  • a creative portfolio

English language requirements

If English isn't your first language, you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. You can check our language requirements and list of accepted English language tests. Your British Council office can tell you where you can take an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test locally.

All applications welcome

We welcome applications from prospective students with a range of qualifications and experience, and all are assessed on an individual basis. Mature applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria can still be considered providing they have relevant experience to compliment any qualifications.

All applicants will need to apply through UCAS and will be expected to present a creative portfolio if invited to attend an interview.

Next steps

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students, which are full of advice and information about the University.

If you need any more help or information, please contact our International team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our staff at the International Development Office, who are always happy to help. Or speak to one of our official NTU representatives for your country.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS.

We will ask you to provide a digital portfolio. Download some advice on what to include.

If successful, you'll be invited to an interview where you'll need to bring with you your creative portfolio.

If you aren't a resident in the UK, we'll ask you to submit a digital portfolio in lieu of an interview.

Download our creative portfolio checklist.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Apply through UCAS.

We will ask you to provide a digital portfolio. Download some advice on what to include.

If successful, you'll be invited to an interview where you'll need to bring with you your creative portfolio.

If you aren't a resident in the UK, we'll ask you to submit a digital portfolio in lieu of an interview.

Download our creative portfolio checklist.

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students, which are full of advice and information about the University.

If you need any more help or information, please contact our International team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our staff at the International Development Office, who are always happy to help. Or speak to one of our official NTU representatives for your country.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What's included in the course fees?

The annual fee for our undergraduate degree courses includes a number of items. In addition to expert tuition and access to our first-class workshop and IT resources, you'll receive:

  • mandatory field trips, exhibitions and events required as part of your core studies
  • receive £100 print and materials credit for each year of your course (for a maximum of three years) for use in Boningtons Art Shop and print facilities
  • materials for induction workshops and activities within the workshops and laboratories
  • professional body course accreditation (where applicable)
  • infrastructure costs for final year Degree Shows within Nottingham (where applicable)
  • £20 prepaid printing allowance for use in NTU print shops and with library photocopiers.

You are expected to purchase your own books, standard drawing and writing equipment, and consumables.

Where optional overseas visits are offered, you will need to meet the cost of these.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies. We award scholarships to those international students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion, and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our International students page for information about fees, scholarships for international students, visas and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What's included in the course fees?

The annual fee for our undergraduate degree courses includes a number of items. In addition to expert tuition and access to our first class workshop and IT resources, you'll receive:

  • mandatory field trips, exhibitions and events required as part of your core studies
  • £100 print and materials credit for each year of your course (for a maximum of three years) for use in the Bonington art shop and School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment workshops and print facilities
  • materials for induction workshops and activities within the workshops and laboratories
  • professional body course accreditation (where applicable)
  • infrastructure costs for final year Degree Shows within Nottingham (where applicable)
  • £20 prepaid printing allowance for use in NTU print shops and with library photocopiers.

You are expected to purchase your own books, standard drawing and writing equipment, and consumables.

Where optional overseas visits are offered, you will need to meet the cost of these.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418