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BA (Hons)

Graphic Design

BA Graphic Design
  • UCAS code(s): W211
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Course duration: 3 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information
  • * This course is now closed for entry for 2020, please ring our Clearing Hotline 0115 848 6000 to speak to one of our team to discuss current vacancies. *


FIND US ON

Although this course is closed for 2020, we do have some availability in our two-year Foundation degree - FdA Graphics and Digital Design.

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).
  • We're ranked 12th best University for Art and Design in the UK. (The Complete University Guide 2021).
  • 92% of our undergraduate students are satisfied with the quality of this course.(National Student Survey 2020).
  • 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.
  • Go on optional study visits to cities like New York and Berlin.
  • Opportunity to apply for a European or international exchange to one of our partner institutions, such as RMIT in Australia.
  • 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).

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

Accredited by:

Chartered Society of Designers logo
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Get a feel for life on the course

What you'll study

Explore all aspects of graphic design on this award-winning degree and set yourself up for a career in fields such as art direction, advertising, branding and identity, packaging design, design for screen and interactive design, editorial design, illustration, motion graphics or publishing.

  • Year One

    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. Throughout this module you will be developing a portfolio of work that demonstrates your ability to document a design process: including evidence of design research, ideas generation and exploration, as well as appropriate presentation skills.

    Design in Context

    (20 credit points)

    Explore the historical and theoretical issues relating to graphic visual culture on a global scale, which will help you to develop your own critical opinions about the role graphic design has played in the wider social content.

  • Year Two

    Exploring the Graphic Design Industry

    (60 credit points)

    Building on the design thinking you developed in Year One, you’ll further explore and experiment across a number of disciplines strengthening your own personal design directionand awareness of industry practice. You’ll work on a series of specialist live client briefs that will give you experience of working in a professional environment, equipping you with valuable professional skills.

    Design in Context II

    (20 credit points)

    This historical and theoretical module will prepare you for your final dissertation and wider studio work by developing your communication skills and analytical ability in relation to discussing contemporary design. You will also continue to examine how contemporary design both shapes, and is shaped by, wider social and political developments.

    Co Lab: Research, Exploration and Risk-taking

    (20 credit points,

    Through active participation with team-based problem-solving, you will work together in mixed teams on a project where you will use your creative ideas to generate solutions to the challenge or brief. This collaborative learning experience will expose you to a range of new processes and approaches that will develop your creative thinking.

    You will also choose one optional 20-credit module from:

    • Material Encounters
    • Storyboarding
    • Motion Graphics
    • Publishing: Experimental Formats
  • Final year

    Developing a Personal Portfolio

    (100 credit points)

    Through working on a number of set and self-initiated projects, including competition briefs set by established professional bodies and client briefs, you will develop an individual portfolio of work in line with your personal ambitions and future career direction. Your work will demonstrate an industry-ready level of knowledge and skill.

    Design in Context III: Dissertation

    (20 credit points)

    Building on the research, critical thinking, and writing skills that you will have acquired in Year One and Year Two, you will produce a referenced and illustrated written study on an area of visual culture.

Course specification

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

We're delighted to be ranked as one of the top 10 universities in the UK for Art & Design (The Complete University Guide 2020)

How you’re taught

Collaboration across courses

This course offers our new innovative collaboration module. This gives you the opportunity to work collaboratively with your contemporaries from a range of different art and design subjects and beyond. You’ll be working alongside artists, designers, photographers, illustrators, animators, and filmmakers on daring and creative projects that prepare you for a rewarding career in your chosen industry.

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, Copenhagen, Berlin and Milan, 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

If you’re thinking about studying part of your degree abroad, the course has exchange agreements with a number of institutions around the world, such as RMIT in Australia, the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the University of Bergen in Norway, and more.

Exchanges take place in Year Two of the course. You’ll receive guidance from the University about where you can go and study, and help in completing your application and arranging your exchange.

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.

In 2018, Saskia Wright was shortlisted for the prestigious Penguin Random House Design Awards (Children's Cover Award).

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.

COVID-19 Planning

We will be adopting a range of blended teaching and learning techniques including online and face-to-face (where practical) to ensure that students can meet their learning outcomes in full. We will respond proactively to any national or local policy changes (including lock down) to ensure student safety as our primary concern whilst continuing to focus on offering a comprehensive student academic experience and will work flexibly with our students to ensure they are not disadvantaged by COVID-19.

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.

Graduates from this course go into a range of roles. Recent examples include:

  • designer, Unidays
  • junior designer, McCann Birmingham
  • junior designer, Pentland Brands
  • product development, Bakerdays
  • freelance artist, Advocate AA
  • junior designer; Landor
  • junior motion designer; DixonBaxi.

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.

Connecting 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:

  • Anthony Burrill – Graphic Artist
  • Rachel Ball – Graphic Novelist
  • Chris Williams – Editorial Art Director
  • David Bailey – BBC
  • Jack Renwick – Jack Renwick Studio
  • Michael Johnson – Johnson Banks
  • Chrissy Levitt – Creative Conscience

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 opportunities

You’ll be encouraged to undertake work experience alongside your studies. Course staff and our 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:

  • The Sunday Times
  • Dalton Maag
  • Pentland
  • Landor
  • Design Bridge
  • Stink
  • Paul Smith
  • Edenspiekermann
  • Nomad.

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 equivalent; 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.

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

Other requirements

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 portfolio if invited to attend an interview.

What are we looking for?

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our courses. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements, please visit our international qualifications page.

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

Other requirements

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.

Foundation courses

If you need to do an art and design foundation course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our foundation courses page.

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 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 portfolio. Download our portfolio checklist.

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

Apply through UCAS (if applying to more than one university in the UK), or through our NTU applicant portal

If you aren't a resident in the UK, we'll ask you to submit a digital portfolio in lieu of an interview. Download some advice on what to include

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.

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 School of Art & Design will provide you with £100 of credit each year (for a maximum of three years) to use in our art shop, school workshops and school printing facilities.

The School will cover the costs of any mandatory study trips.

In Final Year, the School of Art & Design will provide infrastructure costs for your Degree Show, including course catalogue and exhibition set-up costs.

If you’re selected to showcase your work at a graduate show in London, the School will cover the cost of the exhibition stand and of transporting your work to the show.

Additional costs

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

We advise you to budget between £50 - £250 (minimum) per year for printing costs.

Material costs

Depending on the materials you choose to work with, you should budget a further minimum of £150 (Year One), £250 (Year Two), and £250 (Final Year) to cover the other production costs associated with your course. Of course, you may spend less or more than this depending on the nature of your studies.

Stationery and reading materials

Most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop, Blackwell’s.

A good supply of these essential text books are available in the University libraries, which students can easily borrow or access on-line/directly whilst studying in the library.

You should budget between £50 - £100 per year (minimum) for stationery and reading materials.

Although this is not a requirement for entry on the course or for successful study, once you have joined the course, some students choose to buy a laptop. Costs for this can vary dramatically depending on the exact specification. You should expect to pay between £800-£1,500.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

If you choose to join an optional UK study trip, you’ll need to budget around £50 per year (minimum). If you choose to join an optional international study trip, you’ll need to budget £500 per year (minimum).

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

If you undertake work experience or a longer placement, you will have the chance to gain an additional Certificate or Diploma in Professional Practice, dependent on duration.  The Diploma in Professional Practice incurs a fee for the additional placement year.

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 School of Art & Design will provide you with £100 of credit each year (for a maximum of three years) to use in our art shop, school workshops and school printing facilities.

The School will cover the costs of any mandatory study trips.

In Final Year, the School of Art & Design will provide infrastructure costs for your Degree Show, including course catalogue and exhibition set-up costs.

If you’re selected to showcase your work at a graduate show in London, the School will cover the cost of the exhibition stand and of transporting your work to the show.

Additional costs

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

We advise you to budget between £50 - £250 (minimum) per year for printing costs.

Material costs

Depending on the materials you choose to work with, you should budget a further minimum of £150 (Year One), £250 (Year Two), and £250 (Final Year) to cover the other production costs associated with your course. Of course, you may spend less or more than this depending on the nature of your studies.

Stationery and reading materials

Most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop, Blackwell’s.

A good supply of these essential text books are available in the University libraries, which students can easily borrow or access on-line/directly whilst studying in the library.

You should budget between £50 - £100 per year (minimum) for stationery and reading materials.

Although this is not a requirement for entry on the course or for successful study, once you have joined the course, some students choose to buy a laptop. Costs for this can vary dramatically depending on the exact specification. You should expect to pay between £800-£1,500.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

If you choose to join an optional UK study trip, you’ll need to budget around £50 per year (minimum). If you choose to join an optional international study trip, you’ll need to budget £500 per year (minimum).

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

If you undertake work experience or a longer placement, you will have the chance to gain an additional Certificate or Diploma in Professional Practice, dependent on duration.  The Diploma in Professional Practice incurs a fee for the additional placement year.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418