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School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

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UCAS tariff 96 - 120
UCAS course code W218
Institution code P60

3 years

Course type


Study location Plymouth

Develop innovative ideas in response to design briefs, and creatively solve design problems. We place emphasis on graduates having industry informed expertise, ensuring you’ll stand out in the job market. Good graphic design relies on the relationship between type and imagery, this course will teach you mastery of both. In your final year choose a specialism to match your interests and career goals – identity and branding, editorial and publishing or information design.

Careers with this subject

The majority of our graduates gain full-time salaried employment in the creative industries within a year of leaving university. As well as becoming graphic designers, our graduates land roles as digital designers, art directors, UX designers, motion designers, marketing executives, social media managers, account handlers, strategists, researchers and educators.
As your career progresses, so does your pay:
  • Junior: £19,000 to £28,000
  • Middleweight: £28,000 to £40,000
  • Senior: £40,000 to £65,000
  • Director: £60,000 to £100,000

Key features

  • Have direct contact with visiting speakers from prestigious studios such as Snask, Hey Studio and Dalton Maag.
  • Present your work to practicing graphic designers during our ‘Industrial Liaison Day’.
  • Enjoy small, personalised teaching groups, with tutors who know your name and your work.
  • Explore our diverse resources, including printmaking and photographic studios, cutting-edge Mac workstations, Fab Labs and a unique letterpress workshop.
  • Join our student-run Design Society and take part in visits, exhibitions and socials. 

Course details

  • Year 1

  • Core modules

    • Type And Image (GDES424)

      This module introduces students to the use of typography in conjunction with imagery and encourages exploration of ‘text and image’ solutions to graphic communication problems. Understanding and use of the design process is further developed. Graphic design debates and contexts are introduced, as are ways of articulating these using academic conventions.

    • Editorial Design (GDES434)

      Students are introduced to editorial design principles, practices and contexts. Students are encouraged to consider how typography, image, layout and format, play a part in the communication of editorial content. Working methodologies and articulation of thinking, in the context of editorial design, is developed.

    • Identity Design (GDES444)

      Students are introduced to identity design principles, practices and contexts. Students are encouraged to consider how typography and other aspects of a visual identities, play a part in how brands communicate to their audiences. Working methodologies and articulation of thinking, in the context of identity design, is developed.

    • Digital Design (GDES454)

      Students are introduced to digital design principles, practices and contexts. Students are encouraged to consider how typography and other aspects of graphic design can communicate information and experiences through digital media. Working methodologies and articulation of thinking, in the context of digital design, is developed.

    • Type as Image (GDES464)

      This module introduces students to typographic practice within the context of graphic design andencourages exploration of typographic solutions to basic graphic communication problems. Typographyprinciples and terminologies are introduced and explored. Elements of the design process, such asresearch, concept development, and critical reflection, are introduced and attempted.

  • Year 2

  • Core modules
    Designing with Type (GDES514)
    This module extends and develops students understanding of typographic practice. A complex graphic communication problem is answered typographically. Students are encouraged to explore new methods and techniques, whilst honing their understanding of the design process developed at level 4.
    Experiment (GDES524)
    Students are encouraged to explore typography and graphic design processes that are playful, creative, non-routine and may contain elements of risk. The importance of experimentation as a way of revealing unforeseen possibilities within the design process is introduced. Key perspectives for analysing graphic design practice are introduced, and students are asked to apply these to their own analysis, following academic conventions.
    Developing Design Practice (GDES534)
    Students work towards a number of designed outcomes, building upon knowledge and skills gained at level 4, particularly in the fields of editorial design, identity design and/or digital design. Further perspectives for analysing graphic design practice are investigated, and students are asked to apply these to their own analyses, following academic conventions.
    Common Challenge: Collaborative Project (GDES544)
    Students are given a ‘macro-level’ topic, that is determined and introduced at a faculty level, and work together with other students to produce a graphic design response. The benefits and challenges of teamwork and collaboration are explored. Results are presented, alongside those from other programmes, at the end of the module.
    Optional module
    Foreign Exchange
  • Final year

  • Core modules
    Common Dissertation: Critical Practices (ADA600)
    The module engages students in situating practice through research, contextualisation and critical reflection, in relation to their final stage study and post University aspirations. Programmes can offer: a traditional dissertation; preparation for an extended dissertation; situating existing practice; or the construction of a new body of work as practice-based research.
    Minor Project (GDES614)
    After reflecting upon level 5 learning experiences, future aims and personal interests, students, in negotiation with tutors, propose and undertake a project that solves a complex graphic communication problem. Solutions must have a typographic emphasis. The project can also provide an opportunity to further explore or confirm potential award option choices: core, editorial, identity or digital.
    The Competition (GDES624)
    Students undertake designs in response to a brief set by an international design competition. A project proposal is constructed, in negotiation with a tutor, that must also connect to a chosen award option (core, editorial, identity, digital), if relevant, and enable complex, novel solutions.
    Portfolio (GDES634)
    Students are asked to investigate employment or postgraduate possibilities that reflect personal aims and ambitions. Self-promotion items are designed in response, including a portfolio presenting the body of design work produced during the course to date.
    Major Project (GDES644)
    After reflection and consultation with tutors, a project proposal and schedule of work is devised, outlining a complex and challenging graphic communication task. Upon approval, the student undertakes self-directed supervised study, leading to the production of a major body of work reflecting personal aims, interests, and award option, where relevant.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA (Hons) Graphic Design programme specification_7882

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

96 - 120

A level
A minimum of two A levels; General Studies accepted.
International Baccalaureate
26–28 points.
18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification, it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information, we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.
All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferably Art and Design or combined) with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction.
T level
Merit in digital production, design and development.
Mathematics and English Language grade C.
Equivalent qualifications may be considered.
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications, please refer to our tariff glossary
An interview and portfolio presentation are required for entry onto this course.
See our portfolio advice for further information. 

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home N/A £9,250
International N/A £17,100
Part time (Home) N/A £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 
UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 
To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

An industry-relevant curriculum

Although it's been running for over 25 years, the course is continually developed by staff, in consultation with industry, to keep it relevant and up to date.
BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography

Learn from experts in their field

  • Lecturer in Graphic Communication
    Programme Leader – Designer and artist with work held in the MoMA collection
  • Associate Head of School - Education and Student Experience
    Typography expert, Director of the International United Designs Alliance
  • Associate Head of School - Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions
    Digital design expert, exhibited in London, Bilbao and Copenhagen
  • Lecturer in Graphic Communication
    Branding expert, clients include Universal Music Group and the BFI
  • Associate Lecturer
  • Associate Lecturer
BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography - portfolios

How to prepare your portfolio

When applying, you’ll need to show us a portfolio of creative work, but don’t worry; because our students come from a range of different backgrounds and courses, there are a number ways you can do this. 
Your portfolio should demonstrate originality, depth of learning and evidence of engagement. Creating one that gives an impressive idea of the breadth of your work could make you eligible for an unconditional offer. 

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