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School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Foundation

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UCAS tariff 32 - 48
UCAS course code W21F
Institution code P60

4 years

Course type


Study location Plymouth

This course is a four-year programme of study that includes an additional foundation year, enabling you to develop the required practical, technical, academic and creative skills for your undergraduate degree at the University of Plymouth.

Careers with this subject

The course encourages creativity, experimentation and risk-taking but blends this with a strong emphasis on vocational skills and preparing students for employment. Each project that students undertake has a real-world context, with either fictional or actual clients, audiences and problems to solve.
A 'careers spine' is introduced in year 2, along with placement opportunities, and year 3 has a dedicated five-week module where students research the industry, prepare an employment strategy, develop a brand identity for themselves and apply this to CVs, business cards, social media and digital portfolios.
We have a network of over 100 professional design studios that students can be put in touch with, and we consult with them to ensure course content is industry-relevant and up-to-date.
This means the majority of our graduates find regular paid 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 academics.
Positions tend to be permanent, full-time and salaried. As your career progresses, so does your pay:
  • Junior: £17,000 to £25,000
  • Middleweight: £21,000 to £40,000
  • Senior: £30,000 to £55,000
  • Director: £50,000 to £100,000
Here are just a few of the world-leading design agencies our graduates have worked for:

Industry Liaison Day

Mid-way through the final year, we invite professional designers from our network into the studio to see student portfolio presentations. Students will typically present to six to nine designers throughout the day during three separate sessions. Afterwards, not only do they feel more confident in their abilities and fully prepared for real-world interviews, but many will walk away from the day with business cards and offers of internships.

Key features

Your foundation year will: 
  • Welcome you to an engaging, experiential learning environment with a focus on active exploration, experimentation and discovery across a wide range of material, methods and media. 
  • Help develop your practical, technical and creative skills through studio and  workshop based projects. 
  • Provide training in key learning skills for further undergraduate study and build an awareness of practice, context and theory. 
  • Introduce you to the accessible community of experienced academics, practitioners and technical staff that will support you on your studies. 
  • Give you access to a wide range of enviable specialist workshops, laboratories and facilities across the campus and become part of our vibrant student community through the various opportunities available within the School of Art, Design and Architecture.
  • Enable you to explore and develop your personal interests and strengths as a creative practitioner.
This course is an integrated part of the BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree at the University of Plymouth. Successful completion of your foundation year (Year 0) will not lead to a separate award or qualification in its own right but provides progression onto Year 1 of 
Or one of the following related degree programmes: 
When you join the BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Foundation, you’ll also:
  • Develop innovative ideas in response to design briefs, and creatively solve design problems using images and typography. The course places 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.
  • You’ll develop your knowledge and develop yourself by taking advantage of a learning environment that includes open plan studios with 360 degree views of a thriving city centre, the Devon coastline and Dartmoor National Park. You’ll also be prepared for a dream career, with our graduates finding creative fulfilment working for companies such as Leo Burnett, Future Publishing and IBM.
  • In your final year you can choose a specialism to match your interests and career goals with options that relate directly to the design industry. Choose from Identity and Branding, Editorial and Publishing or Information Design. 
  • 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.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • The Foundation pathway provides students with non-standard entry points to progress onto the BA (Hons) course. The Foundation year allows you to develop skills across a range of media and introduces creative best practice in preparation for the first year of the undergraduate programme. During the Foundation year you will have the opportunity to explore creative processes relevant to visual design, animation, illustration, print-making, fine art, and photography. The course is designed to encourage visual exploration and creative discovery within an engaging and vibrant studio setting. Upon successful completion of the Foundation course, you will join the undergraduate BA (Hons) programme equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete an undergraduate degree.

    Core modules

    • Materials, Methods and Media (ADA001)

      This module will introduce students to various techniques, materials and mediums through practise-based experiments, play and problem solving. You will be introduced to different creative processes and methods of working that will help you to develop your ideas and engage in critical and reflective practice.

    • Image, Type and Narrative (ADA002)

      Students will experiment with media, photography and typography to explore the relationship between image and word. This module enables students to gain knowledge within subject areas and explore the importance of developing an independent voice. Projects will become increasingly student driven as they develop their ability to propose ideas and solutions through self-directed inquiry, discovery and production.

    • Risk and Resolution (ADA003)

      Students will consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding in initiating, researching, developing and presenting a final project and exhibition. This module will also enable students to continue to research and develop their strengths as an independent art and design practitioner and prepare them for their next stage of study.

    • Critical Themes in Art & Design (ADA004)

      This module introduces students to transformative phases within the historical and contemporary context of art, design, photography and media. Students will learn to ask critical questions and find answers through information gathering, reading and research. Through articulating responses, students will be introduced to academic conventions in preparation for progression to further Higher Education.

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 with Foundation programme specification_7883

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

32 - 48

Don’t have 32–48 UCAS tariff points? We will consider ‘non-standard’ applications on a case-by-case basis.
This programme offers access to study at university for those students who may not have the standard entry profile for Year 1 BA study. Equally, the programme is designed for those returning to study who have relevant work/professional experience but not the required academic profile for Level 4 entry. It is also suitable for Level 3 learners whose subject choice does not include the necessary background, but who are otherwise academically capable.
A levels: For Level 3 entry the Tariff points entry level will normally be 32–48 points from A level or equivalent. Non-standard applicants will normally be interviewed.
BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended 
Irish Leaving Certificate:Irish Highers, H5 in five subjects equivalent to 32–48 points.
International Baccalaureate:24 overall
T levels
Pass in any subject.
Proficiency in English: Students for whom English is an additional language will need to demonstrate ability in spoken and written English equivalent to an IELTS score of 6.0 and/or successfully complete the university’s special test before entering the foundation year.
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
We are looking for applicants with good potential including with non-standard qualifications and background, so will consider every application on a case by case basis.
Alternatively, if you have any questions or concerns about meeting the entry requirements listed above we would encourage you to contact the Admissions Team on +44 1752 585858 or email, where a member of the team can offer you further advice.
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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