BA (Hons) / FdA

Accredited by University College Birmingham

This course is subject to validation and approval

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3 years FT (4 years with placement)


48-week placement (optional)




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Department of Creative Industries
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2 years FT




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Department of Creative Industries
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Digital design has grown by 138% from 2010. The fastest growing area of the industry accounts for 866,000 jobs while its workers usually earn around £66,000 per annum.

Successful UK businesses and iconic brands such as Virgin, Jaguar Land Rover, O2, Dyson and Diageo all regard design as essential to innovation and market expansion.

The Graphic Design programme is designed to equip graduates with a range of skills encompassing typography, photography, web development, digital design and visual communication, whilst preparing learners to embrace AI technologies in order to meet future demands of the industry. Learners will be able to engage in industry-relevant software such as Creative Cloud and other essential tools to explore the principles of design, branding and colour theory to create compelling visuals.

The curriculum is focused on real-world experiences with collaboration remaining at the forefront to meet client needs and translate concepts into impactful designs. Graduates emerge with a strong foundation in design, fully prepared to embark on the diverse range of careers available within Graphic Design.

Why should I choose this course?

  • NO EXAMS – If you are not keen on exams, this course is for you. Unlike many degrees in this field, you will have no written exams during or at the end of the course and will be assessed through practical assessments and coursework only
  • VERSATILE SKILL SET – The programme will equip learners with a diverse practical skill set, including the ability to use Creative Cloud and other industry-standard software.
  • DIVERSE CAREER OPPORTUNITIES – Studying this programme will open doors to a wide range of graduate careers including those within traditional and digital Graphic Design sectors
  • STATE-OF-THE-ART-FACILITIES - UCB houses a diverse array of specialist facilities dedicated to enhancing the learning experience including a Digital Hub and Editorial Suite.
  • INDUSTRY ENGAGEMENT – Guest speakers and other industry-related opportunities will support the delivery of the programme and give thorough insight into the broad career opportunities available
  • STRONG PORTFOLIO – Throughout the programme, assessment will have a key focus on collaboration and project-based learning to build a robust portfolio. This will act as an essential tool when seeking opportunities within the design industry.

Our facilities

On our graphic design course you will have access to our Digital Creative Studio, where you can get hands-on experience and undertake photography and videography tasks for assignment and portfolio development. Facilities also include access to relevant industry software such as Creative Cloud and ZBrush to enable the development of digital design skills.

Course breakdown

Topics you will study

Students on the FdA have the option of progressing onto the final year upon completion of the foundation degree.

  • Year 1 - Learners will be introduced to the key theoretical concepts associated with Graphic Design including visual communication and the impact of design on consumer behavior. Using industry-relevant software, techniques will be explored to engage in image manipulation, whilst also developing technical skills in photography, editing and the use of artificial intelligence for content creation.
  • Year 2 - The second year involves a deeper exploration of graphic design principles, whilst keeping the industry at the forefront. Learners will engage in digital and hand drawn techniques for typography and illustrative design purposes, as well as develop an understanding of brand identity, strategy and the use of graphics for campaign creation. Videography, web design, logo design and 3D technologies will be focused on to fully prepare students for employment.
  • Year 3 - BA (Hons) students will have the opportunity to undertake a 48-week paid placement during the third year. This real-world experience aims to further prepare students for future employment by allowing them to apply their skills in a professional setting.
  • Year 3/4 - The final year is centered around topics such as business, innovation, project and client management, enabling learners to advance their understanding of the industry in order to progress towards a career in Graphic Design. Learners will engage in a large-scale project to produce a portfolio tailored towards a chosen area of specialism, presenting a range of technical and transferrable skills.

Entry requirements

Graphic Design BA (Hons)

A-levels: An A-level grade profile of CCC.

T-levels: A T-level graded Pass with a core component of grade C.

BTEC: A BTEC grade profile of MMM. This can be achieved from either an Extended Diploma or a combination of smaller BTEC qualifications.

Tariff: Other Level 3 qualifications are accepted for entry. A minimum of 96 UCAS Tariff points will be required.

Access to Higher Education Diploma: 96 UCAS Tariff points including a minimum of 15 Level 3 credits at Distinction.

Graphic Design FdA

A-levels: An A-level grade profile of CD.

T-levels: A T-level graded Pass with a core component of grade C.

BTEC: A BTEC grade profile of PP. This can be achieved from either an Extended Diploma or a combination of smaller BTEC qualifications.

Tariff: Other Level 3 qualifications are accepted for entry. A minimum of 48 UCAS Tariff points will be required.

Access to Higher Education Diploma: 48 UCAS Tariff points

To access this programme, you are required to have studied a related subject area, this can include art, design, photography, videography, media and marketing. If you have not studied a related subject, you may still be considered for the programme however, you must participate in an interview in order to assess your related experience in relation to the course content. If you are unsure, please contact Chelsey Mallett ( as head of department for Creative Industries.

International students

For academic and English entry requirements for EU and international students, please visit the Country Specific Information page.

Please note: As an International Student, when choosing optional placement, a visa extension may be required.

Key information

Teaching and assessment

Note: Indicative information only – actual timetables and assessment regimes will be issued at your induction.


The programme will be delivered using a variety of methods including theory lectures, demonstrations, practical activities and reflective learning. You will have the opportunity to interact with guest speakers and industry professionals to develop knowledge and enhance your technical skillset. Independent study and research will be engaged with to ensure an interactive and personalised learning experience.

You will be assessed by a range of methods to encourage the development of a portfolio of work showcasing technical and transferrable skills. These will include, but will not be limited to reflective journals, reports, essays, presentations, practical skills exhibitions, collaborative projects, and 3D digital designs and case studies.

Example of a typical teaching week (up to 16 contact hours):

  • Small group teaching – 8 – 10 hours
  • Large group teaching – 3 - 4 hours
  • Tutorials – 1 – 2 hours

You will also need to commit around 20 hours per week for individual study time.


Estimated breakdown of assessment for this course:

  • Coursework – 90%
  • Practical assessment – 10%

The demonstration of practical ability will be assessed through a range of coursework and practical assessment methods.

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2021-2024.

Tuition fees

UK students

If you are a UK student enrolling on a standard-length Foundation Degree or a BA/BSc at University College Birmingham, your fee for this academic year will be £9,250. A half-year tuition fee is £4,625. There will be no change to this tuition fee for the forthcoming two academic years (2023/24 and 2024/25).

View undergraduate fees

International students

If you are an international student enrolling on a full-time foundation degree or a BA/BSc in 2023/24, your fee for this academic year will be £13,500 per year. The course fee for academic year 2024/2025 is £14,000 per year.

If you complete a placement year, there will be an administration fee of £500 for a full year or £250 for a half-year placement.

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Kick-Start Scheme

As a new student studying this course full-time, you will receive £300 per year through our Kick-Start Scheme (UK students only, eligibility criteria applies). This scheme will support your studies and future career by contributing to course-related materials, uniform or selected items on campus. You may also qualify for an additional £500 per year.

Find out more about the Kick-Start Scheme here.

Unibuddy Community - meet other students on your course

Starting university is an exciting time, but we understand that it can sometimes feel a little daunting. To support you, you will be invited to join our Unibuddy Community, where you can meet other students who have applied for the same course at University College Birmingham, before you start studying here.

As soon as you have been made an offer, you will be sent an invitation email to complete your registration and join the Unibuddy Community. For more information, check out our Unibuddy Community page.

The Graphic Design programme will open doors to a world of possibilities as you prepare for a dynamic career, shaping visual narratives across diverse platforms in the ever-evolving design landscape. You will have the opportunity to develop hands-on skills, gain industry insights and unleash your artistic potential.”

Chelsey Mallett Graphic Design BA (Hons) / FdA


of graduate employers say relevant experience is essential to getting a job with them

Work placements

Work placements are vital for gaining real-life experience and for building your confidence and skills before you finish your course – and they may even lead to a job when you graduate.

A 48-week paid placement opportunity will be provided as part of an optional module and will extend on from level 5. This will be available for BA (Hons) students only, not including those topping up from FdA to BA (Hons). Our Hired team can help find the ideal placement in order to gain hands-on industry experience.

Career opportunities

The example roles and salaries below are intended as a guide only.

Graphic designer

Average Salary: £20,000 – £30,000

Senior graphic designer


Web designer

Average Salary: £32,000

Digital designer

£26,000 - £38,000

Social media manager

Average salary: £25,000 – £32,000

Multimedia specialist

£32,000 - £50,000

Want to take your studies to the next level? Completing the BA (Hons) degree will enable you to move onto our postgraduate courses such as Enterprise Management MSc/PGDip or Marketing Management for Events, Hospitality and Tourism MA/PGDip.


We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 


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