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)


September 2025


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Department of Creative Industries
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2 years FT


September 2025


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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 £50,000 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

Developed with industry, this exciting graphic design degree equips students with a whole range of skills they will need to succeed, including typography, photography, web development, digital design and visual communication, simultaneously preparing students to embrace AI technologies and meet the future demands of the industry across the sectors. Learners engage in industry-relevant software such as Creative Cloud and other key tools to explore the principles of design, branding and colour theory to create compelling visuals.

Through collaboration, the curriculum is focused on giving students plenty of real-world experience to enable you to confidently translate concepts into impactful designs and meet client needs. Graduates have a strong foundation in design and are fully prepared to embark on the range of diverse careers available in 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 degree 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 degree will open doors to a wide range of graduate careers, including those within traditional and digital graphic design sectors
  • STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITIES - The University has a diverse range of specialist facilities dedicated to enhancing the learning experience - including our Digital Hub and Editorial Suite
  • INDUSTRY ENGAGEMENT – Guest speakers and other industry-related opportunities support the delivery of this course to give graphic design students a thorough insight into the broad career opportunities available across every sector
  • STRONG PORTFOLIO – Assessment is focused on collaboration and project-based learning so students can build a robust portfolio - an essential tool when seeking opportunities within the design industry

Our facilities

On our graphic design course, you will be taught in our Digital Creative Studio, where you will get the very best hands-on experience and undertake photography and videography tasks for assignment and portfolio development. Within our creative facilities, you will also have access to the most up-to-date and relevant industry software, including the gold standard Creative Cloud and ZBrush software for you to develop your digital design skills.

Course breakdown

Topics you will study

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

  • Year 1 - Learners are 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 in image manipulation are explored, while students also develop technical skills in photography, editing and the application of artificial intelligence.
  • Year 2 - The second year involves a deeper exploration of graphic design principles, all while keeping the industry at the forefront of their learning. Learners engage in digital and hand-drawn techniques for illustrative design purposes, as well as develop an understanding of brand identity and strategy. Focus will be on digital storytelling, web design, logo design, 3D technologies and collaboration to fully prepare students for employment.
  • Year 3 - BA (Hons) students have the opportunity to undertake a 48-week paid placement during the third year. This real-world experience further prepare students for future employment by enabling 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 and progress into a career in graphic design. Learners 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 DD.

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

BTEC: A BTEC grade profile of PPP. 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 degree programme is delivered through 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 skill set. Independent study and research will ensure you have 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, 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%

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 2024/25 academic year fee will be £9,250. A half-year tuition fee is £4,625. 

View undergraduate fees

International students

If you are an international student enrolling on a full-time Foundation Degree or a BA/BSc in 2024/25, your fee for this academic year will be £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.

View international fees

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.

"This exciting graphic design degree will open doors to a world of possibilities as you prepare for a dynamic career, enabling you to shape 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 Head of Department for Creative Industries


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 (this doesn't include students topping up from FdA to BA (Hons). Our Hired team can help find the ideal placement for you to gain hands-on industry experience in an area that best suits your career goals.

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

Average Salary: £45,000

Web designer

Average Salary: £32,000

Digital designer

Average Salary: £26,000

Social media manager

Average Salary: £25,000 – £32,000

Multimedia specialist

£32,000 - £50,000


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


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Campus and facilities

Take a look at our fast growing campus and facilities, all developed with real industry in mind to enhance your student experience. 

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