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BA (Hons) Graphic Design

Open days

Meet your lecturers, find out more about the course and view academic and social facilities at an open day.

UCS Buildings - Nov 2013 (35)
UCAS code: 
Institution code: 


Three years full-time.

Four and a half to nine years part-time.

Typical Offer: 

2019 entry: 112 UCAS tariff points (or above)
BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC).

If applying in Clearing 2019 please call us on 01473 338352.


  • Our Graphic Design and Graphic Illustration degrees are taught together giving you the option of transferring between courses.
  • We do not teach a house-style – you steer your creative interests so that when you graduate, your portfolio truly represents you.
  • Employability is embedded throughout the course, with client facing projects and industry set briefs as part of the curriculum.
  • Small classes mean you get generous contact time with tutors and technicians, with plenty of access to equipment and studios.


Our Graphic Design and Graphic Illustration courses offer you control over your creative direction and career ambitions. Because we teach both degrees together, you are not tied to one study route; for instance, if you develop a passion for illustration you can transfer to Graphic Illustration to study that pathway in much more depth.

Within both courses, project briefs help you develop the creative and technical skills you need for industry, while also being open enough to allow you the freedom to steer your work to suit your interests. This way, you get the most out of your time with us – tailoring your degree, exploring your career options and developing a personal approach to your creative process.


An image of a clear plastic card housed in a cardboard sleeve with the golden section etched into it by Amy Highland

Amy Highland – Divine Ratio tool for designers

A key feature is our small class sizes; throughout your degree you benefit from generous contact time with our tutors and technicians and easy access to all facilities, supporting you to advance your learning and hone your design skills. 

Employability is at the heart of our Graphic Design course. Alongside developing a broad range of practical skills, you learn how to be a creative and critical thinker, developing transferable skills along the way.


2 colourful abstract posters advertising a Graphic Arts Festival

Zanis Mivreniks – Untitled, fantasy graphic arts festival posters

Our links to professional bodies, experts and design practitioners makes for an industry-focused programme, providing you with fantastic networking and placement opportunities. For example, students have recently received industry-set briefs from BBC Studios, and worked on client-facing live projects for Saxon Packaging, MT Productions, Ipswich Vision and The Royal Society of Arts. Tutors will also advise and support you in approaching design studios to arrange practical work experience.


Book jacket design by Taiesha Turner for The Establishment by Owen Jones

Taiesha Turner – The Establishment book cover

To give you and your work maximum exposure, we support rolling out competitions from partner organisations as extracurricular projects, as well as embed national competitions within the course curriculum. Read more in Career Opportunities below.

Applicant portfolio advice

Below we provide some useful tips on what to include in your application portfolio. Since there is no set ‘checklist’, if you do not have all of the suggested elements, we still encourage you to apply.

  • Include a range of work demonstrating creativity in its broadest sense. If you can, provide examples of applied design, typography and digital skills.
  • Show work that represents graphic design with ideas at its centre and that aims to communicate a message.
  • Provide examples of drawing skills in a range of different mediums.
  • Demonstrate your ability to analyse your own work and the work of others.
  • Show a project from start to finish, so we can gauge your creative journey and understand your design process.

Contact us with your questions:

See more Graphic Design student work on our portfolio page.  

See Graphic Design (Graphic Illustration) student work here.

Visit our course Facebook page.

Follow us on Instagram.

Course modules

Our programme is delivered as a series of related modules that cover the technical, creative and contextual aspects of graphic design to enhance your personal development and career goals. We offer technical support such as enhancement workshops and business skills sessions, and you have generous open access for self-study.  

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Digital Studies (Mandatory)

This module introduces key digital software and contexts, familiarising students with industry standard requirements. 

Ideas Generation in Graphic Design (Mandatory)

This module introduces you to approaches and methods for the generation of ideas in order to solve visual communication problems. 

Visual Image (Mandatory)

This module engages you with the activity of image making as a multi-faceted language, reinforcing the idea of drawing as a core skill to both the graphic designer and illustrator. 

Typographic Exploration (Mandatory)

This module introduces both the basic principles of formal typography as well as to how type can be used expressively. 

Print Media for Graphic Design (Mandatory)

This module explores a range of print processes and media for creating graphic design outcomes and examines how visual language affects communication.

Contexts in Graphic Design & Illustration (Mandatory)

This module introduces the historical and contemporary contexts of Graphic Design and Illustration and explores their relationship to professional practice.

Graphic Identity (Mandatory)

This module develops your understanding of contemporary visual branding and how a designer communicates their clients’ identity.

Applied Design Ideas (Mandatory)

This module builds on an understanding of graphic design at Level 4, through theme-based projects, to develop confidence and knowledge across a diverse range of graphic applications. 

Design and Illustration Analysis (Mandatory)

This module allows you to develop a more critical questioning of your discipline through personal research and academic writing.

Interactive Screen Design (Mandatory)

This module allows you to develop your digital knowledge and skills by exploring how design principles apply to contemporary and emerging screen-based platforms.

Conceptual Projects (Mandatory)

This module develops a deeper, more personal and theoretical questioning of you creative discipline, relating to your practice and potential academic and future career progression.

Advanced Design Practices (Optional)

This module extends your knowledge of contemporary design contexts through projects focusing on employability and professional practice.

Work Based Learning (Optional)

This module allows you to use the experience of a work placement towards your degree. (Replaces Advanced Design Practices.)

Graphic Design Portfolio Development (Mandatory)

This double module focuses on the development of a Graphic Portfolio, via reflective analysis and the completion of projects, to emphasise creative interests and design aspirations.

Personal Graphic Design Projects (Mandatory)

This double module involves the completion of a major multi-disciplinary creative graphic design project, concurrent to your interests and aspirations.

Dissertation and Critical Review (Mandatory)

The Dissertation provides an opportunity to conduct significant research that engages critically with your own interests articulating your findings through a piece of academic writing. The Critical Review aspect allows you to focus on you graduate progression via analysis of your degree course, relating this to future employment or education opportunities.

Career opportunities

We encourage internships and work placements for all of our students. Thanks to our links with professionals in the industry, we strive to provide you with the opportunities and knowledge to prepare you for employment with the likes of our Life After Lectures – a series of talks by designers, illustrators and creative directors about progressing from education to the workplace.

Access to national competitions give you opportunities to get your work seen and promote your talent. Recent successes at the 2019 Starpack Awards saw students winning 3 gold awards and 1 silver; alongside 2 students being highly commended and one winning a work placement.

We are proud that many of our graduates find jobs with respected graphic design studios in Suffolk such as Firebrand CreativeJacob BaileyKingsland Linassi and Spring Agency; while others have gone on to work at national organisations including Government Digital Services, FutureGov, JellyFish, M-is and Select Model Management.

If you want to run your own business, the degree also equips you with the crucial skills to be a successful freelance designer or to set up your own design practice. Alternatively, you can progress to a design-related Masters degree or initial teacher training.


Ipswich Vision branding and student presentation

Sabah Mohamad, Amy Gunnee, Lelia Gretcan, Alex Sudds, Holly Webber – Ipswich Vision | project launch w/ Cllr David Ellesmere 

The transferable skills taught on the course ensure you can choose from a whole range of careers after graduation. For starters, you could choose from…

  • Junior Designer in a design studio
  • Freelance Designer
  • Freelance Illustrator
  • Book Designer
  • Editorial Designer
  • Marketing
  • In-house Designer
  • Web / Digital Designer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Teacher / Lecturer


Student profiles

"There is a point early in the degree when you begin to view your surrounds with a different perspective. You gain an appreciation for clever designs as well as a critical eye for items less so. Ideas for university briefs and personal projects stemmed from these new perspectives. I...

Fees and finance


  • Full-time tuition fee: £9,250 p.a.
  • Part-time tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credits (Please contact the Infozone for further information)
  • International tuition fee: £13,330 p.a.

Further Information                                                       

  • Detailed information about Tuition Fees.
  • Find out more about Financial Support eligibility.
  • Also see Loans and Grants.
  • At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with your course that you will need to budget for. See Course Costs.

Entry requirements

Academic Requirements

2019 entry: 112 UCAS tariff points (or above), BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC).

All applicants are required to hold GCSE English and Maths at Grade C/4 or above. Applicants who do not hold these qualifications may be considered on an individual basis based upon their overall application and the course applied for.

If you do not hold these qualifications please contact Admissions directly on 01473 338348 to discuss.

Also see How to Apply.

Non-Academic Requirements

Any offer of a place will be subject to:

  • successful interview
  • show a portfolio
International Requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall (minimum 5.5 in all components) where English is not the students' first language.

Also see International and EU.      

Portfolio Guidance

Below we provide some useful tips on what to include in your application portfolio. Since there is no set ‘checklist’, if you do not have all of the suggested elements, we still encourage you to apply.

  • Include a range of work demonstrating creativity in its broadest sense. If you can, provide examples of applied design, typography and digital skills.
  • Show work that represents graphic design with ideas at its centre and that aims to communicate a message.
  • Provide examples of drawing skills in a range of different mediums.
  • Demonstrate your ability to analyse your own work and the work of others.
  • Show a project from start to finish, so we can gauge your creative journey and understand your design process.
Transferring Credit

If you have previously studied at higher education level before you may be able to transfer credits to a related course at the University of Suffolk and reduce the period of study time necessary to achieve your degree.


Senior Lecturer / Course Leader for Graphic Design

Lecturer in Graphic Design / Illustration

Lecturer in Graphic Design

Lecturer in Printmaking

Lecturer in Arts – Dissertation Lead

Technician Manager, School of Engineering, Arts, Science and Technology

Facilities and Resources

You will be based in our dedicated Arts Building, which is home to all of our Art and Design programmes. The Graphic Design courses have two dedicated studios on the first floor, adjacent to an Apple Mac Pro digital suite. On the ground floor, you will have access to our Printmaking Studio and 3D workshops, with facilities for screen-printing, linocutting, etching, laser-cutting, plastics vacuum forming and woodworking. The Printmaking Studio also houses large-format digital printing, vinyl cutting and mounting equipment; while the photo-lab provides further printing and finishing equipment. The top floor contains a Drawing Studio, and all teaching and workshop spaces have generous 'open access' availability with dedicated technician support in specialist areas.


Bookbinding workshop

Bookbinding workshop – Printmaking Studio

All computers in the Arts Building run Adobe Creative Cloud. There are colour laser printers and scanners throughout all university buildings. There is also 24-hour access to the Waterfront Building, late night opening to our well stocked library, and cafes are abundant around campus and the waterfront.