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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 Event.

University of Suffolk on Ipswich Waterfront
UCAS code: 
Institution code: 

Three years full-time.

Four and a half to nine years part-time.

Typical Offer: 

110 UCAS tariff points (or above), BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC).

Please see Entry Requirements below.


Employability is at the heart of the Graphic Design course at the University of Suffolk. Alongside developing a broad range of practical skills, you will learn how to be a creative and critical thinker while contemporary professional practice will prepare you for your future career. Transferable knowledge and skills are embedded throughout the teaching and learning experience further enabling you to become an enterprising and employable graduate.

Above—Sue Taylor Metamorphosis: see more student work here

The first year of the course is primarily concerned with equipping you with the technical, creative and intellectual skills you will require to develop as a graphic designer. The course is delivered alongside the BA (Hons) Graphic Design (Graphic Illustration) degree at the University of Suffolk in Ipswich and this interaction allows you to explore a variety of approaches to graphic communication from the outset. As a result, this both strengthens your personal approach to your own creative process, while also developing an informed understanding of your career options.

Above—Luke Pyett Creative Process map: see more student work here

In the second year you will start to consider in much more detail where you see yourself within the graphic design industry. As a result, you have more opportunities to steer your projects while refining your creative thinking and practical skills to produce highly professional outcomes. If you develop a passion for illustration you will have the option to transfer to the Graphic Illustration route to study this pathway of visual communication in much more depth. There is also the option to take a Work Based Learning module where you can use placement experience towards your qualification.

Above—Alex Rawlins TCM 'Uncharted' film season poster: see more work here

In the third year you bring together the prior knowledge and skills you have developed to date, and start to produce a portfolio of work that truly represents the sort of designer you want to be. Internship and placement projects are introduced offering you a platform from which to progress directly into the workplace. Recent placements have been awarded with BBC Worldwide, TCM, and Think BDW. Alongside this, links to over forty professional bodies, industry experts and design practitioners ensures the course is well equipped to provide networking and placement opportunities as you work towards graduating. 

Above—Students in the Graphic Design Studio: read more about course facilities here

National competitions and exhibitions ensure you gain maximum exposure. Recent competition successes include Starpack Packaging Awards, Penguin Random House Design Awards and Antalis McNaughton Student Designer Of The Year. As well as gaining employment regionally with respected graphic design studios, recent graduates have gone on to work nationally at Government Digital Services (GDS), FutureGov, Fat Face Clothing, Penguin Random House, the National Theatre, The British Museum, and Select Modeling Agency to name a few. The course also equips you with the skills to become a freelance designer or set-up your own design practice; or you may choose to progress to a design related MA or initial teacher training course.

Above—Jessi Brown Shift identity: see more student work here

Student testimonials

"The smaller class sizes allow for more contact with tutors, and you don't feel like a nameless person in a huge group"
Katherine Peskett

"The enthusiasm and sincerity of the lecturers was what sold the course to me. They cared much more about what the course could offer me, as well as what skills I had that could be brought into the course group"
Matthew Davis

"The tutors are very helpful and helped me change the way that I think about graphic design. They have shown me different ways of thinking and have encouraged us all to follow paths of our choosing"
Spyridon Proimakis

"After graduating I immediately jumped straight into the design industry after winning the TCM Adam Easdon Internship Award. After impressing the team over this period, I was offered a nine month freelance contract working across print, web & motion platforms. The course was highly beneficial to me in a number of ways. One of the most important things I took away was being able to develop creative concepts and not to let technology dictate my designs. As well as teaching design, the course helped us as students enormously in developing the attributes needed for real world work"
Sean Scannell

Above—Students visiting The Partners design agency, London  

To see more student work, click here

To read more about course facilities, click here

Course Patrons
The course is proud to have the following as patrons: Brian Grimwood, (Senior Fellow) is founder of The Central Illustration Agency and has been credited by Print Magazine as having changed the face of British Illustration. Daryl Goodrich, (Fellow) is an ex-student of the course. He won a Royal Television Society award in 2005 and made both the official London 2012 Olympic bid film and the launch film for Eurostar's historic move to St Pancras Station. Jonathan Barnbrook is a typographer and designer best known for his work with David Bowie, Damien Hirst and Adbusters magazine. His 'Friendly Fire' exhibition at the Design Museum and book, 'The Barnbrook Bible', were both met with critical acclaim. Turner Classic Movies (TCM), provide a unique work placement scheme with the course Clare Nicholson is an alumni from the course and after graduating won an internship at TCM. She has since worked at the National Theatre and now runs her own design consultancy business. 


Applicant portfolio advice
You should have in your portfolio a range of work that demonstrates creativity in its broadest sense. As a result there is no 'set' tick list of what we want to see and we will look at each portfolio on a case-by-case basis. But as a measure, we would like you to show work that represents graphic design, has ideas at its centre—rather than purely a demonstration of image making skills—and is attempting to communicate a message. We like to see drawing skills in a range of different mediums, and it is useful to see your ability to select and apply colour. Applied design, typography, digital skills and photography also feature in many of the portfolios we look at. We would, however, expect to you to demonstrate your ability to analyse your work and be able to demonstrate research skills through looking at historical and/or contemporary art and design. Finally, if it is possible to show a project from start to finish, so that we can gauge your creative journey, this helps to tell us a lot about your design process. But ultimately, we recognise all portfolios are bespoke to each applicant and that not everyone will come from the same educational or experiential background. Do not think that because you haven't got some of the things mentioned here that you shouldn't apply.


Related links

Course Facebook page
Graphic Design (Graphic Illustration)
Department of Arts and Humanities
Waterfront Gallery


Contact us

Graphic Design
Department of Arts and Humanities
University of Suffolk
Neptune Quay


Course modules

The course 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 ambitions. Throughout there is a strong emphasis on teaching transferable skills to equip you with the broadest base from which to graduate. There are six single modules taught in the first and second years, with three double modules making up the final year with considerable freedom to tune your individual studies to follow special interests and abilities within the subject. The academic year consists of 24 taught weeks divided into two semesters, with the addition of assessment and tutorial weeks. A typical teaching week consists of 12 taught hours across three modules. Technical support is offered throughout, both embedded within modules as well as through enhancement workshops open to all students. Generous open access opportunities exist for students to complete work set in taught sessions.  

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.

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: £11,580 p.a. 

Further Information

  • Detailed information about Tuition Fees
  • Find out more about Financial Support eligibility.
  • Also see Loans and Grants.
  • At the 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 you course that you will need to budget for. See Course Costs.

Entry requirements

Academic Requirements

110 UCAS tariff points (or above), BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC).

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.