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BA (Hons) Graphic Design (Graphic Illustration)

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: 

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

Please see Entry Requirements below.


  • Our Design courses are rated 1st for students Satisfied with Teaching, and 2nd for students Satisfied with their Course, in the Design and Crafts catagory of the Guardian University League Table 2019.
  • Our Graphic Design and Graphic Illustration degrees are taught together, giving you the option of transferring between courses.
  • Small classes mean you get generous contact time with tutors.
  • Our course will prepare you to be able to work in a graphic design studio as much as working as a freelance illustrator, opening up your employment options when you graduate.


Our Graphic Illustration and Graphic Design courses offer you something unique. Unlike other universities we teach both degrees together. So, rather than being tied to one study route, you can be flexible and transfer between courses as you progress.

For instance, if you decide you would like to be a broad based graphic designer rather than a specialist illustrator, you can transfer to the Graphic Design route to study this pathway in much more depth.

This way, you get the most out of your time with us – tailoring your degree, exploring your career options and strengthening your personal approach to your creative process.


Holly Webber book jacket

Holly Webber – Grow Chilli / Cook Chilli | BBC Studios' work placement project


Another key feature is our small class sizes; throughout your degree you benefit from generous contact time with our tutors, advancing your learning and helping you really develop your skills.


Rebecca Meekings TV channel proposal

Rebecca Meekings – Imagatoon television channel concept

Employability is at the heart of our Graphic Design (Graphic Illustration) course. As well as developing a range of practical skills, we guide you so you become a creative and critical thinker. 

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 worked on live projects for clients such as The British Red Cross, Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Vision and The Royal Society of Arts. Also, we can advise and support you in approaching design studios to arrange practical experience.


Ioana Danilla property brochure illustrations

Ioana Danilla – property brochure illustrations

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.

  • Provide examples of drawing skills in a range of different mediums.
  • Include a range of work demonstrating creativity in its broadest sense. If you can, provide examples of applied design and/or illustration, typography and digital skills.
  • Show work that represents graphic design and illustration with ideas at its centre and aims to communicate a message.
  • Demonstrate your ability to select and apply colour, and to analyse your work and research skills by looking at historical and / or contemporary art and design.
  • Show a project from start to finish, so we can gauge your project's journey and understand your creative process.

Contact us with your questions:

See more Graphic Design (Graphic Illustration) student work on our portfolio page.

See Graphic Design student work here.  

Visit our course Facebook page.

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To download the app, go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store on your mobile device and search ‘University of Suffolk 360’.

Course modules

Our programme is delivered as a series of related modules that cover the technical, creative and contextual aspects of graphic design and graphic illustration to enhance your personal development and career goals. We offer technical support such as enhancement workshops 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 you with industry standard requirements. 

Ideas Generation in Illustration (Mandatory)

This module introduces you to methods and approaches for the generation of ideas and the solving of problems through the medium of graphic illustration. 

Visual Language (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 Illustration (Mandatory)

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

History of 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 Graphic Illustration Ideas (Mandatory)

This module builds on an understanding of image making at level 4, through theme-based projects, to develop confidence and knowledge across a diverse range of illustrative applications. 

Research into Practice (Mandatory)

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

Interactive Screen Illustration (Mandatory)

This module allows you to develop you digital knowledge and skills by exploring how illustration can be effective in digital and emerging screen-based platforms.

Advanced Illustration Practices (Optional)

This module extends your knowledge of contemporary illustration contexts through projects focussing on employability, freelancing and professional practice.

Work Based Learning (Optional)

This module allows you to use experience of a work placement towards their degree. (Replaces Advanced Illustration Practices).

Personal Graphic Illustration Portfolio Development (Mandatory)

This double module specifically focuses on the development and assembly of an illustration portfolio, through means of reflective analysis and the completion of appropriate assignments. 

Professional Practice and Critical Review for Illustrators (Mandatory)

This double module involves the completion of a major multi-component illustration project, bringing together all the skills gained during your time on the course.

Dissertation (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 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 opportunities to prepare your for life after your degree.

Access to national competitions provide opportunities to get your work seen, and promote your talent. Our students have recently won awards including:

  • Starpack Packaging Awards
  • Penguin Random House Design Awards
  • Antalis McNaughton Student Designer Of The Year

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 or illustration 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
  • Fashion Illustrator
  • Book Designer
  • Editorial Designer
  • Marketing
  • In-house Designer
  • Web / Digital Designer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Teacher / Lecturer

Student profiles

I was attracted to the Graphic Design course partially because of the high standard of work showcased, but also because of the course's phenomenal reputation amongst students and graduates. With something as creative and personal as design, it's important to feel comfortable in your...

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

112 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:

  • a 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

Your portfolio is your opportunity to shine in an interview: it is your chance to show us what inspires and excites you. We encourage you to include any visual and written work in your portfolio that will show your creativity and skills in visual communication.

When compiling a portfolio applicants should consider:

  • Consider groups/bodies/projects as well as individual pieces
  • If relevant bring work made with using ‘other’ mediums. E.g. drawing work is just as relevant for a photography interview if important to the applicant
  • Bring a sketch/work/ideas book
  • Bring samples of written work, if possible
  • Presentation - whilst presentation is important, it is the work itself that is going to be judged. Concentrate on the content!
  • What is relevant: does your work match the course you’re applying for? 
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 and Graphic Design Course Leader

Lecturer in Graphic Design/Illustration

Lecturer in printmaking

Lecturer in Graphic Design

Lecturer in Arts - Dissertation Lead

Facilities and Resources

You will be based in our dedicated Graphic Illustration Studio, supported by a second design studio, on the first floor of the University of Suffolk's Arts Building. Adjacent to the studio are two computer suites equipped with networked MacPros and high-specification PCs respectively. On the ground floor, you will have access to our Printmaking Studio and 3D workshops, with facilities for screen-printing, linocutting, etching, laser-cutting, vacuum forming and woodworking. The Printmaking Studio also provides large format digital printing and vinyl cutting services, while the photo-lab provides further printing and finishing equipment.


Bookbinding workshop

Bookbinding workshop in the Printmaking Studio

All campus computers run Adobe Creative Cloud and colour laser printers and scanners are available throughout all university buildings. There is 24-hour access to the Waterfront Building where you are welcome to use more iMacs.

For more information, visit our dedicated facilities page.