Login to UWE

Graphic Design

Two students drawing on a draft table

About this course

Accreditations and partnerships:

D&AD, ISTD, The UK Socrates-Erasmus Council Creative Skillset
  • Entry year: 2015/16
  • Course code: W211
  • Applications: UCAS
  • Level: Undergraduate
  • Tariff points: 280
  • Department: Art and Design
  • Campus: Bower Ashton
  • Duration: Three years
  • Delivery: Part-time, Full-time
  • Study Abroad: Yes
  • Programme leader: Colum Leith
  • Key fact: Our BA(Hons) Graphic Design is taught by practising graphic designers. You will learn in a studio environment with professional-standard facilities and a real-world dynamic.


Why BA(Hons) Graphic Design?

Graphic design, in its many forms, makes an increasingly powerful contribution to the cultural and economic life of contemporary society. It exists in the public domain, is an indicator of current cultural thinking and is a catalyst for social, cultural and political change. Our BA(Hons) Graphic Design explores the changing concept of graphic design and the role of the graphic designer in society and the professional world; designer as curator, author, craftsperson, editor, educator, collaborator and agitator.

The course provides excellent preparation for a creative career in the UK and abroad. Many of our graduates establish their own freelance businesses or independent design companies.

Why study this course?

Taught by practising graphic designers, learning takes place in a studio environment with exceptional facilities and a real-world dynamic. The course ranks very highly in the National Student Survey (NSS).

Over the past six years, graduates' work has been exhibited at D&AD New Blood, London, where they have won Best in Show awards and commendation for collaborative projects. Current students are regularly shortlisted for the Best British Book Design and Production Awards, with second-year student Jake Gunn winning in the Best Student Book category in 2014.

Real-world experience

Our strong industry links with the thriving city of Bristol ensure ongoing input from professional designers. You will not work on hypothetical designs. Projects are socially and culturally relevant, whether undertaken inside or outside the University.

We encourage and support work placements, internships and volunteering throughout the course. Close partners include Spike Island, the Arnolfini and Watershed and we have welcomed speakers from Julia Studio, Conor & David, Poke London, APFEL and Bookworks, among many others.

Where it can take you

The course provides excellent preparation for a rewarding freelance or studio careers in graphic design. Many of our graduates have found work with highly respected companies in the UK and worldwide.

Watch our film about related Art courses at UWE Bristol.

Watch the film below to find out more about Design at UWE Bristol.

This video requires javascript to be enabled and flash installed to view.View this video on the youtube website

>> Structure

Student's view

"The tutors have been fantastic and have played a huge role in my enjoyment of the last 3 years, leaving me with confidence in my own abilities as a designer and many happy memories." Jono



Across all three years of the course, Professional Practice/Work Experience modules allow you to explore and effectively engage with industry and professional outcomes as an emerging practitioner.

Year 1

Emphasis is placed on experimentation and critical reflection, providing opportunities for you to experience a range of mediums, processes, technologies and concepts. You will explore communication through image-making, typography, print and screen graphics.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Introduction to Words and Images
  • Communicating with Words and Images
  • Critical Perspectives
  • Professional Practice and Work Experience 1

Year 2

You will consider the professional aspects of graphic design. Option modules provide opportunities for exploring and focusing on particular areas of interest including type and print, moving image, and visual narratives. In Year 2 you can also take part in Erasmus international exchange.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Exploring Graphic Design Process
  • Creative Analysis
  • Professional Practice and Work Experience 2

Plus one of the following optional modules:

  • Developing Practice in Graphic Design
  • International Exchange

Final Year

You will focus on a self-directed programme of study culminating in a final show. You will have the opportunity to undertake live briefs, national and international competition including RSA and ISTD.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Preparation for Extended Study in Graphic Design (or Introduction to Level 3 Graphic Design for Level 3 entry students only)
  • Extended Study in Graphic Design
  • Independent Research Project
  • Professional Practice and Work Experience 3

Please note course content and structure can change from year to year. As a result there can be variation between the information shown here and the course when it is delivered. Please also note this structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery the same modules will be studied however the structure will differ.

Learning and teaching

Teaching is through projects, lectures, seminars and tutorials.

For more details see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.


A variety of assessment methods are used including projects, essays, group presentations and visual presentation. There are no exams. Critical evaluations are written throughout the course. In these students are expected to critique and analyse their own work and also relate it to the broader context and history of graphic design practice. Marks from modules undertaken at levels 2 and 3 can contribute to your final degree.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.

>> Features

Special Features

Professional accreditation

This course is an institutional member of the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD), the professional body run by and for typographers, graphic designers and educators. Gaining membership of the Society on graduation will give you the edge when applying for work in the creative industries. Over the past few years, our students have been extremely successful in the ISTD scheme, receiving commendations, merits and pass certificates.

The course is recognised by Creative Skillset, the Sector Skills Council, and carries the Creative Skillset Tick indicating courses appropriate for a creative industries career. We are also an academic partner of and a member of D&AD


We have extensive links with industry and commerce and with the cultural and voluntary sectors. Throughout all three years you'll engage with Professional Practice and Work Experience modules, where you will explore and engage with industry as an emerging practitioner.

We have strong links with studios throughout the region and encourage and support work placements, internships and volunteering opportunities. Our students typically spend 36 to 40 hours per year engaging with industry-related projects.

Study exchanges with European colleges of Art and Design are available as part of the EU-funded Socrates programme; European work placements are available through the Leonardo programme.


European and international visits and field studies are an integral part of the course, depending on take-up. Recent trips have included Berlin, Istanbul and Krakow. Students are expected to pay for these but prices are kept within strict limits.

We also make regular visits to design studios, publishers, paper merchants and printers, including GF Smith Paper Merchant, the Environment Agency, Burleigh-Portishead Press, Fedrigoni Papers and Ripe Digital Printers.

Study facilities

Graphic Design is based at Bower Ashton campus. You will have access to our unrivalled facilities, with state-of-the-art media studios offering the latest technology, including comprehensive video and animation resources, digital and traditional printing, screen-printing, letterpress, photographic workshops, and extensive computer and digital media laboratories.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.


The CODA award is presented to a final year student at the Creative Industries Degree Show.

Student successes

  • Visit Typenowhere, a website set up to support student learning and to act as an online platform to exhibit UWE Bristol students work and successes.
  • Winner of the CODA award in 2013, Bethan Durie's website showcases her work. 
  • See alumni website City Edition Studio

Student work

See some of our students' work by visiting Level 2 Vimeo, Level 3 Vimeo and our flickr page.

>> Careers

Careers/further study

Our students go on to successful careers in a range high-profile studios and companies as graphic designers and account managers. Recent graduates have found work at Eye Magazine, JWT Advertising, McCann Erickson, the Guardian, Two Times Elliot, The Times and Sunday Times, Undercurrent Brands, Esterson Associates, Studio Makgill, DRAFTFCB, Play Nicely, Redhouse Lane Communications, Hello Charlie, Peloton, BDH, Dirty Design, Pentagram, NB:Studio, City ID, Think Public, Domain Associates, Telegram, dn&co, Oakwood, nerv interactive,YCN, Collision Films, Mind Design, Aardman Animations and Plastic Horse.

Some continue with their studies. Three of our recent students are studying for the MA Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art, London.

Award-winning Careers Service

Our award-winning Careers Service helps you develop your graduate employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, graduate jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurs and access to employer events.

Graduate destinations

Find out what our graduates are doing six months after graduating; includes examples of careers, employers and further study. Download a PDF from graduate destinations.

See great graduate prospects for further information.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and UWE Bristol initiatives which nurture talent and encourage innovation, students gain valuable real-world experience and graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Hear about some of the work opportunities generated by the Enterprise Office.

Be inspired

Watch Alex's YouTube film about preparing for employment.

Watch James's YouTube film to see how he combines studying with co-running a club night, Shapes.

Read how Olivia created the winning Christmas e-card design.

Watch Jane's YouTube film to see how she manages life as a mature student, her family and a day job.

See some of our students' work on flickr.

Useful links

UWE - careers in graphic design

Prospects - careers in the creative arts sector

>> Fees


Full time course

FeeAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9000
Home/EU-Full Time-15 Credit Module Fee1125
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee11250
International-Full Time 15 Credit Module Fee1406
Offshore-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9000
Offshore-Full Time 15 Credit Module Fee1125

Part time course

FeeAmount (£)
Home/EU-Part Time-15 Credit Module Fee1125
Offshore-Part Time-15 Credit Module Fee1125

Full time course

FeeAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9000
Home/EU-Full Time-15 Credit Module Fee1125
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee11250
International-Full Time 15 Credit Module Fee1406
Offshore-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9000
Offshore-Full Time 15 Credit Module Fee1125

Part time course

FeeAmount (£)
Home/EU-Part Time-15 Credit Module Fee1125
Offshore-Part Time-15 Credit Module Fee1125

Supplementary fee information

For information about fees and funding for courses please see our fees and funding pages.

>> Entry


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 280
  • GCSE: Grade C or above in English Language, or equivalent.
    Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of two A-Levels.
  • Relevant subjects: Art and Design, Technology
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: A minimum of DMM from the BTEC Diploma
  • Access: Achievement of the HE Diploma; to include 15 L3 credits at merit; achievement of Level 2 credits giving GCSE equivalency (where appropriate) in English Language. Applicants completing Level 3 credits in Art and Design are guaranteed an interview.
  • Baccalaureate IB: 25 points

Entry requirements

Please read the general information about entry requirements.

Successful applicants are generally those with the strongest portfolios. Students of all ages and from all social backgrounds are recruited with a variety of qualifications including Foundation Studies Diploma, BTEC National Diploma, A levels or equivalent qualification in Art and Design

Applicants demonstrating commitment to and knowledge of the subject on their application form are invited to a selection session where they will be required to present a collection of their creative work to demonstrate a good practical ability in and understanding of their chosen field.

You should be enthusiastic and articulate and interviewers will be looking for evidence of a high degree of creativity and invention and will want to see a wide range of work including sketchbooks. Experimental work is encouraged along with the use of colour and typography.

Entry is based on portfolio and ability.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information

Copyright 2015 © UWE better together