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About this course

Accreditations and partnerships:

The UK Socrates-Erasmus Council
  • Entry year: 2015/16
  • Course code: W224
  • 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: Christine Hill
  • Key fact: You will learn in a creative and supportive studio environment with professional-standard facilities and a real-world dynamic.


Why BA(Hons) Illustration?

Our BA(Hons) Illustration consistently produces award-winning students who enter high-profile careers across the creative industries. You will work across a range of media, including 2D, 3D and moving image. Self-directed projects could range from editorial to narrative, 3D model-making to film, animation to artists' books, providing excellent preparation for the commercial world.

Why study this course?

You will be based at Bower Ashton Campus alongside UWE Bristol's other Art and Design courses with your own individual studio space and access to unrivalled facilities and resources. These include our state-of-the-art media studios, 3D, EPI and print centres, and specialist software and resources for laser cutting, digital stitch and wood, metal and plastic.

The course encourages you to create and develop your own personal visual language. Problem-solving through drawing and making is core. You will explore a range of traditional and digital media and deepen your awareness of the traditions of illustration through theoretical studies. Individual experimentation is underpinned throughout by an awareness of the professional world and the development of core skills.

Real-world experience

Our strong industry links with the thriving city of Bristol ensure input from illustrators and creatives. Close partners include Spike Island, the Arnolfini and Watershed, while visits from respected practitioners will keep you up to date with contemporary illustration practice.

Innovation and individualism are celebrated. You will be encouraged to investigate potential places for your work and will regularly test yourself against industry expectations through live briefs and externally judged national and international competitions.

Where it can take you

Alongside established freelance illustration career paths, our graduates work across the creative industries in roles such as film directors, set designers, art/creative directors, illustration agents, visualisers, designers, model-makers, animators, storyboard artists, puppeteers, theatrical/film costume and prop designers.

See some of our students' work on Flickr.

Watch our video to hear about studying for a Design degree 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 always given 100% of their enthusiasm and time, and have set interesting and challenging briefs to build our confidence and to help develop our personal visual language. The course has helped me to become a proper artist." Ig



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

Year 1

The first year introduces you to illustration and its applications in problem solving. Major emphasis is placed on drawing draughtsmanship as basis communication foundation personal language. You are encouraged to explore a wide range of traditional and digital media and to explore painting techniques and the translation of image into printmaking.

There will be a range of visiting speakers and a Professional Practice and Work Experience module to enable you to begin to locate the context of your own practice, hear from industry professionals and find out about future career options.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Introduction to Illustration
  • Narrative and Place
  • Critical Perspectives
  • Professional Practice and Work Experience in Illustration 1

Year 2

You will be introduced to the wider experience of professional illustration practice. You will experience sequential storytelling and the exposition of complex ideas in single images. You are encouraged at all times to reflect on your personal practice and to understand the sources that drive and inform it.

In the second semester, there is the opportunity to undertake an international exchange programme at one of our partner institutions in Europe or further afield.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Exploring Process in Illustration
  • Creative Analysis
  • Professional Practice and Work Experience in Illustration 2

Plus one of the following optional modules:

  • Developing Practice in Illustration 2
  • International Exchange

Year 3

You will take responsibility for your own creative progress through a programme of student-led self-directed study, where individualism and innovation are encouraged. Business studies and freelance seminars led by practicing illustrators will advise you in the selection and presentation of a professional portfolio of work.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Preparation for Extended Study in Illustration
  • Extended Study in Illustration
  • Independent Research Project
  • Professional Practice and Work Experience in Illustration 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

Most of the learning that you do will take place in a course-specific environment aimed at project related outcomes organised into specific modules.

Teaching sessions include workshops, seminars, group and individual tutorials and lectures. The principal teaching and learning method used is the tutor group, which meets regularly to discuss student work and other course related issues.

Throughout the entire course you will attend lectures and seminars in Visual Culture with students from across the department. This core module enables you to develop a rigorous critical and analytical approach to your own work and the work of others. It also fosters a culture of collaboration between disciplines which is very valuable to you when you leave university. On completion of the course you should expect to be fully aware of the business and working processes in your chosen area of creative practice.

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


All modules are assessed, and marks from modules undertaken in Year 2 and Year 3 can contribute to the final award.

A variety of assessment methods are used including projects, essays, group presentations and visual presentation.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.

>> Features

Special Features


We have links with the creative industries throughout the region and you will work to live briefs set and assessed by professionals in the field.

Students can participate in study exchanges with European institutions through the EU-funded Socrates programme and can find European work placements through the Leonardo programme.


European and international visits and field studies are offered through the course.

Study facilities

Illustration is based at the Bower Ashton Campus. You will have access to unrivalled facilities and resources, including our state-of-the-art media studios, offering the latest technology, 3D, EPI and print centres, and specialist software and resources for laser cutting, digital stitch and wood, metal and plastic.

Find out more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Student success

The course consistently produces award-winning students. In 2012/13 students were successful at the Macmillan Children's Book Awards, D&AD New Blood, the American Illustration Awards, the Folio Society, Penguin Awards, the Ligatura International Graphic Novel Award, the Cheltenham Illustration Awards, AOI London Transport Competition and the 3x3 Illustration Awards.

>> Careers

Careers/further study

Our graduates go on to work across all areas of the creative industries: for example, as film directors, set designers, art/creative directors, illustration agents, visualisers, designers, model-makers, animators, storyboard artists, puppeteers, theatrical/film costume and prop designers. Others establish successful freelance careers as illustrators.

Examples of recent destinations are:

  • Director at Blink (John Lewis Christmas campaign, 2013)
  • Animator/filmmaker at Arthur Cox
  • Model/puppet-maker at Aardman Animation
  • Prop-maker for Harry Potter Film Franchise
  • Creative Director at Landor Associates
  • Art Editor at NoBrow
  • Artist at Damien Hirst Studios
  • Art Editor at MacMillan Publishers

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 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

Read Emma's success story to discover her journey from graduate to children's author.

See some of our students' work on flickr.

Useful links

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

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.
  • 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

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 will be invited to submit a digital portfolio for review. Following this, shortlisted applicants will be invited to an individual interview where they will be required to present a collection of their creative work, demonstrating a good practical ability in and understanding of their chosen field.

As a guide, staff are looking for applicants to demonstrate one or more of the following;

  • An innovative approach to image making
  • A good level of drawing skills eg life drawing/observational drawing
  • Evidence of visual thinking and engagement with concepts
  • Experimentation with digital and analogue (hand made) processes
  • An individualistic and curious approach to image making

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information

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