A student dressed like a doll posing in a pink room.

BA(Hons) Illustration (with Foundation Year)

Entry year
Course code
School of Arts
Tariff points
City Campus
Four years
Programme leader
Mary Murphy

Clearing applicants who do not meet the standard requirements as specified on the Entry tab may be considered.

Please call our Clearing helpline on +44 (0)117 32 83333 for further advice or you can apply online.

Page last updated 15 July 2024


Learn in a creative and supportive studio environment with professional-standard facilities and a focus on helping you gain real-world skills for the workplace.

Why study illustration?

Studying illustration opens the door to diverse careers in the creative industries.

You will respond to ideas, explore narratives and 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 UWE Bristol?

BA(Hons) Illustration encourages you to create and develop your own personal visual language. Problem-solving through drawing and making is core.

You'll be based at Bower Ashton Studios, part of the City Campus. Exceptional facilities and resources include industry-standard digital media studios and production and fabrication workshops.

Explore a range of media and deepen your awareness of the ideas, concepts and contexts of illustration through theoretical studies. Build an awareness of the professional world and develop core skills through individual experimentation.

Innovation and individualism are celebrated. Investigate potential contexts and audiences for your work and test yourself against industry expectations through live briefs, and national and international competitions.

City Campus is a creative powerhouse that spans the city of Bristol and is made up of Bower Ashton, Spike Island, Arnolfini and Watershed.

Our strong industry links with the thriving city of Bristol ensure input from illustrators and creatives. Visits from respected practitioners will keep you up to date with contemporary illustration practice.

Attend lectures and seminars at the Arnolfini and Watershed and work in our production and fabrication workshops, equipped with traditional tools and the latest technology.

Showcase your work to talent scouts and potential employers at the final year Creative Industries Degree Show and D&AD New Blood, London.

Hear from Illustration graduate, Maya Albagli, about their final year degree show project, Tongue Tied.

Focusing on the avenues that interest you, you'll graduate with an impressive portfolio of work, ready to make your mark as an illustrator.

Where can it take me?

This course prepares you for a sustainable and flexible career in illustration.

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

The image above shows the fantastic work from one of our students (Elsa Diez, 2023 Illustration graduate).

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Year zero (Foundation year)

You'll study:

  • Academic Skills
  • Developmental Projects: Building a Creative Identity
  • Foundation Project
  • Observation and Making.

You normally need to pass your foundation year before going into year one.

Year one

You'll study:

  • Introduction to Illustration
  • Narrative and Sequence
  • Professional Practice and Work Experience in Illustration 1
  • Visual Culture 1
  • Visual Essay.

Year two

You'll study:

  • Word and Image
  • Process and Practice
  • Professional Practice and Work Experience in Illustration 2
  • Visual Culture 2
  • Developing Visual Narratives.

Plus, one optional module from:

  • Professional Practice and Work Experience in Illustration 2
  • Collaborate

Final year

You'll study:

  • Preparation for Extended Study in Illustration
  • Extended Study in Illustration
  • Professional Practice and Work Experience in Illustration 3
  • Visual Culture 3.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching is mainly studio based, with workshops, seminars, tutorials and lectures.

You'll explore traditional and digital media, attend visual culture lectures, and develop a critical and analytical approach to yours and others' work.

Build your creative, professional and research skills, working with active researchers, authors and thought leaders. Get involved in projects with the Centre for Fine Print Research, the Pervasive Media Studio and Bristol VR Lab.

Build critical questioning and persuasion skills, and expand your ideas about what illustration can be and do.

Attend talks from industry professionals, find out about career options and go on work experience. Get advice from practising illustrators about presenting a professional portfolio.

Take responsibility for your own creative progress through self-directed study.

Many illustrators work freelance, so we'll cover areas such as how to find clients and promote yourself.

You'll be fully aware of the business and working processes in your chosen area.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Look at illustration students' work on Instagram.

Approximate percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities*:

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year.

Get involved

Attend workshops with the Association of Illustrators on contracts, copyright and invoicing; and with The Central Illustration Agency on sustainable careers and career preparation. 

The D&AD runs a Graduate Academy and many students have won places to secure this additional support.

Work on projects with Beneficial Shock magazine, a global publication that uses illustration to discuss film, run by course lecturers.


All modules are assessed, and marks from modules undertaken in year two and your final year can contribute to the final award.

You can expect to be assessed through projects, essays, group presentations and visual presentation.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

Approximate percentage of marks awarded by each assessment method*:

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year



Go on European and international visits and field studies throughout the course.

Study facilities

BA(Hons) Illustration is based at the Bower Ashton Campus. It's an excellent base within the exciting City Campus, connecting teaching and learning with some of the best creative and cultural organisations in Bristol. 

Bower Ashton houses the main library supporting the creative and cultural industries as well as student support services.

A mix of traditional and hands-on learning environments helps you quickly take on essential knowledge and skills, standing you in good stead for your professional career.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Art facilities and see what's on offer here for you.

Watch: Welcome to the School of Arts at UWE Bristol



An excellent range of options for all of the Bristol campuses and the city centre.


A stunning city for student living with all the qualities to make you want to stay.

Sports, societies and activities

There is more to your experience here than study. Choose to make the most of it and try new things.

Health and Wellbeing

We provide support in the way you need it.

Campus and facilities

Discover our campuses and the wealth of facilities provided for our students.


Careers / Further study

Tailoring what and how you study, you can shape the course towards your chosen career path.

Our graduates go on to work across all areas of the creative industries.

They are film directors, set designers, art/creative directors, illustration agents, visualisers, designers, model-makers, animators, storyboard artists, puppeteers, theatrical/film costume and prop designers.

Past students work as:

  • 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.

Others establish successful freelance careers as illustrators.

Our alumni also include a Batsford Prize winner and the designer of the new Elbow album cover.

Get inspired

Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.

We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.

Visit our employability pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating.


Supplementary fee information

Additional costs are for items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 48
  • Contextual tariff: See our contextual offers page.
  • GCSE: Grade C/4 in English, or equivalent.
  • English Language Requirement:

    International and EU applicants are requirement to have a mimimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 5.5 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).


    *The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Please visit our English language requirements page.


  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.

    For information on required Guided Learning Hours please see our minimum entry requirements page.

  • Access: No specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.
  • Irish Highers: No specific subjects required.
  • T Levels: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

If you exceed the entry requirements you may be eligible for BA(Hons) Illustration.

International applicants

For country specific entry requirements please find your country on the country information pages.

Selection process

Applicants will be required to submit a digital portfolio for review within 21 days of their application being received.

For more details on the process, please visit our selection page.

Read more about entry requirements.

How to apply

Read more about undergraduate applications.

Read more about international applications and key international deadline dates.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

Full Time