Students looking around an exhibition


Graphic Design (with Foundation Year)

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Art and Design
Foundation Year: Frenchay and Years one to three: City Campus
Four years
Programme leader:
Colum Leith
Key fact:
Study in a studio environment with professional-standard facilities and the focus on the real-world skills you need to succeed in your career.

Page last updated 16 February 2018


Why study graphic design?

Graphic design makes a powerful contribution to the cultural and economic life of contemporary society.

It exists in the public domain, acts as an indicator of current cultural thinking and is a catalyst for social, cultural and political change.

The role of the graphic designer in society and the professional world is multifaceted; designer as curator, author, craftsperson, editor, educator, collaborator and agitator.

Studying graphic design is excellent preparation for a creative career in the UK and abroad.

Why UWE Bristol?

BA(Hons) Graphic Design is based at UWE Bristol's Frenchay Campus in the foundation year and then at the Arnolfini, on Bristol's historic waterfront, from year one onwards.

Situated above this renowned centre for contemporary art, you'll be at the heart of Bristol's creative and cultural community.

Learn from practising graphic designers in a professional studio environment. Access UWE Bristol's City Campus and its exceptional department facilities.

Past students have won awards in prestigious national competitions such as the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Student Design Awards and the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) and the course ranks very highly in the National Student Survey (NSS). 

In recent years, graduates' work has been exhibited at D&AD New Blood, London, where they won Best in Show awards and commendation for collaborative projects.

Our students are regularly shortlisted for the Best British Book Design and Production Awards.

Our strong industry links with the thriving city of Bristol ensure ongoing input from professional designers. You won't be working on hypothetical designs. Projects are socially and culturally relevant, whether undertaken inside or outside the university.

Go on work placements and internships and volunteer throughout the course to gain valuable workplace experience.

Attend talks from studios like OK/RM, Pentagram, Moving Brands, Mother London, Muf, APFEL and Bookworks.

Graduate ready to make your mark in your chosen industry.

Where can it take you?

This course prepares you for a rewarding freelance or studio career in graphic design. Many of our graduates have found work with highly respected design studios in the UK and worldwide.

Many of our graduates establish their own freelance businesses or independent design companies.

Others go on to further study, including our MA in Graphic Arts at UWE Bristol.

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 will study:

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

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

Year one

You will study:

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

Year two

You will study:

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

Plus one optional module from:

  • Developing Practice in Graphic Design
  • International Exchange.

Final year

You will study:

  • Preparation for Extended Study in Graphic Design OR *Introduction to Level 3 Graphic Design
  • Extended Study in Graphic Design
  • Independent Research Project
  • Professional Practice and Work Experience 3.

*For Level 3 entry students only.

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

Learn through a mix of projects, lectures, seminars and tutorials.

Explore and engage with industry and professional outcomes as an emerging practitioner work experience modules.

Experience and experiment with a range of mediums, processes, technologies and concepts. Discover how to communicate through image-making, typography, print and screen graphics.

Present your work at the final year Creative Industries Degree Show.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Percentage of time spend in different learning activities, per year:

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check

Student successes

Visit Typenowhere, a website set up to support graphic design students' learning and act as an online platform to exhibit UWE Bristol students' work and successes. See City Edition Studio to explore work of our alumni.

Watch James's YouTube film about how he combines studying with co-running a club night.

Read about how Olivia created the winning UWE Bristol Christmas e-Card.

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

Get involved

All students have the opportunity to join the student run Graphic Design Society. The society runs social events, workshops and cross-year critiques of students' work.


You can expect to be assessed through projects, essays, group presentations and visual presentation. There are no exams.

You'll write critical evaluations and analyse your own work through the course, relating it to the broader context and history of graphic design practice.

Marks from modules taken in year two and your final year count towards your final degree.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

Percentage of time spend in different assessment methods, per year:

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check



Students who get work experience tend to graduate with more skills, industry knowledge and a professional network, making them sought-after graduates.

We have extensive links with industry, commerce and the cultural and voluntary sectors.

You'll explore and engage with industry as an emerging practitioner. Undertake work placements, internships and volunteering opportunities with studios across the region.

You'll typically spend 36 to 40 hours a year engaging with industry-related projects (from year one onwards).

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

Get help to find your placement and support throughout from department staff and our award-winning careers service.


European and international visits and field studies are an integral part of the course, depending on take-up.

Recent trips have included New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Istanbul and Krakow. Students are expected to pay for these but we keep prices within strict limits.

You'll go on regular visits to design studios, publishers, paper merchants and printers, including GF Smith Paper Merchant, Burleigh-Portishead Press, Fedrigoni Papers and Ripe Digital Printers.

Study facilities

In your foundation year, you'll study at our Frenchay Campus, and have access to all the facilities and accommodation available to UWE Bristol students.

From year one onwards, you'll be based at the City Campus at Arnolfini, which occupies the top three floors of the Arnolfini building on Bristol's harbourside and offers studio and teaching spaces for Graphic Design students.

Computing facilities and student support services are available. Visual culture modules and a range of guest lectures are delivered here as well as other sites within the City Campus.

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.


Careers / Further study

Our students go on to successful careers as graphic designers,art directors, digital designers, creatives, studio managers and account managers for a range high-profile studios and companies.

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.

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.

Watch Alex's YouTube film about preparing for employment.

See also:

UWE Bristol - careers in graphic design

Prospects - careers in the creative arts sector


Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12500
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1563

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year400
Optional Field Trip - (Maximum Cost)500

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
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C/4 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 one A-Level.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; no specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

Applicants will be invited to submit a digital portfolio for review.  We are interested in your creative ideas, skills and ability.

Due to the creative nature of the course, you will be considered on your own individual merit and potential to succeed. We may make different offers where appropriate to candidates who have a strong portfolio, or substantial relevant work/other experience and whose motivation and skills would enable them to succeed on the course. In your application, please give full details of any relevant work experience and qualifications (including modules and units).

Students who expect to achieve a higher tariff score may also be interested in our BA(Hons) Graphic Design course.

Read more about entry requirements.

UWE Bristol's International College
If you do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

How to apply

Read more about undergraduate applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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