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Graphic Design (BA Hons)

BA (Hons) - single

School of Arts

This Graphic Design degree, taught at Swindon College, is aimed at students wishing to pursue careers as creative designers with a comprehensive understanding of commercial, environmental and social issues. It involves you in extensive research and in stimulating intellectual and practical challenges.

To find out more about what it is like to study at an Oxford Brookes partner college, visit our  partnership course pages.

Typical offers

Available start dates

September 2017 / September 2018

Teaching location

Swindon College

Course length

  • Full time: 3 years

UCAS code


For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • The course is designed to help you build the knowledge and skills you need to enter the graphic design industry (or similar creative industries), or to pursue further study at postgraduate level. 
  • You will develop knowledge and skills in the following areas: graphic design, typography, web design, motion graphics, editorial design, advertising, marketing and branding.
  • You will focus on developing your conceptual and creative awareness within a critical framework. 
  • You'll gain an understanding of the significance of historical, contemporary and contextual influences on graphic design and how this affects current practice.

"I've found that the course has helped me to increase my understanding of commercial, environmental and social issues, and has enabled me to fully explore these in a creative and expressive way. The tutors have always encouraged highly creative and conceptual solutions to age-old design problems." Eamon Martin, Alumni Graphic Design student.

During Year 1, you will develop a range of computer software skills alongside the conceptual and creative awareness required to produce effective design solutions to set briefs. This will be complemented by the Graphic Design, Culture and Change module, where you will gain insight into the development of graphic design as an industry over the last century.

Year 2 focuses on applying and extending the knowledge and skills you have developed during Year 1. A range of ‘live’ and national competition briefs will enable you to generate creative conceptual solutions to challenges across both print and screen applications. The research and analysis module introduces a range of ‘methodologies’ and critical perspectives for discussing graphic design in a wider cultural context in preparation for the Year 3 dissertation. In Year 2 you are also given the opportunity to propose your own Year 3 programme of study, by negotiation with teaching staff.

Year 3 is based on the production of self-initiated graphic design project work (Major Projects), a dissertation of around 6,000 words, or equivalent research report and accompanying practical outcomes. You will also produce self-promotional material such as a website, business cards and other marketing materials (Professional Practice). The culmination of the third year of study is the end-of-year exhibition (also an assessed module).

Study modules

Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here. All modules are compulsory.

Year 1

  • Introduction to Creative Typography
  • Graphic Design, Process and Print
  • Introduction to Visual Communication
  • Web Design
  • Graphic Design, Culture and Change

Years 2 and 3

Year 2

  • Professional Practice and Work Experience
  • Graphic Design in Practice
  • Visual Communication in Context
  • Motion Graphics and Kinetic Typography

Year 3

  • Self-Initiated Major Projects
  • Extended Research Project/Dissertation
  • Professional Practice and Exhibition

Field trips

Regular field trips are offered throughout the course and is also an opportunity to take part in a residential study visit each academic year. Past trips have included New York, Berlin and Krakow. The cost of this residential is not included in your tuition fee and will be charged as an additional cost. This is not a compulsory trip and you can decide to opt out if you would prefer. The cost will vary depending on the destination.

Your course tuition fee covers the cost of mandatory field trips which may occur and are a requirement of your module. Any optional additional field trips to Museums and Exhibitions for example will require an additional fee.

Study abroad

You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are studying at Swindon College as an Oxford Brookes student. Most exchanges take place in the second year.

Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:
  • increasing your employability within an international market
  • boosting your language skills
  • building your confidence in adapting to new situations
  • improving your knowledge of different cultures.
While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.

The cost of travel, accommodation and subsistence is not the responsibility of the College and you will be expected to cover those costs yourself. This is not compulsory or a mandatory part of your studies. The costs would be determined by where you chose to go. We currently do not have any European or International partners offering Graphic Design but we would be willing to explore the option should you choose to investigate it further.

For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges. 

Attendance pattern

Attendance is typically expected to be two and a half days per week, thirty weeks per year.

Additional costs

Art and design materials are not included in the course tuition fees. You need to provide your own art and design materials to allow you to complete your projects successfully. Costs for projects can vary significantly dependent on your project and the materials used.The exact amount that you will need to budget for will depend upon the projects that you choose. The following is a guide:

Materials and equipment - £200 - £300
Final Exhibition costs - £300
Study visits, travel & gallery entrance fees - £50 - £100 

The residential study visit may be in the region of £400 - £800 but this could vary according to the destination.


Teaching and learning

This courses includes formal lectures, software demonstrations, presentations, seminars, discussions and workshop activity. 

Studio practice modules focus on conceptual problem solving whilst fostering creativity and innovative approaches to communicating effectively with a range of potential audiences and target markets.

Contextual studies modules enable you to appreciate the role that graphic design, advertising, marketing and branding play in the development and maintenance of contemporary consumer society alongside further developing research, analysis and communication skills. 

The teaching and learning strategies are underpinned with a formal academic and pastoral tutorial programme and additional one-to-one tutorials are available on request. You will also be able to access online educational support materials through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). 

Approach to assessment

Coursework is an important element in assessment and is highly valued by students for the feedback it provides formatively as the project develops.   Formative assessments such as in-class discussions, presentations and activities do not form part of your grade.  All practical, studio-based modules are assessed through visual research and portfolio work produced in response to set briefs which is the summative assessment requirements which will determine your grade.   

Some modules are assessed through a combination of written, oral and practical outcomes or written outcomes and oral presentation. These will be summative assessment tasks which are designed to provide a measure of your achievement against intended learning outcomes of the course.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time off-campus fee: 2017/18: £7,000

International - full time off-campus fee : 2017/18: £8,500 2018/19: £8,800

Undergraduate fee levels for 2018/19 have not yet been announced by the government and are therefore yet to be confirmed. Oxford Brookes University intends to continue to set fees at the maximum level permitted for new and returning Home/EU students.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

  • BTEC National Diploma with two / three merits and five GCSEs at Grade C or above, one of which must be English, plus a portfolio of practical work.
  • AVCE (Double Award) in Art & Design and five GCSEs at Grade C or above, one of which must be English plus a portfolio of practical work.
  • Diploma in Foundation Studies (Art & Design) or Access to Art and Design Diploma plus a portfolio of practical work.
  • Two years' industrial experience plus a portfolio of practical work (mature students, for example).

Specific entry requirements

A-Level: 2 A-levels in subjects appropriate to the degree

GCSE: 5 subjects at grade C or above, including English

  • Diploma in Foundation Studies (Art & Design), Access to Art & Design, AVCE (Double Award) in Art & Design, BTEC National Extended Diploma in Art & Design or 2 A-levels in subjects appropriate to the degree and 5 GCSEs at Grade C or above, one of which should include English.
  • Other qualifications or experience, for example mature students without formal qualifications, but with evidence of relevant industrial experience will be considered.

Entry into Year 2 may be considered for those students with a BTEC Higher National Diploma or Certificate in a subject appropriate to the degree, with merit passes in at least three final year modules, one of which should be in the contextual studies area

In addition, all candidates must present a satisfactory portfolio of practical work at interview.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

Selection process

All candidates must present a satisfactory portfolio of practical work at interview.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements

International and EU applications

Preparation courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help students meet the academic and English language entry requirements for their courses and also familiarise them with university life.

Find out more about the international foundation pathways we offer and our pre-sessional English language courses.

Country specific entry requirements

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information and local representatives who can help you to apply, please have a look at our country specific information pages.

How to apply

Full-time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

Applications must be made via UCAS. Please check with UCAS for any amendments before submitting your application.

International applications

An E-portfolio can be submitted as a method of presentation for portfolio of work if an International or overseas student.

This course is not available to international students requiring a Tier 4 visa.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Support for students studying Graphic Design (BA Hons)

Swindon College's School of Arts provides a stimulating environment in which students at all levels work together developing common skills and values. Highly qualified staff will guide you through your course and you will be supported by a Programme Leader who will help you on a day-to-day basis and advise you on your plans for further study or progression to professional life.

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Specialist facilities

Swindon College's School of Art is located across three different locations within the North Star Campus. The department has its own network of computers and has full use of the college’s PC networks. You will benefit from excellent access to educational and professional, industry-standard creative software packages and from using the latest computing equipment.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Career prospects

The creative industries in general are one of the fastest growing areas of the economy in the UK. Transferable skills gained while studying graphic design at Swindon College will give you a range of potential career opportunities. These include graphic design, typographic design, web design, copyrighting, proof-reading, editorial design, art-working, publishing, media, marketing, branding, advertising and motion graphics.

Further study

Many students successfully find work across the communications industry in the UK and worldwide. Some students choose to continue their studies at postgraduate level or undertake teacher training.