Graphic Design - September 2014 entry

BA (Hons) - single

* This course is subject to validation by the University.

This course is run by the School of Arts

This course is run at Swindon College.

'The graphic design degree at Swindon College has been an intellectually stimulating experience for me. 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 graphic design student.

Why choose this course

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

The course is designed to help you acquire the graduate attributes required to enter the graphic design industry (or similar creative industries) together with the academic knowledge and skills required for further study at postgraduate level. This is achieved by focusing on developing your conceptual and creative awareness within a critical framework. You'll gain an appreciation of, and insight into, the significance of historical, contemporary and contextual influences on graphic design and how this affects current practice.

You will develop knowledge and skills in the following areas: graphic design, typography, photography, web design, motion graphics, editorial design, advertising, marketing and branding.

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

This course in detail

During Year 1, in studio-based modules, you will develop a range of computer software skills alongside the conceptual and creative awareness required to produce effective design solutions to a range of set briefs. This will be complemented by the historical and contextual studies module, where you will gain insight into the history and development of graphic design as an industry over the last century.

Year 2 focuses on the application and extension of knowledge and skills acquired during Year 1. A range of centre-devised, ‘live’ and national competition briefs will enable you to generate creative conceptual solutions to a range of problems across various media (both print and screen). The contextual studies 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. Year 2 students are also given the opportunity to propose their 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, and 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).

Contextual studies modules underpin the course by enabling you to appreciate the role that graphic design, advertising, marketing and branding play in the development and maintenance of contemporary consumer society. These modules will also develop your research, analysis and communication skills.

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. They also focus on developing the practical skills necessary to produce effective graphic design solutions to a professional standard.

Study modules

As courses are reviewed regularly the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here.

Year 1

  • Visual Studies
  • Design Studies
  • Graphic Design
  • Web Design
  • Historical and Contextual Studies

Years 2 and 3

Year 2

  • Visual Practice
  • Design Practice
  • Motion Graphics
  • Contextual Studies

Year 3

  • Major Projects
  • Dissertation
  • Professional Practice
  • Exhibition

Field trips

Regular field trips take place to various centres in the UK. There is also an opportunity to take place in a residential study visit to a European City and these have included cities such as Berlin and Krakow.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching and learning

A wide range of teaching, learning and assessment strategies are used on the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course, including 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 students 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. All practical, studio-based modules are assessed through visual research and portfolio work produced in response to set briefs. However, some modules are assessed through a combination of written, oral and practical outcomes (Professional Practice) or written outcomes and oral presentation (Historical and Contextual Studies). Assessment methods include individual project work, group assignments or projects, presentations and critiques.

Learning outcomes

When you have successfully completed the course, you will  be able to:

  • Apply the methods and techniques that you have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply your knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects
  • Understand  key aspects of graphic design and communication, informed by the acquisition of coherent and detailed knowledge of the subject
  • Develop independent projects through research and  analysis
  • Apply knowledge of the subject, through synthesis of concept and creative solution
  • Understand the concept of graphic design through enquiry, analysis, experimentation, and knowledge of current practices
  • Evaluate concepts and/or outcomes, and  identify appropriate solutions
  • Select and employ a range of appropriate processes and/or materials
  • Research, select and evaluate information from a variety of sources, and to apply these findings to your own enquiry
  • Understand relevant health and safety issues within the creative industries, and within graphic design
  • Advance your learning ability in preparation for professional life or further training
  • Deal with complex issues, generate concepts and successfully communicate ideas through visual, written and/or oral means
  • Demonstrate the ability to work independently and with self-initiation, capable of solving problems and decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations

Key facts


School of Arts

Course length

Full-time: 3 years

Teaching location

Swindon College - Campus Code N

Start date

September 2014

UCAS code and Key Information Sets

W210 BA/SW21

How to apply / Entry requirements

Typical offers

  • BTech National Diploma with two / three merits and 5 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 5 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.
  • 2 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, BTech National 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 BTech 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.

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

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.

Conditions of acceptance

When you accept our offer, you agree to the conditions of acceptance. 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.

Student experience

Support for students studying Graphic Design

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 personal tutor who will help you on a day-to-day basis and advise you on your plans for further study or progression to professional life.

The College provides flexible study options which fit around existing work and home commitments as well as smaller class sizes giving you more time with your tutors and meaning we can offer you more individual support throughout your learning.

Specialist facilities

The School of Art at Swindon College is located in a new building with 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.

After graduation

Career prospects

The creative industries in general are one of the fastest growing areas of the economy in the UK. The graduate attributes gained while studying graphic design at Swindon College will give graduates a range of potential career opportunities including: graphic design, typographic design, web design, copywriting, proof-reading, editorial design, art-working, publishing, media, marketing, branding, advertising and motion graphics.

Our recent Graphic Design students' achievements and successes include awards from the Starpack Student Competition, New Designers Exhibition, Design Against Fur Competition and the Young Creatives Network. Selected graduates of the course also exhibit work annually at the Design and Art Directors (D&AD) Exhibition in London.

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.