West Suffolk College

Degree level: Undergraduate
Awarded by: University of East Anglia

Graphic Communication

Course options

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Course summary

The BA (Hons) Graphic Communication course has a strong track record for producing award winning graduates who have not only achieved commendations for International Design competitions but have secured exciting careers in this dynamic and prosperous sector of the UK’s highly successful creative industries. The course will prepare you for a range of professional opportunities in fields such as advertising, branding, publishing, illustration and digital communication. You will engage in work that explores traditional formats as well as emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality as well as UX design, web design and motion graphics. The curriculum is sufficiently diverse enough to encourage the development of individuals, allowing for both a broad and specialist focus. We’ll encourage you to think creatively during your time with us, gaining professional and technical skills that reflect current and future industry practice and design standards. This is facilitated by providing you with range of real world- experiences from live commercial briefs to fully accredited internships. Our students have worked on many live client-facing briefs set by both national and regional design agencies these including; Lost Boys International, RPM, Interbrand, Jacob Bailey, Cubiq Design, Firebrand Creative, Trebuchet, Toolbox Marketing, Coastline Graphics, National Stud, Jockey Club, Greene King, Class UK, Kiss Radio etc. Our links to professional bodies, experts and design practitioners provides you with fantastic networking opportunities and access to additional support of industry mentors. We host regular guest lecturers so you can learn from industry professionals. Past speakers have included David Carson (Ray Gun magazine), Dan Mumford (Freelance Illustrator pop/music culture /album covers), David Hughes (political caricaturist), Steve Stacey (Senior Designer at Sony), Andi Sapey (Photographer), Sam Peet (Senior Editorial illustrator Culture Trip) and Droga 5 (Advertising Agency). Study trips to Museums, Galleries, Design Studios, Exhibitions and Design Conferences (Offset in Dublin) make up a big part of your learning experience, enriching the programme. Foreign residentials to European cities like Barcelona, Venice, Rome and long-distance destinations like Japan and New York, can be life changing. You are expected to exhibit your work at the end of the course in a Degree Show. Annual in-house design consultancy awards are offered through our employer sponsors consisting of cash prizes. You will also get the opportunity to showcase your work at National Exhibitions such as New Designers or D&AD New Blood in London to network with agencies/employers outside of the region. Key features • This course produces students that are in high demand - 95% of graphic design students are in employment or further post graduate study within six months of graduating • 100% of our undergraduate students are satisfied with the quality of this course. (NSS 2020). • Study a broad range of disciplines including branding, editorial design, graphic design, illustration, interactive design, information design, motion graphics and typography. • Learn in a creative studio environment, using industry-standard equipment and software. • Work on live briefs with dynamic agencies and businesses • Develop your professional skills through, industry competitions, collaborations with organisations and guest lectures. • Develop a professional portfolio tailored to your own career aspirations. • Showcase your work at an annual Degree Show, with the opportunity to be selected to exhibit at other national events, such as New Designers and D&AD New Blood in London.


Level 4: Digital and Emerging Technologies This module familiarises students with the main industry standard software programmes from the Adobe Creative Suite. It encourages students to explore the creative potential of digital processes and techniques developing their knowledge of both print and online screen-based applications. Visual Communication This module engages students with the activity of image making as a multi-faceted language, reinforcing the idea of drawing, mark-making and image construction as core skills to both the graphic designer and illustrator. This includes inductions to specialist workshops like silk screen printing and Photography. Introduction to Typography This module introduces the basic principles of formal typography, terminology and how type can be used creatively. History of Contemporary Graphic Design This module introduces the historical and contemporary contexts of Graphic Design and explores the work of key pioneers and movements in graphic design. Work based learning This module provides students with the opportunity of working on client facing briefs to gain first-hand experience and insight into professional working practices. Level 5: Editorial and Publication Design This module develops a student’s understanding and deeper appreciation for the relationship between language text, imagery and the reader for a variety of information genres. Advanced Divergent Thinking Graphic Design This module allows students to explore how sequential narratives in applied contexts influence and affect an audience's interaction with graphic design outcomes. Students are required to work on an international design competition brief and produce short presentation films. Research Methods This module introduces the underpinning research and writing skills needed to be able to approach a Dissertation at Level 6. It seeks to extend students’ critical questioning of their discipline and introduces design writing and publishing as a potential career option. Internship This module allows students to gain first-hand experience of working in a design agency. Placements run for up to five weeks offsite. This module extends the student’s knowledge of current professional practice, and how to work as part of a creative team. Negotiated Project This module provides an opportunity for students to develop a self-negotiated project, relating to research undertaken within other modules during the year. The module considers the relationship between method, medium and meaning, with reference to relevant theory, as well as traditional and contemporary practices. Level 6: Commercial Collaboration Students will be expected to undertake a major design project in collaboration with an external partner /client. This will normally take the form of a live brief prescribed by a design agency, retailer or charity. The learning activity is largely self-directed, focusing on project based independent study. Undergraduate Dissertation The Dissertation module provides students with the opportunity to conduct a significant piece of research that engages critically with a student’s own interests. It allows them to articulate their findings through a piece of academic writing. Integrated Media and Digital Communications This module looks at current, new and emerging technologies that are commonly employed in the graphic communication industry. Students will be expected to produce multi-pronged, technology driven campaigns that use a combination of digital platforms. Signature Project The module allows the student to bring together all that they have learnt on the course, and to produce a highly effective and professionally realised set of design outcomes. It provides the student with the opportunity to write their own brief that represents their personal career ambitions and showcase their work in annual degree show/exhibition. Assignments are devised to assess a range of skills, abilities, knowledge and experience

Assessment method

The programme uses an appropriate range and variety of assessment methods including assignment, integrated projects, presentations, reports, essays, critiques, portfolio etc. The majority of assessment is undertaken through practice, which is informed by theory. • Assignments are devised to assess a range of skills and abilities and allow for opportunities to build on student knowledge and experience. • Assessments are fair, valid, appropriate to the level of study and are reasonable in number. • Assessments are based on the aims, learning outcomes, standards and content of the modules. • A variety of assessment methods are used to enhance and develop the student experience. • Assessments are both formative and summative, with summative assessments typically schedules at the end of semester. • Emphasis is placed upon punctual submission of assignments and the punctual return of graded assignments with constructive feedback, as this stimulates working to deadlines, which is a very important factor in the work environment. Level 4 In the first year, we focus on giving you the overarching skills you’ll need to succeed at degree-level in Graphic Communication. We’re going to upskill you and help you to gain an intellectual foundation in theory and practice through a range of taught/ assessed modules. In the first-year final grades will be either pass or fail, so we can focus on your skills, adjusting to degree level study and helping you understand better how you learn. You will progress onto level 5 with120 credits. Level 5 In the second year, you’ll begin to get to grips with some of the particular disciplines within Graphic Communication, so we can help you find what you excel at most. In our modules you’ll begin, in real situations, to begin putting what you’ve learned to the test and engage in greater client work and be part of the working design studio. All our assessments at this level will be things you’ve encountered in Year one, so you can focus on getting better at them. Our support in the second year goes to the next level too; we’ll begin to look at patterns in your grades and help you target what you’re doing wrong so you can begin to make your marks climb before you reach the third year. 40% of your best grades will be rolled over to the third year and go towards the calculation of your degree classification. You will progress onto level 6 with 240 credits. Level 6 The third year is when you really get to specialise to identify a particular career path within Graphic Communication which could be in advertising, branding, publishing, illustration or digital communications. Additional Support of Industry mentors will made available to you from experts in the industry alongside your core module tutors. 60% of your best grades will go towards the calculation of your degree classification. You will have completed the course with 360 credits. Assessments are based on the aims, learning outcomes, standards and content of the modules. A variety of assessment methods are used to enhance and develop the student experience. Assessments are both formative and summative, with summative assessments typically schedules at the end of semester. Emphasis is placed upon punctual submission of assignments and the punctual return of graded assignments with constructive feedback, as this stimulates working to deadlines, which is a very important factor in the work environment.

How to apply

Application codes

Course code:
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West Suffolk College Sixth Form Campus
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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Additional entry requirements


Non-standard applicants who do not meet the published entry requirements maybe considered on an individual basis and we encourage such applicants to contact [email protected] for further guidance.


To be submited and discussed at interview

English language requirements

GCSE grade 4/C or above (or equivalent)

Unistats information

Operated by the Office for Students

There is no data available for this course. For further information visit the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

EU £8500 Year 1
Channel Islands £8500 Year 1
England £8500 Year 1
Northern Ireland £8500 Year 1
Scotland £8500 Year 1
Wales £8500 Year 1

Additional fee information

Books (approx. £100 per year) Module Folders - The desired hard copy format is for the work to be submitted in an A3 poly folder with 40 sleeves, All students at the beginning of the course will need to buy a Prat Pampa spiral display book/portfolio to record and showcase their work. £40-£60 Specialist Digital Equipment - At level 4 students might want to invest in their own digital equipment to use outside of the studio, including specialist hardware such as a Macbook laptop (approx. cost £1,299). The leasing of software specific to Graphic Design such Adobe Creative Cloud costs £16.24 per month. If this is unaffordable students have full access to the suite of computers and software on site. It is advised students invest in a portable hard-drive to back-up all their digital work (approx. cost £50). Specialist Materials and Equipment – This includes papers, layout pads, inks, drawing equipment, scalpels, metal rulers etc. On average, costs per module should range between £50-£100, however, this may rise to between £100-£200 for practical modules at Level 5 & 6 as students need to print professional standard prints for their portfolios, produce realistic dummies and prototypes of 3D design work for display purposes and print publications. Parking is available for £10 per semester at the HE campus. Course Trips – these may 2 or 3 times every year at each level. While these are sometimes module specific, they are optional. Local trips to galleries and agencies usually range from between £40-50, depending on mode of transport and destination; The course sometimes runs an international trip that is optional. The cost of such trips is dependent on location, travel details, length of trip and accommodation; in previous years we have organised trips to Barcelona, Rome, Venice (costs for European countries approx. £350-£400 for 3 nights 4 days including flight, transfers, accommodation, breakfast, and some entry costs to exhibition). Long distance destinations to New York or Singapore could cost approx. £900.00 - £1,500 for flight and accommodation again these are optional and payment would need to be made by instalments over the academic year. Conferences - We encourage our students to attend creative industry conferences but this is optional. There are two main conferences for Graphic Design, the first in Dublin over a long weekend in April called Offset and the second the D&AD Festival in London, again over three days in May. Ticket admission, travel cost, and accommodation will vary but can be booked in advance via the relevant websites (approx. £300-£400) Competition entry fees. Students are encouraged at levels 5 & 6 to enter their work for International and National competitions cost are normally around £35 or lower to register. Dissertation - Students are expected to design their dissertation document. The cost can range from general printing and binding costs of £10-£20, or more bespoke online printing services (approx. £50-£80). Degree show - There is an expectation that at Level 5 & 6 students fund their Degree Show, although they have the option often to take on fundraising activities throughout the year to help with this. A final year student should budget a maximum of £100 to cover the cost of printing and a contribution towards the cost of the printed degree show catalogue. There is an Internship module in Level 5 and students are expected to fund their own transport to their placements unless the company is prepared to cover some of their expenses. These placements are usually no more than a 30mile radius of the campus. Printing - All students will be credited with the equivalent of £10 printing/copying at the start of the academic year after that they will need to pay for their own printing/copying. Most practical design modules require physical submissions and cannot always be submitted online. Student ID Cards - The first issue of your ID card is free. However, you will be charged £10 to replace a lost card.
Graphic Communication at West Suffolk College - UCAS