Illustration with Foundation Year at Buckinghamshire New University - UCAS

Course summary

This course is offered as a four-year programme, including an initial Foundation Year. The Foundation Year will allow you to develop your academic study skills and build confidence in your abilities, identifying your own strengths and development needs for progression onto an undergraduate programme. Why study at Buckinghamshire New University? With a history of delivery expert craft, art and design education for more than 130 years, Buckinghamshire New University is the perfect place to start your creative career. Led by our dedicated and supportive course team, you will have the freedom to explore all areas of Illustration, whether that’s digital such as vector art or traditional methods such as printmaking. During your time with us you’ll get direct access to guest lectures and can benefit from live project briefs, master classes, and plenty of networking chances. As well as this, through lectures, seminars and workshops, we equip you with important skills that prepare you for a successful career. Opportunity modules are a key part of the BNU curriculum. You’ll choose modules in your first year from a broad selection in areas such as sustainability, entrepreneurship, creativity, digital skills, personal growth, civic engagement, health & wellbeing and employment. Opportunity modules are designed to enable you to develop outside the traditional boundaries of your discipline and help you to further stand out from the crowd to future employers. What facilities can I use? You’ll be encouraged to explore both traditional and current mediums to craft your design solutions, you can do this through our;

  • silkscreen equipment
  • plotter cutters
  • letterpress equipment
  • photography studios
  • litho equipment
  • laser cutting
  • 3D printing technology
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
You also benefit from our specialist technicians and demonstrators on site, who can support you in the area you want to explore. What will I study? On this course you are encouraged to solve visual problems with your own unique aesthetic solutions, experiment with image and type and explore appropriate digital technologies.Through practical hands-on, project-based learning you will explore the fundamental core aspects of the subject such as narrative structure, hierarchy, composition and layout, typography, information design, image creation and conceptual thinking skills. Students are encouraged to take risks in their work and learn to challenge established languages and processes through questioning and individual experimentation. Central to the ethos of the Illustration course is the development of two aims; the first is self-authorship, where your point of view and vision play the pivotal role in identifying and communicating images and messages that are central to your own personal interests, opinions, and core values, and secondly a multi-disciplinary confidence and ability to accomplish communication tasks across a range of media and client bases. These aims reflect the current contemporary vocabulary of a modern illustrator. Through specialist modules in Editorial Applications and Narrative Illustration students explore a range of media, techniques and theoretical ideas which build an understanding of the role of a professional illustrator. By investigating contexts and audiences through practical projects and live briefs, students develop their personal visual language, consolidate critical and strategic thinking, complex problem-solving and presentation skills, to build an awareness of the wider contextual role of an Illustrator. The final year focuses on personal exploration, application and developing personal voice through a Major Project module. We encourage students to investigate their own interests by writing a brief that challenges students to create innovative and imaginative solutions to problems in areas that are important to them.


Foundation year Preparing for Success: Knowledge and Creativity Preparing for Success: Self-development and Responsibility Inquiry Based Learning Photography, Design and Visual Communication Year one Core Modules Critical and Historical Thinking Design Processes Design Workshops Projects Conceptual Thinking Opportunity Modules 2 x 10 credit year one Opportunity modules Year two Core Modules Design Research and Theory Illustration Studies: Image Making Illustration Studies: Narrative Professional Studies: Graphic Design and Illustration Industry Brief Year three Core Modules Creative and Professional Development Professional Practice Personal Projects and Commissions Dissertation Final Major Project

Assessment method

During your time with us you'll study modules that are centred around your own career aspirations and, through guest lectures from industry specialists, seminars and live industry projects, You’ll work alongside a diverse community of illustrators and graphic designers, each working on their own projects, just as a ‘real-world’ design studio would function. You’ll study in a close-knit tutor group where everyone’s input is recognised and valued. Not only will you make friends for life, you’ll also make important connections that will last through your career, and you’ll form a network, just like you’d find in any design group. You’ll also work with professional illustrators who will give you feedback and pointers on how you can develop your imagery. Workshops, lectures and seminars with other students in the art and design department help you prepare you for life in an agency or studio environment where you will need good presentation and ideas generation skills as you meet and impress clients. We have many visiting tutors running workshop-based sessions in fields as diverse as stencil print, bookbinding, branding, ideas generation, storytelling, and ethical design. Individual and small group tutorials led by industry professionals, are not only to support you throughout the degree but more importantly to prepare you the professional world afterwards with an outstanding portfolio and a network of employers. You’ll also be assessed though; 1:1 or small group tutorials, Portfolio and presentations, written assessments, sketchbooks, group critiques and self-directed study. To build your experience, we also support work placements for the right students with companies that we have long relationships with. Students have worked for publishers, advertising agencies and magazines as well as winning awards such as the V&A Illustration Award. At the end of your studies, you’ll have the chance to take part in the graduate Art and Design Showcase exhibition at the University.

How to apply

Application codes

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Buckinghamshire New University
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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Foundation

International applicants

For information about applying to Buckinghamshire New University as an International applicant, please visit

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements for the 3-year undergraduate programme, or those who do not feel fully prepared for a Level 4 course, will be considered for the 4-year programme including a Foundation Year.

Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course

Additional entry requirements


Student Outcomes

Operated by the Office for Students
Employment after 15 months (Most common jobs)
Go onto work and study

The number of student respondents and response rates can be important in interpreting the data – it is important to note your experience may be different from theirs. This data will be based on the subject area rather than the specific course. Read more about this data on the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
Channel Islands £9250 Year 1
Republic of Ireland £9250 Year 1
EU £15150 Year 1
International £15150 Year 1

Additional fee information

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Sponsorship information

Buckinghamshire New University offers a range of bursaries and scholarships. For more information, please visit

Illustration with Foundation Year at Buckinghamshire New University - UCAS