Sheffield College

Degree level: Undergraduate
Awarded by: Sheffield Hallam University

Graphic Design

Course options

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Course summary

Validated by Sheffield Hallam University, this highly professional course has an enviable track record for graduate employment in graphic communication design. Over the course of two years this qualification will cover elements such as website design, corporate identity, branding, advertising, professional practice and contextual studies whilst preparing you for a top-up course at university or employment within the sector. You will hone your professional skills by using industry standard technology (Adobe Creative Suite) and undertaking work based learning. The Foundation Degree in Graphic Design equips students with the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills required for success in current and future employment in the Graphic Design sector - or the opportunity for progression to further ‘top-up’ study on the BA (Hons) Creative Practice (top up) Graphic Design course here at Sheffield College or the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course at Sheffield Hallam University or courses at other institutions. The qualification has a strong vocational and industrial focus designed to meet the needs of the design industry. Students graduate with a high-level of creative and professional skills, knowledge and expertise derived from a curriculum that places emphasis on work-based learning experiences and practice. The course is full-time, over two years. Students can expect to spend at least 2.5 days per week in lectures and seminars and are expected to spend a minimum of around 4 hours per week self-study. Students can expect ongoing feedback throughout each module of study.   Although not a requirement of the course students are advised to complete at least one work placement (usually of one to two weeks duration); some students commit to more than one placement. Students studying in the second year are regularly accommodated by Sheffield based design companies. Students also gain placement opportunities in the South Yorkshire region as well as Manchester and London. Where does this Lead Students who have successfully completed the foundation degree will have the opportunity to progress to the BA (Hons) Creative Practice (top up) Graphic Design course here at Sheffield College and will also receive an offer to progress to Sheffield Hallam University on their full-time honours degree progression route provided that they submit an application via UCAS by the deadline. Applicants who are studying for SHU-validated foundation degrees and who wish to progress to part-time study on their designated honours degree progression route will apply directly to the University. The offer made by the University will be subject to: Successful completion of the foundation degree programme Submission of a satisfactory personal statement and reference Meeting the University’s literacy and numeracy requirements Satisfying any additional specific course requirements for entry to the designated progression route (e.g. successful completion of associated bridging studies, portfolio, or any non-academic conditions) including successful portfolio interview Offers are made subject to the availability of courses and the University Terms and Conditions. Future Opportunities Graduates will also have the opportunity to gain employment and enter professions in the graphic design sector of industry and in a variety of design related areas. Careers in Graphic Design include such diverse fields as: Publishing and Editorial design Advertising and art direction Corporate design and branding Typographic design Interactive design Screen-based and digital graphic design Packaging and exhibition design Illustration and image-making The foundation degree can also be a starting point for careers in education, marketing and management.


Key Units Year 1 Semester 1 Visual Communication (40 credits) This unit embraces elements of graphic design, photography and opportunities to work as part of a team. Contextual Studies 1 (20 credits) An integral part of any design course to facilitate and contextualise design related principles. Semester 2 Contextual Studies (continued from Semester 1) Corporate Identity (20 credits) A creative module reflecting current industry practices in Corporate Identity. Advertising (20 credits) Opportunity to conceptualise and embrace international design competitions. Work Based Learning 1 (20 credits) Learners will work on a design brief set by industry practitioners. Year 2 Semester 1 Graphics and Branding (20 credits) Embracing theories and philosophies pertaining to Branding and the application of a brand. Design in the Digital Environment (20 credits) Students build their own (personal) website to facilitate an online portfolio for placement and job opportunities. Professional Design Practice (20 credits) Liaising with industry practitioners, print production, costing, fees, legislation, placement, C.V. Contextual Studies 2 (20 credits) Designed to encourage students to make connections between theory and practice and engage in critical analysis Semester 2 Professional Design Practice (continued from Semester 1) Contextual Studies 2 (continued from Semester 1) Competition Project (20 credits) Engaging in National, International and Global design competitions (D&AD, ISTD, RSA and YCN). Work-based Learning 2: Client-based Project (20 credits) Students will work on a design brief set and critiqued by industry professionals.

Assessment method

Methods of assessment and feedback, including moderation/internal and external verification and the requirements for progression through the programme are explained during induction. They will be reinforced at all module briefings and at relevant times during tutorials. The course incorporates Formative, Summative and Diagnostic assessments that are regarded as positive learning tools. Peer assessment also plays a vital role in your development and educational growth. These assessment strategies will support your understanding of your learning processes and are designed to engage you as an active participant in the development of all aspects of your learning. These strategies also help to promote autonomous learning and self-evaluation as vital elements within the overall learning process. Feedback The course structure and design will ensure that you will receive feedback on your aptitude, performance and progress throughout your studies. Feedback from assessment will provide you with clear guidance for your future development. Feedback methods will include: Formative Progress meetings will be held at intermediate points within all modules and projects. Feedback will be provided by academic staff, industrial practitioners and peers (as appropriate). In the main this will be verbal though on occasions a summary of advice will be provided in written format. Intermediate critiques will also provide opportunity for formative feedback. Summative Via a critique of your work at the end of each project which will involve at least two members of staff and your peer-group. As appropriate you will have the opportunity to contextualise your work verbally and engage in critical discourse with staff and fellow students. Formal written feedback is provided via module feedback sheets that provide both a summary of performance, opportunities for future development and final assessment grading. In critical theory work (Contextual Studies), written feedback is given with returned essays. For projects and live project work set in collaboration with design studios, client feedback will only be used to inform you of your performance and will not, in any way, form part of your assessment mark. Weekly tutorials are for review, advice and guidance on an individual basis across all areas of the course. They provide the opportunity for personal reflection and evaluation of performance along with target setting for future development. Normally this will result in a written summary.

Qualified teacher status (QTS)

To work as a teacher at a state school in England or Wales, you will need to achieve qualified teacher status (QTS). This is offered on this course for the following level:

  • Course does not award QTS

How to apply

Application codes

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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

International applicants

We are unable to accept international applicants due to UK visa restrictions.

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Additional entry requirements



Unistats information

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

The student satisfaction data is from students surveyed during the Covid-19 pandemic. 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 £7500 Year 1
Northern Ireland £7500 Year 1
Scotland £7500 Year 1
Wales £7500 Year 1

Additional fee information

These may involve trips and visits to design consultancies, printers, manufacturers and other industrial facilities, museums, galleries and exhibitions. These visits contribute to the development of a contextual and industrial understanding of graphic design and work-based learning. Sometimes these field studies will have a direct link with studio based project work or theoretical and contextual studies.  Although many trips will be local, national or regional, trips may involve a visit to an international cultural centre (such as Paris, New York, Amsterdam, Barcelona etc.) where students will typically visit design consultancies, industrial facilities, museums and exhibitions. Since graphic and other forms of design are seen as more global and converging, these trips are seen as a vital part of the programme in terms of awareness and encouraging an international perspective. Field trips are therefore desirable, but not compulsory and will not be assessed. Students who do not undertake a particular field trip will be provided with (and supported in) alternative learning opportunities. The typical cost of a 3 night/4 day field trip to New York (or similar location) is approximately £650 plus spending/subsistence (approximately $350-550). Students pay a non-refundable deposit of approximately £100 to the Finance Office at Hillsborough campus and the balance is paid within 6-8 weeks of payment of the deposit and 6 weeks before the trip.
Graphic Design at Sheffield College - UCAS