BA (Hons) in Graphic Design Top-Up

    Full time
    1 Year
    University of Kent
This one-year programme, which is awarded and quality assured by the University of Kent, has been designed to allow you to develop a portfolio of work that is completely tailored to you, and your intended direction within graphic design and/or illustration. The design briefs are deliberately left quite open so that they might be interpreted to suit your design pathway, whether that be illustration, photography or typography. However, you do not have to choose one at the expense of the other.

Although this programme offers a natural progression route from the related HND in Graphic Design, we also welcome and encourage applications from students who have achieved a HND or Foundation Degree in Graphic Design, or a related subject, at another college or university.


Your work will be assessed continuously throughout the course. This occurs via critiquing sessions, presentations and a formal assessment at the end of each module. There are no exams for this programme. Practical workshops, lectures and seminars are a key feature of higher level study and you will be expected to attend and participate in these activities. You will be given ongoing, regular feedback to assist your decision-making and to support the direction of your work. Regular attendance is essential so that a good design dialogue can be maintained as this forms the basis of the design process. This largely occurs through one-to-one meetings. You will keep a record of your research and development as these underpin the journey taken to arrive at the final outcomes. Assessment generally takes places during a presentation, with the exception of the dissertation which is handed in as a written piece for grading.

The programme typically involves an average of 12 timetabled hours over three days per week during term time. This is a full-time programme and you will be expected to dedicate approximately 20 hours per week to self-directed study to carry out research and assignment work outside of timetabled classes.

As well as developing technical skills, you will acquire presentation skills and develop critical writing skills via academic writing and blogging. You will develop the ability to work confidently on your own and as a member of a team. Throughout the programme you will not only receive staff input but you’ll be expected to contribute to critiquing sessions and seminars where you can exchange ideas and support your peers at regular intervals. Most importantly the programme will provide you with the opportunity to build the all-important portfolio of work that will represent your skills and learning and demonstrate your ability to enter industry or progress to further study.

Graduates of this programme typically enter design agencies or similar settings. The programme has produced book illustrators, lettering artists, typographers, art directors and many of our alumni have gone on to set up their own successful design agencies.

You will require the following equipment for this programme:

• Scalpel or other cutting knife (with the safety on, such as a cork or a case)
• A3 hard case portfolio
• Notebook/sketchbook
• Steel ruler (60cm minimum)
• Glue (e.g. Pritt stick)
• Spray mount (for external use only)
• Black bullet-nosed marker and a range of fine liners for visualising
• A range of pencils
• Putty rubber (eraser)

The College has ample computer equipment with which to complete your projects. You will not be expected to purchase any software for the programme, although the teaching staff can provide advice if you wish to do so.

A materials fee, currently set at £40 per year, is payable for each year of the programme. This fee will contribute to the cost of inks for the Mac room printers and the supply of basic materials such as tracing paper.

An additional fee for trips, currently set at £80 per year, is also payable for each year of the programme to cover admission fees for all external visits organised by the College and to contribute to the cost of guest speakers and workshops. Please note that this fee will not cover your travel costs for the external visits.

Following receipt of your application, you will be invited to an interview and asked to bring a portfolio of your work. The interview and your portfolio will help us to assess your suitability for the programme. We will also consider your application form, including your personal statement and reference, and the entry requirements when making a decision.

Applications should be made through UCAS.

The programme is staffed by highly qualified, experienced tutors and those with industry-level design experience. The programme also features visits and workshops from other practitioners; in previous years these have included illustrators, lettering artists, art directors and typographers. In addition, we encourage design industry representatives to engage with students and we have frequently organised ‘live’ commercial briefs which have led to prizes and work placements. We enter recognised competitions such as the Design Museum’s ‘Design Factory’ annual competition, for which the programme has had winners every year. Being just a 40 minute train journey from London, we organise regular trips to the capital and throughout the south east of England to enrich your learning experience. You will benefit from an excellent ratio of staff to students, meaning that personal support is regularly available. The resources for students are excellent, with a large pool of computers available and many subject-specific library resources. A significant proportion of graduates gain employment in the design industry and some progress to postgraduate study and teaching.

Graphic Design is a broad umbrella term that has come to largely cover a wide range of careers. Typically our students will go on to work in adverting and/or marketing agencies but others have gone on to pursue careers in typeface design, printing industries, illustration, editorial design, book design and teaching. The programme goes beyond the use of computers and is as much about helping you develop a range of thinking skills and the ability to work at speed in an ever-changing and exciting profession. Being a designer requires the ability to analyse your work as pieces of visual communication and you need a good eye for detail. Graphic design differs from Fine Art in that the work produced is to fulfil the needs of a client brief as opposed to self-expression. However, there is still great scope for creative freedom and the pushing of boundaries.

You will study the following three modules:

• Dissertation (30 or 45 credits)
• Advanced Professional Practice (30 or 45 credits)
• Final Major Project (45 credits) (A negotiated project of your own topic choice)

Graphic Design Student Work

Graphic Design Facilities


Applicants should hold a Foundation Degree or HND in Graphic Design or a related discipline at Merit or Distinction Level.

The College will also consider applicants who have completed 240 credits in a degree programme in Graphic Design or a related discipline with achievement equivalent to a Merit profile in a Foundation Degree or HND.

Institution Code: K24
Course Code: W210
Campus Code: W

Ed Clark

I feel like I learn so much day by day, and I have ... Ed Clark, BA (Hons) Graphic Design
success stories

Peter Coates

I like the supportive tutors and meeting other students who share similar interests ... Peter Coates, BA (Hons) Graphic Design
success stories