University of East London

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

In a time of emerging automation and artificial intelligence it will be the designers, the thinkers and the problem solvers who will shape the world to come. Being agile, multi-skilled and adaptable will be key to employability in a global and dynamic job market.

BA Graphic Design at UEL combines the study of traditional visual communication with the possibilities of emerging technologies. We provide the forum and facilities (link) in which staff and industry expertise fuse with students' own knowledge, experience and ambition. We explore both practical and theoretical understanding and, from the outset, we encourage students to think experimentally and evolve our field.

This course operates within the Art and Creative Design subject. This allows students to work collaboratively, broadening their knowledge base while forging a creative community. Cluster-wide workshops allow our students to build a unique portfolio of skills essential to the Fourth Industrial Age.

Foundation year 

The extended course with Foundation Year is perfect if you want a degree in Graphic Design, but don't meet the standard entry requirements.  First we prepare you for your degree during the Foundation year, bringing you up to speed with academic skills and a firm grounding in the subject. Then you can go on to do the full undergraduate degree.

Entry Requirements


Without Foundation Year

 96 UCAS Points from

  • A LEVEL- Must include passes at A2 in at least two subjects.
  • BTEC- Extended Diploma or Diploma.
  • INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE- Diploma with 24 points including a minimum of 15 points at Higher Level.
We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. All applicants are required to attend an interview and submit a portfolio of their work (Please see below for details).
With Foundation Year

 64 UCAS Points from

  • A LEVEL- Must include passes at A2 in at least one subject.
  • BTEC- Extended Diploma or Diploma.
  • INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE- Diploma with 24 points including a minimum of 15 points at Higher Level.
We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. All applicants are required to attend an interview and submit a portfolio of their work (Please see below for details).

Additional entry route

Foundation in Art and Design grade Pass and 1 subject at A2 Level

Portfolio and interview advice

Your portfolio should contain between three and five projects that you have undertaken in the areas of drawing, print, graphic art or illustration. It should be between ten and fifteen sheets in length and should not exceed A1 in size.

The portfolio should show evidence of observational drawing, the development of an idea through to a completed illustration, and techniques and processes that you have worked with. We are particularly interested in seeing your sketchbooks / journals to see how you develop your ideas.

At interview you should be prepared to discuss your work, ideas and ambitions. You should also be able to discuss graphic artists, illustrators or animators who influence you.

Other entry routes

Access to HE Diploma (QAA approved) with 60 credits overall and 45 credits at Level 3

English language requirements

Overall IELTS score of 5.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking (or recognised equivalent).
If you do not meet the academic English language requirements for your course, you may be eligible to enrol onto a pre-sessional English programme. The length of the course will depend on your current level of English and the requirements for your degree programme. We offer a 5-week and an 11-week pre-sessional course.

Alternative GCSE qualifications

Level 2 equivalences such as:

  • Level 2 Functional Skills in English / Maths,
  • Level 2 Key Skills in Communication / Application of Number and
  • Level 2 Adult Literacy / Adult Numeracy

Mature applicants and those with no formal qualifications

As an inclusive university, we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have the relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application – in particular your personal statement - to help us decide on your eligibility for the course.

Career Prospects

In 2018 the UK's creative sector broke the £100 billion mark. Within this economy there are a great variety of roles that utilise the skillsets we develop.

Our alumni may work in-house for a large company, in a specialist design studio, run their own business or be self-employed across a variety of industries. Spending three years tracking multiple projects, solving the logistics of production and negotiating within teams of creatives will prepare you for work beyond the subject area. The University's e-Factor competition offers students resources to develop their own business and the Career Coaching team are always on hand to help students fine tune their CVs and interview techniques.

The course maintains a strong network of alumni and we regularly invite former students to return as guest speakers and lecturers.

Our course helps develop graduates who are creative, innovative and going places.

While some go on to postgraduate studies, others quickly start to make their names in leading design and advertising agencies, typographic design studios, corporate graphics companies and moving image production houses.

Such placements, exchange trips and 'live' projects with professional designers are all geared to provide you with the experience that will prepare you for a career in graphic design.

Initially, that could be, for instance, as an assistant or freelance designer, an assistant art editor, magazine designer or advertising creative.

Two of our class of 2013, Charlotte Maeva-Perret and Francesco Tacchini, went on to study further at the Royal College of Art, where they're considered to be among the country's leading young talents.

One 2012 graduate, Joe Pleass, has already had one of his co-creations selected for permanent exhibition in the design section of New York's Museum of Modern Art. Called OTOTO, it's a musical invention kit that allows you to make anything from a drum kit of saucepans to origami that sing when you touch them!

Joe, who's also managed exhibitions at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, never looked back after going on one of our exchange visits with students in Minnesota.

Course Details

Graphic designers employ a broad of range of skills to complete projects, including practical, conceptual, theoretical, social and commercial knowledge. We focus on building skills in these areas through direct experience.

You will learn about the key design processes; research, ideation, iteration, production and presentation – and how to apply them to new scenarios. Examples of practical applications of these key processes include:

  • Editorial and print design
  • Typography
  • Web and app design
  • Broader visual communication practices such as studio photography, moving image, 3D prototyping and animation

By developing theoretical and conceptual skills, you will learn to locate your graphic design practice in a wider professional and critical field. You will gain advanced awareness of design histories, context and applications, and you will develop the ability to engage in and understand critical discussions around design.

Studying BA Graphic Design will furnish you with a host of transferable skills - but more importantly you will learn adaptability and develop the necessary competencies to tackle the 4th Industrial Age.

Foundation Year

Professional Life (Mental Wealth)
Art & Design Workshops, Processes & Skills
Art & Design Studio Practice Practise & Portfolio
Art & Design Specialist Workshops, Processes & Skills
Art & Design Specialist Studio Practice & Portfolio
Art & Design Contextual Studies

Year 1

Professional Life 1 (Mental Wealth)
Practice 1
Contextual Studies 1
Research into Practice 1
Experimentation and Application 1A
Experimentation and Application 1B

Year 2

Professional Life 2 (Mental Wealth)
Practice 2
Contextual Studies 2
Research into Practice 2
Advanced Experimentation and Applications
Advanced Aeronautical Engineering

Optional Placement

This course offers the opportunity of year-long placement between years two and three. If you choose to take this option, you’ll spend your third year on a placement with a relevant company or organisation, adding valuable practical experience to your growing academic knowledge.
The extra placement year means it will take four years to complete your studies, instead of three.

Year 3

Professional Life 3 (Mental Wealth)
Practice 3
Independent Major Project Part A
Independent Major Project Part B


Research into Practice 3 – Graphic Design, Illustration and Animation
Research into Practice 3 – Extended Research Project

*The information’s are correct at the time of publishing, however it may change if university makes any changes after we have published the information. While we try our best to provide correct information, It is advisable to call us or visit university website for up to date information.

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