Graphic and Communication Design BA

Year of entry

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
ABB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC at A Level and a Pass in the Access to Leeds module.
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Graphics, design, PVAC

Graphic and Communication Design students are challenged both theoretically and artistically. Through a combination of making, reading, and writing projects, you have the opportunity to become a critical, creative practitioner and thinker.

Refining your research skills whilst studying contemporary and historical discourse will enable you to prioritise your final year dissertation with the same weight as your final year project. Throughout your studies, you'll learn how sustainability, diversity, inclusion, and employability all need to be considered in the graphic design and communication field. 

You'll also gain a working knowledge of communication design practices:

  • Typography
  • Illustration
  • Interaction design
  • Branding
  • Publication design
  • Information design

Live briefs, guest speakers and an optional Year in Industry will all help equip you with essential skills needed to enter the world of the creative industries. 

You’ll also have the opportunity to choose optional modules in the School of Design in a range of related subjects throughout your course.

Alternatively, you could be from a wide selection of Discovery modules from across the university, including popular subject choices such as media and computing.

In addition, the School of Design also offers the opportunity to participate in the Study Abroad scheme or our very successful placement year (Year in Industry) between your second and third year.

For many students, the placement year is an ideal opportunity to experience the reality of the graphic design industry.

Specialist facilities and support

Take a virtual tour of our facilities.

The School of Design offers excellent facilities and technical support for developing your creative skills. We have dedicated practice studios, workshops and specialist facilities: 3D Art & Design Studio; 2D Art & Design studios; Fashion Design studios; Knit and Weave studio; Graphic and Visual Communication studio; Photography and Film studio; Digital print studio; Laser cut studio; traditional printing studio; Design workshop; 3D workshop with 3D printing; computer clusters.

The School also provides a range of other support to enhance the student experience and prepare students for the workplace: essential learning materials; essential studio and workshop materials; dedicated software (Adobe CC; PointCarre, Solid Works, Cinema 4D, Lectra, etc.); cameras and video recorder on loan; free entry to Inside/Out lecture series; compulsory field trips part of assessment; part of curriculum subscriptions (eg LSN, Special journals and periodicals); costs of Degree Show (infrastructure, course catalogue and exhibition set-up); external promotion (eg New Designer, AD&D, Graduate Fashion Week); Yorkshire Fashion Archive and Membership to the ASBCI (Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing students); and Visiting Speakers, who are well known figures from industry or other institutions around the world.

Course details

We believe that the best designers and marketers develop their creative expertise through critical engagement with big ideas and big problems, developing vital research and analysis skills.

For all our students and staff, creativity has a clear context. We love to push ideas, skills and knowledge to their limits.

In your first year, you will learn about history, culture and technologies relating to graphic design. 

You'll gain research and analysis skills and write reflective essays in response to contemporary and historical design perspectives. Simultaneously, you'll engage with an exciting range of practical design projects, starting to build your portfolio from year one. 

Developing skills in typography and image-making, you will respond to a range of creative challenges – from branding to persuasion. 

In your second year, you'll develop an awareness of professional standards within graphic design as you expand your portfolio of practical work. You'll also use your academic knowledge to conduct and undertake critical analysis and evaluation. 

You'll build skills in interaction design and moving image as you continue to expand your design knowledge, as well as an understanding of design business and marketing. You'll also learn about more advanced ways of conducting research in the graphic design area. 

All of this will prepare you for your final year, in which you'll apply all the practical and academic skills you've learned. These will culminate in several large creative projects, where you'll demonstrate your advanced graphic design, insight and communication skills. 

You will also be required to produce a dissertation to demonstrate in-depth research and analysis of a contemporary topic in the field.

With both assessments combined and the gradual development in your knowledge and experience throughout your course, you will earn the skills employers need now and in the future. 

You'll also have the opportunity to showcase your work at our degree show, both in the School and online. 

Discover more about School of Design facilities with our online 360 tour.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Graphic and Communication Design BA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Visual Communication for the Creative Industries 20
Design History, Design Futures 20
Type and Image 30
The Graphic Design Process 30

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Introduction to Photography (Digital) 10
Colour in the Design Process 10
Fashion Branding: Theory & Practice 20
Drawing beyond itself 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Research Methods 20
Marketing Creativity and Innovation 20
Design Application: Print and Screen 30
Graphic and Communication Design: Professional Practice 30

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Contemporary Illustration 20
Design for Sustainability 20
Introduction to consumer behaviour and neuromarketing 20
Photography 10
Colour: Art and Science 10
Book Arts 10
Collage Culture 20
20th Century Fashion History 20

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Independent Study (Dissertation) 40
Graphic and Communication Media 30
Independent Project 30

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Fashion Styling and Photography 20
Collaborative Marketing and Promotion 20
Information Design 20
Brand Communications 20
Contemporary Advertising 20
Time and Image in Contemporary Art 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

This degree covers a range of different approaches and disciplines. As a result, you’ll benefit from varied teaching and learning styles. Lectures, seminars and tutorials are among the most common – particularly in more theory-based modules – and you’ll also have one-to-one contact with tutors in studios and workshops.

However, independent study is at the heart of this degree: it builds research and critical skills, but it also gives you the chance to develop your individual voice as a designer.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Practical work is assessed using visual presentations and portfolios, or you may have to submit practical log books or collections of design work. Written exams, essays and other written responses to assignment briefs may also be part of the mix, depending on the modules you choose.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB including art/design subject or media. Excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking

If you don’t have an art or design-related subject but you are taking Media Studies A-level, we may also consider your application based on a high grade at GCSE in Art/Design and a portfolio of images of recent and relevant work.

GCSE: 5/6 A-C (or 4+) including English.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.


DDM in art/design.

Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2 including M1 art/design or media.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall with 16 at Higher Level including 5 in Visual Arts and 4 in English.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 including art/design or media.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers OR AABBBB in Highers.

Other Qualifications

Art Foundation course: Whilst we welcome students who have completed an Art Foundation course, this is not a requirement for entry and doesn’t usually count towards entry requirements,
In exceptional cases, we may make you an offer conditional on achieving an Art Foundation qualification: we may consider your application if you’re taking a validated Art Foundation course and have ABB or above at A-level not including Art or Design.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

If you would like to study arts, humanities, and cultures at university, but don't currently meet the typical entry requirements for direct entry to a degree, you might be eligible to apply for the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year course.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information, contact the School of Design Undergraduate Admissions team.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £24,000 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

There are additional costs of study that students need to cover. We estimate that these additional costs could be as described below, but this amount may vary depending on how you decide to respond to university briefs and the range of materials and techniques you decide to adopt.

Equipment and material costs

Students need to cover the cost of printing their work during the course, including specialist print workshop costs. Students also need to cover costs of copying and supplying their own basic materials (eg pens, pencils, cutting tools, paper, ruler, etc.) and more course specific materials (eg sketchbooks, specialist papers, specialist fabrics, sculpting materials, specialist tools, etc.), as well as print portfolios.

The approximate cost of these items in recent years has been:

• Level 1 – £50 - £150
• Level 2 – £50 - £200
• Level 3 – £100 - £300

Computers and digital equipment

To ensure you can make the most of your studies at Leeds, you’ll need to make sure your laptop meets the system requirements for your course.

Our course requires the development of work using Adobe Creative and other relevant software. We also use a blended learning model where you’ll need to access course materials and video conference using a computer or mobile device (eg laptop, tablet, smartphone). Costs for a laptop will vary depending on the exact specification. You should expect to pay between £500 - £2,500. You might also consider buying an external drive to back-up your work on a regular basis, which may incur another additional £50 - £150. Alternatively you can choose to store your work using cloud storage or your personal M:Drive, provided by the University.

If you’re buying a new laptop for your studies, then we recommend that you wait until you’re registered as a student so that you take advantage of discounts given to university students (eg Apple, Adobe Creative, etc.). Delaying purchasing also allows you to find out from your programme leader what you need and what you do not need. Depending on your circumstances you can benefit from a laptop loan or further support from our Financial Assistance Fund.

You’ll also have access to further digital equipment in our studios and using our loan scheme. But, you may decide to purchase your own equipment (from Year 1 or as your studies progress) which will result in additional costs. Examples are: Drawing tablet (£50 - £500); Digital camera (£200 - £1500); etc.

Study and field trips

The School of Design pays for all compulsory field trips that are part of the curriculum and/or assessment. There may also be opportunity for optional study trips and the need for individual field-based projects / trips. Costs will depend on the project / courses undertaken, and on the nature and location of each trip, and can therefore range between £100 and £750.

Degree show, extra exhibitions, and competitions costs

Your Degree Show will require extra production costs, which will vary according to individual projects. If you’re given the opportunity to showcase your work outside the School of Design, this will require additional production costs, as well as travelling, accommodation and subsistence costs.

You might also have opportunities to submit to competitions and may want to subscribe to online networks, which may cost up to an additional £100 per year.

Reading materials

You’ll have access to a good supply of books, academic journals, periodicals, etc., that are available in the University libraries. You’ll also have online access to an extensive range of reading resources. You might decide, however, to purchase required books that are recommended on your course.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

Documents and information you’ll need

If you don’t have an A-level in a related art or design subject, you’ll need to submit a portfolio of recent and relevant art/design work. Please email at least six images of recent work to at the time of your application to UCAS – the email subject line should include your name and UCAS ID number.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Design

Contact us

School of Design Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

On completing this course, you’ll have strong visual and critical awareness, as well as a commercial understanding of advertising and fast-changing markets. You’ll have developed research and critical skills that make you an independent thinker, reflecting critically on the information you have and then drawing your own conclusions. All of these qualities are highly valued by employers in a range of industries.

Graduates have gone into careers in a number of different fields. Many continue with their professional practice – our graduates have gone to work for companies like Saatchi + Saatchi, FutureBrand, Exposure, Spiekermann Partners, Zitromat, McCann-Erikson, Smoke & Mirrors, Show Media, Elle Magazine, BBYO, SSY, Allgood, Golden, Prego, Elmwood, Cosmo, Apple, Nike, TBWA, BBH, Wieden + Kennedy, Root and Brand Union.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

You can also spend a year working in industry during your third year, it’s great for your personal and professional development, and may lead to the offer of a permanent role at placement companies.

Students have carried out placements at companies such as Tequila, FutureBrand, Spiekermann Partners, Zitromat, Show Media, The Chase, Saatchi + Saatchi, BBYO, SSY, Allgood, Prego, Elle Magazine, McCann – Erikson, Yell, Radio Aire and NE6.

Read more about our Year in Industry in the School of Design.

Student profile: Emily Moore

I chose to study at the University of Leeds specifically as it offered the chance to do a placement year and develop my skills, but to also be involved in live briefs from leading brands.
Find out more about Emily Moore's time at Leeds