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Graphic and Communication Design BA (Full time) 2018 start

  • Overview

    This unique degree gives you the chance to develop your skills in graphic and communication design through a variety of briefs aimed at different audiences. It also gives you the benefits of studying at a Russell Group university, where top-class research feeds into teaching to give you a strong grounding in the principles of design, so you can put your work into context.

    You’ll build professional skills in your practice, devising imaginative and exciting design proposals. You’ll also study core modules on the design process and think about the cultural, historical and technological influences that have shaped design and development.

    You could choose to learn about typography, information design, digital media, photography and other areas of graphic design. You could even study abroad for a year or spend a year working in industry to gain first-hand experience. It’s a great opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills to launch a career in this dynamic and competitive industry.

    Specialist facilities

    We have plenty of facilities to help you make the most of your time at Leeds. You’ll be able to develop your practice in well-equipped studios and purpose-built computer clusters so you can build your skills on both PC and Mac. We also have large format printers, laser cutters and a print making studio.

    The University is also home to the M&S Company Archive, including documents, advertising, photos, films, clothing and merchandise from throughout Marks & Spencer’s history. It’s a fascinating insight into the development of marketing and advertising, and could be a fantastic resource for your independent research.

  • Course content

    In your first year you’ll build your understanding of studio practice and the design process through project work, as you explore different aspects of graphic and communication design. You’ll improve your computer skills, and build on your visual research skills. At the same time, core modules will introduce you to the fundamentals of digital imaging, visual culture and the historical and theoretical approaches to design.

    Once you’ve developed this base of knowledge and skills, you’ll build your own design directions as you specialise in graphic design and advertising, packaging design or animation and interactive media throughout your second year. You’ll also explore colour, advanced design theory and marketing while building your awareness of professional standards.

    Your final year is more industry-focused, and you’ll spend much of your time on an independent project to present at your final degree show. You’ll also apply the research and critical skills you’ve gained through your academic studies to a dissertation on a topic of your choice.

    Course structure

    These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

    Year 1

    Compulsory modules

    • Fundamentals of Imaging 20 credits
    • Material Culture and Mass Consumption 20 credits
    • Design History: 1900 to the Present day 10 credits
    • Graphic and Communication Media A 20 credits
    • Communication and Design Process 20 credits

    Optional modules

    • Green Design and Sustainability 10 credits
    • Introduction to Photography (Digital) 10 credits
    • Patterns and Culture 10 credits
    • Colour and the Design Process 10 credits
    • Fashion Brand Analysis 10 credits
    • Drawing 1A 10 credits
    • Drawing 1B 10 credits
    • Technologies for Art and Design 10 credits

    Year 2

    Compulsory modules

    • Research Methods 1: Finding and Using Research Resources 10 credits
    • Research Methods 2: Research, Writing and Dissertation 10 credits
    • Marketing Creativity and Innovation 20 credits
    • Design Application 20 credits
    • Graphic and Communication Media B 20 credits

    Optional modules

    • Contemporary Digital Media 10 credits
    • Contemporary Art and Memory 10 credits
    • Photography (Digital) 10 credits
    • Class, Taste and Society: Interpreting Designed Objects. 10 credits
    • Fashion Management 10 credits
    • Eco-Design: Understanding Design's Role in Global Ecology 10 credits
    • Design Management and Trends 10 credits
    • Colour: Art and Science 10 credits
    • Design Theory 10 credits
    • 20th Century Fashion 10 credits
    • Cutting edge: Collage as reconfiguring 10 credits
    • Principles of Typography 10 credits

    Year 3

    Compulsory modules

    • Independent Study Dissertation 40 credits
    • Graphic and Communication Media C 20 credits
    • Independent Project 40 credits

    Optional modules

    • Contemporary Moving Image 20 credits
    • Landscape, Place and Environment in Contemporary Art 20 credits
    • Time and the Image in Contemporary Art 20 credits
    • Fashion Styling and Photography 20 credits
    • Collaborative Marketing and Promotion 20 credits
    • Contemporary Typography 20 credits
    • Information Design 20 credits
    • Brand Communications 20 credits
    • Contemporary Advertising 20 credits

    For more information on typical modules, read Graphic and Communication Design BA in the course catalogue

    Broadening your academic horizons

    At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the 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.


    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, fees and applying

    Entry requirements

    A-level: ABB including an art or design-related subject and not including General Studies or 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.

    • Access to HE Diploma

      Pass: 60 credits including 45 at level 3, with grades specified for individual subjects.

    • BTEC

      DDM in art/design.

    • Cambridge Pre-U

      D3, M2, M2 including art or design.

    • International Baccalaureate

      34 overall (16 higher, with 5 or 6 in art/visual art/design)

    • Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)

      (Leaving Certificate): AABBBB including art or design

    • Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

      AABBBB OR AAABB (B at advanced level) OR AABBB (BB at advanced level) including an art or design subject

    • Other Qualifications

      Art Foundation course: We welcome Art Foundation course students. However, the qualification is not a requirement for entry and doesn’t usually count towards entry requirements, which are based on A-levels and equivalent qualifications. 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.
      If you’re taking the EPQ, we may make you an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. In this case that would be BBB, plus EPQ grade A.

    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.


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

    International Foundation Year Programme

    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.

    International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

    How to apply

    Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

    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/EU 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

    Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures Undergraduate Admissions Policy 2018


    UK/EU: See fees section below

    International: £18,500 (per year)

    For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

    The fee for undergraduate students starting in 2019 will be confirmed in September 2018.

    The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% in 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

    The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students in 2018-19 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

    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 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

    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.

  • Career opportunities

    This degree enables you to build valuable professional skills. You’ll be encouraged to engage with a defined audience on each brief you work on, and you’ll publicly present your work in your final year. But because a Leeds degree also gives you an academic framework for your design work, you’ll also be equipped with a number of transferable skills.

    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 at the Careers website.

  • 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. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities 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

    Leeds students can also spend a year working in industry after their second year. This is particularly popular with design students – it’s great for your personal and professional development, and may lead to the offer of apermanent 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 the Year in Industry