From typography to advertising and digital design to illustration, a broad and exciting programme has been developed that focuses on the creative communication of ideas. As well as experimental tutor-set graphic design briefs, you will work on live industry-set projects and national and international competition briefs. Students on this course have been recently shortlisted and commended in the YCN, D&AD, and Penguin Random House Design Awards.
Visit our Graphic Communication blog to see the latest news from the course.
The course provides you with all the necessary skills and knowledge to work within the creative industries or progress to a postgraduate programme of study. It is delivered through studio practice, specialist media workshops and a lively series of lectures and seminars designed to provide an informed understanding of contemporary graphic design practice. All students have open access to studios and there are excellent facilities for digital media, printmaking, photography and time based work. There are also opportunities for focused study in typography, illustration and photography.
The course is a balanced programme of staff-set competition briefs, competitions and design awards and student-set assignments. You are also offered the opportunity to work on live projects, attend design conferences in London and beyond and undertake work experience, as well as to participate in a variety of international cultural visits. Your learning is supported by a fascinating array of visiting speakers. Recent speakers have included: Hyperkit, Graphic Thought Facility, Atelier Works, David Pearson, Ken Garland, Alan Kitching, Stay Outside, and Roundel Design. The course is also a member of the industry body Design and Art Direction (D&AD) which provides students with a London-based degree show opportunity, New Blood.
Materials, Competitions, Events and Visits
Materials for workshops and for master classes, entry to competitions associated with your programme of study, and those visits that are necessary for your course are all made available at no additional charge.
It is recommended that you budget for printing costs (approximately £50 per year for laser and large format printing) and any specialist design materials that you may require (£50 or more depending on materials).
There are optional trips, both within the UK and overseas:
- UK visits and Trips: approximately £50 per year
- Overseas trips or visits: approximately £350 per trip
Display materials such as end of year show will cost approximately £30 per year, and if you would like off-site access to your work you can opt for pay £15 per month (student rate) for Adobe Creative Cloud and a Laptop or desktop computer (from circa £400 upwards)
Design and Art Direction (D&AD) Global Award Success
We are delighted to report that three students, Victoria Langridge, Gemma Minchin and Rosemary Nicholas were winners at the D&AD New Blood Awards 2015. For more on this award and to see the winning design work you can read the news story.
Students shortlisted for prestigious Penguin Random House Design Award
Three of our students, Gemma Minchin, Meghan Hughes and Scott Kooken were three of only 30 students listed for the Penguin Random House Design Award 2015 in the Adult Fiction Cover and Adult Non Fiction Cover shortlists. Scott, from Budel in the Netherlands, thoroughly impressed the judging panel with his cover design for international bestseller Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubne, and Gemma took second place for her playful design for Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. You can find more in our news story, or visit the Penguin Design Award Website.
School of The Arts Degree Show 2015
Final year students displayed their work at the School of the Art Degree Show, at our Avenue Campus. Our Graphic Communication students delivered some stunning designs.
Feel free to view our flicker album to see our students work from the Degree Show 2016.
You can also watch this short film to get a flavour of what the show had to offer:
Toria Jaymes – Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Art Director talks to Graphic Communication students at Subject Futures Week 2016.
Please also see the full 2016 Subject Futures Week video, with many more exciting guests from across the creative industries.
Just two miles away from Park Campus and linked by a regular weekday discounted bus service, Avenue Campus has an excellent reputation as an ‘Arts Centre for all’. It boasts theatre performances, exhibitions and its own art gallery, which exhibits work from established artists, students, graduates and University staff.
The campus is equipped with workshops, innovative laboratories and computer-aided design suites. Facilities available include Bassett Lowke Halls of Residence with various room options available to suit all budgets, the Students’ Union, student bar, restaurant and nightclub.
The University of Northampton
St George’s Avenue
The University partners with leading businesses across the industry
The course is divided into the following stages:
The first stage of the course provides the opportunity for you to widen your creative skills and to develop concepts and an understanding of type, image and three-dimensional graphics. You are encouraged to develop your creative skills in this broadly experimental year by working in a range of media from printmaking and photography through to the Adobe Creative Cloud. A programme of theoretical and professional studies supports a creative, questioning approach to studies.
During the second year of study, the breadth of the work becomes more challenging as you start to craft a professional portfolio of work. A programme of staff-led competitions provides a national and international platform for your work and you will work on live briefs set by external agencies through the professional studies module. Running alongside your commercial work is a parallel spine of research-led experimental design projects. All studio-based work is supported by both theoretical and professional studies.
At this stage you will undertake a major self-set assignment, alongside a mix of other staff-set, industry and competition briefs. You will have a stronger ownership of your own work, and can negotiate the content of your portfolio. The design dissertation is completed with tutorial and workshop supervision. This stage ends with an exhibition as part of the School of The Arts Summer Show, where students are encouraged to participate in the design and planning of the event. Invited guests from industry will join you for portfolio reviews and studio critiques to help you professionally progress your work.
Course modules (16/17)
- Module code: 2DD1022
- Core module Y
Professional Studies 1
- Module code: 2DD1006
- Core module Y
Visual and Material Culture 1
- Module code: 2DD1003
- Core module Y
- Module code: 2DD1019
- Core module Y
- Module code: 2DD1020
- Core module Y
Design Projects 2
- Module code: 2DD2004
- Core module Y
Professional Studies 2
- Module code: 2DD2009
- Core module Y
Visual and Material Culture 2
- Module code: 2DD2008
- Core module Y
- Module code: 2DD2005
- Core module Y
Graphic Communication Dissertation
- Module code: 2DD4002
- Core module Y
Graphic Communication: Final Major Study
- Module code: 2DD3002
- Core module Y
Module information is quoted for 16/17 currently. The course modules for 17/18 will be confirmed in Spring, any changes will be communicated to applicants accordingly.
As well as optional study trips abroad, in year two, students have the opportunity to study for a term at St Etienne School of Art, France as part of the ERASMUS programme.
Methods of Learning
- tutor design project briefings
- live design project briefings
- competition design project briefings
- group projects
- tutor-led studio activities
- personal tutorials
- group seminars and critiques
- client presentations
- independent study
- study trips
For this programme, taught study would be a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and technical demonstrations and usually 15 hours per week dependant on the level of study, we recommend students spend around 10 hours per week in self-directed study time. We have open access to technical facilities and studios that students can use outside of taught time.
A range of graphic design assignments:
- portfolio presentations
- self-assessment and personal reflection are encouraged
Facilities and Special Features
Special Features include:
- excellent facilities and resources available
- students work on live, industry set briefs and competitions
- strong industry partnerships such as Coca Cola, Wickes, Stocks Taylor Benson, Engine Creative, Sterling, Verto, Toxic Creative, NN Music Festival
- the course is a member of the industry body Design and Art Direction (D&AD)
- optional study trips, both within the UK and overseas
- opportunity to study for a term at St Etienne School of Art, France as part of the ERASMUS program
- creative industry guest speakers
Facilities available include:
- large dedicated studio spaces
- several Mac-based computer aided design suites
- subsidised digital printing from A4 to A0 banner
- state of the art printmaking facilities in one of the largest print studios in the country
- professional photography studios with day and controlled lighting studios
- video editing suites
You might find it useful to spend some time watching these videos:
Graduates are employed as graphic designers, photographers, illustrators and web designers in studios throughout the UK with some entering the profession in Europe and the USA. A number have established their own design companies, whilst others elect to do postgraduate study.
How to apply
Standard entry requirements apply. A typical offer would be BCC at A-Level or DMM at BTEC . In addition, applicants are expected to have studied Art, Design or a related subject at A-Level, BTEC level 3 Diploma, or equivalent qualification; or a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.
Applicants are interviewed and are requested to provide a portfolio of their own work in Art and Design. International students may submit their portfolio electronically. Students with a relevant HND or Foundation Degree with a suitable profile of achievement may be admitted onto year two or three.
Foundation Entry Requirements
Admission to this foundation programme is normally DEE at A-Level or MPP at BTEC. However, we would also like to hear from you if you have professional or industry experience instead, a range of other qualifications or self-developed subject knowledge that relates to the programme you wish to study.
If you are considering a change in career or if you are returning to education after time away, then we suggest you contact Admissions to book an advisory interview with the course leader so we can explore how best to support your study ambitions.
For information regarding English language requirements at the University, please see our IELTS page.
Fees and funding
Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 17/18 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.
|Part Time:||£1,300 per 20 credit module|
|Foundation:||£6,300 as part of a four year programme (subsequent years will be charged at standard BA rate)|
|International Foundation Fees:||£9,400|
This course is available to international students.
Full-time international tuition fees
For information on our international tuition fees, please see our Tuition fees for international students page.
How to apply as an international student
For information on how to apply to study with us, please see our How to apply page.
Scholarships available to international students
For information on the scholarships available to you as an international student, please see our International scholarships page.
The Foundation Year programme offers a new and exciting route into studying for a degree, attracting ambitious and driven students who are willing to learn and advance.
If you have non-standard qualifications or do not quite meet the admissions requirements for BA Graphic Communication, the University of Northampton can offer you a fantastic opportunity to study a four year BA Graphic Communication programme which includes a Foundation Year, that will help you develop the technical grounding and academic skills you need, in order to successfully progress to the full award.
The Foundation Year provides a practical and group-based approach to learning that supports your development and your transition to Higher Education, whilst introducing you to key ideas and skills used by graphic designers. We are also committed to engaging you with specialist Graphic Communication modules from the outset, whilst extending support into your second year of study (Stage One).
In the Foundation Year you will study 2 x 40 credit modules that form the Foundation Study experience. These are:
Subject Studies 1: Practical and Study Skills – provides an introduction to key concepts, theories and principles associated with the area of study.
Research for Practice – provides an overview of the principles of research, research methods and the learning environment of the University. It will also include an introduction to the academic languages of the subject and the learning experience of degree study.
These modules are delivered concurrently with a Level 4 module from your programme: 2DD1022 Creative Projects.
Upon successful completion of these modules, you will progress to Stage One of BA Graphic Communication, in which you will receive further support through:
Subject Studies 2: Working with Ideas – focuses specifically on the generation and development of ideas, building the key IT/ literacy/numeracy skill sets required by the programme.
In the remainder of Stage One, you will take 1 further 40 credit module from the BA Graphic Communication Award Map.
Typical timetabled week of study
Foundation Year teaching may be a combination of lectures, seminars and/or workshop based sessions. The three Foundation Year modules, Subject Studies 1: Practical and Study Skills, Research for Practice and Subject Studies 2: Working with Ideas are taken in the sequence indicated above. Each one involves a teaching contact time of four hours per week and students are also expected to engage in approximately 12 hours of independent study, to support the learning experience.
Foundation Study will, therefore, help you to build a solid understanding of the general theoretical and practical aspects that underpin graphic design, with the retained flexibility to possibly transfer later in your studies to other programmes, if they become more appropriate. Throughout all stages of your programme you will also be supported by a Personal Academic Tutor, to guide you through the learning experience and help you make informed study choices.
Foundation Study will enable you to acquire the necessary study skills to succeed in HE, as well as developing your understanding of key subject concepts delivered through taught sessions, workshops and project work, tutorial and online support.