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Graphic Communication BA (Hons)

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code:


  • Level:


  • Duration:

    3 years full-time / 4 years full-time (with Foundation)

  • Starting:


  • Fees UK:

    Full Time: £9,250 Integrated Foundation Year: £6,750

  • Fees International:

    Full Time: £12,900 Integrated Foundation Year: £12,900

  • Location:


Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries
0300 303 2772

International Students enquiries
+44 (0)1604 894503

TEF Gold. Teaching Excellence Framework.


Graphic Communication BA (Hons) will give you the freedom to create, conceptualise and bring your design ideas to life.

Ideas and concepts are at the heart of this Graphic Communication degree with an emphasis on innovative and intelligent design solutions.

Explore commercial, social, ethical, cultural and environmental issues through a mix of practical work, theoretical study, live industry projects, staff set and competition briefs. Confront the stereotypical and challenging conventions of image-making and communication, whilst learning traditional craft skills and the potential offered by new and emerging technologies.


Updated 09/11/2020


On Graphic Communication BA (Hons) you will have access to specialist resources, regular guest lecturers and industry contact, as well as the opportunity to work with live briefs and competitions. In recent years, several of our students have either been shortlisted or have gone on to win international design competitions, such as Penguin Random House Design awards, You Can Now (YCN) and Design and Art Direction (D&AD).

Display and showcase your work during your Graphic Communication degree. We have had students participate in D&AD’s industry graduate degree show ‘New Blood’ in London

In 2020, Graphic Communication BA (Hons) received 100% Overall Satisfaction in the National Student Survey. 100% of students who took the survey said: “This course has challenged me to achieve my best work and is intellectually stimulating”, NSS 2020

At the University of Northampton, we support you to achieve your career in graphic communications with the Northampton Employment Promise. If you complete your studies with a 2:2 degree classification or higher, along with one of our Employability Plus Gold or Changemaker Gold certificates, we will secure you a three-six month paid internship or support you into postgraduate study if you haven’t secured full-time employment within a year of your graduation. HP Laptop and software included with this course. Terms and Conditions apply.

Course Content

  • Graphic Communication BA (Hons) provides you with the vital skills and knowledge needed to further your understanding of communication design, working in the creative industries, or even progressing onto postgraduate study. You will learn through studio practice, specialist media workshops, lectures and seminars to help you understand contemporary graphic design practice. Our dedicated studios are designed for efficient learning and practice in digital media, printmaking and photography.

    As well as active learning and studio practice, this Graphic Communication course delivers a selection of design briefs; some will be set by your tutors, some you will decide yourself and others will be real-­world design competitions. There will be opportunities to work on live industry projects throughout the course, attend design conferences, receive industry feedback on your work and develop portfolios, as well as the opportunity to travel with us on our international cultural trips. We regularly host visiting speakers, industry specialists and creative agencies giving you practical learning and advice from the professionals.

    Student Success

    For the fourth year in a row, our students have been listed in the Penguin Random House Design award and in 2019 our very own  Toby Clarke beat hundreds of fellow designers to win the prestigious national prize.

    Toby Clarke - Graphic Communication student award winner

    Toby was named winner of the Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award at the Penguin Random House Design Awards 2019. He was chosen as the winner by judges who were impressed with his inspired new cover design for Owen Jones’ bestseller, The Establishment and How They Get Away With It. Read the full story here.

    Students, Matthew Barnard, Elliot Lee and Carly Ayre were three of the only 30 students listed for the Penguin Random House Design award  2017 in the Adult Non Fiction Cover and Children’ Cover shortlists. Matthew and Elliot have come up with striking covers for Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’, while Carly has created a bright design for The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend. You can find out more on the Penguin Design Award Website.

    Students on this course are regularly shortlisted and commended through the multiple international design competitions we enter – including in  You Can Now (YCN), Design and Art Direction (D&AD), and Penguin Random House Design awards. D&AD also provides students with a London-based industry graduate degree show opportunity, New Blood. We have strong industry partnerships with companies such as Stocks, Taylor Benson, The Met police, Whitworths, Engine Creative, Silverstone, Verto, Toxic Creative, The NN Gallery, The Northampton Music Festival and Creative Folks.

    D&AD Pencil

    DandAD Wood Pencil logo

    The New Blood Awards are an invaluable introduction to the reality of working in the creative industry and gets your work seen by some of the biggest names in the creative industry. Winning students get awarded the highly coveted D&AD Pencil. Students on our BA Graphic Communication course have been regular winners over the last four years.

      • Module code: 2DD1003
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to provide an introduction to design history and theory. Inquiry ranges from early industrial society progressing through time to contemporary visual cultures and so doing establishes a historiographical study of design practice and theory.
      • Module code: 2DD1006
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to develop fundamental and critical understanding of how graphic communication functions in contemporary culture and the creative industries through exploring and developing the essential attributes needed by a creative practitioner.
      • Module code: 2DD1028
        Status: Compulsory
        This module enables students to experiment with a range of media and techniques through practice-based investigations that focus on the communication of ideas and messages in both literal and non-literal ways exploring the progressive boundaries without the constraints of clients audiences or other factors associated with a traditional brief.
      • Module code: 2DD1029
        Status: Compulsory
        This module provides grounding in Graphic Design principles by exploring the creative design process from brief to final outcome through a series of projects and workshop tasks. The module focuses on creativity as a tool for problem solving introducing methods of research idea generation visualisation and presentation.
      • Module code: 2DD2004
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to enable students to work across a broad range of commercial social and cultural briefs utilising traditional new and emerging technologies whlist addressing the relationships between designer client and audience through their technical skills and individual perspectives on visual language and creative problem solving.
      • Module code: 2DD2005
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to develop a fundamental critical and contextual knowledge and understanding of the illustration industry whilst also gaining research and reflective skills necessary to define situate and articulate their own practice.
      • Module code: 2DD2008
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to help students become familiar with a broad range of design and culture-led research methods and approaches through engagement with critical analytical models written responses student-led investigation and the production presentation-based ideas and information.
      • Module code: 2DD2009
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to enable students to evaluate and explore the professional role of the designer within the creative industries gaining understanding of professional project management and the processes involved in running freelance and live group projects whilst identifying and applying strategies to progress their career development.
      • Module code: 2DD3002
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to enable students to work within the contexts of `designer as problem solver? and `designer as author? producing work profiling a wide range of technical/creative skills creating industry standard outcomes that recognise established Graphic Communication conventions for graduate employment or postgraduate study.
      • Module code: 2DD4002
        Status: Compulsory
        The purpose of this module is to support students in the production of their dissertation; presenting their skills in written communication developing individual research and analysis sklls exploring a range of knowledge bases and expanding their capacity to present ideas effectively whilst developing their theoretical and/or analytical approaches and interests.


    Your taught study will be a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and technical demonstrations, usually for 15 hours per week, depending on your level of study. In addition, we recommend that you spend around 10 hours per week in self-directed study time. You will have access to technical facilities and studies outside of taught time.


    You will be assessed through a range of graphic design assignments, including portfolio presentations, essays, dissertation and self-assessment.

  • What jobs can you get with a Graphic Communication degree?

    A Graphic Communication degree can open up your career options. You will not be limited to one specific type of role, but rather be able to pursue numerous career paths. Our Graphic Communication graduates use their design skills to work in:

    • Branding
    • Advertising
    • Illustration
    • Editorial and Publishing
    • Digital moving image
    • Typography
    • Interactive design
    • Online, social media and app design
    • Packaging design
    • Photography
    • Information design

    Throughout your time on the course, as well as post-study, we offer support to ensure you receive the guidance and information needed to succeed in your field of work.

    How will I be taught on Graphic Communication BA (Hons)?

    You will be taught through a variety of methods such as;

    • Project briefs (staff-set/self-set /industry/competition)
    • Workshops/demonstrations
    • Individual and group tutorials
    • Group critiques and presentations
    • E-tivities/Active Blended Learning / Online
    • Visiting speakers and Industry Guests
    • Seminars
    • Senior Lecturers, Lecturers and Associate Lecturers – this is the core team that you have contact with week in, week out. It is these lecturers that deliver the majority of your taught experience, set project briefs, assess your work and lead study visits.

    How will I be assessed?

    You will be assessed through a range of graphic design assignments, including portfolio presentations, essays, dissertation and self-assessment.

    Are there any suggested reading and resources?

    Yes, we suggest looking up the following titles for some inspiration:


    • Graphic design: a user’s manual – Adrian Shaughnessy
    • Know your onions: graphic design – Drew De Soto
    • The A-Z of visual ideas: how to solve any creative brief – John Ingledew
    • The art of looking sideways – Alan Fletcher
    • Design History, A Students’ Handbook – Hazel Conway
    • Graphic Design: A New History – Stephen Eskilson
    • On Creativity – John Hegarty


    • Creative Review
    • Eye: the international review of graphic design
    • Baseline: international typographics journal
    • Computer Arts Magazine
    • Juxtapose
    • Aesthetica
    • Adbusters


    • Its Nice That (web)
    • Design inspiration – Design Inspiration
    • Computer Arts magazine / CreativeBloq


  • Standard entry requirements apply. A typical offer would be BCC at A-Level or DMM at BTEC . In addition, you are expected to have studied Art, Design or a related subject at A-Level, BTEC level 3 Diploma, or equivalent qualification. We will also accept 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.

    For more more information on how to make an application, please visit our How to Apply page.

    If you are an International student and would like information on making an application, please see our How to Apply page.


    Integrated Foundation Year 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.

    English Language Requirements

    All International and EU students applying for a course with us must meet the following minimum English language requirements:

    • IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) with a minimum of 5.5 in all bands
      for study at undergraduate level

    For information regarding English language requirements at the University, please see our IELTS page.

  • The Integrated Foundation Year (IFY) 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 we can offer you a fantastic opportunity to study a four year programme which includes an Integrated Foundation Year. The Integrated Foundation Year will help you develop the theoretical/practical and academic skills you need, in order to successfully progress to the full award.

    Featuring a reduced tuition fee in the first year, our four-year courses will enable you to successfully follow the degree pathway of your choice while gaining essential study skills. The foundation year of your chosen degree will be studied on a full-time basis and is aimed at supporting the transition to higher education. Years two, three and four are then studied as a standard degree programme.

  • UK & EU

    2020/21 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 20/21 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    Full Time: £9,250
    Part Time: £1,450 per 20 credit module
    Foundation: £6,750 as part of a four year programme (subsequent years will be charged at standard BA rate)

    2019/20 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 19/20 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    Full Time: £9,250
    Part Time: £1,400 per 20 credit module
    Foundation: £6,600 as part of a four year programme (subsequent years will be charged at standard BA rate)
    Please note that tuition fees for EU students will remain the same as UK fees for 2018/19. For more information, please visit the Gov UK website.

    Additional Costs

    Materials, Events and Visits

    Materials for workshops and for Masterclasses, 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.

    We recommend 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 will cost approximately £50 per year. Overseas trips or visits will cost approximately £350 per trip

    Display and exhibition materials for end of year shows in years 2 and 3 will cost approximately £40 per year. Year 3 – Your end of year summer show additionally requires contributions [or your own fund raising activities] to the catalogue and marketing materials costing approximately £30, along with a further contribution to exhibit at the D&AD New Blood Industry Graduate Showcase in London, approximately £25. If you would like off site access to the Adobe Industry Standard software packages, you can opt to pay £15 per month (student rate) for Adobe Creative Cloud and you may want to buy a laptop or desktop computer (from £400 upwards). We have our own suite of MacBooks to use in the design studios and access to iMacs however, if able, buying your own is recommended.


    2020/21 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 20/21 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    Full Time: £12,900
    Foundation: £12,900 as part of a four year programme (subsequent years will be charged at standard BA rate)

    For information on the scholarships available to you as an international student, please see our International scholarships page.

    2019/20 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 19/20 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    Full Time: £12,500
    Foundation: £9,800 as part of a four year programme (subsequent years will be charged at standard BA rate)

  • Our postgraduate courses are a great way to enhance the skills you have already learnt. Benefit from our 20% alumni discount on postgraduate fees to give yourself a CV that will catch the eye of employers.

    Fine Art MA

    Master of Business Administration (MBA)

  • When you study Graphic Communication at the University of Northampton, you will enjoy access to a number of different facilities and services to help you in your studies, including;

    • Large specialist studio spaces with dedicated access to Mac-books, digital cameras, lighting kits and sound recording equipment.
    • Additional iMac design suite
    • Subsidised digital printing
    • Printmaking facilities and professional photography studios with controlled lighting studios
    • Video editing suites
    • Free Adobe Creative Cloud software account for your duration on the course

    On-site Printmaking workshop

    Creative students at the University of Northampton are benefiting from a new printmaking workshop at Waterside campus – and you can take a tour with our video, below.

    The facilities, which are located in the Creative Hub, are available for students on a variety of courses to use, from Fine Art, Painting and Drawing, MA Fine Art and Illustration, through to Graphic Communication and Textiles for Fashion.

  • Every year the Graphic Communication team invite guest speakers, industry professionals and creatives into our studios to talk to our design students. In recent years we have had Adrian Shaughnessy, Ken Garland, Alan Moore, Jonathan Barnbrook and Malcolm Garrett to name but a few, along with practical workshops and Industry led portfolios reviews.

Upcoming Opendays

Open Days give you the best experience and insight to courses, people and facilities that interest you. Make your choice easier and come meet us.