Graphic Communication Design (Top-Up) BA (Hons)

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code:


  • Level:


  • Duration:

    Full Time: 1 year
    Part Time: 2 years

  • Starting:


  • Fees UK:

    Full Time 22/23: £9,250 Part Time 22/23: £1,500 (per 20 credits)

  • Fees International:

    Full Time 22/23: £14,500

  • 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


This programme was previously titled Graphic Communication BA (Top Up) BA (Hons)

Graphic Communication Design (Top Up) BA (Hons) explores the communication of ideas and messages to diverse and evolving audiences through a dynamic range of media that highlights the potential of what design can achieve.

Studio culture is at the heart of the Graphic Communication Design programme, naturally fostering the creativity, collaboration and debate that inspire personal perspectives on design. Students experiment with a range of traditional processes and emerging technologies to challenge established conventions of image-making and meaning. Through engaging with real-world problems, social issues and commercial scenarios students develop critical, reflective and professional skills that will prepare them for the ever-changing creative industries.

Updated 20/05/2022


On the Graphic Communication Design (Top-Up) BA (Hons), you will have access to specialist resources, regular guest lecturers and industry contacts, as well as the opportunity to work with live briefs, competitions and self-initiated projects.

In recent years, many of our students have either been shortlisted or have gone on to win international design competitions, such as Penguin Random House Cover Design awards, You Can Now (YCN), and Design and Art Direction -New Blood Awards (D&AD).

You will have the opportunity to showcase your work during the Summer Degree show at our Waterside campus, and our students have participated in D&AD ‘New Blood’ and ‘New Designers’ industry graduate showcases in London.

At the University of Northampton, we support you to achieve your career in graphic communications with the Northampton Employment Promise.

Course Content

  • Graphic Communication Design (Top-Up) BA (Hons) provides you with the vital skills and knowledge needed to further your understanding of visual communication, working in the creative industries, or potentially progressing onto postgraduate study. Having already developed the skills and qualifications for years 1 and 2 on your previous course, in year 3 with us you’ll be able to focus on expanding your conceptual and technical skills.

    You will learn through studio practice, specialist media workshops, lectures and seminars to help you understand contemporary graphic communication design practice.

    As well as active learning and studio practice, this Graphic Communication Design (Top-Up) programme 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, participate in industry visits and cultural trips, receive industry feedback on your work and portfolios.

    We regularly host visiting speakers, industry specialists and creative agencies giving you practical learning and advice from the professionals.


    Please note the modules shown here relate to the academic year 21/22. The modules relating to the academic year 22/23 will be available from June 2022.

  • Standard entry requirements apply. Applicants are expected to have studied a Graphic or related Art and Design subject at Foundation Degree/HND or equivalent.

    We welcome international applications and applications from students with a range of non-traditional educational or professional qualifications.

    Applicants are requested to send a digital portfolio of their own work in Art and Design and attend a 30 minute online interview with a member of Graphic Communication Design team.

    Receiving an offer may also be subject to qualifications and standard entry requirements.

    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.

    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.

  • 2022/23 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 22/23 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • UK – Part Time: £1,500 per 20 credit module
    • International – Full Time: £14,500
    21/22 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 21/22 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • International – Full Time: £13,000

    For information on the scholarships available to you, please see our scholarships page.

  • 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.

  • How will I be taught on Graphic Communication Design (Top-Up) 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

    You will be taught by a team of 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 Communication Design assignments, including portfolios, presentations, essays, 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

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Careers and Employability

A Graphic Communication Design 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 Design graduates use their design skills to work in:

  • Branding
  • Advertising
  • Illustration & Animation
  • Editorial and Publishing
  • Digital moving image
  • Interactive, online, social media and app design
  • UI/UX Design
  • Packaging design
  • Photography
  • Information design
  • Social Design

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

Facilities and Special Features

When you study Graphic Communication Design 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. Additionally we have access to a vast collection of magazines and books in studio.
  • 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

Onsite printmaking workshop

Our onsite printmaking workshop can enhance the creative practices of students on a variety of courses