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Graphic Design BA (Hons)

Graphic Design is everywhere. From the moment we wake we encounter countless works by graphic designers. Whether it’s a logo on a box of cereal, the road signs on your way to school, or the pages of your favourite website. It guides us through our lives, improves accessibility to services and spaces, it influences our opinion of brands and people and tells us stories about the world. This is why Graphic Design is so powerful.

UCAS course code
York St John University
Course fees
2019 - 2020: Home & EU students: £9,250 per annum, International (non EU) students: £12,750 per annum
3 years full-time | Part-time options available on request
Study Abroad
Yes - We have a Study Abroad programme in the United States
Start date
September 2019
Work Placements
Art, Design and Computer Science

Course Overview

Graphic Design is a multi-disciplined subject with many specialist areas including typography, traditional press, editorial and digital screen based design, illustration and motion graphics. This offers enormous potential for a host of creative outcomes undertaken by you and facilitated by experts with wide and far reaching experience. You will consider critical historical and present day contexts and become familiar with both a theoretical and practical understanding of the design process.

In Year One you will apply research and collaborate in a number of ways before planning and executing your ideas in a range of graphic media. This will prepare you for a range of live and competition briefs undertaken in Year Two culminating in the development of your Major and Client Project in Year Three.

89% of Graduates from our Design courses were in employment or further study within six months.

DLHE 2017

Course structure

 Our Graphic Design degree is designed to offer you the best experience in order to launch and create a rewarding career in the professional world. 

Level 1

You will undertake a series of practical design projects, which are built around the fundamental principles of visual language. You will be introduced to theoretical and practical concepts in design, learning key histories and theories. You will learn how to apply these principles to key areas such as typography, branding, drawing, packaging, editorial, and print.

Modules include:

Design Practice (60 Credits): Throughout this module you will be introduced to fundamental principles of visual language alongside an introduction to the skills, techniques and processes that embody contemporary graphic design.

Specialist Projects (40 Credits): Within this module you will apply the practical and theoretical knowledge you have learnt to a series of real world graphic design projects. To support this you will also be introduced to some more advanced practical techniques including; photography, screenprint, etc.

Design research (20 Credits): You will be introduced to design history and theory through a series of lectures, seminars, and gallery/museum visits. You will learn how to inform your practice and design decisions with greater understanding of analysis, research and debate.


Level 2

You will be encouraged to identify your own specific areas of interest and undertake a range of specialist projects, including; live client and competition briefs. You will have the opportunity to pitch your work direct to clients and leading industry professionals. You will be encouraged to collaborate with students from across the school on multidisciplinary projects. You will develop and construct a professional portfolio, and have the opportunity to take part in industry led portfolio surgeries culminating in a two week placement.

Modules include:

Specialist Studio Practice (60 Credits): You will undertake a mixture of live client and competition briefs, culminating in a body of work which is specific and unique to your own practice. You will have the opportunity of weekly critiques and feedback in which to inform and develop your responses.

Design Applications (20 Credits): You will be introduced to motion graphics and screen based design principles and techniques. Building on your first year introduction to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign you will be guided through applications including; Adobe After Effects, Premiere, and Xd. There is also the opportunity to become Adobe and/or Autodesk accredited.

Collaborative Projects (20 Credits): You will work in teams across a range of design courses, including; Interior Design, Product/Furniture Design, Games Design, and Animation. You will learn how to manage yourself effectively and work collaboratively in order to respond to and solve complex design problems.

Professional Portfolio (20 Credits): You will learn how to communicate and understand the context of your practice in a professional setting. You will develop and produce a professional portfolio and online presence, showcasing your individual approach to graphic design.


Level 3

You will undertake a self-determined practical programme of study informed and influenced by a thorough and rigorous research practice. You will enhance and refine your own practice, through creative thinking and problem solving. Through the development and writing of a research report you will contextualise your practice within your chosen area of study.

Modules Include:

Major Project (60 Credits): You will undertake a series of self-identified projects which will enable you to demonstrate your areas of expertise and interest. This will be informed by self-initiated research methods and practice. You will be supported by weekly personalised tuition and feedback opportunities.

Client Project (40 Credits): You will undertake a series of live and/or competition briefs, which align with your practice and identified areas of interest. There is the opportunity to work with the courses broad range of industry contacts and international design competitions.

Design Research and Innovation (20 Credits): You will explore the context of your practice within thematic areas of visual language and culture, including; social and ethical concerns, politics, sustainability and the environment.

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Disability Advice

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of disability advice services to assist students throughout their studies.

Teaching & Assessment

The programme has been designed to meet the needs of those of you who wish to undertake a degree in a broad range of design related activities and those of you returning to education. Programme delivery will utilise a blended approach incorporating tutor led sessions, group work and individual tutorials, technical support and learning reinforced by virtual learning environments (VLEs).


The programme based learning will take place primarily in studios and workshops.  Externally learning will be delivered through live projects, work based learning placements, and virtually through the University eLearning platforms such as Moodle (Virtual Learning Environment)and Turnitin. All these platforms of learning integrate to stimulate and support your development as a reflective Graphic Designer.


Students will be taught using a wide and varied range of teaching methods, including:

  • Lectures
  • Demonstrations
  • Seminars
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Group and individual presentations
  • Visiting speakers / lectures
  • Use of audio-visual material
  • Use of e-learning
  • Use of appropriate IT
  • Workshops
  • Technical support


The programme recognises that, as a higher education student, you need to gain and develop a range of graduate attributes which is why the programme places a significant emphasis on your independent learning. The programme thus aims to provide an environment in which you are encouraged to take responsibility for your role in managing your learning and outcomes.

Reflection is central to learning on this degree. It encourages you to relate new material you may encounter to your existing knowledge and expertise. In addition to being a part of good quality knowledge transfer, reflection supports learning by enhancing the whole experience. The new programme will offer you the time to reflect in a variety of ways; such as learning journals, formative feedback, the use of portfolios, reflection on work related learning and internships, tutorial interaction, peer and self-assessment, assignments and a review of your own continual professional development (CPD) plan. It will also facilitate an understanding of your own learning processes and their relationship with and to other creative industries.

You will be encouraged to recognise your learning is not confined to formal teaching situations and encouraged to undertake independent preparation as a follow up to your formal teaching sessions. The programme seeks to offer a range of technical support and independent study that might include both theory and practical sessions. The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team support staff in using some of the core online student services, such as Moodle (VLE) and Mahara (e-portfolio), which you can openly access as part of your online learning experience.

Assessment methods

Formative feedback will take place weekly, with formative assessment taking place twice a semester. A personal design and learning portfolio is key to the reflective practice and the programme will offer a system for developing a professional design portfolio which will record both the process and outcomes of your design projects. This will also enable you to record other professionally relevant achievements and competences. You will not be expected to undertake any examinations whilst on the degree.


Entry requirements


The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

96 - 112 UCAS Tariff points

3 GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent) including English Language

Calculate your tariff points.

Personal statement

Essential criteria

As well as a strong standard of written English, the ability to demonstrate knowledge and interest in the subject is essential. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, visits to design exhibitions, museums or collections. Applicants will also show an ability to 'think outside the box' and have relevant experience of group work.

Valued criteria

We also value the ability to demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include involvement in projects or entering competitions, and being aware of any current issues relating to design, such as sustainability. Candidates will also be able to discuss influences including favourite designers, design product or style of design.

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Visit York St John.

Discover life as a York St John student by visiting us. You’ll be able to explore our beautiful city-centre campus, meet our friendly staff and find out more about your chosen course.

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Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay will depend on whether you're a UK & EU student or an international (non-EU) student. Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course.

Find out more about funding for Foundation Year and/or Placement Year by visiting the Funding Advice pages of our website.

York St John offer special reductions to students graduating from York St John University Undergraduate degrees in 2019 and continuing directly onto Postgraduate study. Find out more about discounts and scholarships.

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.


Tuition fees

UK & EU 2019 / 20

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE Primary and Secondary and UG Health Programme degrees is £9,250 per year for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

Fees & Funding

Overseas 2019 / 20

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE degrees is £12,750 per year for international students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

International Fees & Funding

Student Work

Our Design students have worked on a wide range of real-life design projects in partnership with local and international organisations including Hiscox, TeleWare and Playscheme.

Graphic Design Student work
Graphic Design Student work
Graphic Design Student work
Graphic Design Student work

International students

We welcome international students from all over the world at York St John University and have a vibrant international community. You can find out more on our International Pages about how you can study with us and what it’s like to live and learn in York, one of the UK’s most historic cities.

Unistats data for this course

Ask a question

Do you have a question about this course? Fill out our form to send a question to our Admissions team. Alternatively, you can call us on 01904 876598.

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