Graphic Communication

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How to Apply

Apply on UCAS's site

A challenging and diverse programme to develop your individual ability to design and communicate visually across disciplines or within a specialist area.

Why study Graphic Communication?

It’s a space for active enquiry, challenging design preconceptions and defining the role of the designer in shaping the world in which we live. Carefully structured modules and supportive staff who encourage: hands-on, ideas-based and socially engaged design, with an emphasis on developing your individual ability. The course is well established with an excellent employment record.

“You are obviously giving your students an excellent education.”

Graphic Communication Course External Examiner 2013.

Graphics Illustration Studio

Course structure

Crossover teaching and interdisciplinary projects provide an energetic and flexible learning environment for creative collaboration, whilst specialist areas of study in graphic design, illustration and interactive design are supported and encouraged. You’ll be able to work across a range of media, explore and express your ideas through word, image, concept, media, narrative, text, taught by a team of full-time and visiting tutors, all active practitioners themselves.

Teaching takes place through critiques, debates, tutorials, presentations, lectures, self-directed learning and peer review. We have excellent studio spaces and workshop facilities in specialist craft areas, such as letterpress, photography, silk screen, etching and lithography to complement state of the art digital resources.

In your first year you’ll be given a broad introduction to drawing, print making, photography, design methods, typography, moving image and digital media. You’ll be encouraged to think visually and analytically, learn to work as part of a team and independently. You’ll gain an awareness of the industry through a Professional Contexts module, and a contextual framework through a Historical and Critical Studies module.

 As you move into Year 2 you will explore interactive media in the context of image and word. You can focus on graphic design, illustration or interactive media, or keep an interdisciplinary approach. You might choose to spend a semester in Europe as part of the Erasmus exchange programme. An optional course trip abroad will show you design studios and working practices in other cultures.

In your final year you’ll concentrate on: independent, self-initiated projects, live projects, competitions and you’ll be encouraged to find connections between your studio practice and contextual studies. ‘Live’ briefs provide experience of dealing with clients and production, preparing you for employment or further study. You may decide to enrol in our successful Buddy Scheme and be mentored by a local design professional.

 “Students spoke highly of the industry buddy scheme – another new initiative that has been useful for the students choosing to enter industry and another factor likely to bode well for the course’s profile and reputation.” 

External Examiner course report 2013

Course assessment

Assessment is by exhibition, written papers and live presentations. There are no written exams.

Our approach is hands-on, ideas-based and socially engaged, with the emphasis on developing your individual ability.

Teaching methods

The course encourages active, experiential learning and places emphasis on individual development and an increasing independence of thought and critical judgement. Design principles are introduced through a direct engagement with materials and processes.

The department has excellent studio spaces and workshop facilities in specialist craft areas, such as bookbinding, letterpress, photography, silkscreen, etching and lithography as well as specialist, state-of-the-art digital media areas.

Part-Time Study

The course can be studied on a part-time basis over a period of five years to Honours degree level. Part-time study usually consists of 12 hours per week attendance plus ten hours of independent study, amounting to 60% of the weekly requirement for full-time students.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above)

Typical offer range for UK / EU applicants

We recommend that applicants undertake a pre-degree foundation diploma in Art and Design.  However if applying with A-Levels only, a total of 260 points (with a grade B in an Art and Design related subject) is expected, supported by a high quality portfolio.
Applicants applying with a BTEC Extended Diploma are expected to achieve an overall Merit grade (Merit, Merit, Merit).

For all applicants an offer of a place will be made following a successful portfolio review and interview

Career opportunities

Communication design; interactive media; illustration; publishing; art direction; advertising; broadcast graphics; photography; filmmaking or animation.

Freelance careers in any of the above.

Postgraduate study at Bath Spa or elsewhere (students have gone on to postgraduate study at the Royal College of Art and Central St Martin's School of Art and Design).

Since 2010, employers such as Dyson Design. Liberty London, Wallpaper Magazine, Alexander McQueen, iPrinciples and many graphic design companies have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Executive Publisher, Graphic Designer, Visual Merchandiser, Illustrator, Graphic Web Designer, Embosser and Engraver and Editor.

What students say...

Jordan Wright, Year 3:

“I knew straight away that I wanted to study at Bath Spa University after attending the open day. Since studying at Bath Spa University many choices, opportunities and experiences have become available to me. The most outstanding opportunity that I cannot thank the university enough for was setting up my international study experience, to a university in Japan I studied at for 4 months. 

The determination and passion that the students have at Bath Spa University is inspiring, it is such a rewarding and positive environment to study within. 

Now that I am in my final year, I am preparing a professional portfolio to take with me when applying for design jobs after graduation. My three years at Bath Spa have gone so fast, but I am very excited to take all the knowledge and skills I have learnt on with me into a career.”

Fleur Isbell, graduated 2011:

“I owe a huge thank you to Bath Spa! If it wasn’t for the encouragement of my tutors, technicians and the facilities at my disposal I doubt if I would have been able to obtain the skills and confidence needed to gain a top job as a junior designer at Wolff Olins. The best thing about the course was the pursuit of great ideas, and problem solving through experimentation. It enabled me to push beyond the boundaries though experimentation with different techniques and ideas. I loved the craft-based facilities, for instance the letterpress room, and photographic dark room which gave me the environment to explore hands-on. The course also taught me to design appropriate solutions; to realise researching other designers, artists and theorists is absolutely key.”

Student Commissions and Awards:

  • Bath International Festival, Fringe programme and publicity;
  • Scriptographic Publications, Corporate Identity and information literature;
  • Bath Film Festival, Corporate Identity, programme and advertising;
  • MA Creative Writing (BSU), Ten Year Anthology book design;
  • Shortlisted nomination for Nationwide Mercury Music Prize 2006;
  • D&AD Student Awards Typography category: second prize;
  • D&AD student award winner;
  • Nomination for Shine Awards, magazine design.