BA (Hons) Graphic Communication – Bath Spa University

Graphic Communication

BA (Hons)

Undergraduate degree - single honours

Key facts

BA (Hons) Graphic Communication
Bath School of Design
Campus or location
Sion Hill and Locksbrook
Course length
Three years full time, or four years full time with professional placement year.
UCAS codes
Institution Code: B20
Course Code: W200; or S168; or W203
Campus Code: A,BSU

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. Typical offers include A-level grades CCC with a grade C in Art and Design or Graphics or related subjects preferred.

View "typical offers" for more information.

Combine the key areas of graphic design and illustration practice in this broad-based Graphic Communication course.

Places still available through Clearing

Call our Admissions team now on +44 (0)1225 875 550

Find your place

  • Understand design conventions to challenge them, working across print, screen and interactive media.
  • Learn through carefully structured modules taught by supportive, experienced staff.
  • Experience working with clients and solve real production problems through Live Briefs.

Due to Covid-19, we have made changes to teaching and learning for the 2020-21 academic year.

Please see the 2020 Undergraduate Programme Changes page for information about specific changes to this course.

Please note the changes are for the 2020-21 academic year only.

The 'Programme Document' beneath the main image on this course page shows you the programme specification as normally delivered.

Graphic Communication at the Bath School of Design is a well-established course with an excellent reputation and employment record. You’ll learn through a comprehensive making-based experience, designed to equip you with the full range of skills you’ll need to thrive in the dynamic and interconnected creative industries, which in 2017 were worth an estimated £92bn to the UK and growing at twice the rate of the economy.

You’ll develop works across print, screen and interactive media, and be taught by a team of full-time and visiting tutors, who are design specialists, illustrators or graphic communication practitioners.

You’ll be supported through excellent workshop facilities in specialist areas such as letterpress, photography, screen printing, etching, lithography and digital design, and through our course-specific lecture series, delivered by highly-regarded national and international designers and illustrators.

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Study options

Integrated Foundation Year (UCAS code: W203)

The preliminary and intensive Integrated Foundation in Art and Design is designed to develop your ideas, skills and confidence in readiness for progressing to year one of your degree programme.

Professional Placement Year (UCAS code: S168)

This year provides you with the opportunity to identify, apply for, and secure professional experience, normally comprising one to three placements over a minimum of nine months. Successful completion of this module will demonstrate your ability to secure and sustain graduate-level employment.

By completing the module, you'll be entitled to the addition of 'with Professional Placement Year' to your degree title.

Before your Professional Placement Year, you'll work to secure your placement, constructing a development plan with your module leader and your placement coordinator from our Careers and Employability team.

On your return to University for your final year, you'll submit your Placement Portfolio, detailing your development on your placement, for assessment.

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

Jordan Wright, Graphic Communication student

What you'll learn


We teach you the critical, technical and aesthetic skills necessary to become a professional graphic communicator: designer, typographer, illustrator, or image­maker. You’ll discover the varied and complex nature of design practice.

Our aim is that you’ll graduate as a strategic thinker, innovator and maker, having produced creative and challenging outcomes across a range of media or within your chosen specialist area.

Course structure

Year one
You’ll study carefully-structured studio modules examining the core aspects of graphic communications, typography and image. You’ll learn to conceptualise, produce, and critique type and images. Attending specialist workshops will help you develop practical skills.

Workshops include: drawing, screen­printing, letterpress, etching and lithography, photography (analogue and digital), motion graphics, and animation (analogue and digital). You’ll gain an awareness of the industry through a Professional Contexts module, and a contextual framework through a Historical and Critical Studies module.

Year two
You’ll explore interactive media in the context of type and image. You can choose to focus on graphic design, illustration or interactive media, or keep an interdisciplinary approach. A Professional Development module will help you consider and develop your professional identity as a practitioner and your Historical and Contextual Studies module will prepare you for your dissertation.

Year three
You’ll produce of a series of portfolio projects. Live briefs will give you experience of dealing with clients, real production problems, and solutions. Portfolio clinics conducted by professional designers help you consider and prepare your portfolio before graduation, and career workshops help you get ready for career networking, opportunity finding or further study.

How will I be assessed?

You’ll be assessed in two ways. Firstly, during your studio modules there will be critiques, advice and commentary from your tutor or peers about your work (formative assessment). Secondly, after you present your research and you final design outcomes, you’ll receive written feedback with a mark from your tutor (summative feedback).

How will I be taught?

You’ll learn through a variety of methods including directed technical workshops, lectures, small group seminars, and, most frequently, through the practice of making in specialist tutor-led studio sessions. Working in studio-sized groups with a dedicated specialist tutor, you’ll develop typography, image making and illustration skills. By responding to set design problems and participating in the frequent studio critiques with tutors and peers, you’ll develop strong critical and reflective abilities.

Self-directed learning is facilitated through materials on Minerva – Bath Spa University’s Virtual Learning Environment – and other web-based resources. You’ll also have access to our specialist art and design library.

Course modules

This course offers or includes the following modules. The modules you take will depend on your pathway or course combination (if applicable) as well as any optional or open modules chosen. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more information.

Modules for the integrated Foundation year option are listed on the Integrated Foundation Year for Art and Design page.

Year one (Level 4) modules

  • Design Principles — type and image
  • Designing With Time — type and image
  • Professional Development 1
  • Introduction to Visual and Material Culture: Design

Year two (Level 5) modules

  • Interactivity with type and image
  • Professional Development 2
  • Graphic Communication — social good
  • Graphic Communication — culture
  • Graphic Communication — commerce
  • Graphic Communication: Contemporary Issues and Practice
  • Professional Placement Year

Year three (Level 6) modules

  • Independent Practice 1
  • Professional Development 3
  • Visual and Material Culture: Final Study
  • Independent Practice 2


Study abroad

You can choose to apply to study abroad on a placement for one semester during your second year at a European university as part of the Erasmus programme. Our course is linked with Universities in Lucerne and Leipzig. We have students study at Non-European exchange programmes in Japan, Australia and the USA. We also have links in China.

Field trips

We offer an international study trip to first and second-year students. Past destinations have included New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Cuba, Iceland, Amsterdam, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Morocco, and Beijing. You’ll have a chance to meet and talk with internationally acclaimed designers, illustrators, design writers and curators in their studios.

There are also visits to museums and galleries. Additionally, each year will have a study day-trip, typically to London, to review key exhibitions.

Work placements, industry links and internships

We have good industry links. These include a final year personal portfolio review session, where you’ll benefit from real industry advice on your portfolio and presentation techniques from established practising designers and illustrators.


Our graduates become graphic designers, art directors, illustrators, animators, and interactive media designers. They work across the full range of the creative media industry including advertising, motion graphics, photography, and digital and print publishing.

Competitions and awards

We encourage our students to participate in design competitions and our third year students must develop one competition brief as part of a final year portfolio. Past students have had success with D&AD New Blood as well as other national competitions.

Each year final year students can be nominated for sponsored awards: The Ripe Prize for Graphic Communication Project of the Year; and The Emtone Prize for Outstanding Graphic Communication Student of the Year.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

Our Art and Design courses are based at our Locksbrook Road (2019) and Sion Hill campuses.

You’ll benefit from access to:


You’ll have access to a range of resources, designed to ease workflow and facilitate creative and experimental practice. This includes access to both traditional analogue and cutting-edge digital technology. Our studios feature new Mac computers connected to digital printing. Large format colour printing is available in the adjacent technical workshop.

Your new campus

Our new Locksbrook Campus is truly a unique and inspirational space, providing a state-of-the-art learning environment for you to flourish. Located next to the River Avon in Bath city centre, the open-plan building has technical workshops surrounded by open, flexible studio spaces, as well as large, open social areas.


UK and EU students full time

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £9,250
Year 2 Published Jan 2021
Year 3 Published Jan 2022

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2021
Year 2 Published Jan 2022
Year 3 Published Jan 2023

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

International students full time

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £15,300
Year 2 Published Jan 2021
Year 3 Published Jan 2022

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2021
Year 2 Published Jan 2022
Year 3 Published Jan 2023

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

All students full time - with professional placement year

During the placement year, the fee is reduced to 20% of the full time fee. Otherwise, fees are the same as for full time study. This applies to UK, EU and International students.

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We’re looking for individuals who demonstrate curiosity and determination combined with a clear interest in graphic communication. We look for evidence of these qualities both in your portfolio and at your interview.

Typical offers

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • >A-level - grades CCC including grade C in Art and Design or Graphics or related subjects preferred.
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Merit, Merit, Merit (MMM) in a related subject in addition to other qualifications or evidence of experience in Art.
  • International Baccalaureate - a minimum of 26 points will be required in addition to a HL Art subject at grade 6 and evidence of further experience in Art and Design.
  • Access to HE courses - typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher) in addition to evidence of further experience in Art and Design.

We recommend that applicants undertake a pre-degree foundation diploma in Art and Design in addition to the above qualifications. Applicants will be considered without this.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants
IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the "apply now" button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply pages.

Interview and portfolio guidance

Applicants who meet the entry criteria will be invited to bring a portfolio of creative work to interview at our Sion Hill or Locksbrook Road campus. More details will be supplied by email to those invited.

You’ll need to take us through your work; talk about specific projects, the problems you’ve encountered and how you went about solving them. We’re particularly interested to see your process of designing and illustrating as much as the final finished projects – research sketchbooks, prototypes, drawings (including life drawings) are important. We understand not all candidates will have had the same curriculum or access to the same resources so we anticipate variation in portfolio content.

Get ahead

A strong portfolio is a great asset in interview, it is also important to show engagement in the visual and design arts above and beyond your current course. Research contemporary designers and artists, filmmakers, fashion designers, writers, collect printed matter that interests you, go to exhibitions and consider how you can impact the world of graphic communication.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876180
Course leader: Stuart Henley

Three year course
With foundation year
Locksbrook Campus image credits: Chris Wakefield, Crescent Photography

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