Graphic Design

Study options


BA (Hons)

Key facts

UCAS code:
Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
3 Years
Start date:
19 September 2022

Top 5

Guardian University League Tables 2022 (Design and Crafts)

Enter national competitions

D&AD, Roses and Penguin Books and more

Live brief projects

Work on briefs for national companies such as Moonpig and Alton Towers

Our Graphic Design degree reflects the diverse nature of contemporary visual communication.

It’s ideal if you are passionate about creative thinking, problem solving, design and experimenting through digital and traditional media.

Our team of specialist and award-winning lecturers have strong links with industry, and many are successful practitioners in their field.

You will benefit from a range of specialist visiting lecturers from industry and also have the opportunity to enter high profile national competitions such as D&AD, Roses and Penguin Books etc. Students are encouraged to gain placements with national design agencies such as Elmwood, Coley Porter Bell and The Chase. There will also be live brief projects for national companies such as Moonpig and Alton Towers.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: BA (Hons) Graphic Design

Course content

This course has an emphasis on creative visual thinking and craft. You’ll become a versatile practitioner, experimenting creatively and generating strong ideas for a wide range of projects.

We’ll challenge you to think differently; even experienced designers are constantly developing their skills. In the world of design there are always new trends, technologies and ideas.

You will explore both the traditional core disciplines of graphic design and the possibilities of new technology. Areas covered include typography, image making, information design, photography and art direction; experimental formats, branding and packaging; 3D crafts, web design and moving image.

To prepare you for the professional environment, we’ll help you develop a solid understanding of studio processes, such as pitching ideas and interpreting creative briefs. You’ll learn through a programme of projects, lectures, seminars, workshops and studio practice.

You’ll have access to individual desk space, tutorial and group designated zones and central iMac/digital technologies. Our workshop facilities include wood, metal, plastics, ceramics, textiles, screen printing, letterpress and experimental print, photography, animation, digital suites/labs and laser-cutting.

Academic year

The course operates on a modular basis that provides flexibility and choice. Typically the majority of modules are 30 academic credits with a smaller number of 15 credit modules. Each credit taken equates to a total study time of around 10 hours. Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity. Full-time students take modules worth 60 credits per semester, with part-time students taking proportionately fewer credits per semester. All students take a total of 120 credits per level and 360 credits for the degree as a whole. Your overall grade for the course and your degree classification are based on the marks obtained for modules taken at levels 5 and 6.  The full-time course has one start point in September.

James Gibson - Art and Design Showcase 2021

James Gibson - Art and Design Showcase 2021


Graphic Design graduate James, talks about his Fibrosis Sans typeface and desire to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis.


The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module.

Year 1 compulsory modules
Year 1 compulsory modules
Ideas Generation 15 credits
Type And Image 15 credits
Visual Application 45 credits
Visual Communication 45 credits
Year 2 compulsory modules
Year 2 compulsory modules
Experimental Formats 15 credits
Professional Practice 15 credits
Visual Application Ii 45 credits
Visual Exploration 45 credits
Year 3 compulsory modules
Year 3 compulsory modules
Creative Practice In Context 30 credits
Negotiated Programme 1 30 credits
Negotiated Programme 2 45 credits
Research, Analysis And Communication Assignment 15 credits

Entry requirements

Typical UCAS Offer: 112 points 

  • A levels: BBC
  • BTEC: DMM 
  • Foundation Diploma in Art and Design: Merit

All applicants are individually assessed via interview with portfolio.

We understand that you might have experienced a challenging run up to higher education and may have not met the entry requirements as listed. If this is the case don’t worry, contact us and our team of expert advisors can guide you through the next stages of application, or help you find the perfect course for your needs.

Students impress with Michelin murals


Staffordshire University students have been helping to revitalise Michelin’s head office in Stoke-on-Trent

For equivalent entry requirements in your home country, please see the information on our country pages.

Choose your country

Check our entry and English language requirements for your country.



Graphics and Illustration Workspace

You'll spend much of your time in our spacious and open plan design studios. An exciting creative hub, equipped with iMacs and industry-standard software, creative learning zones and state-of-the-art digital printing.


You'll also be able to use our craft workshops that are brimming with top-notch equipment, including laser cutting facilities, screen-printing, letterpress and experimental print, photography and digital processing.

Industry Design Software

From letterpress to Flash, our excellent workshops are equipped with the tools of the trade.


Graduates from our Graphic Design degree develop a wide variety of practical skills to prepare them for positions within design studios, advertising agencies, branding companies, TV, film and freelance enterprises. Many now work in top creative studios such as The Chase, Elmwood, True North, Coley Porter Bell, Viv-id, TBWA, Saatchi & Saatchi, JKR and Havas Lynx.

Graphic Design and Illustration Studio Tour

Graphic Design and Illustration Studio Tour


John Hudson and Matt Buckingham take your on a tour of our spacious, creative design spaces.

Teaching and assessment


The teaching on this course is firmly rooted in studio practice. You develop your skills across a wide range of project-based activities, which take place within a studio setting appropriate to the subject. Sometimes you will work in whole groups, sometimes you will working in teams, with presentations of your work to your peer group and the academic staff. At other times during your study, you will be working on individual self-initiated projects. During projects, there will be tutorial sessions with academic staff where you explore your practice in more detail.

In addition, you take part in lecture and seminar activities which allow you to explore the contextual and professional background to the projects you are undertaking. These are led by your lecturers and also guest tutors from industry who bring their specialist insight into the sessions. You also participate in technical skills instruction sessions with Technician Instructors enabling you to enhance your making and digital skills across a wide range of techniques and approaches.


You are assessed in this course by a range of different types of coursework and practical activities. The assessment task for each module will vary dependent upon its content but may include: 

  • A portfolio of completed artwork, professionally presented in the format required by the assignment, project or brief.
  • Workbooks, sketchbooks etc., documenting the process of generating, developing and resolving thoughts/ideas, and demonstrating the influence of research on practical work.
  • Research books, folders, dossiers, etc. documenting the gathering, sorting and presentation of research material.
  • Technical Exercises demonstrating your skills and competencies using particular equipment and/or techniques.
  • Written essays or reports, in which you are exploring the contextual or professional background to a specific project.
  • An individual or group seminar presentation and/or the accompanying material which you have used to create the presentation.

Learning support

In addition to the excellent support you will receive from your course teaching team, our central Academic Skills team provides group and one-to-one help to support your learning in a number of areas. These include study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills); written English (including punctuation and grammatical accuracy); academic writing (including how to reference); research skills; critical thinking and understanding arguments; and revision, assessment and examination skills (including time management).

Additional support

Our Student Inclusion Services support students with additional needs such as sensory impairment, or learning difficulties such as dyslexia.


Throughout the modules you take on your course you are provided with formative, developmental assessment opportunities, which are carried out in tutorial and critique situations. Feedback is usually provided to you orally, with a written record kept either by the tutor or by you. This is sometimes produced as the result of peer or self-assessment exercises.

All modules also included formal or “summative” assessment tasks and the grades from the formal assessments count towards your module mark. You will normally receive feedback on coursework assessments within 20 working days following the date of submission.

Bryan Dowley - Graphic Design

Bryan Dowley - Graphic Design


Graphic Design student Bryan talks about his love of type, brand design and winning a live brief with design agency Elmwood.

When not attending lectures, seminars, laboratory or other timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve utilising a range of digital resources including our virtual learning environment; reading journals, articles and books; working on individual and group projects; undertaking research in the library; preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations. Your independent learning will be supported by a range of excellent facilities. These include the library, open access computer facilities, informal learning zones, a range of laboratories and performance and studio spaces.

Year 1

12% of time in lectures, seminars or similar
88% of time in independent study
0% of time in placements

Year 2

14% of time in lectures, seminars or similar
87% of time in independent study
0% of time in placements

Year 3

12% of time in lectures, seminars or similar
88% of time in independent study
0% of time in placements

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, laboratory or other timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve utilising a range of digital resources including our virtual learning environment; reading journals, articles and books; working on individual and group projects; undertaking research in the library; preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations. Your independent learning will be supported by a range of excellent facilities. These include the library, open access computer facilities, informal learning zones, a range of laboratories and performance and studio spaces.

Year 1

6% practical exams
94% coursework
0% written exams

Year 2

0% practical exams
100% coursework
0% written exams

Year 3

0% practical exams
100% coursework
0% written exams


You will be taught by an expert teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teaching training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

John Hudson

Course Director

John is Course Leader for Graphic Design (Graphic Communication). He has worked as a Graphic Designer in a number of International studios with clients such as the BBC, Nike, Sony and The Design Council. He has spent the last decade working and …

John's profile


For the course starting on 19 September 2022 the tuition fees are:

Tuition fees for BA (Hons)-Full-time
Study option UK / Channel Islands International
Full-time £9,250 per year of study £14,500 per year of study

UK and Channel Island students: This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation. If the UK government passes appropriate legislation, the fee for subsequent years of study may increase in each academic year. But this increase will not exceed the rate of inflation as measured by RPIX**. Any change in fees will apply to both new and continuing students. The University will notify students of any change as early as possible. Further information about fee changes would be posted on the University’s website once this becomes available.

**RPIX is a measure of inflation equivalent to all the items in the Retail Price Index (RPI) excluding mortgage interest payments.

International students: Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course, as long as you complete it in the normal time-frame (i.e. no repeat years or breaks in study).

Student designer tipped for success by industry experts


A graphics student has been lauded as ‘one to watch’ by a top design agency
Included in tuition fees
Included in the fees:

Travel, and accommodation costs incurred by compulsory trips and visits away from the University that are directly linked to the learning requirements of a specific module.

The use of all workshops, studios and specialist technical facilities and hire of equipment relating to the course of study.


Not included in tuition fees
Not included in the fees:

The estimated cost of text books over the duration of the course. All essential text books are available from the library, but some students chose to purchase their own copies.

Travel, subsistence, entrance fees etc. incurred by optional trips and visits away from the University related to the course.

The cost of materials for the development of a student’s individual practice and work. Additional costs vary dependent upon student’s own choice of materials and approach to their practice.

Optional personal insurance when borrowing equipment such as cameras, lighting equipment etc. for extended period of use off campus [Approx £50-£100]. It may be possible to add some items to home contents insurance.


Accommodation and living costs
Accommodation and living costs

Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

For more information on accommodation and living costs, please see: Accommodation

Sources of financial support

If you receive funding from Student Finance you may be eligible to apply for additional benefits. Details can be obtained by visiting:

Scholarships and additional funding

As an undergraduate student at Staffordshire, you may be eligible for additional financial support through one of our scholarships and bursaries. You can visit our funding page to find out more and check your eligibility.

Our students

With the help from expert tutors, I have been lucky enough to be awarded GOLD award at the Earth Island Brief Cases awards 2019. With many design agency trips, live client briefs and industry talks, you feel ready by the end of the three years for real design world that is out there.

Becky Sidwell

Graphic Design Graduate

Staff were the most supportive and understanding tutors anyone could have and I appreciate it a lot.

Raheema Asif

Graphic Design graduate

Staffs can offer you something that many cannot – genuine and caring lecturers who adore the discipline, have done it for years and see it as much more than a job.

The lecturers became like proud parents and I think that says a lot about the course culture.

James Hansell

Graphic Design graduate

The Design Director for the team I’m currently working in is also a Staffordshire University graduate. It’s great to see fellow Staffs graduates out in industry with successful careers. It just goes to show that it was all worth it!

Joe Hall

Graphic Design Graduate


Location Award Study option Start date Apply Link
Stoke-on-Trent campus BA (Hons) Full-time 19 September 2022 Apply now

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations.

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The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

6th for Social Inclusion

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