Graphic Design BA (Hons) | York St John University (2022)

Undergraduate Course

Graphic design is everywhere. Immerse yourself in the art of visual communication.

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Graphic Design BA (Hons) | York St John University (1)

Learn the principles of visual language and the impact of graphic design. You will take the knowledge and techniques you learn and apply them to different practical projects. We encourage creativity, so you will be able to use different mediums and platforms to develop creative design solutions that are uniquely yours. It's time to find your specialism.

89%of Design students thought that staff are good at explaining things. (National Student Survey 2022)

87%of Design students felt that good advice was given when they needed to make study choices on their course. (National Student Survey 2022)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – W210
  • Duration – 3 years full time
  • Start date – September 2023, September 2024
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEsat grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Tuition Fees

    UK 2023 entry£9,250per year full time

    International 2023 entry£13,000per year full time

Discover Design at York St John University

Course overview

This course gives you the knowledge and practical skills needed for a career in graphic design. When you join us you will start by learning ways to generate concepts and ideas. You will evolve your skills in artistic layout, drawing and visual communication. Projects throughout the degree allow you to focus on your practical abilities. These projects increase in complexity as you progress and involve working with private clients. As you work on them you will learn about:

  • Typography
  • Branding
  • Composition
  • Image making
  • Motion graphics
  • User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design
  • Print production
  • 3D type and lettering

Alongside this practical exploration, we will also introduce you to the histories and theories of graphic design. This will allow you to identify what interests you most, so you can conduct your own research in these areas.

When you choose to study with us, you get more than the skills you need to succeed. You gain experiences that make you stand out. We give you opportunities to:

  • Work with private clients and graphic design companies on live briefs
  • Enter design competitions to showcase your work internationally
  • Complete work placements in industry and learn from visiting professionals
  • Visit international cities to experience contemporary design around the world and find new inspiration
  • Exhibit your work at our annual degree show, the perfect way to build a professional network

Our team of expert designers and technical specialists will really get to know you by supporting your personal practice and ambitions.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. How many modules you take each semester will depend on whether you are studying full time or part time.

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 1 compulsory module across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 1
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 60

Compulsory module

During this module you will gain all the practical skills you need to progress in Graphic Design. You will begin with learning how to express and communicate your ideas visually by exploring different drawing techniques. Throughout the year we will then introduce you to different software, techniques and theories help you develop your abilities in graphic design. Together we will cover:

  • 3D Digital Pipeline
  • Typography
  • Adobe Creative Cloud software
  • Digital photography
  • Artwork layout
  • Lighting and compositing and more

Credits: 20


This module is yourintroduction to the academic principles of Graphic Design. You will investigate issues and concepts indesign and use the knowledge to make informed judgements about the direction of your creative work and how it can progress. Your exploration of research methodologies will give you the critical and analytical skills to take forward into the rest of your degree.

This module is your chance to apply the knowledge and skills you have gained so far. You will work on 2graphic design projects over the course of this module. On 1 you will work collaboratively with your classmates and students from other Design specialisms. On your other project, you will work independently. Both projects will focus on the fundamentals of graphic design, prompting you to use your knowledge of:

  • Brand identity
  • Trends and idea presentation
  • Typography and idea presentation
  • Artwork layout
  • Print production

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 1 compulsory module in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 2
  • 1 compulsory module across semester 1 and 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will learn to use advanced, industry standard digital applications. We will encourage you to experiment with different digital tools and apply these techniques to your work. You will work with Adobe suite software such as Illustrator and Photoshop in greater detail, learning how you can create visual communications digitally.

Credits: 60


Work on different design projects throughout this module to expand your portfolio. You will apply the knowledge and animation skills you have gained and create a portfolio that demonstrates your technical abilities and creative voice. These projects will help you understand the application of your knowledge and continue to expand your understanding of:

  • 3D/motion graphics
  • 3D type and lettering
  • System and information design
  • Identity
  • Graphic processes and more

Credits: 20


This module is your chance to gain professional design experience and prepare for life beyond university. Together we will look at your portfolio and ensure it is appropriate for interviews and viewings with potential clients. You will get the chance to find a work experience opportunity to give you valuable industry experience. This could be an internship, placement, or a client project. We will also provide skill sessions that can help you in the future:

  • Using social media
  • Marketing yourself
  • CV writing and interview techniques
  • Online portfolio guidance

Credits: 20


On this module you will take part in a collaborative group project. You will collaborate across design specialisms and work together to solve a complex problem with design. In doing this, you will explore different models of collaboration and consider the methodologies and challenges of working together. At the end of the project you will reflectindividually on the process and its success.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20


This module will help you develop an understanding of the historical, theoretical and industrial context of design. We will help you use this knowledge in your own work, ensuring you are producing projects that are socially and culturally sensitive and innovative. You will choose an area of design that interests you and design your own research question in this area. Your dedicated supervisor will help you with this and meet with you on a 1 to 1 basis throughout the module to support your independent study.

Credits: 60


This module is your chance to develop a portfolio of work that demonstrates your specialist skills in graphic design. You will complete a design brief that you have developed, researched and planned in your Independent Research Project module. You will work independently to complete this brief, receiving support in 1 to 1 tutorials with an academic supervisor. This is an opportunity for you to explore what interests you the most and respond to the brief in the way you want to.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop your ability to design visual communications that address the needs of clients, competitions and users. With a group of your classmates, you will research and negotiate a graphic design brief with a client, establishing yourself as a professional in the industry. This will help you grow your confidence in planning and conducting work for external clients. By the end of the module you will have developed a portfolio of material suitable for submission to your client.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

We deliver your modules through:

  • Lectures
  • Demonstrations
  • Seminars
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Practical workshops

Each module has 2 to 5 hours of contact time a week. We schedule our taught sessions between 9.00am and 8.00pm, Monday to Friday.

You will need to conduct independent study outside of this time. This might include design work, reading, writing tasks and research. You can also arrange academic tutorials with your module tutors throughout the year to receive feedback on your work and discuss the course content.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


There are no exams on this course. Assessment types vary from module to module. Some of your assessments might include:

  • Portfolios of animation work
  • Research reports
  • Essays
  • Exhibitions
  • Individual and group critiques
  • Dissertations and reflective reports

For each assessment you will have the chance to talk to a tutor about your work before submission. Each assessment will be marked and returned with feedback so you can improve your work.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Graphic Design

On this course you will gain the specialist creative and technical skills you need to pursue a career in graphic design. You will also build skills in communication, research and analysis that can lead to a range of other creative and digital roles.

This degree could be the first step toward your career as a:

  • Animator
  • Concept artist
  • Creative director
  • Graphic designer
  • Interior designer
  • User experience (UX) designer

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Entry requirements


Minimum Entry Requirements

    104UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEsat grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Portfolio Day

If your application is successful, you will be invited to a portfolio day. On the day, you will show your work with our tutors and share with them your passion for the subject.

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

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 depends on whether you live inside the UK, or internationally (outside the UK). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK 2023 entry

The tuition fee for 2023 entry onto this course is:

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time

These prices apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page:

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition Fees

    UK 2023 entry£9,250per year full time

    International 2023 entry£13,000per year full time

International 2023 entry

The tuition fee for 2023 entry to this course is £13,000 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit theInternational Visa and Immigrationpages.

Find out more about funding your degree:

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

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

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit ourstudy abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

Fordetailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses.

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email

Course highlights

Experience the industry

Work on live briefs set by small businesses and graphic design agencies across the region. Design with purpose and practise pitching your ideas.

Showcase your work

We will encourage you to enter national design competitions. Put your ideas into the world and start building your reputation in graphic design.

Degree Show

Your studies will culminate in our annual degree show exhibition, a fantastic opportunity to showcase your work to regional industry partners and businesses.

MarkGraphic Design

The course at York St John helped me hone my design skills and turn me into a more efficient designer. I also gained invaluable experience in presenting to clients and responding to feedback. The tutors created a real community feel on my course which led to us having two brilliant European trips to Berlin and Barcelona.

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