Skip to main content
Undergraduate study
Graphic Design and Illustration Graphic Design and Illustration Graphic Design and Illustration

Graphic Design and Illustration
BA (Hons)

W210 BA/GDI

 
 

Course overview

Learn to bring your ideas to life as a confident and responsive visual communicator by studying this innovative and industry-focused graphic design and illustration degree course.

MIMA School of Art & Design

See what it’s like to study at MIMA School of Art & Design, part of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.

About this course

The course is a combination of graphic design and illustration, offering you a broad and dynamic experience. Build a professional and innovative portfolio as a graphic designer and illustrator with skills across advertising, branding, typography, editorial and book design, interactive media, motion graphics and digital content. Learn to develop your design research skills and ideas-led solutions, working with the foremost analogue and digital industry facilities while being taught by award-winning and research-active practising artists and designers.

What’s more, you can complete an optional work placement year as part of this degree course at no extra cost.

What you learn

While studying this graphic design and illustration degree at Teesside University, you work to live briefs on real projects and enter competitions in this industry-focused programme to prepare you for a range of professional careers in the design field and across the creative industries, including artistic and technical roles in media agencies and publishers. From becoming a freelance designer or illustrator to working for an international company, your learning adventure unites the independent and commercial, specialisms and teamwork, deadlines and networking, traditional and digital design skills.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

You study at MIMA School of Art & Design, an art school led by Teesside University and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), an international contemporary museum and gallery. You gain a full artistic experience, learning in a social space that inspires dynamic ideas, fuels collaboration and allows you to build local, national and international networks with industry professionals for your future graphic design and illustration career. An optional work placement year is included, at no extra cost.

Top three reasons to study graphic design and illustration at Teesside University

1. Benefit from our professional design studio environment and excellent facilities.
2. Our many successful graduates have excellent and varied career opportunities and go on to work in design consultancies, publishing houses, advertising and new media studios along with freelance opportunities and commissioned arts projects.
3. Work closely with our award-winning and research-active practising artists and designers.

Alongside the optional work placement year, you can gain valuable experience and engagement with the sector through our shorter work placements, internships and work experience opportunities.
Find out more

 

Course details

In Year 1 you experience the fundamental principles of graphic design and illustration. We introduce you to essential graphic languages and processes including drawing, image-making, typography, advertising, interaction, narrative, motion and printmaking as well as access to 3D workshop, photography and video facilities.

During Year 2 you develop a distinctive body of work through your selection of project briefs. Here you can start to specialise if you wish. You further develop your knowledge, strengths, professional and management skills and apply your ideas and processes to more complex creative projects supported by critical studies.

In Year 3 the emphasis is placed firmly on developing your professional portfolio and future career aspirations. You are able to negotiate your own contextually grounded project themes and there is the opportunity to work on live projects and competition briefs.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Activate

Elevate

This specialist graphic design module enables you to create compelling expressive work by reacting to a given experience. Initial workshops introduce the fundamentals of creative and expressive mark-making, composition, image-making, drawing, layout, typography, narrative and sequence. You are then able to apply these in project work.

Enterprise

Hack

Through the study of modernism and postmodernism, you respond by producing a publication that is informed by theory. There is an emphasis on project management. Environmental and sustainable issues inform materials and processes used in the production process.

Storytelling

Here, you apply acquired knowledge and skills to a selected project according to an area of your individual interest or specialism. This module provides an overview of professional graphic practice and enables you to reflect on your own learning and personal career aspirations. You review work from modules through your portfolio presentation and set goals for the next stage.

Workshop

This specialist graphic design module introduces you to the practical facilities within design. The 3D workshops offer wood, metal and plastic materials, lazer cutting, printmaking facilities. Equipment housed in fashion and textile can be used to produce project work. You are encouraged to use these facilities throughout the three years of your programme of study.

 

Year 2 core modules

Analysis

Articulate

Here you continue your personal reflection and planning while researching the breadth of practice associated with graphic communication. You develop project work around personal interests and you are encouraged to reach out to organisations and communities that enable you to connect and create networks of support and mutual interest. You review work from all modules through your portfolio presentation and set goals for the next stage.

Connect

Iterate

This module focuses on the development stage of the design process. Through thorough questioning, testing, improving, proofing, specification and reflection, your initial proposal is refined and improved to provide a resolved solution.

Now in Production

You are asked to consider proposals for opportunities to generate work to start the process of raising funds to exhibit work in Year 3 that is outside the University, aimed at launching your career. Possibilities are varied and you could explore an online outlet.

Situate

Graphic communicators have a long history of undertaking issues-led and ethically motivated work as authors, producers, activists and saboteurs. It is important for designers to understand how they can disrupt, shape and reflect social, political and ecological realities in the Anthropocene.

This module teaches you about communication theories and explore design discourse, responsibility and current issues through research and critical skills building. You negotiate a creative outcome that demonstrates a critical and contextually informed approach to an issue, debate or cause.

 

Optional work placement year

Work placement

You have the option to spend one year in industry learning and developing your skills. We encourage and support you with applying for a placement, job hunting and networking.

You gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also obtain the transferable skills required in any professional environment, including communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

Many employers view a placement as a year-long interview, therefore placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process. Benefits include:

· improved job prospects
· enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
· a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
· a better degree classification
· a richer CV
· a year's salary before completing your degree
· experience of workplace culture
· the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

If you are unable to secure a work placement with an employer, then you simply continue on a course without the work placement.

 

Final-year core modules

DIY

This module is defined by you. Do you continue to refine a competition brief for submission? Would you prefer to spend more time on your self-promotion? Do you want to carry out research and experimental work for an MA application proposal? Do you want to do another competition brief or live project? There is also the option of arranging work experience.

Initiate

As a group you are tasked to resolve how the year group is represented at the end of year show. You think about publication material and raise funds for a possible London exhibition venue on graduation.

Magnify

This is an opportunity to visually represent how you wish to be perceived as a designer. You consider your self-promotion material in formats that are relevant to your chosen direction. There is also the opportunity to use this module for work experience.

Project X

This is the opportunity to write your own negotiated brief that enhances your portfolio and confirms your interests and career goals. The module also has a project report that links theory to practice.

Studio

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

A full range of digital resources and workshop facilities, utilising up-to-date equipment and processes, supports the studio environment. Independent and student-centred learning are encouraged in addition to taught sessions with staff. Theoretical work is delivered through illustrated lectures and seminars where there is opportunity for collective discussion.

How you are assessed

The work produced is the work assessed; there are no examinations and the production of design and illustration projects is a key feature. Assessment is undertaken against carefully defined criteria and project-based assignments involve a critique. The critique is a reflective process allowing for both staff and peer group appraisal. You receive written feedback to help you reflect and prepare for future modules.


Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

 
 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Your offer will be made on the basis of your UCAS application, your portfolio and, if appropriate, your interview.

Year 1 entry
96-112 points from any combination of recognised Level 3 qualifications, including a creative subject. Consideration will also be given to students without formal qualifications but with evidence of practical art and design experience at an appropriate level. Students are invited to bring portfolios along on applicant days to show creative skills in art and design.

Interviews
Eligible applicants are normally invited for interview. The interview helps us determine your potential to succeed and to set appropriate entry conditions matched to your personal circumstances and the demands of the course. The interview also enables you to see our excellent facilities, meet staff and students, and to learn more about studying at Teesside University.

If you are unable to attend an interview at the university, we can organise a virtual interview over the telephone or internet. If you have a portfolio of work to submit in support of your application, this can be sent to us electronically.

English language and maths requirement
Normally GCSE English language and maths at grade C, or 4 under the new grading system. Other equivalent qualifications may be considered.

Non-EU international students who need a student visa to study in the UK should check our web pages on UKVI-compliant English language requirements. The University also provides pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements.

Helping you meet the entry requirements
We may be able to help you meet the requirements for admission by offering you the opportunity to study one or more Summer University modules, some of which can be studied by distance learning.

Alternative degree with integrated foundation year
If you are unable to achieve the minimum admission requirements for Year 1 entry you could, subject to eligibility, join one of our degree courses with an integrated foundation year.

Direct entry to later years
If you have previously studied at higher education level (for example, a foundation degree, HNC, HND or one or more years at degree level at another institution) you may request direct entry to Year 2 or year 3 of this degree.

Mature applicants
We welcome applications from mature students (aged over 21) who can demonstrate, through portfolio/written work and relevant experience, that they have developed cognitive and technical skills through their life experiences.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

 

Employability

Career opportunities

To support professional practice experience, you get involved with competitions from professional bodies such as Design and Art Direction (D&AD), You Can Now, Royal Society of Arts and International Society of Typographic Designers. You also have the opportunity to exhibit work externally.

D&AD connects to a community of creative professionals, providing essential industry and educational insight. Since 1962, D&AD has been inspiring a community of creative thinkers by celebrating and stimulating the finest in design and advertising. The D&AD Professional Awards are recognised globally as the ultimate creative accolade, entered and attended by the best from around the world.

Our graduates have excellent and varied career opportunities and go on to work in design consultancies, publishing houses, advertising and new media studios along with freelance opportunities and commissioned arts projects. There is also the opportunity for postgraduate study.

Examples of destinations include Barker Advertising in New York, Caterpillar Books, Elmwood Design, Gardner Richardson, Great Fridays, JWT, KPMG, McCann Erickson, Pearl Fisher, Penguin Books, Radley Yeldar and Publicis Sapient.

Work placement

A work placement officer and the University's award-winning careers service help you with applying for a placement. Advice is also available on job hunting and networking.

By taking a work placement year you gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also obtain the transferable skills required in any professional environment. Transferable skills include communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

An increasing number of employers view a placement as a year-long interview and, as a result, placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process.

Potential benefits from completing a work placement year include:

  • improved job prospects
  • enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
  • a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
  • a better degree classification
  • a richer CV
  • a year's salary before completing your degree
  • experience of workplace culture
  • the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

 

Information for international applicants

Qualifications

International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

Select your country:

  
 

Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

Talk to us

Talk to an international student enrolment adviser

 
 

Full-time

Entry to 2021/22 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants


What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: W210 BA/GDI
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

2021/22 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: Up to 6 years
  • Attendance: Daytime
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)

 

Choose Teesside

 
 

Get in touch

Telephone

01642 335008

International students

International enquiries

 

Open days