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Call us on 020 7458 6265 Extended opening hours throughout Clearing

BA (Hons) Graphic Design (with Foundation year)

Course summary

This extended course is perfect if you want a degree in Graphic Design, but don’t meet the standard entry requirements. 

First we prepare you for your degree during the Foundation year, bringing you up to speed with academic skills and a firm grounding in the subject. Then you can go on to do the full undergraduate degree.

As a future talent of the graphic design industry, we’ll prepare you for the exciting new challenges this field offers. You’ll need the ability to work both individually and as part of a team, making large-scale projects happen and bringing big ideas to life.

To land the job you want in graphic design you’ll need to be a strong visual communicator in the delivery of future products, services and ideas. So we want to provide you with all the tools to experiment but also to explore and invent, as you examine where 21st-century design is heading.

Our expert teachers will help you identify where your potential truly lies. At the University of East London, we’re a team. We’ll value your ideas and we’ll give you the confidence to express and realise them.

We’ll prepare you for a rewarding future career in graphic design by looking at the practical skills involved, as well as giving you a firm grounding in academic theory. At the core of all you’ll study and create, there is an uplifting sense of the spirit of design here.

Return to campus: dual delivery

In a Covid-secure environment, enjoy learning on our state-of-the-art campuses and flex between online delivery

Find out more

Academic excellence

Our course is becoming known for its excellence. Two of our recent students, for instance, have progressed to the Royal College of Art against remarkable international competition. Check out our student blogs, and

Career prospects

Companies rate the quality of our graduates highly. Previous students are employed by a variety of businesses, from design and advertising agencies to typographic design studios, leading architectural practices and moving image production houses.

International exposure

You’ll get the chance to interact with international colleagues. Our students have worked alongside postgraduates from overseas universities. This year they have worked on a live project with students from Iowa State University and a social-design project based in Detroit.


Karolina Chojnacka

BA (Hons) Communication and Cultural Studies

During my Foundation year, I learned study skills, step by step, in an engaging way, so when I started the full course, I was better able to focus on the theoretical content, rather than worrying about how to write essays. It was also a great chance to learn with students from different courses and backgrounds.

What you'll learn

We believe graphic design is changing, becoming a bridge to connect people, communities, ideas and identities. Corporate design, for instance, must be responsible to people and communities as well as responding to commercial pressures.

So new ways of working are emerging, and we’ll prepare you, as tomorrow’s designers, to engage with others to consider wider problems and issues.

Graphic designers need to be acutely aware of their roles and responsibilities. That’s why our course will prepare you to understand your subject in relation to other disciplines - principally economics, politics, psychology and ethical issues.

You’ll learn practical skills such as typographic design, classification of typefaces and their uses, and layout design. You’ll also explore book design, print production, advertising media, corporate branding and editorial design.

We’re at the cutting edge of developments in web design, motion graphics, design for social media and for communities. So you’ll examine both 2D and 3D working methodologies and media, too.

What you'll study and when

We consistently review our courses to ensure we are up-to-date with industry changes and requirements from our graduates. As a result, our modules are subject to change.

  • Professional Life (Mental Wealth)
  • Art & Design Workshops, Processes & Skills
  • Art & Design Studio Practice & Portfolio
  • Art & Design Specialist Workshops, Processes & Skills
  • Art & Design Specialist Studio Practice & Portfolio
  • Art & Design Contextual Studies
  • Professional Life 1 (Mental Wealth)
  • Practice 1
  • Contextual Studies 1
  • Research into Practice 1
  • Experimentation and Application 1A
  • Experimentation and Application 1B
  • Professional Life 2 (Mental Wealth)
  • Practice 2
  • Contextual Studies 2
  • Research into Practice 2
  • Advanced Experimentation and Applications
  • Advanced Practice
  • Professional Life 3 (Mental Wealth)
  • Practice 3
  • Independent Major Project Part A
  • Independent Major Project Part B
  • Research into Practice 3 – Graphic Design & Illustration
  • Research into Practice 3 – Extended Research Project

How you'll be assessed

We'll give you feedback throughout all of your practice modules. You'll document and reflect on this feedback and your learning in general in ‘research journals’. We monitor these journals in one-to-one tutorials throughout the learning period before you submit them for marking at the end of the module.

You'll also be given the opportunity to develop assignment tasks. The two main forms of assessment for practice modules are the journal and your portfolio.

Course specification Foundation Year Specification

How you'll learn

We work as a winning team in graphic design. “We’re all smarter because we work together,” as our course leader, Tim Foster, puts it.

You’ll be guided by supportive staff who’ve worked at the highest level of design practice. Lecturer Stephen Barrett has worked in the design industry for the past seven years and now runs his own design practice.

You’ll be able to take advantage of our academic team's excellent connections as you improve your skills by undertaking practical work experience.

Our visiting lecturers have included the award-winning film maker Jonathan Glazer, director of notable works in advertising, music videos and films 'Sexy Beast' (2000), 'Birth' (2004) and the critically acclaimed 'Under the Skin' (2013).

They’ve also featured top graphic designers such as Alex Cowper, Sara De Bondt and Jonathan Barnbrook, the one-time Damien Hirst collaborator, who himself was once taught by our own Tim Foster.

We’ll enable you to rehearse your future by providing you with a range of different experiences, including opportunities to study abroad and academic exchanges with great schools in Europe and America.

In 2014, we launched a fully equipped a design studio for our third-year students. It features iMacs, A3 and A4 scanners, laser printers with Riso printers and wall projectors.

And where better to study and create than in the creative hub of east London, with regular studio and agency visits arranged for you?

Who will teach on this course

Emma McGuire

The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

Your future career

Our course helps develop graduates who are creative, innovative and going places.

Recently, two of our class of 2013, Charlotte Maeva-Perret and Francesco Tacchini, went on to study further at the Royal College of Art, where they're considered to be among the country’s leading young talents.

While some go on to postgraduate studies, others quickly start to make their names in leading design and advertising agencies, typographic design studios, corporate graphics companies and moving image production houses.

One 2012 graduate, Joe Pleass, has already had one of his co-creations selected for permanent exhibition in the design section of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Called OTOTO, it’s a musical invention kit that allows you to make anything from a drum kit of saucepans to origami that sing when you touch them!

Joe, who’s also managed exhibitions at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, never looked back after going on one of our exchange visits with students in Minnesota.

Such placements, exchange trips and ‘live’ projects with professional designers are all geared to provide you with the experience that will prepare you for a career in graphic design.

Initially, that could be, for instance, as an assistant or freelance designer, an assistant art editor, magazine designer or advertising creative.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal

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Meet us in your country

Our international team travel overseas regularly to meet prospective students and attend recruitment fairs. Our academics also give regular lectures overseas and are happy to speak to prospective students. In addition, we have a large worldwide network of advisors who can provide guidance and support with applying to study at the University of East London. 

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