Explore visual language creatively and solve challenging design briefs using our industry-standard technology. Develop your understanding of effective graphic communication to prepare for a career as a professional graphic designer.
Studying Graphic Design at ARU has been a great experience. I've loved being surrounded by people who are both interested in design and also so brilliant at their work. I'm very grateful to ARU for the employability opportunity I've been given and I would never have thought I'd end up with a job at a design agency before I even finished my degree!
Our BA (Hons) Graphic Design will prepare you to work as an informed and technically skilled designer capable of creative and independent thought, with the confidence and ability to succeed in the design industry.
You’ll explore many graphic disciplines and learn to apply them professionally, developing your visual literacy using graphics, typography and text-image relationships. Our modules on historical, contemporary and future design practice will give you all the theory and contextual understanding you’ll need to solve industry-set design briefs in our studio and workshop-based modules.
You’ll experiment with traditional print-based solutions as well as modern commercial practices including site-specific, interactive, mobile media, app generation, graphical interfaces and multimedia work, to come up with ideas that challenge traditional notions of design and visual communication.
Throughout the course, your studies will be supported by an academic team with extensive design industry, research and teaching experience, including Course Leader Jon Melton (type design, typographic and printing history) and Lecturer Nick Jeeves (graphic design, storytelling with text and image).
You’ll also work closely with a number of graphic design studios, including CPL, The District, and Onespacemedia, who will set your live briefs as well as providing lectures and one-to-one critiques, ending with a final review that can often lead to work placements, internships and long-term professional relationships.
Winning or being nominated for an international student design competition can give you a springboard into a design career, with many offering internships as part of the prize or leading to long-lasting professional relationships. As part of the course, you’ll submit artwork to the Penguin Random House Student Design Awards in your second year, and in your final year, can choose from the prestigious YCN or D&AD briefs.
Our annual Graphic Design field trip will allow you to travel to Amsterdam, visiting local museums and galleries, creating graphic design on the move and linking up with staff and students from the graphic design course at Avans Hogeschool in Breda.
At the end of the course, you’ll show your final-year work at our annual Degree Show, attended by many industry professionals, design recruitment agencies, graphic artists, parents and past students. As a Graphic Design student, you could be selected to produce publicity materials for the event, giving your work even greater exposure, or to receive one of our awards from industry for creative, innovative or commercial excellence.
Course Leader: Jon Melton
Our BA (Hons) Graphic Design will prepare you for a career as a graphic designer, as well as for design-related roles in digital graphics, online media, communications and marketing, publishing, and advertising.
Our previous students have gone on to work with design studios or media and communication companies, producing advertising, corporate identities and promotions, packaging and branding, informational design, editorial and book design, web designs and interactive media.
You’ll have many opportunities to generate a strong portfolio of graphic design projects that will help you secure a job in this rewarding, vibrant and growing industry. These include getting involved with regional design agencies and national design networks such as D&AD and YCN, engaging in ‘live’ projects or commercial briefs and building your industry contacts. All of these can lead to freelance projects, work experience and internship, which could result in offers of work before you even graduate.
Or you might decide to take a Masters course after graduation, like our MA Graphic Design & Typography, which can help you to enter the commercial world at a higher level.
For a full breakdown of module options and credits, please view the module structure.
Our modules allow you to demonstrate your progress by producing coursework to set projects, design tasks and formal briefs. At the end of each semester you’ll submit design work for practice-based modules, and a written document for contextual/theoretical modules. These will then be graded and you’ll receive written feedback.
You’ll also receive ongoing feedback on your design project concepts and develop your learning in taught sessions, one-to-one discussions, project reviews and group critiques.
Cambridge School of Art has been inspiring creativity since 1858 when it was opened by John Ruskin.
Engaging with current debates surrounding contemporary practice and with the state-of-the-art facilities, Cambridge School of Art houses light, bright studios, industry-standard film and photographic facilities, and 150-year-old printing presses alongside dedicated Apple Mac suites. Our digital art gallery, the Ruskin Gallery, exhibits both traditional shows and multimedia presentations, from national and international touring exhibitions and our own students.
We are the only university in Cambridge offering art and design courses at higher education level. A tight-knit community of artists, academics and over 900 students, we collaborate across our University, the creative industries, and other sectors. Cambridge is a centre for employment in the creative industries and there are rich opportunities for collaboration with the city’s entertainment, technological, scientific, arts and heritage industries.
Our graduates have a history of winning national and international awards and an excellent employment record. They include Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett and Dave Gilmour, Spitting Image creators Peter Fluck and Roger Law, and illustrator Ronald Searle, the creator of St Trinian's.
We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.
You’ll have access to our on-campus digital facilities and design studios, and get a real understanding of digital design processes by working on industry-standard Adobe design software on Apple Macintosh technology. But we also have dedicated facilities for traditional letterpress and printmaking for the more ‘hands-on’ designer.
For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages
Estimated costs of materials over three years £950.
Optional field trip £200.
Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.
If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.
You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.Paying your fees
Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.
We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.
From September 2018, EU students starting an undergraduate degree with us can access an £800 bursary.
Meanwhile, our £400 Books Plus scheme helps with the costs of study. There's no need to apply for this: if you're eligible you can simply collect a Books Plus card when you start your course.
You will be required to attend an interview of around 20 minutes, at which you will also discuss your portfolio (see below). For more information please visit our interviews page.
You will be required to evidence your work by submitting a portfolio or, if you are resident outside of the UK, an e-portfolio. For more information and guidance please download the relevant portfolio pack below and visit our portfolios page.
Important additional notes
Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email email@example.com for further information.
We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.
We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.
If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.
If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.
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