The studio is the focus, a creative space with an innovative and engaging atmosphere. You will benefit immediately from exposure to the structures and disciplines of a studio environment, learning how individual and collaborative creativity combine to produce exceptional work.

With the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course running alongside the BA (Hons) Creative Advertising, BA (Hons) Comic & Concept Art, BA (Hons) Animation and BA (Hons) Illustration courses there are exciting opportunities to collaborate with creatives from other disciplines and with different skills to your own.

This course will encourage you to develop your own voice, opinions and individual understanding of graphic design. You will build the discipline and skills you need to succeed in a professional environment.

You will explore how the application of type and image can solve problems and communicate ideas, which will engage and challenge your audience. Developing your creative understanding you will be able to communicate both visually and verbally. You will gain a wider understanding of the creative, social and ethical context of contemporary visual culture.

Our industry links are extensive, with an array of visiting professionals delivering lectures, seminars and workshops. You will have access to our cutting-edge Mac suites plus all of the University facilities, with countless opportunities for cross- discipline collaboration. Places on this dynamic and fast-paced course are in high demand and you will be expected to put in the hours to reap the rewards.

The BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree has been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick, the industry quality mark, following a rigorous assessment process by experts working in the Creative Industries. The Creative Skillset Tick is awarded to practice-based courses which best prepare students for a career in the industry. 

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course details

What You'll Study

Year One — Focusing on the fundamentals of visual language you will explore research methods and design practice around type, language, image, narrative, meaning and message. You will work with typography, print, drawing processes, photography and screen based media.

Year Two — Taking a more self-directed role you will develop your design practice using specialist workshops, critical assessments and seminars. This is where audience, context, distribution and ethical issues become fundamental to your practice.

Year Three — You build on your understanding of professional practice, business and marketing skills and project management. Working on a series of self-directed, negotiated and competition briefs, you will be supported to build a dynamic portfolio of work as well as exhibiting at the end of year show.

Work Experience

Alongside your core study you are encouraged to negotiate your own work experience which will enhance your overall understanding. In the past these have been arranged across sectors such as branding/identity, packaging, information graphics, digital, editorial and publishing. Companies that students have recently secured work experience within include: Brass, Build, Creative Spark, Creative Review, Generation Press, SEA, TBWA, The Beautiful Meme, Elmwood, Music, Love, and Leeds Print Festival.


Students have won countless awards including D&AD, International Society of Typographic Designers, SH!, YCN and RSA.

Course Specification

Contact Hours & Teaching/Learning Methods

Undergraduate degree programmes at Leeds Arts University are delivered and supported through a range of teaching and learning strategies. Programmes are made up of modules, these are elements of study that are taught and assessed separately. Each module carries a clearly identified credit value, the accumulation of which will allow you to progress to the next level of the programme. 100 hours of learning are expected for every ten credits of the programme. Each level (year) of the programme is made up of 120 credits and therefore requires 1200 hours of learning. This equates to 40 hours of study per week throughout the academic year.

For every 100 hours of learning, approximately 25 hours are delivered as taught or supported sessions and remaining hours are allocated for studio/workshop access and independent learning. Individual programmes have their own learning cultures based on their specific use of the teaching and learning methods listed here. These methods feature differently depending on the programme, level, aims of module, content of the sessions and progress through an academic year.

For further information see our Undergraduate teaching & learning at Leeds Arts University document.

Destination Careers

Graduates work as freelancers, in a studio as part of a design team or set up their own studios. Careers include design for print (publishing, books, magazines and newspapers), branding, promotion, packaging, information graphics, retail and much more.

Entry Requirements

We’re looking for students with the best potential to succeed - irrespective of their background. That’s why we welcome a wide range of qualifications and experience.

Click here to view our entry requirements

Portfolio Guide

A well presented portfolio says a lot about an applicant and their work. Our guidance is not meant to limit your creative statement.

In general terms however we would expect the following:

  • Examples of visual investigation through a range of appropriate media
  • Examples of design/idea development
  • Sketchbooks, notebooks and design sheets
  • Examples of work which demonstrates an involvement in the use of type and image in relation to visual research
  • Critical diary, notebook, essay etc.

At this stage in your career we would much rather see experimental and innovative image making and design developmental work rather than necessarily all finished work showing a final solution.

We would like to see a personal, selective and well-presented portfolio that demonstrates an informed interest in graphic design.

We do not need to see all the work you have produced - around 10-15 samples in your main portfolio would be ideal - supported by notebooks/sketchbooks and design sheets, where appropriate.

We also run a range of daytime and evening portfolio development courses specialising in preparation for further and higher art and design education. For more information on current courses please click here.

Interview Guide

When you arrive at reception you will be met by a member of the course team who will take you to the studio where you will leave your portfolio.

You will be shown around the department and have the opportunity to ask questions. You will then be given a brief exercise (it is not a test) that you can do in the library or café.

Whilst you have been doing this the course staff will have been looking at your work. You will be interviewed by one member of the course team with your work. Since we book in several students in one half day session, you should be prepared to be in the University for up to three hours.

If you have had to travel long distances and have a train pre-booked, please let us know in advance and we will try to arrange the timing of your interview so you can get away in time.

You can also keep up to date with the course by following us on Twitter: @LCABAGD


This is identified from one or more of the following:

Good use of image making, type and visual research skills to inform design development work.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Design sheets
  • Samples of work

The ability to generate and develop a range of creative ideas in response to design briefs.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Design sheets
  • Samples of work

Skill and inventiveness in the use of a variety of media and techniques appropriate to graphic design.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Design sheets
  • Samples of work

An awareness of the concerns, trends, and contexts of contemporary graphic design practice.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Design sheets
  • Samples of work
  • Personal statement
  • Interview

An active interest in the subject and ambition to succeed.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Design sheets
  • Samples of work
  • Personal statement
  • Interview

Tuition Fees and Other Costs

Tuition Fees

Our current fees are listed here.

Other Costs:

You do not need to purchase any equipment or materials prior to starting the programme as you will receive a design kit that will provide you with all you need for the first few weeks of term.

Although the University has an extensive library that holds key texts for each module, it will be worthwhile buying your own copies of key books which we will provide you details of prior to enrolment.

Equipment & Materials

Level 4 (First Year)

Books/academic texts approximately £100.
Additional materials £100 (students are provided with a basic materials kit and have access to stock and materials from programme budget)
Printing £50

Level 5 (Second Year)

Books/academic texts approximately £100
Materials £100*
Printing £75 

Level 6 (Third Year)

Books/academic texts approximately £100
Materials £100*
Printing £150 (including portfolio and portfolio printing costs)

*Students also get access to a good selection of stock and materials from the programme budget.

We recommend an Apple Macbook, this is desirable but not essential for the start of the programme. One can be purchased during the academic year, and you will be advised at induction week which is the appropriate model. (approx. £1000)

We are an Apple Mac centric institution. If buying a computer students may want to consider waiting until they have enrolled as educational discount is available through the Apple educational portal. Students will need to consider purchasing the licence for Adobe Creative Cloud software which students can get at a discount on once they have enrolled on to the programme. 

Students will have access to University and programme resources that will allow them to complete their studies. 

Students have access to software and services that will allow them to work on word processed documents, spreadsheets and presentations once enrolled on their own computers. 


We arrange a research trip for all level 4 and 5 students, which are covered by programme budgets. This research trip is compulsory.

During level 4 educational visits will cost approximately £400 (these will include conferences, exhibitions and a European study visit); during level 5 the cost will be approximately £850 (and include a international study visit): and during level 6  £400 (these will include conferences, exhibitions and a European study visit).


Terms & Conditions and Key Information

Our Terms & Conditions are here.

If you would like to download the Key Information on this programme click here.

International Opportunities / Visiting and exchange students

We are delighted to welcome undergraduate visiting and exchange students from Europe and around the world who would like to spend a semester or a full academic year taking credits from our exciting range of courses. You will be fully integrated into the academic and social life of the University during a period of full-time supervised study and your credits transferred back to your home institution.

You can join us through programmes such as Erasmus+, individual university partnerships or as an independent applicant. Please see here for more information and how to apply.

Leeds Arts University students interested in spending some time overseas can find information on the international opportunities available during your course here.

Questions? Contact

3 Years
Study Mode
Full Time
Institution Name
Leeds Arts University
Institution Code
Awarded by
Leeds Arts University


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"This programme will encourage you to develop your own voice, opinions and individual understanding of graphic design."
Amber Smith, Programme Leader
BA (Hons) Graphic Design