Our BA (Hons) Visual Communication course offers a truly multidisciplinary studio environment underpinned by design methods. Students on the course create work which both, reflects their own interests, and responds to the requirements of the contemporary creative industries.

We provide an opportunity to develop a personal and professional understanding of visual communication within a range of contexts including: studio-based practice, live projects, collaborative learning and work-related learning. Through a carefully structured three-year process, students will learn to become autonomous practitioners capable of applying intellectual and practical skills in a chosen area of visual communication or further study.

Learning and teaching is based on design problem-solving methods, which draw upon the academic and industry experience of the staff team. Delivery methods are structured to facilitate the development of core practical and theoretical design principals, and media specific technical skills. The teaching uses ideas and terms from film, television, graphic design, photography, illustration and event design.

External engagement through work-related learning is central to our approach, with all students working on live projects and many working regularly with businesses and external partners. Our alumni work in a variety of fields including illustration, television, photography, graphic design, film, animation, visual merchandising, and teaching. Graduate employers include industry leaders in all areas of the creative sector. In addition many alumni are now established freelance practitioners working for clients across the UK and overseas.


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course details

What You'll Study

Year One — You’ll be introduced to the core principals of design and communication within graphic design, photography and film, printmaking and illustration. Through practical briefs you will be introduced to a range of communication processes including persuasion, narrative, documentary and reportage, where your own interests will inform the content of your work. You will have the opportunity to collaborate with other students, work with businesses and communities in the city, exhibit your work and move towards independent learning and self-directed projects.

Year Two — You will begin to develop one or more forms of practice, and apply your skills to real life-projects (whether self-directed, client-based or competitions). During the year you will start to investigate the professional world that relates to your emerging practice and develop a portfolio of work to help secure work experience.

Year Three — You’ll develop professional and entrepreneurial skills in an area of practice to which you feel passionately committed, supported by a research project and facilitated through external links, exhibitions and conferences. On graduating, you’ll have a bespoke skill set and a clear strategy for moving on to employment, self-employment or further study.

Work Experience

Work experience covers a broad range of activities and students are encouraged to undertake work placements during their time at university. As well as guidance from the course team our Careers, Employability and Enterprise team offer support that enhances employability skills and underpins engagement with industry.


Students have a strong track record in winning design awards. Recent successes include:

  • Eleven Creative Conscience Awards 2014-2018
  • YCN Awards 2018
  • Wool Gather Art Prize
  • 2.8 Days Later Film Award

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

Our alumni work in a huge variety of fields. Graduate employers include: Aardman Animations, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Topshop, VICE Magazine (New York), Wallpaper Magazine, Saatchi & Saatchi, Tate Modern, Design Museum, the White Company, We Are Fallon, Liberal Democratic Party, Marks & Spencers, Ilkley Literature Festival, David Oldham Photography, Bloomsbury Publishing, Sonar Festival, LBi London, Glastonbury Festival, I-am Associates, ASDA Marketing, Dubit Ltd, Red Star 3D, East Africa Playgrounds, Omobono, Kontra Oslo, Rapha Racing Ltd, Opera North, Left Bank Leeds, TNR Communications, OMD UK, 10 Associates, Haaretz, and New Era Cap. Graduates may also continue to postgraduate study.

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.

  • Examples of drawings.
  • Examples of design/idea development.
  • Sketchbooks/notebooks.
  • Critical diary, notebook, essay etc.
  • Examples of personal/work interests.

We do not need to see all the work you have produced – around 15-20 samples in your main portfolio would be ideal.

In general terms however we regard the portfolio as a means to discuss with you your ideas and where you see yourself going.

Be prepared to talk about yourself.

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 student from the course who will take you to the studio where you will be asked to lay out your work.

You will be shown around the department and have the opportunity to ask questions. We will explain the interview process and give you a copy of our year book. You will then be given a brief written exercise (it is not a test) that you can do in our studio. Whilst you have been doing this the course staff will have been looking at your work. You will then have a 15 minute personal interview with two members of staff and one of our current students with your work.

Since we interview 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.


This is identified from one or more of the following:

Good use of visual and technical skills

  • Samples of work

Demonstrate the ability to generate and develop a range of strong ideas

  • Samples of work

Skill and inventiveness in the use of a variety of media and techniques

  • Samples of work

A good understanding and use of visual and verbal language

  • Samples of work
  • Interview

An interest in working on real projects which engage with contemporary issues

  • Samples of work
  • And/or interview

Enthusiasm for studying at a specialist Art & Design University

  • Interview

Tuition Fees and Other Costs

Tuition Fees

Our current fees are listed here.

Other Costs

Further costs of study are related largely to the costs of materials and depend very much on how individual students choose to respond to University briefs. The costs below are the result of asking our students to state how much they spend during the year and creating an average, as such they are indicative only.

Equipment & Materials

You do not need to purchase any equipment or materials prior to starting. You may wish to purchase a laptop and/or hard drive later on, but we can advise you about this.

You will also receive a pack from us that will include key equipment you will need. During levels 5 and 6 you will need to produce practical work within your modules. The costs involved in production will vary dependent upon the nature of the work you choose to do. On average students report they spend around £200 in each year. You will also need to back-up your digital work in some way to keep it secure, either on external hard drives or cloud storage, this will cost around £50-£100 each year.


We organise two residential trips for first year students to attend. The first is a one-day trip to Liverpool, free of charge. The second is an overseas study trip in February. The cost of the trip is approximately £400-£500 and includes your airfare; return travel to the airport accommodation and breakfast for the duration of the trip. Both visits are integral to your programme of studies and are a great opportunity to get to know your peers.

We provide support for undergraduate students dependent upon their financial circumstances. Visit Undergraduate Financial Support for further information.

Terms & Conditions and Key Information

Our Terms & Conditions are here.

If you would like to download the Key Information on this course 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 international@leeds-art.ac.uk

Apply Now

Please apply direct to the University for our BA (Hons) Visual Communication course using the links below.

Home/EU applicants

Click here to apply via UCAS

International applicants

Click here to apply directly

If you need any assistance completing the form please contact the Admissions team at admissions@leeds-art.ac.uk or call us on 0113 280 8000.


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


BA (Hons) Visual Communication

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Louise Malkinson


Since graduating from BA (Hons) Visual Communication Louise has worked for independent production companies on documentary film projects for BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, ITV and Channel 4.

David Collins

Featured Staff

David Collins is Course Leader of BA (Hons) Visual Communication.

Emily Maloney

Featured Student

Read our interview with Emily about her time on the BA (Hons) Visual Communication course so far and being one of the first recipients of the Alumni Fund Bursary

"We believe you have the potential to make a unique contribution to the world we live in, and our role is to help show you how."
David Collins, Course Leader
BA (Hons) Visual Communication