Explore visual language creatively and solve challenging design briefs using industry-standard technology on our full-time Graphic Design degree at Cambridge School of Art. Choose to study abroad for one semester, take part in field trips, enter design competitions, and get support to find work placements. 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 broad-based graphic design degree will train you to push boundaries and challenge existing thinking, developing innovative design solutions as well as a keen understanding of professional practice.
You will experiment with a variety of techniques and media, at the same time as learning about the important and influential role of the visual communicator working in today’s image-based culture, at the same time as learning the theory behind your work, and developing awareness of the ethical issues important for visual communicators working in the contemporary world.
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.
By the time you graduate, you will be proficient in the key areas of graphic design, from typography to creating the latest app for maximum impact, as you respond to briefs that develop skills in information design, visual identities, packaging and promotion, interactive design, cross-platform advertising and design for the web.
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 graphic design study visits will allow you to inform your design work, and previous field trips have included a stay in 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
We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.
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 internships, 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 (pdf).
NB Modules are subject to change and availability
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.
At Cambridge School of Art, we combine the traditions of our past with the possibilities afforded by the latest technologies.
Using our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond, we nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking to empower the makers and creators of the future.
Our academics excel at both practice and theory, making a real impact in their chosen fields, whether they are curating exhibitions, designing book covers or photographing communities in Africa. They are also regularly published in catalogues, books, journals and conference papers, their research classed as being of ‘international standing’, with some elements ‘world-leading’, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.
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, and you can get full training in any of our other facilities too.
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.
You can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.
We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.
You must pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit or sponsorship letter. 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.
It is essential that you send us a digital portfolio for review.
For full information on how to prepare and submit your portfolio please visit our cambridge school of art portfolios page.
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 postgraduate 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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