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BA (Hons)
Graphic Arts

Mastering Graphic Arts is a path to turning ideas into something incredible using your creative skills. If you want to explore your options in the diverse and stimulating world of design, this course will give you a thorough grounding in a wide range of techniques and approaches you can use in the creative industries.

Qualification: BA (Hons)

UCAS code: W210

Study mode: Full-time

Location: High Wycombe Campus

Duration: Three years

Start date: September

Is this course for me?

If you have a flair for design and want to improve your creative talent, Graphic Arts will give you the opportunity to develop those abilities. Graphic Arts brings together many elements of the graphics industries into one course including typography, illustration, branding, advertising, film, publishing or photography. You’ll enjoy working with our community of enthusiastic and friendly students, in our huge design studio. Students rate our course highly, hitting a 88 per cent score for satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2016.

A portal into many different areas of design
With so many design options to choose from, we understand that you may not know which to study. We’ve designed this course so you can try everything. If you find that you really enjoy illustration or graphic design for example, you can specialise in those areas during your second and third years.

Work in a professional environment on campus
Our course gives you many opportunities to explore the diverse world of graphics. As you move into the higher levels of the course, you’ll have the freedom to write and present your own briefs, and start realising your ideas. Every week, you’ll work with a tutor who will critique your work and help you improve your designs. Presentations with other students help prepare you for working in an agency where you may have to present your ideas to a client.

Our live briefs come from a range of companies, such as Puma and Williams Murray Hamm. To build your experience, we encourage work placements with companies we have long relationships with. We’ve had students working for publishers, agencies and magazines such as Wallpaper, Dragon Rouge, Rankin, Quarto Books, Metropolis and Holmes & Marchant.

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Graphic Arts is just one of the courses that give students the skills to work as a graphic designer. We also have two other design courses that run alongside Graphic Arts – Graphic Design and Illustration. In your first year all the students learn together before specialising in Graphic Arts or taking one of the other options.

Enjoy graphics abroad
Our second year students get the chance to study on Erasmus, a European exchange programme. You’ll have the opportunity to study design in creative institutes in countries such as Belgium, Denmark, France, and Germany.

We also have a New York trip in the spring with visits to agencies, design, film and multi-media companies, and a trip to a European design capital such as Paris or Barcelona.

Be inspired by our team of lecturers and professional designers
Our teaching team consists of seasoned professionals who still work in their specialist disciplines. With London only a short train ride away, we also have many visiting designers from the capital running blocks of workshop-based sessions in fields as diverse as bookbinding, branding, typography and ethical design.

Expert facilities for all your design needs
You’ll work in a design studio alongside a diverse community of designers, each working on their own briefs. You’ll have access to a wide range of equipment. At Bucks, we have some of the best printing equipment in the area – such as silkscreen, letterpress and litho printing, as well as 3D printing and laser cutting technology.

On campus, you’ll study in a creative community. You’ll study in a close knit tutor group where you’ll know everyone. Not only will you make friends for life, you’ll also make important industry connections that will last through your career. Bucks students form a network, just like you’ll find in any design company.

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Year One

  • Ideas
  • Specialism
  • Skills
  • VMC Getting Connected

Year Two

  • Professional Studies
  • Competitions
  • Authorship
  • VMC Making Choices

Year Three

  • Industry
  • Autonomy
  • VMC New Model Dissertation
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What are the entry requirements?

A typical offer will include GCSE Maths and English at grade C or above and a UCAS Tariff score of 80-96. A minimum of two full A-levels (or equivalent) is required. Every application is considered on an individual basis.

This course is included in our unconditional offer policy.  

If your application is successful you will be invited for an interview and portfolio review.

View some advice on preparing for your interview from course leader Mark Hudson here.

Your portfolio

Your portfolio is a collection of work that represents your creative potential and demonstrates your ability and interest in your chosen subject. The requirement to produce a portfolio of work is the linking factor between all art and design courses. The quality of your portfolio is an important factor in the offer of a place on a course. Useful advice When preparing your portfolio, think of your audience, your strengths, and what you are trying to express to the interviewer. Bear in mind that when you come in for an interview and a portfolio review, the interviewer will be new to you and your work so ensure that everything is clear and easy to view. Show your work off in the best possible way and avoid any means that complicates or obscures it.

What should be included?

Your portfolio should include the strongest examples of your creative work; follow your instincts but also seek advice from your teachers. Portfolios can vary from student to student but typically a portfolio should contain work from a variety of media. Quality is better than quantity so only include 20 or 30 pieces that you consider best shows off your diversity. If you have created 3D pieces of work, photographs of these can also be included. Try also drawing the same subject matter in a variety of ways, such as by changing scale, composition and media.

How should your portfolio be presented?

Try to make your portfolio as clear and as organised as possible. If the work does not explain itself, include a label which details the title of the piece. It could also be useful to include a date when the work was completed. It is advisable to present the work in related groups, rather than in chronological order, as this will show how your idea developed. Supporting material and sketchbooks You should bring along your sketchpads and notebooks. These will allow the interviewer to get a glimpse into how you think creatively and discover how you have developed your ideas. We don't expect these to be neat, tidy or organised. We also don't expect these to contain finished ideas.

It is advantageous to support your portfolio with any written work, such as relevant essays. We also like to see documentation of journeys, visits and activities outside your main studies, which may have inspired you.

The portfolio review

It is likely that the interviewer will look at your portfolio with you so be sure that you are able to discuss each piece of work: why you chose that topic, what you were trying to achieve, and the process you went through to achieve the final product. We are happy to view a digital portfolio, but please notify us in advance.

Additional subject specific requirements, BA (Hons) Graphic Arts

Your portfolio will need to show off your ideas and your working processes as well as your art-working skills. Whether your presentation is electronic or paper-based, you should include at least as much rough work (ideas, research, visual testing, experimental graphic language, and thumbnail sketches) as final pieces. A digital presentation is best made as a PDF file with between 20-30 pages.

For further details of our international English entry requirements, please visit our international pages.

How much does it cost?

Fees for September 2017 to August 2018 entry

Full-time Home and EU: £9,250 per year
Full-time International: £10,500 per year

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.

You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details, visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Further information
Find out more about our fees and funding.
Find out more about our fees for international students.

Questions about fees?
Contact our Student Centre on:
01494 603 020

Fees quoted are for the next intake and are subject to change. Fee costs for subsequent years are subject to rise with inflation or course delivery costs.

How do I apply?

For application details please visit

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What are my career prospects?

We have a high employment rate with many of our graduates going into work or further education after the course. As we teach you a wide range of skills and abilities, you’ll be prepared for a multitude of different areas. We have graduates in typography, illustration, web design, advertising, publishing and some have even started their own companies in the industry.

We’re really proud of our graduates, whose profiles tell their own story:

  • Si Scott has built an international reputation for his luscious typographic imagery, used in campaigns for Casio, Nike and Orange.
  • Craig Ward is a freelance typographer and design writer based in New York.
  • Dominic Bell has had a range of high-profile art direction roles including Wallpaper Magazine.

How will you help me prepare for my future career?
Throughout your time with us we’ll support you on the route to your chosen career. We’ll help you to develop crucial skills, encouraging you to become enterprising, employable and good leaders.

We run work placements for our students, giving you the opportunity to develop your skills in a work background. Our modules and teaching expertise will help you become more independent as a learner and more certain of your discipline expertise.

We also help you find employment after graduation. Have a look at our Careers and Employability pages to find out more.