• Study mode: Full Time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: Three Years
  • Start Date: September 2021

Course Overview

Start your career as a professional image-maker with us. Our Illustration course has a focus on working in the creative industries as well as visualising personal themes.

We start you off in the broad spectrum of graphic design and illustration in your first year, sampling all areas of graphic and illustration practice, using your own studio space as your creative base.

Design badge

All the skills you need for a career as an Illustrator

This course gives you many opportunities to explore the diverse world of illustration. Whatever your chosen field within image-making, whether it be vector art, pictograms or storytelling. You’ll work on a diverse range of creative projects written by the course team, as well as external competition and/or industry briefs. We give you the freedom to write your own briefs and start realising your ideas. You’ll also work with professional illustrators who will critique your work and help you improve your illustrations. Group work with others helps prepare you for working in the professional world where you will have to generate ideas and present them to clients.

As an illustrator, you’ll probably work freelance. We equip you with really important skills in preparing you for a successful career through lectures, seminars workshops as part of our Professional Studies and Professional Practice modules. When you go out into the world, knowing how to manage your own projects will be crucial. We show you all about the business and how to keep your head above water in today’s complex professional world..

More to design than using computer software

Our design studio and workshops have a stunning range of equipment for you to realise your ideas. We don’t restrict you to using computer software, even though we have everything from the Adobe Creative Suite programs to plotter cutters and photo studios. You can craft beautiful design solutions using our silkscreen, letterpress, and litho equipment, as well as our laser cutting and 3D printing technology. We help sure you get as hands-on with our equipment as possible. And our experienced staff are around to assist you getting set up.
Illustration Student Gallery

More placements, more choices

Bucks is a Placements Plus university. So, whatever degree you do, you can be sure there’ll be plenty of industry-relevant opportunities on offer, to help you get into your chosen field.

We’ll also prepare you for work beforehand, with special skills for work training, further boosting your CV, and building skills employers will value. In recognition of the value we place on these skills we have incorporated this experience into your study time.

Placements Plus is all about helping you get some valuable experience under your belt while you’re a student. To increase your choices later, and help you get the graduate-level job you want.

Course Details


Our teaching team consists of seasoned professionals who have worked, or are working, in the creative industries in their specialist disciplines.

With London only a short train ride away, you’re never too far from inspiration. We have many visiting designers from the capital running workshop-based sessions in fields as diverse as stencil print, bookbinding, branding, ideas generation, storytelling, and ethical design.

Recent visiting professionals have included Rob Flowers, Neil Coxhill, Sam Piyasena, and other graduate image-makers.

Enjoy illustrating abroad as well as on our campus

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 including Belgium, France, Greece and Germany.

As well as running educational trips to London, we also have a first-year trip to a European destination such as Amsterdam, Paris or Barcelona, plus a second-year visit to New York in the spring, with visits to agencies, design, film and multi-media companies.

Start building your creative network on campus

On campus, you’ll work in a design studio alongside a diverse community of designers, each working on their own projects and sometimes together on live briefs. Some of our live projects have come from companies and design studios, such as: Laithwaites Wine, Faber Publishing, Mind Design, and Creative Review.

You’ll be part of a creative community. You’ll study in a close-knit group of dedicated image-makers where you know everyone. Not only will you make friends for life, you’ll also make important industry connections that will last through your career.

What are the course entry requirements?

A typical offer will require a UCAS Tariff score between 80 - 104 points. A minimum of two full A-levels (or equivalent) is required. Every application is considered on an individual basis.

Applicants will need to complete an interview and/or demonstrate portfolio work, further guidance is given on the portfolio advice tab.

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

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements for the three-year undergraduate programme, or those who do not feel fully prepared for a degree course, can apply for a four-year programme including a Foundation Year; find out more.

Course Modules

Module Map

This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

The modules available on this course are as follows:

Year 1 Modules

  • Critical and Historical Studies - Historical and Critical Thinking
  • Design Workshops
  • Conceptual Communications
  • Type and Image

Year 2 Modules

  • Critical and Historical Studies - Design Research and Theory
  • Narrative Illustration
  • Editorial Applications
  • Professional Studies

Year 3 Modules

  • Critical and Historical Studies - Dissertation
  • Integrated Final Major Project
  • Professional Practice


How much does it cost

Full Time Home and EU, Academic Year 2021-2022: £9,250 per year

Full Time International, Academic Year 2021-2022: £13,750 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.

Questions about fees?

Contact our Enquiries Team:
0330 123 2023

How do I apply?

For application details please visit bucks.ac.uk/applying-to-bucks

Student Testimonials

Our students are our best ambassadors and their voices here will provide you with a clear sense of their Bucks experience.

Image of Bethany Vukomanovic

Bethany Vukomanovic

I came from a Graphic Design and Art background. It was natural choice to pick a course which offered diversity and breadth of the creative field. The first two years of learning and experiencing a variety of graphic areas led me to focus on my development as an Illustrator in my final year. My experience at Bucks helped shaped my future and understanding of what kind of illustrator I wanted to be.

Since graduating in 2015, I have been an Art Editor for Springer Nature, a company under the umbrella of Macmillan Publishing in London. I knew when I left university I wanted to work in publishing, after an Internship during the summer at Quarto publishing, I decided to pursue my interest in this field. In my free time I work on various illustrations, learning new techniques, finessing my illustrative style, making contacts and working on large projects.

Image of Alexander Tait

Alexander Tait

My time at Bucks helped me realise and hone my passion for Illustration and Design. The enthusiasm of the tutors and classmates alike made for a brilliant environment to experiment and have fun.

The outside visits from industry creatives was insightful and eye opening, helping you greater understand and prepare for what the creative arts had in store.

Bucks helped me find focus and enthusiasm whilst guiding me in the right direction, but gave me enough room to refine and discover my own style.

I now work at my studio in Berkhamsted (just outside of London) and my clients include Netflix, The Telegraph, Carling, easyJet and Oreo.  My work has been featured on the likes of It's Nice That and I have also spoken at Glug events.


What are my career prospects

We have a good employment rate with many of our graduates going into work or further education after the course. As you develop a wide range of skills and abilities ready for your career, you’ll be able to specialise in a multitude of different areas. We have graduates in typography, illustration, web design, advertising, publishing and some have started their own companies in the industry.

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

  • Rob Flowers successful freelance illustrator represented by Blink Art
  • Alex Tait is a successful freelance image-maker represented by Jelly Agency
  • Elissa Gay commissions illustration at Random House Publishing
  • Laura Carlin, who won first prize in the V&A Illustration Awards, is represented by Heart Agency, and her work is seen in the national press.

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 encourage you to undertake work placements, 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.


RSA Young Creative Network awards

See here all our awards.

Industry partners

Puma logo Faber and Faber logo

See here all our industry partners.

The Big Deal

At Bucks, we believe in putting our students first. That’s why our Students’ Union have developed our exclusive ‘Big Deal’ package. We’re the only university in the UK to offer free access to such a diverse and exciting range of activities – all to enrich the university experience.

We offer FREE events and entertainment, additional skills workshops, sports, recreational activities, societies and paid student rep schemes. All at one of the top 10 Students’ Unions in the UK.  It’s a big deal!

We are proud that our exciting and dynamic students’ union is ranked in the top three in the UK for representing student’s academic interests (NSS 2020). It’s a big deal!

Want to find out more? Visit our Students’ Union page or watch our video.

Related Courses