Develop your career as a professional image-maker with us. Our top-up course has a focus on working in the creative industries as well as visualising personal themes.
Our Illustration and Graphic Design students benefit from an amazing design studio and team of enthusiastic design tutors, technicians and visiting designers to support and help direct you onto a fulfilling career in visual communications. And with London only a short train ride away, you’re never too far from inspiration.
Top-up your studies
If you have completed a foundation-level degree, HND, equivalent qualifications or industry experience in a relevant Art and Design subject, you can choose to top-up your studies to gain a full bachelor’s degree.
A top-up degree is the equivalent of the final year of an undergraduate degree, and offers a chance to deepen your knowledge, skills and understanding of your subject, while also getting an internationally-recognised qualification.
All the skills you need for a career as an Illustrator
The top-up gives you opportunities to explore your personal vision within the field of illustration. Whatever your chosen field within image-making, whether it be vector art, pictograms or storytelling, 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’ll help equip you with really important skills in preparing you for a successful career through lectures, seminars workshops as part of our Professional Practice module. 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 you get as hands-on with our equipment as possible. And our experienced staff are around to assist you getting set up.
Start building your creative network on campus
On campus, you’ll work in a design studio alongside a diverse community of illustrators and designers, each working on their own projects and sometimes together on live briefs. Some of our live projects have come from 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 will get to know everyone. Not only will you make friends for life, you’ll also make important industry connections that will last through your career.
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.
Led by an experienced and dedicated teaching team, this programme builds on our growing reputation in this field.
To achieve the full BA (Hons) in Illustration you will need to complete a major project, a dissertation as well as a module called ‘Professional Practice’.
The major project and dissertation will allow you to investigate a topic important to you within graphic design. You will cover the whole research process, undertaking empirical investigation and analysis. You will be allocated a dissertation supervisor, who will offer support and advice.
The Professional Practice module gives you the opportunity to undertake work-based learning or answer live industry briefs, gaining the practical and transferable skills you need for your career in the creative industries.
What are the course entry requirements?
This programme is offered as a top-up qualification for students who have completed a HND, FDA, or other equivalent qualification in a relevant Art and Design subject, and wish to progress further to achieve an Honours degree.
This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course.
Each module is worth a specified number of credits (typically either 15 or 30 credits for undergraduate courses). Compulsory (or ‘core’) modules cover key subject knowledge, while ‘option’ modules enable you to develop your own interests. For a full-time course you must take modules worth a total of 120 credits at each level of the course. The number of option modules you can take depends on the number of compulsory modules at each level. You can find more information about how your course is structured via the Academic Advice pages.
Our teaching is informed by research and employer requirements, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the subject area. In addition, where we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an option module, this may not be offered. If an option module does not run, we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
The modules available on this course are as follows:
- Professional Practice
- Integrated Final Major Project
- Critical and Historical Studies – Dissertation
How much does it cost
Full Time Home and EU 2019/20: £9,250
Full Time International 2019/20: £11,000
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.
How do I apply?
For application details please visit bucks.ac.uk/applying-to-bucks