Course specification and structure
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UDGRPDES - BA Graphic Design

Course Specification


Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Higher Education, Certificate of Higher Education, Bachelor of Arts
Total credits for course 360
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Subject Area Design
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 3 YEARS  
Part-time 6 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

BA (Hons) Graphic Design seeks to inspire innovation through its approach to teaching, ensuring students gain experience and develop a wide range of practical, creative and conceptual skills, soundly based in current theory and practice. The course offers a specialised higher educational experience that prepares graduates for employment as a practising designer in one of the following areas: freelance graphic design practice, photography, design consultancy, advertising, publishing, multimedia and for entry into Graphic Design Courses at MA level.

The course ethos seeks to:

  • work against narrow conceptions of the graphic designer as concerned solely with generating imagery or providing technological solutions
  • encourage students to understand the role of the designer in contributing to the creative economy and society as a dynamic agent and author of cultural change.
  • through contextual understanding, challenge conventional wisdom and received traditions in creative practice in order to develop an individual voice as a graphic designer
  • generate design work that shows critical awareness of the diversity and complexities of contemporary culture, deploying this knowledge and insight as a resource in commercial practice.

  • develop a portfolio of professional skills appropriate to the conditions of employment in the rapidly changing world of design
  • in preparation for a successful career as a designer, study and promote the working habits and mindset of a reflective practitioner – duly equipped with the expertise and flexibility of approach needed in the modern economy.

Teaching includes lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops and studio practice. Students work through studios and projects, building a reserve of skills and understanding, developing and realising practical knowledge and applying critical solutions in encounters with new ideas and relevant theory. This ensures that the student is steadily guided through a progressive process of learning and technical competence, as the course unfolds.

Practice-based studios introduce specialist technical equipment. Every effort is made to make teaching as varied and student-centered as possible.

Lectures seek to provide a critically informed overview of a topic, to conceptualise and contextualise the subject and illustrate applied approaches.

Workshops and practical teaching takes a variety of forms. The objective is to apply knowledge and/or acquire technical competence, think critically and creatively, master technique and develop the capacity to work independently and within teams.

Each year (level) of study comprises of four year-long (30 weeks, 30 credits) modules in the areas of concept and realisation, creative industry practice, cultural and contextual studies and professional practice.

Studio practice enhances lectures, seminars, study visits, critiques, workshop activities, group and individual tutorials. Both projects and theoretical work offer opportunities for developing professional competency in presentation (including visual, spoken and text-based modes), using digital technologies, blogs, videos, photography and websites. Through a rich mix of teaching styles and learning contexts, the course seeks to foster in its students confidence as autonomous learners, promoting imagination and effectiveness of design practitioners in the making.

Project briefs develop from year to year in accordance with contemporary practice, furthering research interests and project opportunities in context of the School and Faculty ethos. Disciplinary skills are embedded at the beginning of the course, moving to a studio (cross-disciplinary) theme-based system in later years, led by the student in the final year. The body of work accumulated at Level 6 is significant, making up an academic portfolio that demonstrates the full range of attributes that are required for career development in creative practice and/ or for entry to MA level Course. Shared projects across courses &/or years enables opportunities for peer-to-peer learning to be maximized.

Critical and Contextual Studies run in parallel to the design and creative industry practice modules. These modules focus on transferable graduate skills in the field of academic scholarship and writing. As part of their professional profile, students need to be able to retrieve, analyse, interpret, articulate and structure information and knowledge for different purposes and audiences. These modules frame key skills of research within the specific context of design history and theory, taking into account the practice requirements of the industry, its professional, legal, ethical and institutional contexts. Intensive blocks of learning in seminar and lecture presentations, alongside site visits, image analysis, case studies, and workshops, aid acquisition of skills in presentation, visual and textual analysis and representation.

The course engages with national and London-based competitions and encourages students to extend these opportunities as extra-curricular activity, including collaborative publication and exhibition wherever possible.

The course’s use of virtual learning supports students on day-to-day and project work in progress, enhancing the studio environment through a blended learning approach. Blended learning encourages students to form learning communities, whilst providing a personal reflective space, offering a knowledge portal that supports research-banks and studio sessions, exercises and lecture notes.

The teaching team includes professional graphic designers, photographers, specialists in motion graphics, illustrators and animators. Industry links provide students with a clear understanding of future employment opportunities.

Course aims

The aims of this course are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications

The course aims to:

  1. Offer a creatively stimulating experience, which encourages students to engage with a wide range and combination of visual/textual and sonic communication issues that will continue to concern graphic designers

  2. Provide project opportunities that develop both individual and team skills and that encourage debate between graphic design and related creative disciplines such as illustration, motion graphics and animation

  3. Encourage individual questioning of the status quo and ensure that students build their personal professional design practice with the relevant skills to work within society, culture, commerce and/or education.

  4. Foster exploration of current and emerging technological issues and theoretical cultural debates, especially inclusivity and diversity

  5. Develop a generation of ‘reflective creative professionals’ in graphic design, who have a clear creative voice and are able to articulate and defend their concerns and ideas

  6. Support the development of high-level intellectual and practical skills necessary for the practice, management and theorising of graphic design & visual communication in the context of emerging technologies and critical debates

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding

  1. Recognise the historical development, philosophy, ideas, context and concepts of graphic design and visual communication (e.g. cultural, economical, ethical, global, historical, political, societal, theoretical) and distinguish the key methods and concepts connected with the analysis of visual culture
  2. Appreciate how visual culture can be used to communicate ideas, problems, solutions and create a coherent sense of identity visually, verbally and in writing, showing an awareness of the important role of the client and the designer
  3. Recognise and utilise the impact of innovation & technology on the development of the discipline

Cognitive Intellectual Skills

  1. Collect, analyse and interpret data from a variety of sources and articulate creative and theoretical connections
  2. Identify, propose and solve problems applying appropriate practical, conceptual and intellectual skill
  3. Apply different contexts, both within and beyond the field of art and design and exercise critical reasoning and independent thought within practice

Transferable Skills

  1. Work effectively, professionally and independently managing time, working to deadlines and utilise confident professional skills in oral, visual and textual communication and presentation, including information, digital and visual literacy
  2. Apply resourcefulness and entrepreneurial skills to recognise, anticipate and accommodate dynamic change, within complex contexts of contemporary practice and define a distinctive argument through reflective critical awareness
  3. Employ and interpret professional principles and processes underpinning the management of design projects individually and in groups, recognising the role of the designer

Subject-specific practical skills

  1. Employ intellectual curiosity and appropriate visual languages to articulate imaginative concepts and ideas within the discipline of graphic design
  2. Observe, analyse, speculate, visualise and communicate ideas in professional material outcomes for target audiences
  3. Exhibit and display practice for self-promotional purposes to the client, markets and consumers

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

Knowledge and Understanding
1. Recognise the historical development, philosophy, ideas, context and concepts of graphic design and visual communication (e.g. cultural, economical, ethical, global, historical, political, societal, theoretical) and distinguish the key methods and concepts connected with the analysis of visual culture:

CCS1, CCS2, Dissertation
Visual Research & Communication
Design Principles
Graphic Authorship
Narrative
Graphic Media


2. Appreciate how visual culture can be used to communicate ideas, problems, solutions and create a coherent sense of identity visually, verbally and in writing, showing an awareness of the important role of the client and the designer:

CCS1, CCS2, Dissertation
Creative Industry Practice
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Graphics

3. Recognise and utilise the impact of innovation & technology on the development of the discipline:


CCS1, CCS2, Dissertation
Design Principles, Graphic Authorship
Narrative, Graphic Media
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Graphics


Cognitive Intellectual Skills

4. Collect, analyse and interpret data from a variety of sources and articulate creative and theoretical connections:


Visual Research & Communication
Design Principles, Graphic Authorship
Narrative, Graphic Media
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Graphics


5. Identify, propose and solve problems applying appropriate practical, conceptual and intellectual skill Visual Research & Communication:


Design Principles, Graphic Authorship
Narrative, Graphic Media
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Graphics
Creative Industry Practice


6. Apply different contexts, both within and beyond the field of art and design and exercise critical reasoning and independent thought within practice:

Design Principles, Graphic Authorship
Narrative, Graphic Media
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Graphics
Creative Industry Practice
Design Competition


Transferable Skills
7. Work effectively, professionally and independently managing time, working to deadlines and utilise confident professional skills in oral, visual and textual communication and presentation, including information, digital and visual literacy:

CCS1, CCS2, Dissertation
Design Principles, Graphic Authorship
Narrative, Graphic Media
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Graphics
Creative Industry Practice
Design Competition


8. Apply resourcefulness and entrepreneurial skills to recognise, anticipate and accommodate dynamic change, within complex contexts of contemporary practice and define a distinctive argument through reflective critical awareness:

CCS2
Creative Industry Practice
Project Design & Development
Design Competition

9. Employ and interpret professional principles and processes underpinning the management of design projects individually and in groups, recognising the role of the designer:

CCS2
Creative Industry Practice
Project Design & Development

Subject-specific practical skills


10. Employ intellectual curiosity and appropriate visual languages to articulate imaginative concepts and ideas within the discipline of graphic design:

Visual Research & Communication
Design Principles, Graphic Authorship
Narrative, Graphic Media
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Graphics

11. Observe, analyse, speculate, visualise and communicate ideas in professional material outcomes for target audiences:

Visual Research & Communication
Design Principles, Graphic Authorship
Narrative, Graphic Media
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Graphics
Creative Industry Practice


12. Exhibit and display practice for self-promotional purposes to the client, markets and consumers Creative Industry Practice
Major Project Realisation: Graphics
Design Competition

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Art & Design

Assessment strategy

The course deploys a range of formative and summative assessment methods, including peer appraisal and individual reflective practices throughout studio based work and personal projects. These evaluative achievements are evidenced through coursework and demonstrated within presentations, seminars and portfolio reviews, to accommodate differing learning styles.

Each assessment (formative and summative) seeks to build students’ confidence as independent learners, providing pertinent advice for all aspects of learning. The course team provide ongoing opportunities for scheduled tutorial ‘drop in’ sessions and the course’s virtual learning environment offers students opportunities to discuss (with tutors and peers) their assessment strategies. Further support is available via personal academic advisors, Library Services, University Student Services and the Centre for Learning and Teaching.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Employability skills are integrated throughout the course. Students are encouraged to apply for and participate in subject-specialist work placements to gain professional experience appropriate to their discipline throughout the course. Work experience supports the emphasis of professional standards and undoubtedly increases confidence and currency of graphic design skills. In addition, the course has collaborative links with the creative industries directly through visiting professional designers who regularly teach and mentor throughout the programme.
Work-related learning is an integrated and mandatory part of the course, with at least 210 hours working on live projects for real organisations delivered through placement, live briefs and real entrepreneurial activities built into the course. The level six module ‘Design Competition’ and the Level 5 module 'Creative Industry Practice' are designated as the placement or work-related learning modules. Students will experience a competitive recruitment process or pitching for opportunities,
and they will be required to reflect on their experience of the project and undertake forward career action planning and communication.

Course specific regulations

In BA (Hons) Graphic Design, the following course regulations shall apply:

ACADEMIC PROGRESSION: As a condition of progressing from level 4 to 5 and level 5 to 6, students are required to have gained 120 credits per level, that is, by achieving pass marks (40%) in all four modules in the preceding level of study.

PROGRESSION FROM ‘EXTENDED DEGREE’;
i) The structure and scope of learning in the ’extended degree’ programme shall permit alternative course progression. In other words, students who succeed in passing all modules and who wish to, based on their learning experience in Level 3, may elect to alter the designation of the ‘extended degree’ they had embarked upon and to instead migrate onto another cognate degree title within the purview of the Faculty portfolio; that is not restricted to the original choice of course title upon admission. Progressing students may of course choose to continue onwards following the ‘early specialist’ route they joined at point of entry.

FACILITATED COURSE TRANSFER
ii) The structure and scope of learning within Level 4 of this course can permit (if appropriate) related programme course-transfer. In other words, students who succeed in passing all modules at Level 4 who wish to based on their learning experience, seek review and revision of their course title (within the related course cluster i.e. Graphic Communication), may do so within the first twelve months of their course (i.e. from BA Graphic Design to BA Illustration)

PART-TIME MODE OF STUDY
Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, in part-time mode, the duration of study for a 360-credit degree will be 6 years. The pattern of study in AMD-ASD degrees shall be as follows:
Year 1:
Design Principles, Graphic Authorship
Year 2:
Critical and Contextual Studies 1 (Graphics), Visual Research and Communication
Year 3:
Narrative, Graphic Media
Year 4:
Critical and Contextual Studies 2 (Graphics), Creative Industry Practice
Year 5:
Project Design and Development, Graphic Design Major Project Realisation
Year 6:
Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (Graphics), Design Competition

Modules required for interim awards

• Visual Research and Communication
• Design Principles
• Critical and Contextual Studies 1
• Graphic Authorship
• Creative Industry Practice
• Narrative
• Critical and Contextual Studies 2
• Graphic Media
• Project Design & Development
• Major Project Realisation: Graphics
• Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation
• Design Competition

Career opportunities

The teaching team includes professional print, photography, web, animation and graphic design specialists alongside illustrators and artists, who together, create a stimulating teaching and learning environment that allows you to identify and succeed in your chosen career path.

The course has produced a number of award winning students who have excelled in leading design competitions run by organisations such as Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and the Design Museum.

The employment success of our graduates is excellent, with many starting successful careers as graphic designers, taking on leading roles within creative industries or continuing on to postgraduate degrees in the UK and abroad.

Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grades BBC in three A levels, one of which is from a relevant subject in the arts, humanities or social sciences (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification) plus a portfolio review

We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview. Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a portfolio of work via email.

If you do not have traditional qualifications or cannot meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Art and Design Extended Degree (with Foundation Year) or the Film, Photography and Media Extended Degree (with Foundation Year).

Portfolios and interviews

Your portfolio should be selective but have enough work to show the range of your interests and talents. We're interested in seeing how you develop a project from beginning to end, not only finished work.

Graphic designers work in a variety of media; please include the whole range of your creative work. If you can't bring some of your work to portfolio interview, please take photographs and include them.

Finally, be ready to talk about your work and how you see your future as a graphic designer.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2013/14 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 01 Sep 2013 Last validation date 01 Sep 2013  
Sources of funding HE FUNDING COUNCIL FOR ENGLAND
JACS codes W210 (Graphic Design): 100%
Route code GRPDES

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 04 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP4014 Critical & Contextual Studies 1 (Graphics) Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
DN4001 Visual Research and Communication Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU PM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
DN4002 Design Principles Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU PM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
DN4004 Graphic Authorship Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU PM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON PM

Stage 2 Level 05 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP5014 Critical & Contextual Studies 2 (Graphics) Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU PM
DN5001 Creative Industry Practice Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
DN5003 Narrative Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
DN5005 Graphic Media Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI PM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM

Stage 3 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP6014 Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (... Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED AM
          CITY AUT+SPR WED PM
DN6001 Project Design and Development Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI PM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
DN6004 Design Competition Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
DN6006 Major Project Realisation: Graphics Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI PM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM