Course specification and structure
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UDILLUST - BA Illustration

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

The BA (Hons) Illustration course features a contemporary approach to teaching, through recognising and exploring the hybrid notion of moving between conventional illustrative practice(s) and modern graphic communication, encouraging students to develop a wide range of associated practical and conceptual skills within publishing, advertising and alternative media.

The course aims to provide students with an accumulated resource of knowledge and skills in preparation for entering the professional world in, among other areas, the following career paths: freelance/commissioned based illustrators, working within publishing, editorial, graphic design, advertising, web-design, film and post-production studios and for entry onto Illustration Courses at MA level.

The teaching and learning practices within the course promote:

• A professional perspective, including skills of observation, recording and communication based in an informed attitude and capacity for capturing meaning and expressing messages

• A highly reflective and personal approach to the creation of images, nurturing an imaginative strength but also taking risks through socially responsible authorship

• Critically and historically informed practice that prepares students for future employment as active commercial illustrators, independent designers or artists, graphic communicators, or for further study

• The exploration and interrogation of both graphic communication and traditional illustrative approaches for the commercial environment through the use of conventional and digital media.

Teaching methods include a combination, as appropriate, of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, studio practice and independent studies. Students work through studios and projects building on existing skills, developing and realising new ideas and concepts. Technical equipment is located in practice-based studios. Every effort is made to ensure teaching is 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 credit) modules in the areas of concept and realisation, creative industry practice and cultural and contextual studies (including 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 illustrators 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 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 provide 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.

Use of virtual learning supports students day-to-day and through project work in progress, enhancing the studio practice 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 illustrators, animators and graphic designers. 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. Provide a creative environment, through the use of traditional and digital technologies, in which students construct an appropriate professional vocabulary and understanding to effectively communicate meaning, illustrative stories and visual information

2. Promote historical and contemporary knowledge and understanding of the professional contexts of illustration that inspire creative curiosity and tone of voice relevant to commercial environments

3. Foster self-reflective and entrepreneurial skills in order to respond to the demands of and successfully work within, the illustration and graphic communication industries

4. Encourage playful investigation across a breadth of image-making media (traditional and emergent) in order to develop critical invention and creative expression

5. Prepare students for the professional world of work through external initiatives, collaborations with industry and work placements

6. Support the development of the high level intellectual and practical skills necessary for the practice, management and theorising of illustration and graphic 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 development, philosophy, context and concepts of illustration and graphic communication (with regard to relevant historical, social and economic, intellectual and ethical contexts of illustration within a fast evolving globalized world), distinguishing the key methods and concepts connected with the analysis of visual culture
2. Work independently and collaboratively, understanding the purpose and practices of illustration in order to comprehend and convey the meanings of visual language to specified audiences
3. Apply self-critical, investigative and evaluative practice, understand the contemporary and historical framework associated with illustration to enable insight and personal growth whilst developing an individual perspective and approach

Cognitive Intellectual Skills
4. Apply, test and exhibit knowledge of the field of illustration in ways that challenge pre-conceptions, addressing conceptual, functional, political and cultural implications of creative responsibility
5. Explore and apply analytical forms of research and argument, whilst actively taking account of diverse views and interests constituting the field of visual communication
6. Take responsibility for the content and signature of one’s own creative practice within institutional and commercial contexts, demonstrating ethical sensitivity and a reflective, innovative personal approach as a professional illustrator

Transferable Skills
7. Work effectively and professionally to negotiate, develop and communicate socially responsible works of graphic and illustrative representation through use of appropriate digital and traditional media
8. Recognise, anticipate and accommodate dynamic change within complex contexts of contemporary practice through reflective critical awareness
9. Demonstrate professional confidence in the skills of a professional illustrator, in the process and selection of materials, including clarity and imagination in visual and textual communication and advanced digital and visual literacy

Subject Specific Practical Skills
10. Employ intellectual curiosity and professional confidence in using graphic skills to make complex images and texts, including manipulation of narrative structures to generate visual originality within Illustration.
11. Recognise the interactive relationships between storytelling, narrative materials and technologies in development of self-driven and/or commercially motivated projects
12. Consider the roles and influence of the client and audience, the market, and consumers upon contemporary creative and professional practices within the field of illustration

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

Knowledge and Understanding
1. Recognise the development, philosophy, context and concepts of illustration and graphic communication (with regard to relevant historical, social and economic, intellectual and ethical contexts of illustration within a fast evolving globalized world), distinguishing the key methods and concepts connected with the analysis of visual culture:

CCS1, CCS2, CCS3
Visual Research & Communication
Design Principles
Graphic Authorship
Narrative
Graphic Media


2. Work independently and collaboratively, understanding the purpose and practices of illustration and instancing these as ways to comprehend and convey the meanings of visual language to specified audiences:

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

3. Apply self-critical, investigative and evaluative practice, understand the contemporary and historical framework associated with Illustration to enable insight and personal growth whilst developing an individual perspective and approach:

CCS1, CCS2
Narrative, Graphic Media
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Illustration

Cognitive Intellectual Skills
4. Apply, test and exhibit knowledge of the field of illustration in ways that challenge pre-conceptions, addressing conceptual, functional, political and cultural implications of creative responsibility:

Design Principles, Graphic Authorship
Narrative, Graphic Media
Project Design & Development, Major Project Realisation: Illustration

5. Explore and apply analytical forms of research and argument, whilst actively taking account of diverse views and interests constituting the field of visual communication:

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


6. Take responsibility for the content and signature of one’s own creative practice within institutional and commercial contexts, demonstrating ethical sensitivity and a reflective, innovative personal approach as a professional illustrator:

Creative Industry Practice
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Illustration

Design Competition

Transferable Skills
7. Work effectively and professionally to negotiate, develop and communicate socially responsible works of graphic and illustrative representation through use of appropriate digital and traditional media:

CCS2
Design Principles, Graphic Authorship
Creative Industry Practice
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Illustration


8. Recognise, anticipate and accommodate dynamic change within complex contexts of contemporary practice through reflective critical awareness:
Creative Industry Practice
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Illustration Design Competition

9. Demonstrate professional confidence in the skills of a professional illustrator, in the process and selection of materials, including clarity and imagination in visual and textual communication and advanced digital and visual literacy:

CCS1, CCS2, Dissertation
Creative Industry Practice
Project Design & Development, Design Competition
Major Project Realisation: Illustration
Subject Specific Practical Skills


10. Employ intellectual curiosity and professional confidence in using graphic skills to make complex images and texts, including manipulation of narrative structures to generate visual originality within Illustration:

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

11. Recognise the interactive relationships between storytelling, narrative materials and technologies in development of self-driven and/or commercially motivated projects Narrative, Graphic Media
Project Design & Development:


Major Project Realisation: Illustration

12. Consider the roles and influence of the client and audience, the market, and consumers upon contemporary creative and professional practices within the field of illustration:

Creative Industry Practice
Project Design & Development
Major Project Realisation: Illustration

Design Competition

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Subject Benchmark Statement: 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

Within their final year, students are expected to work independently towards completion of professional portfolio of projects, culminating in exhibition of these in the annual graduate show. Level 6 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 illustrative skills. In addition, the course has collaborative links with the creative industries directly through visiting professional designer/illustrators 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) ILLUSTRATION, 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 programme cluster i.e. Graphic Communication), may do so within the first twelve months of their course (i.e. from BA Illustration to BA Graphic Design)

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, Visual Research and Communication
Year 3:
Narrative, Graphic Media
Year 4:
Critical and Contextual Studies 2, Creative Industry Practice
Year 5:
Project Design and Development, Illustration Major Project Realisation
Year 6:
Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation, 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
• Major Project Realisation: Illustration
• Project Design and Development
• Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation
• Design Competition

Career opportunities

Upon successful completion of the degree, you’ll be equipped with the skills and attributes required to succeed in the complex and diverse world of illustration in the design and visual communication industries. Possible career destinations include publishing, editorial, graphic design, advertising, web-design, authorship and self-publication, concept design, film and theatre and freelance/commission-based illustration.

Entry requirements

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

  • a minimum of grades BBC, one of which should come from a relevant subject area in the arts, humanities or social sciences (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification in a relevant art and design subject)
  • a portfolio ready for review (see below for more information)
  • GCSE English at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above

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

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.

This course is also available as a four-year extended degree, the first year of which is a foundation year explaining art, media and design.

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.

Portfolios and interviews

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

If you cannot bring certain pieces of your work to your portfolio interview, please take photographs and include them.

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 W220 (Illustration): 100%
Route code ILLUST

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        
DN4001 Visual Research and Communication Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
DN4002 Design Principles Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
DN4004 Graphic Authorship Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON AM

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        
DN5001 Creative Industry Practice Core 30        
DN5003 Narrative Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
DN5005 Graphic Media Core 30        

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        
DN6001 Project Design and Development Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI PM
DN6004 Design Competition Core 30        
DN6007 Major Project Realisation: Illustration Core 30