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Graphic Design

BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Foundation Year

  • Study Mode: Full time
  • Location: High Wycombe
  • Duration: Four Years
  • Start Date: September 2021

You can also study this course:

Discover the world of BA (Hons) Graphic Design at Buckinghamshire New University. If you are a visually creative person looking to build a rewarding career in graphic design this course is perfect for you.
Uncover, and solve, challenging visual communication problems using a combination of images, words and storytelling. Become culturally aware, and discover a passion for experimentation across a variety of creative media. Bring your ideas to life today.
under 30 min to London by train
Ranked 7th for student satisfaction in London and south east for drama, dance and cinematic
100 million invested in our campuses
The course often pushed me completely outside of my comfort zone, which allowed me to grow and prepared me for working in a very tough and competitive environment.
Krystian Zun
Krystian Zun
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Open Days

We understand that when it comes to deciding where you’d like to study, there are a lot of things to consider. Come along to our Open Day and discover why BNU could be the place for you. You can find out more about your course, meet the course team, and get all your questions answered.

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Application Guide

For everything you need to know about applying, check out our Application Guide. You can find useful information for each stage of your application journey – from before you even apply to what to do if you receive an offer, and everything in between.   

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Students' Union

At BNU, we believe in putting our students first. That’s why our Students’ Union has been ranked in the top three in the UK in the National Student Survey (NSS 2020). We’re the only university in the UK to offer free access to such a diverse and exciting range of activities – all to enrich your university experience. It’s a big deal!

Why study this subject?

Graphic Design is a dynamic subject area, one that is continually evolving. Its wide reaching impact is linked to its communicative impetus which extends into many areas of society, including economically, politically, socially and culturally.

Studying on the course will help prepare you for this continually expanding field. Not only will we support you as an individual in the development of your visual and creative problem-solving skills, but we also equipped you with the knowledge and confidence to enter and negotiate your career in this challenging, but exciting field.

At BNU, we will help develop vital business and working processes; including interpretation of a brief; research methods; analysis and ideas development. As well as the skills needed to successfully produce outcomes that evoke emotion, tell stories and communicate messages, so as to meet client and audience expectations.

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

With a history of delivery expert craft, art and design education for more than 130 years, Buckinghamshire New University is the perfect place to start your creative career.

As a well-established course which has been running for over 30 years we have built up an excellent network of Alumni. Many are now in senior positions in the design world, both, nationally and internationally whom we can call upon and invite in to give guest lectures to share their experiences, knowledge and real-world insights with the current students.

Led by our enthusiastic and dedicated team of design practitioners and experienced academics, you will have the freedom to explore all areas of graphic Design, from typography and illustration to branding and editorial design, whilst being supported in your development of design skills and strategies.

Our Small group sizes, and our own creative space enable staff and students to work together as a friendly and collaborative community of learners and designers.

You’ll have access to a range of our facilities to help you bring your visions to life. This includes Adobe Creative Suite programmes and a range of hands-on methods, from silkscreen and letterpress to laser cutting and 3D printing technology.

During your time with us you’ll get direct access to guest lectures and can benefit from live project briefs, master classes, and plenty of networking chances. As well as this you’ll have the opportunity to enter a range of industry-established competitions, helping you get ahead in your career.

With London only a short journey away, you can take the opportunity to visit some of the world’s best exhibitions, galleries and museums for inspiration. The course also has traditionally offered two overseas study trips. The first is one to a European destination, which provides a great opportunity for staff and students to bond, and have some fun as well as enjoying educational visits to galleries and museums. The second is an annual New York trip, which includes studio and agency visits, along with all the other attractions the city has to offer, which usually happens in year two. 

What facilities can I use?

Our design studios 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 make sure you get as hands-on with our equipment as possible. And our staff are always around to help you get set up.

Bright Pink screen printing ink on screen

What will I study?

During the time that you study with us, you'll be given lots of opportunities to explore the diverse world of graphic design and its practice, including vital skills in creative problem solving, research methods, team working, project management, presentation skills, design strategy, art direction and independent learning. 

This course is offered as a four-year programme, including an initial Foundation Year. The Foundation Year will allow you to develop your academic study skills and build confidence in your abilities, identifying your own strengths and development needs for progression onto an undergraduate degree.

The Critical and Historical Studies modules run throughout the four years which develops historical perspectives, research, and writing skills and provides the academic grounding on which to develop critical understanding and practical application.  

In year one, you'll explore the many workshop facilities and equipment our design department has to offer, from laser cutting to letterpress printing, from photography to the Adobe Creative Suite. Our experienced technical instructors will be there in your workshop sessions to support you with your activities.

Through practical hands-on, project based learning you'll explore the fundamental core aspects of the subject like typography, narrative structure, hierarchy, layout and composition, information design, image creation and conceptual thinking skills.

We always encourage our students to take risks in their work and learn to challenge established languages and processes through questioning and individual experimentation.

Specialist in-depth modules in Editorial Design, Branding and Experience Design are at the core of year two when

you'll investigate narrative structure, branding strategy and audience experiences, reflecting upon and about theshaping of information and the ways to best communicate a message through your design work.

These modules help students form and consolidate presentation, critical and strategic thinking and complex problem-solving skills, whilst at the same time developing and refining practical design abilities.   

Towards the end of year two, you'll begin to work on your dissertation topic, which culminates in the final year. Your dissertation can be developed and submitted in either a traditional or alternative format such as a film or designed artefact as a way to facilitate practice-based research.

Your third and final year focuses on personal exploration, application and developing personal voice. We encourage our students to investigate their own interests by writing a brief that will challenge you to create innovative and imaginative solutions to problems in areas that are important to you. 

You'll study modules that are centred around your own career aspirations and, through guest lectures from industry specialists, seminars and live and industry projects, you'll build your own distinctive portfolio that demonstrates your unique strengths and interests for prospective work opportunities after graduation.

In your final year, you'll have the chance to take part in the graduate Art and Design Showcase exhibition at the University. In addition, students are offered the opportunity to put forward work for the D&AD New Blood exhibition in central London where a selected group of students are also invited to attend.

Two females using Printing press machine at BNU
Two Bucks students using Macbooks in the Library
How will I be taught and assessed?

You’ll work in a design studio alongside a diverse community of designers and illustrators, each working on their own projects, just as a professional graphic design studio would function. You’ll study in a close-knit Graphic Design tutor group where everyone’s input is recognised and valued. Not only will you make friends for life, you’ll also make important connections that will last through your career, and you’ll form a network, just like you’d find in any design group.

You’ll also work with professional graphic designers and illustrators who will critique your work and help you improve your designs. Workshops, lectures and seminars with other students in the art and design department help you prepare you for life in an agency or studio environment where you will need good presentation and ideas generation skills as you meet and impress clients. We have visiting designers and illustrators also running workshop-based sessions in fields as diverse as editorial design, infographics, typography and ethical design.

Our Graphic Design students benefit from an amazing design studio and team of enthusiastic design tutors. And with London only a short train ride away, you’re never too far from inspiration.

To build your experience, we support work placements for the right students with companies that we have long relationships with. Students have worked for publishers, packagers, agencies and magazines as varied as Wallpaper, Rankin, Quarto Books and Macmillan Books.

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.


Placements Plus

BNU 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.

Useful Documents

Programme Specification - Graphic Design.pdf

What are the course entry requirements?

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements for the 3-year undergraduate programme, or those who do not feel fully prepared for a Level 4 course, will be considered for the 4-year programme including a Foundation Year. If you wish to enquire further, please send your query along with any academic evidence or references to admissions@bucks.ac.uk

Find out more about our General Entry Requirements.


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.

Year 1 Modules

Preparing for Success: Knowledge and Creativity

Preparing for Success: Self-development and Responsibility

Inquiry Based Learning

Photography, Design and Visual Communication

Year 2 Modules

Design Workshops

Conceptual Communications

Type and Image

Critical and Historical Studies–Historical and Critical Thinking

Year 3 Modules

Editorial Design

Design Directions: Brand Identity and Experience Design

Professional Studies

Critical and Historical Studies–Design Research and Theory

Year 4 Modules

Integrated Final Major Project

Professional Practice

Contextual and Historical Studies–Dissertation

How much does it cost

Home and EU

Home and EU, Academic Year 2021-2022

£9,250 per year


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


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. 

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

Our BA (Hons) Graphic Design course will help prepare you for a range of career possibilities, such as:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Branding and Identity Design
  • Editorial Design
  • Illustrator
  • Web Design
  • Art Director
  • Advertising
  • Freelance Designer

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

  • Neil Coxhill, Director of Motion at Amazon Media Group
  • Olivier Rabenschlag, Head of Creative at Google
  • Tom Phillips, Creative Director at Exposure New York
  • Jennie Brodie works on the design team at the Natural History Museum.
  • Craig Ward is a typographer and design writer based in New York. A recent commission for Craig was the design of the 2018 England World Cup kit custom typeface.
  • Callum Green is a digital designer at ItsNiceThatWorks.

You may also wish to stay on at Buckinghamshire New University and study one of our full-time or part-time postgraduate courses.

BNU prepared me for the design industry by encouraging me to experiment with my work, it gave me an idea of how to work with letterpress, linocut, Adobe programs and many more.
Natalia Gasior
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Philip Long
  • Course Leader
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Dr Helena Chance
  • Associate Professor
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Dr Elisavet Kalpaxi
  • Lecturer
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Sarah Kirby-Ginns
  • Senior Lecturer
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