Our course reflects the realities of working as a professional in industry. Everything you do on the course is working towards you getting your first job in the sector. If you have completed a foundation-level degree, HND, or equivalent qualifications in a relevant Art and Design subject, you can choose to top-up your studies to gain a full bachelor’s degree.
If you have a keen eye for Imagery and Art Direction, our BA (Hons) Illustration could be for you. Experiment with different artistic techniques, formats and develop your own personal style and discover how your creations work hand-in-hand with storytelling.
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.
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.
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?
See the world differently and bring your visual ideas to life for those around you. As an illustrator, you have the opportunity to create and design visual imagery for everything from publishing to advertising campaigns.
Whether you end up in a studio, working as a freelance visual-artist or following one of the other many routes illustration offers, you can be sure that your designs and creations can help convey a message to consumers and artistically inspire the next generation of image makers.
Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?
If you have completed a foundation-level degree, HND, or equivalent qualifications 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.
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.
Led by our dedicated and supportive course team, you will have the freedom to explore all areas of Illustration, whether that’s digital such as vector art or traditional methods such as printmaking. You’ll work on a diverse range of creative projects written by the course team or self-written as well as external competition and industry briefs.
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 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.
As well as this 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.
London is only a short journey away, so you can easily visit some of the world’s best exhibitions, galleries and museums for inspiration and research.
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 image 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.
What will I study?
This course gives you many opportunities to explore the diverse world of illustration, whatever your chosen field within image-making.
You’ll work on creative projects set by your lecturers 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.
You’ll also work with professional illustrators who will give you feedback and pointers on how you can develop your imagery. 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 many visiting designers and illustrators running workshop-based sessions in fields as diverse as stencil print, bookbinding, branding, ideas generation, storytelling, and ethical design.
How will I be taught and assessed?
You’ll work in a design studio alongside a diverse community of illustrators, each working on their own projects, just as a ‘real-world’ design studio would function. You’ll study in a close-knit 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.
To achieve the full BA (Hons) in Illustration you will need to complete a major project, a dissertation as well as undertake a Professional Practice module.
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.
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.
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. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.
Year 1 Modules
Integrated Final Major Project
Critical 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
What are my career prospects?
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.
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) Illustration (Top-up) course will help prepare you for a range of career possibilities, such as:
- Graphic Designer
- Story Board Artist
- Concept Artist
- Print maker
You may also wish to stay on at Buckinghamshire New University and study our full-time or part-time postgraduate courses