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BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication

Alastair Ramage - Live Project - Clerkenwell Design Week
BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL
Chelsea College of Arts
UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
Course length
3 years

BA Graphic Design Communication at Chelsea College of Arts will train you to create narratives and physical or digital design experiences within the wider context of culture and society.

Subject to re-approval

This course is undergoing re-approval. This is the process by which we ensure the course continues to provide a high-quality academic experience. During re-approval there may be some changes to the course content displayed on this page. Please contact us if you have any questions about the course.

Course overview

Studying at Chelsea College of Arts, you’ll learn how to use graphic communication as a vehicle to generate dialogue, build bridges and challenge stereotypes.

You’ll be part of an exciting and diverse community of critical thinkers and makers. This experience will develop you into an innovative graphic designer who can communicate stories and create brand experiences in print, on screen and in space.

What to expect

  • An interdisciplinary approach: Develop skills in visual and written narratives, moving image, editorial design, brand identity and user experience design.
  • A focus on industry: Learn how to create commercial proposals that directly respond to contemporary issues within professional practice.
  • Learn through making: Experiment with different materials and learn how to build human-centred, environmentally conscious design solutions.
  • Networking: Attend guest lectures and network with industry creatives from a wide variety of design disciplines and backgrounds.
  • An ethical focus: Explore climate, social and racial justice and learn how to embed these principles into your creative practice.

Industry experience and opportunities

The course has strong links with the creative industries. As a BA Graphic Design Communication student, you’ll have opportunities to gain commercial experience through exclusive commissions, award schemes and live projects. This will give you vital industry insight and prepare you for your professional career.

Mode of study

BA Graphic Design Communication is offered in full-time mode. It is divided into 3 stages over 3 academic years. Each stage consists of 30 teaching weeks. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study.

Course units

Year 1

Unit 1 - An introduction to graphic design communication

This unit is an introduction to your course, the College and the University. You’ll explore the basic principles of graphic design communication and develop skills in independent and collaborative learning, reflection and self-development.

Unit 2 - The designer’s toolset

Building on concepts introduced in Unit 1, this unit focuses on the key tools used by graphic designers. During practical workshops, you’ll be set project briefs that introduce you to different design approaches. You’ll also explore the evolution of graphic design communication from traditional analogue methods to digital technologies.

Unit 3 - The designer’s voice 

This unit focuses on the designer’s point of view. You’ll explore your individual voice, learning how to express it through your design practice. Technical workshops will teach you to decode and communicate information through sequencing and narratives. Lectures will focus on contemporary and historical contexts of graphic design communication.

Unit 4 - The designer’s choice  

This unit focuses on you as a designer, your skills and your choices. Set projects will enable you to craft, refine and test your creative practice. Technical workshops will give you an insight into studio practice and culture.

Year 2  

Unit 5 - Strategic and creative practice 

This unit introduces you to strategic and creative practice. You’ll learn how to make creative decisions based on the needs of an audience or client. This will teach you how to manage a professional brief within tight creative, time and material constraints. You’ll also learn about brand strategy and creation.

Unit 6 - Collaborative  and  collective  practices 

 You will be introduced to different ways in which collaborative working can help you to focus and enhance your own creative strengths. You’ll have the chance to work with fellow students and creative communities.

Unit 7 - Experimental practice  

On this unit, you’ll experiment with traditional and digital design techniques. This will help you develop an interdisciplinary creative practice. You’ll continue to explore historical and contemporary culture through a creative lens. This will help you establish yourself as a flexible practitioner in contemporary professional contexts.

Unit 8 - Building a personal practice    

In this unit, you’ll further develop and establish your practice. You’ll identify the themes you want to work on, the design languages you want to use and the audience(s) you want to address. You’ll also develop an understanding of your role and responsibility as a designer in society.

Year 3

Unit 9 - Enquiry and reaction

On this unit, you’ll start to develop a proposal project based on a contemporary theme or argument related to your practice. You’ll attend workshops and undertake research tasks to develop and expand upon your proposal. You’ll also be expected to consider how your proposal meets the changing needs of society.

Unit 10 - Expressing your practice

During this unit, you’ll continue to develop your self-proposed project. You’ll expand upon your research, developing your ideas related to your chosen theme or contemporary argument. As part of the course, your project will be submitted in a national design competition. You’ll also build vital employability and networking skills.

Optional Diploma between Years 2 and 3

Between Years 2 and 3 of the course, you’ll also have the opportunity to undertake one of the following additional UAL qualifications: 

Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS)

This optional diploma can be taken between years 2 and 3. With support from your tutors, you’ll undertake an industry placement for a minimum of 100 days/20 weeks. As well as developing industry skills, you’ll gain an additional qualification upon successful completion.

Diploma in Creative Computing

Between years 2 and 3, you can undertake the year-long Diploma in Creative Computing. This will develop your skills in creative computing alongside your degree. After successfully completing the diploma and your undergraduate course, you’ll graduate with an enhanced degree: BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication (with Creative Computing).

Learning and teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Briefings
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Technical inductions
  • Critiques
  • Study visits
  • Peer learning
  • Independent learning and self-directed study

BA Graphic Design Communication

Open day recording

Course Leader Dimitris Bizioglis gives an overview of BA Graphic Design Communication at Chelsea College of Arts.

BA Graphic Design Communication at Chelsea College of Arts

Student work

  • Anni Alanen, 2023 BA Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL
  • Jess Miller, 2023 BA Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL
  • Michael Morton, 2023 BA Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL
  • Alexsandra Mbaike, 2023 BA Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL


Technical staff

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for entry in autumn 2024 and is subject to change for entry in autumn 2025.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£28,570 per year

This fee is correct for entry in autumn 2024 and is subject to change for entry in autumn 2025.

Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are one or a combination of the following qualifications:

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • 2 A Levels at grade C or above
  • Merit, Pass, Pass (MPP) at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma at 24 points minimum
  • And 3 GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C)

Entry to this course will also be determined by the quality of your application, looking primarily at your portfolio of work, personal statement and reference.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • A combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Selection criteria

We look for:

  • Evidence of a critical engagement with visual communication concepts and products
  • An aptitude for developing communication ideas based on extensive research
  • Applicants that can communicate an enthusiasm for the subject

Apply now

Application deadline

31 January 2024 at 18:00 (UK time)

If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Apply to UAL

Home students can apply to this course through UCAS with the following codes:

University code:


UCAS code:


Start your application

Apply now

Application deadline

31 January 2024 at 18:00 (UK time)

If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Apply to UAL

International students can apply to this course through UCAS with the following codes:

University code:


UCAS code:


Start your application

Apply with a UAL Representative

Based across the world, our local UAL representatives can support you with your application from your home country. Check to see if there is a representative available in your country currently.

Find your representative

How to apply

Follow this step-by-step guide to apply for this course

Step 1: Initial application

You will need to submit an initial application including your personal statement.

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement should be maximum 4,000 characters and cover the following:

  • Why have you chosen this course? What excites you about the subject?
  • How does your previous or current study relate to the course?
  • Have you got any work experience that might help you?
  • Have any life experiences influenced your decision to apply for this course?
  • What skills do you have that make you perfect for this course?
  • What plans and ambitions do you have for your future career?

Visit the UCAS advice page and our personal statement advice page for more support.

Step 2: Digital portfolio

We will review your initial application. If you have met the standard entry requirements, we will ask you to submit a digital portfolio.

You’ll need to submit this via PebblePad, our online portfolio tool.

Digital portfolio advice

Your portfolio should consist of recent work that reflects your creative strengths.

It should:

  • be maximum 30 pages
  • include a wide range of work that explores the use of words, type and image
  • demonstrate your ability to experiment with different techniques and mediums
  • illustrate your understanding of the subject and its broad range of applications
  • include any research to support your work and explain how you developed your ideas from inspiration and experimentation to final outcomes
  • include any recent written work that supports your portfolio.

For more support, see our Portfolio advice and PebblePad advice.

Step 3: Interview

You may be invited to an interview following our review of your application. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes.

For top tips, see our Interview advice.

You also need to know

Communicating with you

Once you have submitted your initial application, we will email you with your login details for our Applicant portal.

Requests for supplementary documents like qualifications and English language tests will be made through the applicant portal. You can also use it to ask questions regarding your application. Visit our After you apply page for more information.

Visas and immigration history check

All non-UK nationals must complete an immigration history check. Your application may be considered by our course teams before this check takes place. This means that we may request your portfolio and/or video task before we identify any issues arising from your immigration history check. Sometimes your history may mean that we are not able to continue considering your application. Visit our Immigration and visas advice page for more information.

External student transfer policy

UAL accepts transfers from other institutions on a case-by-case basis. Read our Student transfer policy for more information.

Alternative offers

If your application is really strong, but we believe your strengths and skillset are better suited to a different course, we may make you an alternative offer. This means you will be offered a place on a different course or at a different UAL College.

Deferring your place

You must apply in the year that you intend to start your course. If you are made an offer and your circumstances change, you can submit a deferral request to defer your place by 1 academic year. You must have met your conditions by 31 August 2024. If you need an English language test in order to meet the entry requirements, the test must be valid on the deferred start date of your course. If not, you will need to reapply. Requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contextual Admissions

This course is part of the Contextual Admissions scheme.

This scheme helps us better understand your personal circumstances so that we can assess your application fairly and in context. This ensures that your individual merit and creative potential can shine through, no matter what opportunities and experiences you have received.


The course's links with the creative industries provides our students with opportunities to engage in work-based learning, and often leads to job offers on graduation.

Many of our former students are freelance designers, art directors and moving image specialists. Others have worked for companies including:

Adidas, AKQA, ASOS, Bench, Bompass & Parr, Bradley & Pablo, Burberry, Canon Europe, David James Associates (DJA), Dazed Media, Ditto Press, Dream Works TV, Forth Studio, GFSmith, Glamour magazine, Grey London, Guerrilla Games, Harper Collins, Hato Press, INT Works, It's Nice That, Koto, LEGO Interactive, LOVE magazine, Liquid TV, M&C Saatchi, MSL group, MTV, Mario Testino, Matter Productions, Mother, Net-A-Porter, Nice & Polite, Nike, ODD, Ogilvy & Mather, Orlebar Brown, Passion Pictures, Pentagram, Puma, Radley Yeldar, Rankin Photography, Rattling Stick, Rogue Films, SHOW studio, Sky Arts, Someone, Studio Moross, Suburbia, Temperley London, The Mill, The Office of Optimism, VIACOM, Village, WGSN, Wednesday, Wolff Olins, Wonderland magazine, BBH, Channel 4, Elle magazine, IDEO, Spring Studios, Vogue magazine.


Find out how careers and employability helps our students and graduates start their careers.