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BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media

Katerina Demetriou-Jones, 2020. London College of Communication, BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media, UAL.
London College of Communication
UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
Course length
3 years

BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media aims to produce creative and innovative illustrators who are used to taking risks with their work. It offers you the intellectual and creative space to examine existing definitions of illustration whilst exploring future directions.


Please note 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.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • Situated studio practice: Specialist studios options designed to adapt to the evolving nature of contemporary image-making will support you to develop as an independent practitioner while exploring diverse processes and outcomes based on reflective and critical understanding.
  • Critical engagement: Provided with the intellectual and creative space to examine existing definitions and future directions of the image, you’ll prepare to challenge preconceptions while engaging with new perspectives.
  • Expanded practice: You’ll understand your practice in an expanded field, considering the influence of other disciplines and wider cultural, social, political and economic conditions.
  • Broader community: Connections to related areas including interaction design, service design and user experience design will support you to develop a cross-disciplinary, future-facing practice through greater access to production resources and industry speakers alongside a broader peer group.
  • Industry experience: You’ll have the option of undertaking the Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS) - an optional, year-long learning opportunity where you can develop your professional skills by taking time out to gain industry experience.

Open Days

The next Open Day for this course will be announced soon.

Explore life at LCC with our interactive Virtual Open Day.

Course overview

BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media provides a distinctive, creative and stimulating environment where imagination and original ideas are nurtured, developed and realised. On this course, you’ll challenge and interrogate the potential of contemporary image-making within the creative industries.

What to expect

  • We offer a broad and interdisciplinary approach in an era with unparalleled opportunities for skilled visual communicators. Through deep enquiry and an awareness of wider social, cultural and political contexts, you’ll consider the role of the illustrator and image-maker, and be encouraged to question, validate and redefine the discipline both responsively and inventively.
  • You’ll cultivate an understanding of contemporary creative practice, critical debate and academic responsibility through a programme of studio practice, seminars, lectures, workshops, tutorial support and peer-learning opportunities.
  • This course fuses methodologies of graphic awareness, critical illustrative practices, visual thinking, authorship and emergent technologies. You’ll be given intellectual and creative space to examine and challenge existing definitions of ‘the image’ in contemporary visual culture alongside illustration and its impact, including consumption and production.
  • You’ll be encouraged to cultivate your own independent vision, and to approach work with curiosity, intellect and practical rigour. You’ll harness traditional, digital and time-based mediums through a diverse range of studio-based projects where you'll develop your practice and confidently build transferable skills.
  • Our strong, vibrant and supportive studio culture emphasises experimentation, investigation, imagination and invention, and we respond to problems in new and sustainable ways.
  • You’ll be taught by staff who are successful professionals in a range of creative fields, each with an area of specialist research and practice that feeds directly into our stimulating learning environment.

Industry experience and opportunities

Our curriculum focuses on collaboration, networking and shared entrepreneurial practices while developing your creative and authentic voice. We promote participatory learning through collaboration with external partners, and encourage you to become a responsive, adaptable and resourceful practitioner who can communicate in compelling ways with diverse audiences. 

Our fluid definition of illustration means that you can uniquely define the subject while challenging existing preconceptions and definitions of image-making. Through routine commercial and personal projects, you’ll develop a professional practice which will broaden your scope for future employment.

You’ll graduate with a rigorous, forward-facing portfolio that showcases work across sculpture, painting, installation, drawing, typography, photography, film, digital or print-based media, or a combination of these practices, with a high level of critical engagement with wider contexts.

Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to undertake the Diploma in Professional Studies or the Diploma in Creative Computing between Years 2 and 3 to enhance your learning experience and employability skills.

Mode of study

BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media runs for 93 weeks in full time mode. It is divided into 3 stages over 3 academic years. Each stage lasts 31 weeks.

Course units

We are committed to ensuring that your skills are set within an ethical framework, and we have worked to embed UAL’s Principles for Climate, Racial and Social Justice Principles into the curriculum and in everything we do.  

As part of this initiative, we’ve shaped our courses around social and environmental sustainability principles that ensure learning outcomes reflect the urgent need to equip you with the understanding, skills, and values to foster a more sustainable planet.  Our aim is to change the way our students think, and to empower you to work towards a sustainable future. 

In common with all courses at the University of the Arts London, this course is credit rated. The course is 3 years, levels 4-6. Each year requires you to achieve 120 credit points. To be awarded the BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media qualification, you need to accumulate a total of 360 credits. 

Year 1

Introduction to Illustration and Visual Media (20 credits)
Visual Practices: Exploration and Play (40 credits)
Illustration Practices: Methods and Processes (40 credits)
Contextual and Theoretical Studies 1 (20 credits)

At the beginning of Year 1, you'll be introduced to a range of mediums and media in order to give you a firm base of skills which will help you realise your ideas for set projects. You’ll also take part in educational visits to museums and exhibitions, which will inform your project work and you'll be involved in group projects and cross year projects to increase your skills in negotiation, collaboration and time management. These are vital key skills needed for pursuing a career in the creative industries.

Year 1 will include introductory sessions to drawing, animation, computing and printmaking, which will involve a series of tutorials, seminars and workshops to help you build on the thinking, analysis and production essential for the creative process.

The Visual Practices: Exploration and Play unit will introduce you to research as practice through playful exploration. You will be encouraged to consider the possibilities of using image generation as a method to investigate a range of different subjects.

The Illustration Practices: Methods and Processes unit will show you how process led activities enhance and activate ideas generation through investigation and experimentation. You will also investigate the possibilities of generating impactful works that communicate to a wider audience.

Year 2

Professional Practices (20 credits)
Exploring Studio Practices (40 credits)
Situated Studio Practices (40 credits)
Contextual and Theoretical Studies 2 (20 credits)

In Year 2 you are encouraged to experiment and explore an individual and personal approach to your illustration and design work. You will be supported in developing your own visual language and philosophy. Students are encouraged to choose from a range of live projects, take part in organised study trips and exhibit both internally and externally.

External industry links form a key part of this year, in relation to exhibiting and responding to live commissions, publishing your work professionally; taking part in cross year workshops and learning to curate; negotiating professional problems, visual languages, networking, self and group promotions and considering your place in professional practice.

In the Exploring Studio Practices unit, you will increasingly broaden your understanding of illustration and visual communication through workshops that will enhance existing skills and develop new ones including drawing, combining text and image, developing narrative, sculptural and spatial practices, curation of visual content, and prototyping, interactive and experiential image works.

The Situated Studio Practices unit will involve the examination of professional structures and opportunities with external partners. You will be encouraged to develop diverse processes and outcomes based on a reflective and critical understanding of image making.

A wide range of set projects and external projects will help you to consider the role of the contemporary illustrator; of professional life and its relation to your own practice. Students can also apply to take an industry placement year out called the Diploma in Professional Studies, as part of their course.

Year 3

Route A

Contextual and Theoretical Studies 3 (40 credits)
Minor Studio Project (20 credits)
Major Project Studio (60 credits)

Route B

Contextual and Theoretical Studies 3 (20 credits)
Minor Studio Project (20 credits)
Integrated Practice (20 credits)
Major Project Studio (60 credits)

Year 3 is the culmination of your studies, focusing on your individual development and the combination of your previous teaching and learning into the production of a body of work that can be assessed academically.

When you reach the final year, it may be that you have developed an interest in your dissertation topic and want to place greater emphasis on it, Route A allows you to do. If on the other hand, you wish to place greater emphasis on studio work by doing a smaller dissertation, you can do so in Route B.

Optional Diploma between Years 2 and 3

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

Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS) (Optional)

An optional, year-long learning opportunity which enables you to develop your professional skills by undertaking time out for industry experience. Supported throughout the year by academics, you’ll build on the knowledge gained on your course in a range of national or international locations, and graduate with an additional qualification of Diploma in Professional Studies.

UAL Diploma in Creative Computing (Optional)

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 degree, you’ll graduate with an enhanced degree: BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media (with Creative Computing).

Learning and teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Large group learning
  • Workshop and seminar learning
  • Academic tutorials
  • Self-directed learning
  • Collaborative work
  • Assessed assignments

Online Open Day

Graduate showcase

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Showcase

  • stuck in a loop
    stuck in a loop, Jasmine Foo, 2023 BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media, London College of Communication, UAL
    AIQI LI, Yufei Li, 2023 BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine in Daily Life
    Chinese Herbal Medicine in Daily Life, Yanxi Zhou, 2023 BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Home-body
    Home-body, Davinia Clarke, 2023 BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media, London College of Communication, UAL

Student work

  • Zhengyi-Wang.jpg
    Zhengyi Wang, , 2020. BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media, UAL
  • Victoria-Estee-Boissonnas.jpg
    Victoria Estee Boissonnas, 2020. BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media, UAL
  • Thomas-Lunnon.jpg
    Thomas Lunnon, , 2020. BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media, UAL
  • Rina-Salee.jpeg
    Rina Salee, , 2020. BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media, UAL
  • Ashleigh-Hewitt.jpeg
    Ashleigh Hewitt, 2020. BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media, UAL.

Student voices

Davinia Clarke

Davinia speaks about her final project  'Home-body'  which documents her grandmother's home in Jamaica.

Saoirse Egan

Made up of three large-scale screen prints, Saoirse's final work, 'The Anatomy of Intrigue', explores the impact of the public gaze.

Charlene De La Cruz

Charlene’s final major project pushes the boundaries of visual aesthetic of the paranormal activity.

Brogan Bertie

Graduate Brogan talks about their work, a tribute to Sylvia Revera from her 1973 speech "Ya'll better quiet down".

Jemimah Kabuye

Jemimah talks about her work which explores her personal journey with mental health dealing with anxiety.

Course stories

410 Gone

410 Gone



  • A close-up of the moveable type available in the Letterpress area.
    Image © Lewis Bush

    Printing and Finishing

    Discover our printing techniques, from Lithographic Printing to Print Finishing and Bookbinding.

  • Students using the computers in the Digital Space
    Student in Creative Technology Lab, 2020. London College of Communication, UAL. Photograph: Tim Boddy

    Creative Technology Lab

    A multi-purpose space that supports students with: Creative Coding, Physical Computing, Projection Mapping, Games, and Virtual Reality.

  • Student reading a book in between two bookshelves in the Library
    Students in the Digital Space. London College of Communication, UAL. Photograph: Alys Tomlinson

    The Digital Space

    The Digital Space is an open-plan, creative hub with computers set up with specialist software.


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 course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds from all over the world. The course attracts students who apply direct from A-level (or equivalent) or from Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, or other art or design courses, as well as mature students who may have previously worked in industry.

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

80 UCAS tariff points, which can be made up of one or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications:

  • A Levels at grade C or above (preferred subjects include: English; History; Media; Business; Art and Design, or other subjects within Social Sciences).
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4).
  • Merit, Merit, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma (preferred subjects: Art and Design, IT & Computing).
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferred subject: Digital and Creative Media, Film and Production, Computing).
  • 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).

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

If you do not meet these entry requirements but your application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative relevant experience, you may still be considered. This could include:

  • 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. We cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

  • IELTS level 6.0 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

All classes are taught in English. If English isn’t your first language, you will need to show evidence of your English language ability when you enrol. For further guidance, please check our English language requirements.

Selection criteria

The portfolio, along with the details on your UCAS application (including the academic reference and your personal statement) will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Visual language: quality of structure, use of line, shape - 2D or 3D, form, scale, space, light, colour, texture and time.
  • Ideas generation: quality of ideas and thought process, expression of design thinking.
  • Research and its application (including images from sketch books): evidence of investigation and use of appropriate resources.
  • Materials, media exploration and experimentation; experimentation and testing of materials to achieve outcomes.
  • Contextual awareness and its influence on the portfolio; understanding and application of subject knowledge and context.

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 these 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 20 pages
  • include unfinished pieces as well as work from completed projects to demonstrate your developmental process
  • incorporate visual research, sketchbooks, or journals that provide valuable insights into your creative process
  • demonstrate your interest, skills and enthusiasm for illustration and visual media.

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.


After graduation, our students enter into a wide and varied range of professional practices working in art, illustration or graphic design, for international and UK based companies including Alexander McQueen, Airside, Pentagram, John Brown Publishing, Vault 49 (New York) and Prologue (LA). Students also set up their own companies, operating as freelance illustrators or exhibiting artists and designers, or go on to study at MA level.

Our graduates have gone onto great success within the industry, highlighting the diverse, transferable skills and breadth of expertise they take with them into an increasingly diverse and interdisciplinary market.

Alumni include: