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BA (Hons) Illustration

Colourful ceramic cowboys on horses by Naomi Anderson-Subryan.
Naomi Anderson-Subryan.,
BA (Hons) Illustration, Camberwell College of Arts, UAL
Camberwell College of Arts
UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
Course length
3 years

BA Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts takes an innovative, experimental and critical approach to the broad practice of illustration.

Applications closed 2024/25 

We are no longer accepting applications for 2024/25 entry to this course.

Visit the Courses with places available page for a full list of UAL courses that are open for application.

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

BA Illustration will help you develop and explore your creative identity as an illustrator. The course takes an innovative and expansive approach to illustration, while also investigating the future of the discipline. Through making, you’ll explore the interrelationships between images and words. The course also encourages reflection on the roles and responsibilities of illustrators.

You’ll learn how to construct narratives and communicate ideas using a range of creative techniques. You’ll experiment and question the foundation and boundaries of the discipline. You’ll also explore how to communicate to audiences, orally, visually and in writing. 

Looking at different practitioners’ work, you’ll examine how illustration can be used to critique social, political and cultural issues. Workshops and discussion seminars will cover critical theory, histories and ideas.

BA Illustration includes content that is shared across our design courses. These units emphasise visual communication, design skills and emergent media common to all design disciplines. Through these you’ll be exposed to different ideas and perspectives, as well as experience the benefits of collaborative approaches. 

What to expect

  • Cultivate your practice: Establish your identity through the expanded field of illustration.
  • Contextual knowledge: Explore key principles, themes and debates in illustration and wider practices.
  • Subject application: Look at how illustration is used across a variety of industries and identify how you would like to use your skills in your professional career. 
  • Live projects: You and your fellow students will be partnered organisations with to produce public-facing outcomes to develop portfolio and exposure to business.
  • Personal development: Self-assessment and joint evaluations with your tutors will help you strengthen your insight into your work and understand your positioning within the global creative sector. 
  • In-person and online workshop access: Use Camberwell’s shared studio-based and online workshops that include facilities for printmaking, photography, moving image, ceramics, 3D printing, VR, wood and metalwork. View the Camberwell facilities.

Industry experience and opportunities 

Gain first-hand industry experience through live projects with leading organisations and businesses. 

You can also choose to study part of your course at a partnering institution through UAL’s Turing and international exchange programme. Recent Camberwell students have studied in Japan, Netherlands, Canada and Switzerland. There are also opportunities to study in Norway, Sweden, Germany and Australia. 

Mode of study

BA Illustration 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: Introduction to Illustration

This unit is an introduction to your course, the field of illustration, the College and the University.

Unit 2: Curiosity and experimentation

During this unit you will develop an understanding of the key methods and knowledge that define the discipline of illustration. Offsite trips and fieldwork will be central to this unit. You’ll look at composition, colour, character development, tone and pace. Drawing will be used as a research tool to observe, analyse and describe. You’ll also explore making through 3D forms.

Unit 3: Informed practice

Through continued experimentation and production, you’ll continue to develop an understanding of the foundational methods, knowledge and practice of illustration. Lectures and discussions will explore the relationship between historical and contemporary critical debates within illustration. You’ll explore various methods of visual analysis aimed at developing your understanding and interpretation of images, which will help you develop an informed practice.

Unit 4: Authorship and voice

This unit focuses on building skills relating to authorship and your independent voice as an illustrator. Emphasis will be on experimentation and creative risk-taking in your practice. You’ll focus on the professional area, context and format of a self-authored project. You’ll consider the critical role of illustration and how it can be received by, and have an impact on, an audience.

Year 2 

Unit 5: Collaborative and collective practices

You’ll 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 6: Fact and fiction

Throughout this unit you’ll continue to consolidate the practical methods and principles of illustration. You’ll work on fast-paced projects that may include making sequential imagery, bookworks, multiples or editorial. You’ll continue to investigate image and text relationships, through graphic design, materials, media and process. You'll explore how illustration can be used as a tool to communicate both fact and fiction.

Unit 7: Visual methods

This unit encourages you to continue to develop your skills, position and identity as an illustrator. You’ll take part in a series of workshops, seminars and discussions that will consider the relationships between image and sound. These will cover the ways in which image and sound communicate meaning and the effect of image and sound upon audiences. You’ll be asked to reflect on the impact and ethics of your work and to consider how audiences engage with it socially, culturally and politically. 

Unit 8: Illustrators and communities 

This unit will help you identify an audience and consider how to make your work visible and relevant to them in a real-world context. You’ll take part in a series of workshops, seminars, talks and discussions. These will help you identify a community, develop methods to learn more about their concerns and perspectives, and maintain an ethical practice that enables you to work sensitively with and in response. 

Year 3 

Unit 9: Professional futures 

This unit aims to address the 3Es: employability, enterprise and entrepreneurship. You'll reflect on your learning and skills across the entirety of your study. You’ll have an opportunity to showcase your outcomes and intentions. You'll consider your next steps as you enter industry or continue with your education.  

Unit 10: Critical practice 

In this unit, you’ll identify a topic and investigate its context through diverse methods of research to develop a critical understanding. This will be supported through workshops, talks and tutorials. You’ll create a plan for your self-directed project to be carried out in unit 11. 

Unit 11: Making in context

You’ll work on a self-directed project that brings together your conceptual and practical activity which will form part of your portfolio. As part of this work, you’ll consider audience and context. You’ll take part in workshops, group discussions, tutorials, events and shows.

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 

This optional 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) Illustration (with Creative Computing). 

Diploma in Apple Development
This optional diploma can be taken between years’ 2 and 3. Over the extra year you’ll become an Apple developer, undertaking a learning programme which includes content from Apple’s official 'Develop in Swift' curriculum. After successfully completing the diploma and your undergraduate degree, you’ll graduate with an enhanced degree: BA (Hons) Illustration (with Apple Development).

Learning and teaching methods

⦁    Briefings   
⦁    Collaborative working groups
⦁    Group reviews 
⦁    Independent learning and self-directed study  
⦁    Lectures   
⦁    Practice-based learning 
⦁    Peer-led evaluation, learning and workshops 
⦁    Seminars
⦁    Study visits and trips 
⦁    Technical inductions   
⦁    Tutorials   
⦁    Workshops

Student work

  • camberwell-ba-Illustration-freya-faulkner-St-Brian-Cox-and-The-Matter-Prayer.jpg
    Freya Faulkner - BA Illustration
  • camberwell-ba-Illustration-chloe-greenfield-greasy-spoon-ceramics.jpg
    Chloe Greenfield - BA Illustration
  • camberwell-ba-illustration-ellie-andrews-kick-1860.jpg
    Ellie Andrews - BA Illustration
  • camberwell-ba-Illustration-freya-faulkner-cult-big-bang-statues-eric.jpg
    Freya Faulkner - BA Illustration
  • camberwell-ba-Illustration-grace-helmer-fugitive-primo-levi.jpg
    Grace Helmer - BA Illustration
  • camberwell-ba-Illustration-peter_rhodes_lucy_one.jpg
    Peter Rhodes - BA Illustration
  • camberwell-ba-Illustration-Play-o-logy-AKA-Charlene-Man-and-Katie-Johnston-giant-digestive-system.jpg
    Play-o-logy AKA Charlene Man and Katie Johnston - BA Illustration
  • camberwell-ba-Illustration-Gaurab-Thakali-1860.png
    Gaurab Thakali - BA Illustration


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:

  • An ability to explore, articulate and develop ideas
  • An ability to research information and visual material to support your ideas
  • Your portfolio to demonstrate a range of appropriate skills and technical abilities
  • An ability to communicate your ideas visually, verbally and in writing
  • An ability to self-direct and evaluate your own work
  • An ability to engage and participate in critical discussions around socio-political topics, which form part of the course ethos

Apply now

Applications closed 2024/25 

We are no longer accepting applications for 2024/25 entry to this course. Applications for 2025/26 entry will open in Autumn 2024.

Apply now

Applications closed 2024/25 

We are no longer accepting applications for 2024/25 entry to this course. Applications for 2025/26 entry will open in Autumn 2024.

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 and video task

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

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

Video task advice

We’d like you to submit a 2-3 minute video to help us learn more about you. When recording your task, please face the camera and speak in English.

What to include in your video task:

  • Talk us through a project telling us what you have learnt from it, and how/if you would like to take it further
  • Tell us about something that has inspired you lately

Read our guidance for how to submit your video task and which file types we accept.

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 including photographs or videos of your sketchbooks and of any 3D work
  • demonstrate your understanding of design and illustration
  • that shows the application of imagery within a design and illustration context
  • show evidence of research, development of ideas and problem solving
  • include work in progress to show us your creative and development processes from initial ideas to final outcomes
  • indicate your developing research interests and creative influences.

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.