Skip to main content

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.

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 your creative identity as an illustrator. During practical workshops, you will learn how to build strong narratives using a range of creative techniques. You will experiment with different layouts and play with tone, pace and characterisation.

As well as practical skills, you will learn about the history of illustration. Looking at different practitioners’ work, you’ll examine how illustration can be used as a vehicle to critique social, political and cultural issues. This contextual knowledge will help you understand how to apply your illustrative skills within wider professional settings.

As a visual storyteller, it is important to create narratives that engage with the interests and experiences of your target audiences. Collaboration with your classmates will expose you to different ideas, perspectives and disciplines. This experience will help you to develop a broad, interdisciplinary practice that can be appreciated by a wide variety of people, whether they are potential clients, employers or the wider arts community. 

What to expect

  • Cultivate your practice: Develop a unique illustrative style and establish your identity as a professional illustrator.
  • Contextual knowledge: Explore key principles, themes and debates in illustration and wider art practices.
  • Professional application: Explore how illustration is used across a wide variety of industries and identify how you would like to use your skills in your professional career.
  • Live projects and industry links: Live projects will give you valuable industry experience and help you build a professional network.
  • Cross-level mentorship scheme: Our 2nd and 3rd year student mentors can offer helpful advice and support throughout your studies.
  • Self-assessments: Self-assessment and joint evaluations with your tutors will help you strengthen your critical eye and prepare you for professional life.
  • In-person and online access: Use Camberwell’s shared studio-based and online workshops that include facilities for printmaking, photography, film, moving image, ceramics, 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 students have studied in Leipzig, Madrid, Marseille, Milan, New York and Tokyo.  

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 College and the University.  

Unit 2 - Exploratory practice ‘in discipline’ 

During this unit you’ll develop an understanding of the key methods and knowledge that define the subject of illustration. You’ll look at composition, colour, character development, tone and pace. Drawing will be used as an ethnographic tool as well to observe, analyse and describe. You’ll also carry out object and conceptual making.

Unit 3 - Core practice ‘in discipline’ 

Through continued experimentation and production, you will continue to develop an understanding of the foundational methods, knowledge and practice of illustration. Lectures, seminars and discussions will explore the relationship between historical and contemporary critical debates within illustration. 

Unit 4 - Expanded practice ‘in discipline’ 

This unit places emphasis on experimentation and creative risk-taking in your practice. It will focus on your continued development and understanding of the key principles of the subject. It will examine illustration materials and conceptual possibilities. You’ll look at illustration in relation to text analysis and the articulation of narrative, tone and pace in sequential image making. You’ll also explore ideas around authorship and the reproduced image.

Year 2 

Unit 5 - Exploratory practice ‘as discipline’ 

Throughout this unit you will continue to consolidate the practical methods and principles of illustration explored through the previous stage of the course. You’ll consider methods of distribution and reproduction. Written work will articulate your position as an illustrator.

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 - Core practice ‘as discipline’ 

This unit encourages you to continue to develop your skills, position and identity as an illustrator. The unit will help you identify an audience and consider how to make your work visible in a real-world context. You’ll be asked to consider the impact and ethics of your work and to think about social, cultural and political engagement.

Unit 8 - Expanded practice and points of departure culture ‘as discipline’ 

Through a series of practical illustration projects, you will apply methods of evaluation, participation, social, cultural and political engagement. You will take part in a series of workshops, seminars, lectures and discussions that will help you to identify a broad context for your practice. This unit will help you work out your individual programme of study for your third year. 

Year 3 

Unit 9 - Exploratory core practice ‘of discipline’  

This unit is a coming together of your practical, professional and critical position as an illustrator. It will be highly self-directed. It will look at professional development and potential fields you might work within after graduation. 

Unit 10 - Expanded core practice ‘of discipline’ 

In this unit you’ll work on a self-directed final project that brings together your conceptual and practical activity. You’ll produce work which you’ll present in the College degree show and form part of your portfolio. You’ll take part in workshops, seminars, group discussions, reviews and tutorials. There’ll also be a series of visiting practitioner talks.

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) Illustration (with Creative Computing).

Learning and teaching methods

  • Group projects
  • Individual and group tutorials  
  • Live projects
  • Peer assessment 
  • Personal archive 
  • Professional development  
  • Self-assessment  
  • Self-evaluation  

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

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 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.