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Ben Prior, BA Graphic Design, UCA Canterbury

Visual Communication BA (Hons)

Visual Communication BA (Hons)

Canterbury

Course overview

UCA's new BA (Hons) Visual Communication degree at UCA Canterbury gives you the chance to blend your graphic design, illustration, animation, moving image and photography skills in one amazing career.

Visual Communication is commercial, social, public, and political, shaping the meaning and impact of apps, websites, posters, books, magazine advertisements, games, logos, film titles, and countless other media.

Everywhere you look, designers are using words and images to persuade, inform and educate. This course encourages you to think conceptually and apply technical skills in all forms of design practice.

The key principles you learn will help you develop your skills as a professional visual communication practitioner.

 

Our standard three year undergraduate degree for those who meet the entry requirements for higher education.

UCAS Code for 3 year/standard: W215

A four year degree programme, including a foundation year to help develop your creativity before you embark on year one of a degree.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year: W21F

A four year course, specifically designed to provide international students with the English language and creative skills before they embark on year one of a degree.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year: W21H

A four year programme, which sees you spend an entire year gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with Professional Practice: W219

A five year course, including a foundation year to help develop your creativity before you embark on year one of a degree, and a year on a professional placement gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year: W21G

A five year course, including an international foundation year concentrating on English language and core creative skills before you embark on year one of a degree, and a year on a professional placement gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year: W21J

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Course details

Course Details

The content of the course may be subject to change. Curriculum content is provided as a guide.

UCA’s Integrated Foundation Year is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and more.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

For our students coming from a non-UK educational background, UCA has launched an Integrated International Foundation Year, based at UCA Farnham to bring students from around the world to one hub of creativity.

This year of preparatory study is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and the English speaking and writing skills you’ll need to succeed.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Launch
This is your introduction to the Campus and to the Course. As well as to the contexts and forms relevant for Visual Communication, you’ll be asked to make an impactful and meaningful collaborative project.

What is Visual Communication?
This introductory unit encourages you to develop a visually experimental and explorative approach. We cover research methodology, practical and critical communication skills and introductions to image-making tools and appropriate software programmes.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 1
The unit provides an opportunity for students to explore what is meant by equality, diversity, and inclusion and the implications of these concepts for creative practice. You’ll learn how our social identities (such as, gender, race/ethnicity, class, disability, sexual orientation, and religion) contribute to the inclusion and/or exclusion of individuals in creative spaces.

Defining your practice
Through your first phase of studies, you’ll investigate and explore the potential of a range of specific themes and approaches to contemporary Visual Communication practices and craft skills.

Opportunity
This is your opportunity to explore, through field visits, external settings for visual communication in national and international locations, including visits to galleries, museums and other cultural institutions, festivals, screenings, conferences and more.

Practice-based fundamentals
You’ll learn how different meanings can be constructed through a variety of image-making constellations specific to your sphere of practice in this unit, as well as how these methods are applied to different mediums and formats.

Preparing for professional practice: part 1
In this unit, you’ll focus on professional Visual Communication working environments and consider the role that you, as a practicing designer and communicator, may play within such spaces.

Individual reflection and progression
We’ll give you the opportunity to reflect on your first year of work, create a portfolio, and from this confirm your sphere of practice going forward.

Launch
You’ll be a part of an impactful and meaningful collaborative project that explores globally significant issues - this is your introduction to an externally set brief.

Visual storytelling
We’ll challenge you to develop your own personal voice to communicate ideas and make meaningful content for specific audiences. The ideas you develop through this unit will encourage the concise communication of complex ideas using traditional and emerging media.

The conscious practitioner
This unit aims to promote progressive values and attitudes to diversity and inclusion in creative practice, exploring global perspectives and influences and drawing upon interactions with various identities, cultures, politics, and histories. You’ll explore how beliefs, values and attitudes drive behaviour and practices.

Interdisciplinary electives
Collaborate, experiment and realise creative responses to briefs within an area of inter-disciplinary activity of your choice, across campus and through other courses. This gives you the opportunity to meaningfully engage with diverse activities and forms of teaching that enhance your chosen sphere of focus.

Opportunity
This is your opportunity to explore, through field visits, external settings for visual communication in national and international locations, including visits to galleries, museums and other cultural institutions, festivals, screenings, conferences and more.

Spatial practices
You will learn how to manipulate spaces to create identities, multi-sensory experiences, and innovative events/exhibitions in a sustainable and environmentally conscious context. You will also be encouraged to explore notions of virtual space.

Preparing for professional practice, part 2
Through a broad range of presentations, seminars and lectures you will be supported to develop research, analysis and a deep understanding of your own practice in the context of current industry needs. This will also aid you in seeking your placement opportunity.

Placement
For this unit you have two choices – to undertake a four-week, self-initiated work placement that is relevant to your potential career direction and contributes to the fulfilment of the course aims and objectives, or to complete an Industry Case Study that focuses on an area of the industry that you have an interest in, through primary and secondary research.

If you opt to complete a professional practice year, this will take place in year three. You will undertake a placement within the creative industries to further develop your skills and CV.

While on your Professional Practice Year, you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee for that year. This fee will be determined using government funding regulations. Based on current regulations, we expect this to be a maximum of 20% of the tuition fee rate that you are charged for your second year of study. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during this year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this as you approach your Professional Practice Year.

Please note: If you are an international applicant, you will need to enrol onto the course ‘with Professional Practice Year’. It will not be possible to transfer onto the Professional Practice Year after enrolment

This course offers the opportunity to study abroad for part of your course. To find out more about studying abroad please see the Study Abroad section:

Launch
This is your opportunity to share ideas that you will have developed over the summer about your critical research project, receive feedback from tutors and peers and finetune it before you start actively working on it as part of your last year at university.

Critical Research and Practice
This unit involves the research, development, and construction of a self-directed research project that informs, guides, motivates and drives subsequent professional and creative work in year 3. This project requires you to consolidate and articulate your knowledge, understanding, skills, and experience, alongside the interests that you have developed over the duration of the course.

Professional Practices
This unit helps you to explore contemporary and future definitions of creative practice leading to a professional career in the varied fields of Visual Communication (or related creative disciplines).

Opportunity
This is your opportunity to explore, through field visits, external settings for visual communication in national and international locations. As well as to the contexts and forms relevant for Visual Communication.

Self-Directed Final Major Project
This unit provides you with a framework within which to research, develop and realise a major self-initiated project of your own choosing. It enables you to develop a written project proposal that effectively and succinctly communicates the key elements of your conceptual, technical, aesthetic and theoretical concerns and intentions. It allows you to develop work that demonstrates a high level of maturity through its clarity and focus.

Across the entire duration of this course, you’ll be maintain and evolve a Progression Portfolio. Through this you’ll learn how to curate and build a document of all of your research and developmental/experimental work across each unit of the course. This portfolio will allow you to reflect, review, update and present your unit outcomes in one place to demonstrate your knowledge/understanding, technical and professional skills as a Visual Communication practitioner.

Tuition fees
2022 course fees for Year 1 entry and Integrated Foundation Year:

  • UK students - £9,250 
  • EU students - £9,250 (see fee discount information)
  • International students - £16,950

If you opt to study the Professional Practice Year, for 2022 you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee of £1,850 (UK students) and £3,390 (International students). You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during your Professional Practice year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this.

Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees there may be other costs for your course. The things that you are likely to need to budget for to get the most out of a creative arts education will include books, printing costs, occasional or optional study trips and/or project materials. These costs will vary according to the nature of your project work and the individual choices that you make. Please see the Additional Course Costs section of your Course Information for details of the costs you may incur.

Further information

For more detailed information about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to please see our fees and finance pages.

The fees listed here are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.

Industry placement
offer

Preparing graduates for successful careers underpins everything we do, and all students on this course will be offered an industry placement anywhere between two weeks and a year in length, depending on their individual needs. We’ll draw on our wide range of contacts within the creative industries to ensure you’re offered opportunities that align with your interests and future career aspirations.

Course specifications

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.

Facilities

Visual Communication facilities include dedicated studios with space for both personal and group working; digital media suites with Macs running industry design software including Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro and Autodesk Maya. We have photography studios and processing and printing darkrooms for black and white film-based photography and printmaking studios with access to lithography, screen-printing, etching and relief printing.

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Studios, UCA Canterbury

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Graphic print studios, UCA Canterbury

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Digital Media suite, UCA Canterbury

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Studios, UCA Canterbury

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

BA (Hons) course
BA (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements* for these courses are one of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level, see more information about IB entry requirements.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.  

 


 

BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements for these courses are one of the following:

  • 64 new UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 64 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 24 points from the International Baccalaureate, see more information about IB entry requirements.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply. 

 


 

BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

For these courses you need to have completed 12 years* of schooling (with good grades) and show strong evidence of your ability to successfully complete the programme and progress onto your chosen degree.

 


 

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry pathways:

Pre-sessional English courses

UCA International Foundation courses

The UCA International College

BA (Hons) course
BA (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

For these courses, we’ll need to see your portfolio for review. We’ll invite you to attend an Applicant Day so you can have your portfolio review in person, meet the course team and learn more about your course. If you would prefer to upload a portfolio digitally, there is also the option to submit it online via your UCA Applicant Portal. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

 


 

 

BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

These courses don't require a portfolio. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Applicant Day where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.

 


 

BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

These courses don't require a portfolio. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Applicant Day where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.

 


 

More portfolio advice

Apply Now

Please use the following fields to help select the right application link for you:
  • UCAS Institution

    C93

  • UCAS Code for 3 year/standard

    W215

  • UCAS Code for course with Professional Practice

    W219

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year

    W21F

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year

    W21H

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

    W21G

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

    W21J

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