Graphic Design BDes (Hons)

We have a 94% satisfaction rate for our Graphic Design course.
National Student Survey, 2022


Graphic design shapes the way we see and think about theworld around us. Join our award-wining students on the BDes (Hons) Graphic Design learning how to use graphic design to tell meaningful stories that make a difference.


The four-year BDes (Hons) Graphic Design degreeoffers a highly regarded and carefully considered programme which equips our students withthe skills to meet current industry demands and nurtures thoughtful graduateswho understandthe value of ideas, ethics, concept development and deep thinking in design.


Gain practical work experience supported by our network of local, national and international industry partners along the way. During your studies you’ll have the opportunity to undertake live-projects, placements and international exchange.

Students in a design class

Mode of Study:



4 years

Start date:


UCAS code:


Study Abroad:


Course details

This course emphasises the importance of ideas and originality of content as key elements and the fundamental cornerstone of the graphic design process. It encourages creativity, integrity, social and ethical responsibility and a sense of challenge in the work undertaken.

The course will expose you to design in its broadest sense, including media, motion and spatial applications, and you'll study and create work that transcends the 2D format.

You'll gain the skills you need to successfully operate as a professional graphic designer, learning and develop expertise in techniques ranging from the traditional to the cutting-edge and experimental, all underpinned by deepening levels of conceptual and critical thinking. You'll gain the skills to develop unique design ideas, establish rigorous design processes, deal with complex design issues, make informed judgements and communicate conclusions clearly to a professional audience.

You'll gain an understanding of the creative economy and professional design practice. Throughout your studies you’ll have opportunities to work on live projects, to undertake a work placement, and to benefit from lectures and workshops run by members of our supportive network of industry practitioners. These practical experiences provide the opportunity not only to engage with current graphic design practice but also to build your own network of contacts.
Throughout the course there are opportunities for international experiences. We work on projects with international clients and collaborators around the world, and also organise annual study trips to explore the graphic design culture in a different European destination each year. And you’ll have the opportunity to apply to study abroad at one of our partner universities for a trimester in year 3. 

In the final year you'll devise your major project, articulating an individual design philosophy and further enhancing your subject specific skills and knowledge.

This is a full-time course studied over four years. You'll learn by a variety of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials, workshop sessions and independent study.

  • calendar

    How you’ll be taught

    Core knowledge and contextual understanding is acquired through lectures, studio practical activities, seminars, tutorials, group work, fieldwork and guided independent learning.

  • note and pen


    Your knowledge and understanding of graphic design will be assessed using a combination of presentations of graphic design solutions, portfolios of creative work, exhibitions, essays and self-reflective reports, regular individual and group presentations of projects to tutors, peers and, where appropriate, external bodies. Assessment methods are dependent on the module deliverables, whether studio-based or theoretical/contextual and can be through presentations, a portfolio of creative work, or a written submission.

  • briefcase

    Work placement

    In the second trimester of your third year you will have the opportunity to study at a partner University overseas, or take a work placement in industry. Edinburgh-based StudioLR sponsors a best in show prize at our annual Degree Show, with the winner getting the chance to go and work with the agency for a month. We also have strong links with local agencies who offer mentoring and placements throughout the year, including Design Bridge in London, which has employed six of our graduates.

  • study abroad

    Study abroad

    The programme has a wide international footprint. In the second trimester of your third year you will have the opportunity to study at a partner university overseas, or take a work placement in industry. The programme currently has international partners in France, Canada, USA, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Popular modules

Year 1

  • Foundation Digital Media 1
  • Foundation Digital Media 2
  • Foundation Graphic Design 1
  • Foundation Graphic Design 2
  • Visual Research Methods
  • Debating Design 1

Year 2

  • Debating Design 2
  • Information Design
  • Graphic Design Studio 1
  • Graphic Design Studio 2
  • Illustration Text & Image
  • Design Studies 1

Year 3

  • Design Studies 2
  • Graphic Design Studio 3 (Motion Graphics)
  • Experiential Graphic Design
  • Art Direction
  • International & Intercultural Graphic Design
  • Branding
  • Work Placement or Overseas Study Module

Year 4

  • Design Major Project
  • Minor Project 
  • Design Research Portfolio
  • Professional Practice Media Production

Also in year 4:

  • Enter work into competitions


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

As part of the selection process suitably qualified applicants will normally be required to submit a portfolio/attend an interview. This applies to all years of entry. You can find more information about what to include in your portfolio here

Our entry requirements indicate both Standard and Minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

Minimum year 1

SQA Higher

Standard Entry Requirement

BBBB including one of: Art and Design, Design and Manufacture, Graphic Communication or Daydream Believers Level 6 Creative Thinking.

Minimum Offer Entry Requirement

BBCC including one of: Art and Design, Design and Manufacture, Graphic Communication or Daydream Believers Level 6 Creative Thinking at grade B.

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet our specified minimum entry requirements within our widening participation criteria, and outlined in our Contextual Admissions Policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies.

A Level

BCC including one of: Art and Design/Design and Technology: (Product Design)

Irish Leaving Certificate

H2, H2, H3, H3 at HL including Art.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

Minimum grades DMM (Distinction, Merit, Merit) in a related subject. Related subjects include - Art and Design/Art and Design Practice/Creative Media Practice/Creative Media Production/Creative Digital Media Production. Others may be considered please refer to admissions team.

BTEC (QCF) National Diploma Level 3

Minimum grades D*D* (Distinction*, Distinction*) in a related subject. Related subjects include - Art and Design/Art and Design Practice/Creative Media Practice/Creative Media Production/Creative Digital Media Production. Others may be considered please refer to admissions team.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Award of Diploma with 28 points overall with three subjects at HL with grades 6, 5 and 4. These subjects must include one of: Visual Arts or Design Technology.

T Level

Grade Merit 

T Level must be completed in a Creative/Design subject or A Level Art/Product Design may be required. Please contact to check if you meet the subject specific requirements.

Minimum year 2

Please note there are limited places available for Year 2 entry. 

SQA Advanced Higher

BBC to include one of: Art and Design, Graphic Communication or Design and Manufacture.

A Level

BBB to include one of: Art and Design/Design and Technology: (Product Design)


Pass HNC in a relevant subject with Grade B in the graded unit.

Minimum year 3

Please note there are limited places available for Year 3 entry. 


Pass HND in a relevant subject with Grade B at SCQF Level 8 in all graded units.

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MSc Nursing (Pre-registration) (Adult, Mental Health, Child, Learning Disabilities)
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland £1,820 £tba
England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £tba
Overseas and EU £17,580 tba
Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland will be invoiced the tuition fees for 3 years of their 4 years of study. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
If additional compulsory costs other than the tuition fees are applicable, these will be detailed in the course details.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


Blurred figure seen in front of students' designs at the Creative Degree Show

As our society becomes more and more visually-oriented, the need for excellent graphic designers increases. There is wide scope for employment including:

  • Packaging design
  • Branding
  • Advertising
  • Service Design
  • Design Research
  • Exhibition design
  • UX Design
  • Editorial design
  • Motion Graphics
  • Content Creation

With further study, a career in design teaching could also be possible.

Winning Baby Box design with Graphic Design student Leanne Young with two young children and two men colouring in