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BA (Hons) Illustration

University of Derby
3 years
Full time
Bachelor's degree
On campus
21 September 2021
University of Derby

Program description

BA (Hons) Illustration

You’ll learn to tell innovative visual stories on this BA Illustration, which encourages you to experiment, question and take risks in order to develop a strong and distinctive illustrative style.

You’ll be able to explore drawing, photography, printmaking, digital image making, collage and 3D techniques and find out which media you’re truly passionate about. There’s a big focus on project work, including real briefs from employers and arts organisations like QUAD in Derby and Buxton Festival Fringe.

Are you eager to make your mark on the world of illustration? Are you open to new ideas and challenges? Are you willing to speak up, stand up and stand out? Then you belong on Derby’s illustration degree.

Your focus will be practical project work – including briefs from genuine clients – so you develop a broad set of skills: technical, analytical, intellectual and organisational. There will also be workshop practice, lectures, demonstrations, seminars, group critiques, work checks, individual tutorials, reports and assignments. We’ll visit museums, galleries, exhibitions and other events for further inspiration.

This is not a place where you can hide away. Experience what working as a freelance illustrator is really like through the student-led design group, PLY. Show off your talent at prestigious competitions and exhibitions, including New Designers in London. Excel in challenges set by organisations like Macmillan, Penguin Books and the Royal Mail.

You’ll graduate from BA Illustration with a distinctive professional portfolio and a suite of promotional material to launch your career. You could go into newspaper and magazine editorial, education, children’s books, graphic novels, print production, advertising or the wider design industry. Your improved business skills and entrepreneurial outlook will also make freelancing a viable option.

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Admission requirements

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

QualificationOfferFurther informationUCAS TariffA levelPearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (first teaching from September 2016)Access to HE DiplomaGCSE/National 4/National 5112 pointsYour offer will be based on your predicted grades from your core A2s (full A levels), BTEC Diploma etc. We will accept up to 16 points towards the total from level 3 qualifications such as AS (where those AS levels are not taken on to A2 level), the Extended Project, or Music qualifications.  We usually consider an A Level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria / offer.BBCDMMD: 15 credits
M: 24 credits
P: 6 creditsPass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits with 45 at Level 3GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification

Additional entry requirements



English language requirements

IELTS overall score at a minimum of 6.0; with at least IELTS 5.5 in each band (Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing) or another Secure English Language Test(SELT)at CEFR level B2 or above

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Program content

What you will study

You'll study modules such as:

Stage one

  • Creative Curiosity 
  • Understanding Illustration
  • Illustration: Concepts
  • Illustration: History and Culture 

Stage two

  • Illustration: Art and Theory
  • Visual Narratives
  • Illustration: Voice
  • Illustration: Connections

Diploma in Professional Practice (optional)

  • Applied Professional Practice
  • Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice

Stage three

  • Destinations
  • Negotiated Study in Illustration
  • Specialist Practice in Illustration
  • Visual Culture: Extended Essay 

Program delivery

How you will learn

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods including project work, workshop practice, lectures, demonstrations, seminars, group critiques, work checks, individual tutorials, reports and assignments.

  • The main focus is on practical project work which equips you with a broad range of technical, analytical, intellectual and organisational skills. This includes live briefs set by employers, workshops led by design companies and regular commissions for arts organisations such as QUAD in Derby or Derby Book Festival.
  • We have a student-led design group – PLY – who work on independent live projects. As part of this group, you’ll liaise with clients, present concepts and artwork, gain commissions and develop real projects through which you can experience life working as an illustrator.
  • The course also features cultural study trips to museums, galleries, exhibitions, conferences and book fairs. You could also join our Erasmus scheme, which gives you the chance to study at one of our partner institutes in Europe.
  • We offer exciting opportunities for you to showcase your talent in prestigious competitions and exhibitions, including the annual New Designers showcase in London. Our students have celebrated success in challenges set by organisations such as Macmillan, Penguin Books, the Royal Mail, London Transport and the Association of Illustrators.

Our students are expected to attend on a daily basis, with periods of time allocated to self-directed study. You’ll be assessed by 100% coursework relevant to each module, which may include artwork portfolios, exhibitions, sketchbooks, research, essays, reports and presentations.

Tuition fees

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Channel Islands£9,250Year 1EU£14,045Year 1International£14,045Year 1England£9,250Year 1Northern Ireland£9,250Year 1Scotland£9,250Year 1Wales£9,250Year 1

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.

Career opportunities


This course prepares you for an exciting career in illustration, with opportunities in newspaper and magazine editorial, education, publishing and book arts, children’s books, graphic novels, print production, advertising and the wider design industry. Some of our graduates also pursue careers as writers, educators and picture/research editors. With a large number of illustrators working on a freelance basis, the course also equips you with business skills and an entrepreneurial outlook.   

Whatever branch of illustration you aspire to, you’ll graduate with a professional portfolio that is personal and distinctive, alongside a wealth of promotional material to launch your career. Many of our students are talent-spotted through the hands-on work they undertake during live briefs for employers, or through the competitions and exhibitions which form an integral part of your studies.  

As part of the course, you’ll join the Association of Illustrators (AOI) which advances illustrators’ rights and encourages professional standards. You will have access to notable industry practitioners, workshops, support and professional advice, including one-to-one portfolio surgeries by the AOI for our final year students.  

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About this institute

University of Derby

Here at the University of Derby we believe anything is possible. With a broad range of courses at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level, we can help you get your career off to a great start. We know how important it...

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Contact info

University of Derby

Kedleston Road
DE22 1GB Derby

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Contact school

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