Communication Design Degree BA (Hons)

BA (Hons) Communication Design - Graphics / Illustration / Photography

1. Overview

This course will equip you with an extensive understanding of the Communication Design disciplines and provide you with an opportunity to focus your study towards a chosen specialism.

Students will develop the creative, critical and technical skills necessary to pursue a career within the ever evolving communication design professions across a wide range of industry sectors.

The curriculum is focused on developing ideas and problem-solving skills via a process of self-directed study, research, experimentation, creativity, innovation and enterprise.

Subjects within the programme of study include Graphics, Illustration, Photography, as well as 3D Visualization, Animation, Videography, and Interactive & Web Design.

Industry-led projects, European exchanges, national design competitions, work placements and internships are all integral to the curriculum.

Our distinctive cross-disciplinary approach to learning included the integration of the design disciplines and student cohorts within open plan design studios.

Key activities relate to professional and commercial practice and new business start-up activities encourage our graduates to adopt an entrepreneurial outlook.

The wide variety of opportunities and learning experiences raise awareness of the fast paced and changing context of communication design.

2. What you will study

Year 1

Enables students to develop competency in the fundamental elements of the creative process including research, ideas generation and development, resolution and reflection. Students develop a broad range of core skills and knowledge that enable informed choices and decisions to be made as the curriculum progresses.

Projects are directed by staff, and students work within prescribed parameters. Design briefs are delivered through a combination of studio and workshop activity. Students are introduced to new ideas, concepts and working approaches through seminars, critiques, discussion forums and tutorials.

Modules

  • AA1001 Drawing & Visualisation 1
  • AA1005 Creative Principles & Methods
  • AA1008 Core Design Studies
  • AA1009 Contextual And Critical Studies - Introduction to Visual Culture

Year 2

The curriculum provides students with the ability to understand and apply knowledge of key theoretical principles through the provision of integrated projects; these include a broad range of practical and technical skills associated with the communication disciplines.

Projects are predominantly directed by staff, and design briefs are delivered through a combination of studio and contextual and critical study activity that enable focus on outputs that connect with personal interests. Subjects include: design principles, processes and methods; drawing and visualisation; graphics, illustration and photography; typography and print; editorial, book and advertising design; branding; packaging; 3D visualisation; information and motion graphics; video; moving image and web design.

Modules

  • AA2502 Contextual & Critical Studies - Communication Design Contexts
  • AA2503 Design: Drawing & Visualisation
  • AA2508 Communication Design: Principles & Processes
  • AA2509 Communication Design: Principles & Methods

Year 3

This stage challenges students to consider their own creative direction and personal voice within studio. Students further develop their insight into their professional context, considering external opportunities and potential career pathways. Students explore the requirements of new business start-up and explore the skills to pursue a career as an independent practitioner.

Students undertake increasing levels of self-directed study and studio project work enabling a greater focus on developing specialist interests in preparation for Year 4. Opportunities to participate in a range of external collaborative projects and placement activities develop students’ professional aptitudes.

Modules

  • AA3310 Contextual & Critical Studies - Exploring Context
  • AA3503 Communication Design: Practice & Context
  • AA3507 Professional Design Studies

Semester 2 Options

  • AA3307 Industry Work Based Placement
  • AA3308 International Study
  • AA3311 Contextual & Critical Studies - Research & Enquiry
  • AA3505 Communication Design: Professional Practice

Year 4

The final stage of the course provides the opportunity to undertake a sustained period of independent self-directed study at the threshold of professional practice. Students develop their own design brief in response to personal interests, researching subjects, themes and design questions that will underpin their study and final design outcomes.

Students will apply their critical design skills to a range of projects while collaborative design briefs and competitions will provide an opportunity to promote work externally at a national and international level.

Honours year is largely characterised by externally facing and socially engaged practice and the further development of individual specialism in line with career aspirations.

Modules

  • AA4300 Contextual & Critical Studies - Self Directed Research Enquiry
  • AA4308 Contextual & Critical Studies - Self Directed Critical Evaluation, Reflection & Projection
  • AA4502 Communication Design: Self - Directed Projects

Critical and Contextual Studies (CSS) 

Studio practice is supported at all stages by a contextual and critical studies programme. This allows students to engage with history, theory and contemporary practice within each studio specialism. The CCS programme is delivered through blended learning, including lectures, seminars and group tutorials. Students engage with research, analytical critical thinking and are offered various models of communication for assessment, from essays to multimedia digital submissions. In Year 4 students propose their own topic that leads to the submission of a professionally presented body of research.

Guests @ Gray's

Guests @ Grays invite national and international artists and designers to the School to speak about their work. They have had a phenomenal list of speakers that have visited the school in the last few years.

The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our Course Disclaimer for more information.

3. How you will learn

Through the investigation of traditional techniques and the latest digital technologies, the syllabus explores the application of graphics, illustration and photography by way of studio based multi-disciplinary practice, whilst competition briefs and industry-led projects place an emphasis on the professional and commercial setting.

Open plan studios enable students across specialisms to work alongside each other creating a vibrant learning environment through shared learning experiences. Studio activities are supported and enriched by a programme of critical theory-based study exploring design culture and context through a series of lectures and seminars with further opportunities to participate in international study trips and industry-based placements with leading companies and designers.

The course has excellent links with industry, ensuring students gain relevant experience and develop the necessary skills required of today’s communication designers.

In third year, you can make an informed decision as to which area you wish to specialise in, in preparation for your fourth-year Honours project and the Degree Show. Your chosen specialisation will be reflected in your final award title, allowing you to graduate with a

  • BA (Hons) Communication Design or
  • BA (Hons) Communication Design, Graphics or
  • BA (Hons) Communication Design, Illustration or
  • BA (Hons) Communication Design, Photography

Those working across specialisms generally opt to graduate with the final award title of BA (Hons) Communication Design.

4. Entry requirements

SQA Higher: BBC to include Art / Design and English (or a written subject requiring the use of English).

GCE A Level: BC to include Art / Design and English (or a written subject requiring the use of English).

Irish Leaving Certificate Higher: H3H3H3 to include Art and English (or a written subject requiring the use of English).

IB Diploma: 24 to include Higher Level Visual Arts and English (or a written subject requiring the use of English).

Alternative Qualifications: Those who may not hold the standard qualifications, are encouraged to apply if they can evidence other appropriate life and work experiences. Such candidates are advised to contact the University during open days or the Visit Afternoons for further advice and guidance. A folio of work is still a requirement for this type of candidate.

Applicants from Partner Colleges: A relevant HND from one of our partner colleges will be considered for entry into Year 3, subject to meeting conditions criteria and successfully passing the selection. Find out more about Degree Link

Advanced Entry: Suitable qualifications for entry to Year 2 or above may include a relevant HND or Diploma in Foundation Studies (Art & Design, Design & Media). All advanced entry applications with the appropriate qualifications will be invited to attend an interview. Download a copy of our portfolio guidance

Interview/Portfolio Review: Suitable applicants will be invited to attend the School with their portfolio for an informal review/discussion with academic staff. This allows you to meet staff, see the teaching environment and allows the School to explore our ambitions whilst reviewing your work. We will discuss your folio work and specific interests within art and design, as well as your aspirations. It will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions.

Non Standard Entry: Those who may not hold the standard qualifications, are encouraged to apply if they can evidence other appropriate life and work experiences. Such candidates are advised to contact the University during Open Days or the Visit Afternoons for further advice and guidance. A folio of work is still a requirement for this type of candidate.

English Language

We accept a variety of in-country and secure English language tests, find out more:

English Language requirements

International students who do not meet our direct entry requirements for this course can gain additional entry points through our International College at Robert Gordon University.

* All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. A small number of courses require higher levels, but this will be stated explicitly on your offer letter.

5. Placements and accreditations

Students have the opportunity to participate in a diverse range of external activities throughout the duration of the course. This includes international field study trips, national competitions and live collaborative projects with a wide variety of external partners.

We offer the opportunity to participate in the Erasmus European Exchange Programme and industry-based placements with leading creative companies and designers. There are also a number of university clubs and societies and local creative collectives that offer a range of extra-curricular activities.

Our Enterprise Partners network includes Elevator, Scottish Institute for Enterprise Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce and NESTA.

You will also participate in our annual undergraduate Degree Show and the D&AD New Blood exhibition in London.

6. Student Funding

If you are a Scottish resident or EU national you are not liable to pay fees and should apply to SAAS for funding.

Students from other parts of the UK should visit the appropriate website:

7. Course Fees

For Academic Year 2017/2018

Scottish/EU Students

  • £1,820 per academic year

Rest of UK Students

  • £6,750 per academic year

International Students

  • £12,000 per academic year

For Academic Year 2016/2017

Scottish/EU Students

  • £1,820 per academic year

Rest of UK Students

  • £6,750 per academic year

International Students

  • £11,500 per academic year

For Academic Year 2015/2016

Scottish/EU Students

  • £1820 per academic year

Rest of UK Students

  • £6,750 per academic year

International Students

  • £12,000 per academic year

For Academic Year 2014/2015

Scottish/EU Students

  • £1820 per academic year

Rest of UK Students

  • £6,750 per academic year

International Students

  • £11,500 per academic year

For Academic Year 2013/2014

Scottish/EU Students

  • £1820 per academic year

Rest of UK Students

  • £6,750 per academic year

International Students

  • £10,000 per academic year

For Academic Year 2012/2013

Scottish/EU Students

Full-time

  • £1,820 per academic year

Rest of UK Students

Full-time

  • £6,750 per academic year

International Students

  • £9367 per academic year

For Academic Year 2011/2012

UK/EU Students

  • £1820 per academic year

International Students

  • £9300 per academic year

Disclaimer

Course fees are reviewed periodically and so are subject to change for new applicants. All tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in your offer letter. You will also be liable to pay a graduation fee of £40 before receiving a University award.

For further information see Student Finance pages

 

8. How to apply

You must apply online at UCAS - www.ucas.com/apply. 

Once you register and create your username and password, you are guided through the process of applying. After submission, log in to your UCAS Track account and you can see the progress of your application, and view and respond to your offers.

9. Prospects

Our graduates are employed in a variety of professional roles across all sectors. Many work for local companies while others are employed nationally and internationally for leading design agencies.

A number of graduates have established their own design consultancies while others are working as freelance designers, illustrators and photographers for prominent publications, major design consultancies and media organisations such as the BBC and Channel 4. A number have extended their academic understanding through further study at the Royal College of Art and other postgraduate institutions.

The breadth of experience and choice of specialisms offered by this course ensures our graduates maximise their potential. Employment opportunities regularly exist within the following areas: 

  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Photography
  • Publishing
  • Digital Design
  • Interactive Design
  • Web Design
  • Branding
  • Advertising
  • Motion Graphics
  • Marketing
  • Communications
  • Art Direction
  • Fashion
  • Media
  • Film
  • TV
  • Video
  • Radio
  • Performing Arts
  • Enterprise

Visit the Gray’s School of Art blog site to find out more about the wide range of activities and opportunities on this course.

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Award

BA (Hons)

UCAS Code

WW26

Start date

September

Course length

4 Years

Mode of Attendance

Full-time

Academic school
Gray's School of Art
More information:
Undergraduate Admissions +44 (0) 1224 262728

Design Council


Visit the UK Design Council Website to find out more about the Design Industries.

  1. Design Council
  2. D&AD

    150 D&AD Logo

    Graduates will participate in the annual D&AD New Blood Exhibition in London.

  3. ICRGU - Art and Design

    ICRGU - Art and Design

    The International College at Robert Gordon University offers first year degree entry into Art and Design courses at Robert Gordon University for International Students.

“The course has enabled me to develop a diverse set of skills that will allow me to pursue a career as a professional within an exciting visual world.”

Kasia Serafin Communication Design Degree BA (Hons)

Gray's School of Art Blog

Find out more about life at Gray's School of Art.


Robert Gordon University, Garthdee House, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, AB10 7QB, Scotland, UK: a Scottish charity, registration No. SC013781