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BA (Hons)
BA (Hons) Design

We understand that it may be difficult to pinpoint right now the exact direction you wish to follow in your studies and subsequent career. That is why we have introduced a new entry route, BA (Hons) Design. The course will allow you to study the design practice in Year 1 before choosing your course when entering Year 2.

You will engage in a series of multidisciplinary experiences that will give you a greater understanding of the critical, creative and professional skills that you will need to flourish.

Throughout Year 1, you will be provided with tutorial guidance to help you identify where your strengths, weaknesses and motivations lie. This will support you in making the most appropriate choice for your intended area of study for the rest of your time at university.

1st in Scotland for student satisfaction in Art and Design - Complete University Guide 2021

1st university in Scotland for overall student satisfaction in Art - National Student Survey 2022

This course has one study option

Mode of Attendance

  • On Campus

Mode of Study

  • Full Time

Start Date


Course Length

4 years

Year 1

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



Modules and delivery order may change for operational purposes. The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our course and module disclaimer for more information.

Detailed Module Information:

Learning Methods

You will engage in a series of multidisciplinary experiences that will give you a greater understanding of the critical, creative and professional skills that you will need to flourish.

Activity Summary

Year 4

  • Lectures - average 30 students per group, 4 hours per term
  • Seminars - 8 students per group, 4 hours per term
  • Tutorial - one-to-one sessions, 4 hours per term
  • Project Supervision - average 30 students per group, 4 hours per term
  • Demonstration - average 15 students per group, 4 hours per term
  • Practical class or workshop - average 30 students per group, 6 hours per term
  • Supervised time in studio / workshop - average 30 students per group, 60 hours per term
  • Independent Study - average 30 students per group, 340 hours per term
  • External Visits - average 30 students per group, 340 hours per term
  • Placement / Work Based Learning - variable depending on individual project

How long is a BA (Hons) Design course?

The duration of a Design degree is 4 years. This includes lectures, seminars, time in the studio and other activities.

Independent Study

Throughout the course, particular emphasis is placed on your development of independent learning through self-directed design project/s. By Year 4, you will undertake independent study, reflecting on your previous 3 years’ experience of building expertise and specialist knowledge within your chosen pathway and towards a level approaching professional practice.

Staff delivering on this course

The dedicated academic and technical staff on this course have a wide variety of design backgrounds and their knowledge and experience will provide you with a deep understanding of the Design disciplines.

Industry experts contribute to the course as Professional Associates and through the Guest@Grays lecture programme, which invites national and international illustrators, designers and photographers to speak about their work. The course works closely with the University’s Library, Study Skills and Careers staff and academia from other Schools and departments of the university.


Typically students are assessed each year:

Year 1

  • 1 written assignment, including essays
  • 2 portfolios
  • 3 group critiques

Year 2

  • 2 written assignments, including essays
  • 2 portfolios
  • 3 group critiques

Year 3

  • 2 written assignments, including essays
  • 2 portfolios
  • 2 project outputs
  • 3 group critiques

Year 4

  • 1 dissertation
  • 1 portfolio


We aim to provide you with feedback within 20 working days of hand-in for all written exams, coursework and practical exams.


Academic Support

The Inclusion Centre advises and supports students who disclose a sensory or mobility impairment, chronic medical condition, mental health issue, dyslexia and other specific learning differences. Applicants are encouraged to arrange a pre-entry visit to discuss any concerns and to view the facilities.

Online Learning & Support

All undergraduate and postgraduate students, whether you are learning on campus or by online learning, benefit from using our collaborative virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle. You will be provided with 24/7 online access to your learning material and resources, along with the ability to interact with your class members and tutors for discussion and support.

Study Skills Support

The Study Support Team provides training and support to all students in:

  • Academic writing
  • Study skills (note taking, exam techniques, time management, presentation)
  • Maths and statistics
  • English language
  • Information technology support

Library Support

The Library offers support for your course, including the books, eBooks, and journals you will need. We also offer online reading lists for many modules, workshops and drop-ins on searching skills and referencing, and much more.



You will have the opportunity to undertake a 10 week optional placement in Year 3, Term 2. This will enable you to gain first-hand experience and a real insight into professional practice. Past placement opportunities have included working with local, national and international creative companies and designers.

You are responsible for finding the placement with support from the placement office and academic staff. 

Study Abroad

In Year 3, Term 2, there is the opportunity to undertake a period of international study exchange with our partner colleges across Europe, Canada and the US.

Job Prospects

The breadth of experience and choice of specialisms offered by this course ensures you have a number of employment opportunities in various roles.

Is Design a good career choice?

Your career choice will depend on the path you choose from Year Two of the course.

Previous  BA Design graduates of Robert Gordon University have gone on to pursue the following careers:

  • Graphic design
  • Illustration
  • Photography 
  • Knitwear designer 
  • Accessories designer
  • Jewellery designer
  • Web design
  • Marketing

What is needed for a BA (Hons) Design degree?

Entry to Year 1

SQA Higher: BBC to include Art & Design (or a related subject) 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 e.g. History).

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).

All applicants with the appropriate qualifications (or due to sit appropriate qualifications) will be invited to attend a portfolio review/interview and participate in a selection process.

Alternative Qualifications

Those who may not hold the standard qualifications listed are encouraged to apply if they can evidence other appropriate/relevant creative work, qualifications and/or life experiences. Such candidates are advised to contact the Student Admissions Service for further advice and guidance.

A portfolio review/interview is still a requirement for this category of candidate.

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.

International Students 

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.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English should have an IELTS of 6.0 overall, with no component lower than 5.5, or an equivalent.

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

Our Pre-Sessional English Programme (PSP) is available for students who have not yet reached the required English level and those who would like to improve their language competency. 

Please note, some courses may require a higher standard of English than stated in this page. Contact for further information.


Tuition fees for this BA (Hons) Design degree are as follows:

For Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Scottish Students: £1,820 per academic year
  • EU Students: £6,750 per academic year
  • Rest of UK Students: £6,750 per academic year
  • International Students: £15,000 per academic year

For Academic Year 2020/21

  • Scottish/EU Students: £1,820 per academic year
  • Rest of UK Students: £6,750 per academic year
  • International Students: £15,000 per academic year

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:

Student Funding

If you are a Scottish resident 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:

Scholarships and Financial Awards

You may also qualify for a scholarship or financial award:

Widening Access Accommodation and Welcome Pack Offer

If you are applying to RGU for September 2021 and meet widening access criteria, you may qualify for free accommodation in your first year of study, along with our welcome pack to support your transition to university. Find out if you are eligible:


For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter.  For further information see:


Have a question about the course? Get in touch with our Student Admissions Service and we'll do our best to help.

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