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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

W210 BA (Hons) Graphic Arts (3 years)

Become a highly skilled, critically engaged graphic arts practitioner, ready to shape the future of creative disciplines in one of the fastest growing areas of the economy.

Introducing your degree

On BA Graphic Arts you’ll learn to create engaging, effective creative solutions, shaped by research insights and realised through digital or physical media. Having gained a deeper understanding of different disciplines, you’ll choose to specialise in graphic design, illustration, motion design or photography. Working in our superb studio space, you’ll develop practical and critical skills through a range of assignments, with guidance from our expert staff team. Strong links with industry ensure the curriculum is at the forefront of current practice, and opportunities to engage with external practitioners are integral to the programme, giving you an in-depth understanding of professional practice and enhancing your employability. These opportunities include a series of lectures and workshops by both leading design studios and our strong alumni, who have established themselves within the creative industries. In addition, we make the most of our proximity to London with regular studio visits, as well as running overseas trips. Our graduates are well-informed, future-ready practitioners, equipped with technical and intellectual skills that help them adapt and thrive in a fast-changing sector.


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Our programme content is informed by the latest industry practice, BA Graphic Arts will enable you to pursue your creative passions while preparing for a sector with excellent employment prospects.

You will be part of a vibrant creative community, you’ll study in an inspiring studio environment that is set up to mirror professional practice. You’ll work alongside peers from different years and different pathways, which will be great preparation for an increasingly multidisciplinary sector.

Critical thinking skills are fundamental to creative practice, we will help you to stand out by developing your own way of working, enabling you to make decisions based on a systematic investigation of a problem or brief. A thoughtful, critically engaged practitioner, you’ll have the transferable skills to succeed as technologies and jobs evolve in this fast-changing industry.

Programme Structure

This is a three-year, full-time course, with a number of modules each year across two semesters. During year one you’ll experience all four specialist pathways – graphic design, illustration, motion design or photography.

Year one

The first year will introduce you to essential research approaches. You’ll also learn about the key concepts that have informed the development of graphic arts since its beginnings in the last century, as well as current issues in graphic arts practice.

Studio work in semester one will involve working across the four pathways to gain a deeper understanding of practice across different media – important in an increasingly cross-disciplinary sector. In the second semester you’ll focus on a single specialist pathway, getting to grips with the core approaches and concepts that underpin your specialism.

Year two

The second year is all about building on your specialist skills, focussing your practice and helping you to grow as an independent practitioner. You’ll achieve this through studio assignments and projects within your nominated specialism. In semester two you’ll work on a self-initiated project, supported by seminars and workshops, to develop a substantial piece of work that will prepare you for the final year. You’ll also explore and critically examine the ideas and topics that relate to your project in a reflective journal.

Year two also includes an optional module that you can choose according to your creative or career interests. The options cover topics such as problem solving, marketing, digital culture and visual culture. 91% of students agree that the course provides them with opportunities to bring information and ideas together from different topics (NSS, 2018).

Year three

In the third year you’ll continue to personalise and hone your practice, while gaining a deeper understanding of different design professions and developing your employability. Activities include an externally partnered project, preparation of a submission for a prestigious industry competition, and a series of practitioner-led lectures and studio visits.

In the last semester you’ll work on your final project, a significant piece of work in response to a brief formulated by you. Your work will be showcased to the public and industry at WSA, and at a show in London that you’ll help to plan and run with support from the School.

Study abroad

In the second year you’ll have the opportunity to spend a semester studying overseas through the Erasmus exchange programme. Studying abroad can be a hugely enriching experience, offering the chance to immerse yourself in another culture, gain a different perspective on the graphic arts, and make new friends and contacts in your chosen country. Our prestigious exchange partners include:

  • Elisava School of Design, Barcelona
  • Weissensee Kunsthochschule, Berlin
  • Basel School of Design, Switzerland


One of your assignments will involve preparing an entry for one of a range of prestigious competitions, such as the International Society of Typographic Designers assessment, the Penguin Illustration Awards, and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Student Design Awards. We review the projects and recommend the best ones for submission.

Success in competitions like these can really help you stand out when you are talking to potential employers. Past achievements reflect the high calibre of our students and the quality of the course. For example, one of our students won an RSA award in the ‘sustainability’ category and was also selected to receive a the Bill Moggridge Award, receiving a sum of £10,000 to develop her own design idea.

Alumni and Industry

Input from external practitioners feeds into our student engagement and enables us to offer a number of exciting learning and career development initiatives. We also invite alumni back to the University to run workshops, give feedback on portfolios and help students with employability skills and CV development.

We forge strong links with creative professionals to make sure the course content reflects the latest practice, and to help you to learn about different aspects of the sector, identify the right career path and build your networks. 

Some special features of the course that draw from these relationships include: 

Guest Lecture series 

Our series of Guest lectures and workshops are led by figures from different creative industry sectors. Providing insights into current professional practice and emerging industry challenges, the series will give you a deeper understanding of design-related roles and help you to develop your own professional profile.

Our alumni now work at studios such as Moving Brands, ustwo, Delivered by Post, ico, Applied Works and Mother; some are freelancers who have worked for high-profile clients such as Nike, the Design Museum and Pimms. We invite them back to the School to run workshops, give feedback on current students’ portfolios and advise them on how to develop their CV and employability skills. 

Additional learning opportunities

Alongside the main curriculum, you’ll be able to take advantage of industry-inspired initiatives that allow you to build your professional skills and explore emerging areas of practice

Studio 3015 is a unique in-house professional design service run by design educators and alumni. It offers placements to students, giving them invaluable experience, and employs a number of our graduates each year

We have a dedicated publishing space, which provides a focus for projects with local artists and student-run workshops – for example, workshops for first-years run by second-years – which give you the chance to gain or share skills. 

Outstanding facilities

You’ll learn in a large, well-resourced studio, with your own personal studio space in the third year.

Our superb facilities include:

  • a 3D scanner and printer
  • a largescale flatbed printer
  • letterpress, screen-printing, relief printing and largescale inkjet print facilities
  • the latest photography technology
  • high-spec Mac computers and Wacom tablets in every studio, including a dedicated motion graphics suite with packages such as Cinema 4D and Adobe After Effects
  • Dedicated publishing space, complete with Risograph digital printer and binding equipment

Well-connected, industry-experienced academics

You’ll learn from staff who are practitioners in a range of graphic arts fields as well as experienced educators and researchers.

  • Danny Aldred has over 10 years’ commercial graphic design experience. In 2011 he completed an MA in Book Arts at Camberwell College of Art and subsequently established Entbergen press. More recently, Danny set up Book-lab, initiated as a research and production platform for students and staff to explore publishing-based activities. He is a co-editor of Code-X, an examination of the transformation of book design, which was recently published with launch events in New York and Berlin.
  • Kieron Baroutchi is a London-based graphic artist and educator. He has worked across illustration, animation and graphic design for over 10 years. His focus has always included education, which has led to work as a creative practitioner for the BBC, Tate and The Film and Video Workshop. He currently runs the Dalston Comic Creators Club and continues to develop personal projects, including collaborative efforts as a founding member of the Six Fingers of Fate.
  • Sarah Langford leads the Illustration pathway within the BA Graphic Arts course. Sarah’s research interests surround visualising invisible processes, and using illustration to educate, inform, and help others. Sarah has exhibited her work internationally, and is currently involved in a collaborative project working with Natural Environment Research Council’s National Oceanography Centre (NOCs) and the University of Southampton’s Ocean and Earth Science department. Sarah has worked with many leading clients and industry partners and is passionate about connecting students with real experiences, audiences, and opportunities. 
  • Beth Salter is the founder of Brighton-based creative design agency Shut Up Studio. Recent projects have included developing a store theme and marketing campaign for Ted Baker’s Soho store, as well as various brand design, art direction and packaging design projects for companies in the food, textile, arts and music sectors.

View the programme specification for this course for 2018/19 entrants

View the programme specification for this course for 2019/20 entrants

Key Facts

Specialise in graphic design, illustration, motion design or photography, while working in a multidisciplinary studio environment.

A focus on research-informed practice, encompassing digital and physical platforms.

Focus on developing employability skills, including active engagement with external practitioners throughout the programme

Learn from professionals through externally partnered projects, a guest lecture series and studio visits

Extensive access to well-resourced workshops and high-spec equipment such as Mac suites, 3D printing and laser cutting, with dedicated year studio space for all three years.

Field trips to design studios, galleries and cultural spaces – destinations have included New York and Berlin

One of only a few graphic arts courses based within a Russell Group university

Exciting career prospects in one of the economy’s fastest growing employment sectors

Graduates now work at ustwo, Moving Brands, Mother, M&C Saatchi, Sony, Jack Wills, Wallpaper and The Sunday Times.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

GCSEWinchester School of Art requires all applicants to achieve at least a Grade 4 (taken in England) or a Grade C (where taken in Northern Ireland or Wales) in English and Mathematics. If you are taking an alternative qualification please contact our admissions team via
A Levels:
GCE A-level


Grades BBB, including an art/design based subject


International Baccalaureate30 points including 16 at a higher level            
Diploma in Foundation Studies (Art & Design)


BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design

DDM (Distinction Distinction Merit)

Other qualifications will be considered on an individual basis.

Please contact us for further information.

Selection process:
Average applications per place:

Applications should be made via UCAS. Applicants who meet our minimum entry requirements will be invited to attend an individual portfolio interview. We conduct portfolio interviews from December onwards.

Equal consideration deadline: 15 January. Early applications are welcomed.

For the most up-to-date admissions information, please check the UCAS website

Year 2 entry: if you have professional experience, or credit through prior learning at another institution, you may be eligible to use this experience against some of the programme requirements for period of study. You will need to present evidence that you have met the learning outcomes of the programme. Full details can be found in the University’s Policy on the Recognition of Prior Learning.

International / EU applicants

English Language requirements

International and EU students must also comply with the University of Southampton's English language entry requirement for this course, which is to achieve IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent. Please see English language entry requirements for further details of English tests that we accept.

If you don’t meet our English language entry requirements for direct entry onto any of our BA programmes, you could be eligible to study on one of the University’s English language pre-sessional programmes at the Centre for Language Studies. For more information please visit Winchester School of Art Undergraduate Pre-sessional Programmes.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not currently meet our entry requirements may be able to join this course on successful completion of our International Foundation Year. Find out more about the Foundation Year.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The three years of the course are carefully structured and reviewed annually to define learning experiences that will allow you to become a professional, flexible and innovative creative practitioner, and to sustain yourself after graduation into a successful career and beyond.

Year 1

Part 1 will give you the opportunity to explore specialist disciplines and provide diagnostic support for your choice of specialist pathway. This will take place through a series of project rotations accompanied by workshop inductions, to introduce you to a range of practical skills and media. Your academic research and study skills will be developed through modules and library based inductions. A great deal of the focus is placed on working towards practical outputs through themed projects set by your tutors. You will also begin to engage with the contexts and the debates in contemporary art and design through the Historical and Critical Contexts module.

In Semester 2 you will be introduced to further skills and projects designed to enable you to make a selection on your preferred pathway specialism in consultation with your tutors.

Semester One
Core [?]
A core module is a module which must be taken and passed.
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Semester Two
Core [?]
A core module is a module which must be taken and passed.
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

Year 2

As part of your studies in Part 2, Semester 1, you will be able to select one of six optional core modules, each designed to provide you with an opportunity to broaden your studies and engage with peers from other art and design subjects in an interdisciplinary environment.

The module choices will provide you with the creative freedom to explore areas outside of your main specialism.

Student exchange module
In Part 2 Semester 2, the Study Exchange Module offers students an opportunity to study abroad at one of our international partner institutions. Locations include Germany, Spain and Switzerland. The opportunity to study abroad is dependent on your eligibility to travel to particular countries, i.e., obtaining a visa, as well as the successful completion of the Part 2 Semester 1 modules.

Your Student Exchange will be supported by a programme Exchange Coordinator and a dedicated handbook.

Semester One

Specialist Practice and Skills Core

You must select and pass one optional core module from:

Business Skills for the Creative Industries

Creative Futures

Creative Writing

Image and Branding

Sight and Sound

Visual Culture

Semester Two

Self-Initiated Project


Study Exchange for Graphic Arts


Critical Reflection of Specialism Core

Year 3

In Part 3, externally partnered projects will encourage you to test your ideas within the professional context and gain a working knowledge of the creative industries. This experience will be complemented by a Professional and Critical Contexts module to focus specifically on alignment between your professional ambition and skills supported by presentations by industry practitioners, reflections upon the sector and how this relates to your practice.

Semester two consolidates your knowledge and experience in the Final Major Project module by producing ambitious and well informed finished pieces of work that communicate your ideas to your audience. Your Professional Planning and Evaluation module will enable you to apply your career-focussing skills to enable you to promote yourself to a professional standard and produce an industry focussing report where you will plan your entry into industry.

Semester One

External Projects

Professional and Critical Contexts Core

Semester Two

Final Major Project (Graphic Arts)

Professional Planning and Evaluation

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

NameYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
BA Graphic Arts2018Full-time£9,250£16,536
BA Graphic Arts2019Full-time£9,250£17,065
View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationary items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentA standard set of art materials will be required to start the course. Specifications for this are sent out in the welcome pack for the course. During the course you will need to provide a range of materials, this will vary from student to student and module to module
EquipmentA standard set of design materials will be required to start the course. Specifications for this are sent out in the welcome pack for the course. During the course you will need to provide a range of materials, this will vary from student to student and module to module. Some of the work you produce on the course will use digital technology. Necessary equipment is provided centrally but at times you may find it advantageous to purchase you own. Should you choose to do this, the University will provide guidance in purchasing this equipment at a reasonable price.
EquipmentYou may choose to use photography in some of the modules you study. Necessary equipment is provided centrally but at times you may find it advantageous to purchase you own. Should you choose to do this the University will provide guidance in purchasing this equipment at a reasonable price.
EquipmentYou may choose to use recording equipment in some of the modules you study. Necessary equipment is provided centrally but at times you may find it advantageous to purchase you own. Should you choose to do this the University will provide guidance in purchasing this equipment at a reasonable price.
OtherYou will need to equip yourself with a digital storage device. A 1 TB external hard drive should adequate and can be purchased for around £70
OtherSome of the work you produce on the course will use digital technology. Necessary hardware is provided centrally but at times you may find it advantageous to purchase you own hardware. Should you choose to do this the University will provide guidance in purchasing this equipment at a reasonable price.
Printing and copyingIn most cases, written coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations are submitted online and by hard copy. The costs of printing a hard copy for submission of such coursework will be the responsibility of the student. Practice based projects require printing and photocopying in order to present research, development and present outcomes. These costs vary from student to student and project to project. A list of the University printing costs can be found on the University Website.
FieldworkSome modules may include optional visits to a museum, galleries, etc. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel and admission, unless otherwise specified in the module profile.
TravelThe Student’s Union provide a mini free bus service which runs every 2 hours between the Winchester Campus and the Highfield Campus. Students are responsible for all other daily travel expenses.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

The high level of engagement with external practitioners, your experience of working in a multidisciplinary environment and our focus on professional skills will prepare you for success in the creative industries. It’s a fast-changing sector, so we aim to equip you for today’s job market and ensure you have the skills and flexibility to take advantage of new roles that will exist in the future

We encourage you to apply for internships to enhance your prospects; we have supported students to secure work experience opportunities at companies and freelance  

Potential career paths include, publication and web design, typography, digital animation, motion graphics, photography, user experience design, interaction design, data visualisation, code-based and generative design, editorial and children’s book illustration, mobile game design, identity and brand design, app design, digital animation, graphic novels and comics, studio and in-house photography, art direction, picture editing and studio management. 

Our graduates have gone on to work at:

  • Moving Brands
  • ustwo
  • Applied Works
  • Mother London­
  • Boiler Room
  • ilovedust
  • YCN
  • Johnston Works
  • Activision
  • M&C Saatchi
  • Sony
  • Jack Wills
  • The Sunday Times
  • Wallpaper

Other students have become freelancers, working for clients such as Nike, Urban Outfitters, The Design Museum, Barbican Centre, Diesel, Mango, Victoria Beckham and Top Man.


Learning & Assessment

You’ll learn through a mix of studio assignments, workshops, lectures and seminars, one-to-one tutorials, guest lectures, externally partnered projects and study visits.

These teaching and learning methods will develop your transferable skills alongside subject-specific knowledge, and enable you to become increasingly independent in preparation for the workplace. The studio set up and small-team approach reflect commercial studio practices, and you’ll learn how to work to set briefs, manage your time and workload, communicate ideas, and pitch and present your work.

You’ll receive informal feedback throughout your studies – from your tutors, in group critiques and through exercises such as portfolio reviews by external professionals. Assessed work will include your portfolio and reflective journal, presentations and written assignments. If you choose the study abroad option, we will assess the work you do while at the partner institution.

Supporting your studies 

Our close-knit learning community is a powerful support network. You’ll have plenty of contact time with your tutors, who will get to know you and offer guidance to help you achieve your goals. You’ll also learn from, and be inspired by, fellow students from different graphic arts disciplines across the three years of study. Our community extends into industry through our alumni network, which is a further source of support, careers advice and contacts.

Every student is allocated a personal academic tutor who can advise on academic or personal matters. In addition, you’ll have access to a wide range of learning, welfare and advice services run by the University and the Students’ Union.




The first year in Graphic Arts, part 1, involves the choice of a specialist pathway at the beginning of the second semester.

Graphic design

Graphic Design is one of the largest employment areas within the creative industries. It embraces traditional disciplines such as identity design, information design, advertising, typography, publication and web design as well as emerging areas such as user experience design, multi platform interaction, data visualisation, generative design and coding.


Illustration examines the potential of applied and commercial image making. Despite its recent expansion, illustration is still a fairly specialised area but we see its potential to tell compelling visual stories extending beyond the traditional disciplines such as editorial illustration, children’s books and graphic novels. Today, there are unprecedented opportunities for image-makers within emerging areas such as brand related storytelling, mobile gaming, ‘app’ design and digital animation. In this pathway you will be encouraged to explore your potential in relation to all of these areas.


The Photographic image plays a central role in the flourishing communication and design industries. The Photography pathway is taught as a diverse practice that incorporates commercial, editorial and fine art approaches to the medium. You will have the opportunity to work in well-equipped studios with high-end camera technology supported by specialist staff and technicians. Practical skills are complimented by contextual learning where the construction of meaning in images and the wider cultural context of photography are considered.

Motion graphics

Over the last decade, the motion graphics industry has grown from a highly specialised, small-scale activity to become a core activity for a majority of design studios. It not only provides a communication option that compliments print and online applications, but it is also used as a research tool providing mood films that are used to illustrate a creative direction or define a proposal. In this pathway, our approach is to address a broad range of time-based design options from traditional video and animation through to communication that addresses a range of screens within an interactive environment.

Study Locations

Winchester campus

Winchester campus

Winchester School of Art is set in pleasant, green surroundings close ...Find out more

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