Graphic design is a major factor in the success of most businesses, from marketing and creative consultancies to magazines and publishing companies. A degree can lead to opportunities at every level, from local newspapers to international advertising firms. However, we understand that you don't always know what path you want your career to take at degree level. If you're interested in becoming a graphic designer, but are worried that your skills won't be suitable for a degree, don't despair. This is the course for you.
Our foundation course includes a year of introduction to the fundamentals of design, looking at where ideas come from and how to develop them. We will show you how to question and re-evaluate your designs, testing alternative solutions to produce the best end result. We will get you to think out loud on paper, helping to hone your graphic skills. Over the year you will learn all the necessary practical, technical and theoretical skills to help you automatically progress to degree level.
We provide fun projects at a fast pace that will soon get you up to speed before taking the degree. Hit the ground running by taking our Foundation levell course to get you started on your way to a career in graphic design!
To see what's going on right now, please visit our course blog.
Many of our full-time programmes can be studied over a longer period on a part-time basis. Please contact the course enquiries team for further details.
We also offer this course without an integrated foundation year-click the button for more information.Standard course option
Our one-year intensive programme will guarantee progression to the three year BA (Hons) degree. We provide a practical, studio-based experience, developing your visual language through experimentation, mark-making and digital manipulation. You will be introduced to composition, shape and visual dynamics and an exciting range of workshops ranging from drawing and printmaking, through to photography and typography. You will also study the key historical and contextual events that have shaped graphic design today.
Meeting designers from past, present and future, you will learn to draw anything and everything. We will expose you to lots of ways of working, from experimental to controlled, quick to quicker, immediate to considered, hi-tech to lo-tech, big to small, delicate to robust, 2D to 3D and all points in-between. At the end of your foundation year, you will then automatically progress to the Graphic Design degree, confident in your new skills.
- Visual Literacy
- Technical Processes
- Applied Visual Practice
- Design Cultures
- Design Fundamentals
- Design in Context 1
- Communicating Ideas
Optional Modules (Subject to availability and demand)
- Life Drawing
- Thinking through Drawing
- Traditional Photo Techniques
- Pictures for Publication
- Visual Arts at the 21st Century
- Fibre Arts 1
- Avertising Practices
- Creative Writing
- Embroidered Textile Decoration
- Principles of Graphic Design
- Principles of Multimedia
- Exploration of Graphic Design
- Design in Context 2
- Graphic Design Application
- Professional Context
- Graphic Design Practice
- Professional Practice
For detailed summary of all course content please read our programme specification for this course.
40 UCAS tariff points.
You can find out more about the tariff and qualification options from the UCAS tariff table.
Please check selection criteria for any additional entry requirements.
40 UCAS tariff points.
Please check selection criteria for any additional entry requirements.
Apply online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), between September and January; they will send your application on to us. Applications submitted after this date will be considered late and the course you have applied for might be full by this time; however, we will consider you for alternative suitable courses.
Their website provides all the information you need about universities, courses, locations, entry requirements and financial support. You are allowed to select up to five course choices. You need to use the correct UCAS campus and course codes as not all courses are offered at every campus. You will be asked for the following information when you apply online:
Institution code name: UoC
Institution code: C99
- A Ambleside
- B Brampton Road, Carlisle
- E University of Cumbria at Energus, Workington
- F Fusehill Street, Carlisle
- L Lancaster
- T University of Cumbria in London
- Y University of Cumbria at Furness College, Barrow-in-Furness
Applications should be made online directly to the university; visit our website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details and guidance. There is no official closing date but we would encourage you to apply as early as possible, as many courses are competitive.
What makes a good application?
We consider all aspects of your application, not simply your qualifications and grades. We look at your academic background and performance, relevant experience (particularly for professional courses where some voluntary or paid experience is required) and your reference. Above all, we look for motivation, commitment and potential-evidence that you can benefit from study at higher education level.
Make sure you include:
- Relevant qualifications/evidence of ability: check our website for the specific entry requirements required for each course. Tell us your previous academic results and your projected grades.
- A supportive reference, from an employer or your school or college.
- A good personal statement.
- Explain clearly what attracts you to the course and tell us about your wider interests and experience. If you are applying for a course that incorporates professional training and placements, you should include any relevant experience or visits you have made in the workplace. Highlight your individual strengths and qualities, personal skills, capacity for teamwork, contribution to the community and your enterprise, originality and determination. Select some activities which bring out these qualities.
When we receive your application, we will send you an acknowledgement and if you are successful at this stage you will get either an offer (with an invitation to visit the campus to which you have applied), or an invitation to interview on a particular date. If we are not able to offer you a place on your chosen course we will usually try to offer you a place on a similar course and will contact you to discuss this. Alternatively, if we think you are suitable, but cannot offer you a place on your preferred campus because of the level of competition, we will offer you a place at another campus if one is available.
And if I accept?
The admissions team will contact you and send further information from February onwards about accommodation, and from May/June onwards about preparing to join the university. If you have any other queries, please telephone the admissions offices for information and advice on 0845 6061144.
We welcome applications for deferred entry on some courses. If you have specific plans during your year out, indicate these on your personal statement as they may be relevant to your course and could enhance your application.
Applications for full-time undergraduate study are made through UCAS. Please see the international pages of our website for full details of our entry requirements (including English-language skills) as well as contacts for advice and support.
From 2009 the UK Border Agency introduced a Points-Based Immigration System (PBS) for students coming to the UK from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Students entering higher education will need to obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) plus finance confirmation to obtain a Tier 4 student visa. UK education providers are licensed by the UK Border Agency. When students apply for their visa (or entry clearance) they will need a valid Certificate of Acceptance of Studies from the university. Please note that a CAS is not a guarantee that a visa will be issued.
See the following websites for further details: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/studyingintheuk
All students will need to purchase stationery, course books and personal equipment. Extra costs may also be applicable to cover field trips, membership fees etc. The following PDF link below provides an overview of these costs for this course.Additional costs
By completing the course, you will graduate with all the right skills to easily make your way into the creative industries. Graduates of ours have gone on to work at advertising consultancies, multi-media agencies, TV companies, publishing houses and magazines, both nationally and across the globe. Because of our reputation for excellence, each year some of our graduates are head-hunted by major magazine publishing houses including Future Publishing, IPC and Condé Nast.
We have also had great success in the world of multi-media design - two of our students gaining highly prized jobs at MTV as designer/animators and Ryan Young and Lee Freeman are now working at the innovative London advertising agency Sell! Sell! Fredrik Öst and Magnus Berg returned to their native Sweden to start their own, highly individual, multi-disciplinary design company Snask, a design studio which is now so successful and famous, you can buy a book about them! We're confident that upon finishing our course, you will go on to great things with your degree.
Resources and facilities
We are immensely proud of our fantastically well-equipped and spacious studio space. Containing over eighty Mac workstations, small tutorial and lecture spaces, staff offices, and lots of space for student work bases, it really offers everything a graphic design student could need for the best results. It also has an in-house reprographics department for all your printing needs. The mix of students from all years of the course creates an inspiring, dynamic, stimulating and continually changing environment that will help you get the most out of your degree.
Unlike most other universities, we also believe you should be able to exploit any technical areas your project work may require. You will have access to computer training labs, animation suites, printmaking studios, moving image editing suites, wood, metal and plastic workshops, textile studios, photography studios and even our ceramics department! No matter what you require, we give you the option to create it. Please feel free to browse the photos in our course gallery of the studio, campus and resources our students use and enjoy on a daily basis.
Awards and recognition
This year our students were busy with a wide variety of live project work. Luvena Petty created a complete identity and website for TV antiques expert Paul Laidlaw's new auction house. Ford Mason created the packaging design for TMR's revolutionary new 'Imprint', mountain bike grips and Ruth Fogden created a website for a large renewable energy company. Josh Ford saw his work for Bear Alphabites win a YCN award.
As for visiting speakers, Gary Bovill and James McCarthy, who are both Cumbria graduates, visited us. Gary now works at Energy Design Studio in London and James is a senior designer at Drumbeat Creative in Manchester. We also welcomed graphic illustrator Nik Holmes and the wonderful Jill Calder who came to talk about her recent illustration work.
Perhaps the most memorable visit of the year was the triumphant return of Snask's Freddie and Magnus who not only gave a lecture but also brought along a rock band (like you do)!
Our recent graduates have been amazingly successful at quickly gaining good jobs in the design industry. Derrian Bradder achieved her 'dream job' as a designer at Penquin Books, Adam Peel joined Think Publicity, James Cope works for Benoy, Jasper Van Looveren Baines joined the PMN Group, Adam Norfolk is at Turley, Luci Ormrod is a designer at Foot Asylum, Luvena Petty is the in-house designer at UCSU, Samantha Davison works for Chic Magazine, Samantha Priestley is a designer at Caterite, Ami Swift is with Fleishman Hillard and Ruth Fogden is at Neomam.