Course Overview

UK/EU Fees £9,250 *
International Fees £13,400 *
Duration 4 years

* Price per academic year

Course summary

Our degree courses with Foundation year offer the opportunity to prepare you for advanced study before you progress onto a full honours degree at the University of Westminster. Whether you do not feel ready for degree-level study, don’t have the right qualifications, want to change your subject specialism or return to study after an absence from education, we aim to encourage a broad range of students to undertake our Foundation year in order to progress onto their full honours degree with us.

The Foundation year is designed to give you the opportunity to explore new ideas, opening up new perspectives on the key debates within your chosen field. During the foundation year you will explore a range of creative disciplines and get a chance to develop in your chosen field, benefiting from workshops in our high end facilities and working with leading academics who will encourage you to become a confident and creative thinker. Core modules accelerate your academic and professional development and you will also You will also take modules within your chosen field, giving you the chance to develop a cross-disciplinary perspective on your course. 

On successful completion of the Foundation year (Year 0), you will be able to move on to study for the Illustration and Visual Communication BA Honours degree over a further three years study. 

This ambitious and interdisciplinary course offers practice and study in image-making applied principally within illustration but also in a range of creative design and communication contexts from animation to commercial installation. Our premise is that within contemporary visual practice the boundaries between art, design and illustration have merged, this in part is due to digital technologies but also the cultural merging of disciplines within the visual and performing arts.

New creatives can find themselves working on initiatives that require a range of skills, are multi-contextual, multi-media and increasingly involve collaboration with others. Within this context the course offers an in-depth, reflective and process led approach to image-making and image media.

Drawing is an enduring and central course activity in giving form to imaginative and conceptual thought, and as a means to understand in depth aesthetical, conceptual and expressive strategies in image-making and pictorial design. The course is delivered using a project framework designed to replicate the type and range of briefs anticipated in an industrial setting.  Projects also provide a context and creative challenge, they make demands that stretch your understanding and encourage a ‘what if’ approach to visual problem-solving.  Projects are both set and self-defined and can be developed in a range of media process - animation, moving image, digital imaging, printmaking, photography, painting, mixed media, three-dimensional design.

We encourage involvement in the creative industries. You will have the opportunity to participate in major student competitions, external exhibitions, industry initiatives as well as internships and study abroad exchange. In the final year of study a rigorous professional practice programme helps you prepare for employment and our alumni work in a wide variety of occupations that include illustration, animation, film, television, art direction and project management, advertising, publishing and authorial practice, concept art and computer games. Some students continue study at post-graduate level in a wide range of subjects, film, national heritage, art with medicine, art and psychotherapy, art and science, teacher training and fine art.

Course structure

The following subjects are indicative of what you will study on this course.

To help you make an informed decision, you can have a look at how marks have been calculated and study time has been distributed on this course in the past.

Subjects of study include (across 5 core modules): 

  • Introduction to Academic Practice
  • Critical Thinking for Academic and Professional Development
  • Art and Design Explorations
  • Making and Modelling
  • Seeing and Doing

There are no optional or elective modules offered at Level 3, as the focus is on the development of key academic skills through a broad understanding of Media and Design

Credit Level 3

Year 1 serves as an introduction and diagnostic approach to visual communication though a programme that includes drawing and image making developed through varied media processes and visual technologies. All practical work is project-led providing a menu of initiatives that test your imagination and help you build knowledge and skills.  You will gain understanding in visual culture and your views on many aspects of art and image-making will expand and become more informed through your learning and research.  You will learn how to analyse and deconstruct images, especially in the media and advertising and you will be able to create your own work in a more informed and sophisticated way.

Subjects of study include:

  • Introduction to contemporary Art and Visual Culture  (theory)
  • Introduction to Image Media (theory)
  • Figure drawing. (course option practice – figure drawing from observation in the studio and on location)
  • Visual Communication Technologies: workshops and classes in animation, print-making, digital media, photography and 3D.
  • Visual Communication – Development and Production (project led practice in image-making)

Credit Level 4

You will now be expanding and deepening your understanding in visual culture and applied image-making through a menu of industry led and personally defined research initiatives, national and international student competitions and set projects. This year of study has the most flexibility where you can take elective or optional study modules in both semesters or undertake study abroad. This is a period of research, in-depth exploration of visual languages and methodologies in image-making and design. You will be beginning to tailor your own direction in the topics you choose and the media through which you develop your practice. In theoretical studies you will be examining visual culture in greater depth and scrutiny leading into choosing a topic for your dissertation.

You will be able to choose up to 2 Westminster elective modules or course optional modules.

Subjects of study include:

  • Drawing Systems (course option practice – experimental drawing practice and research)
  • Interdisciplinary Practice (course option practice - that develops image media for online production and distribution)
  • Visual Communication: Contextualisation and Enterprise (project led practice that encourages image-making in context with the environment, society and contemporary culture. This module includes participation in national and international student competitions and external enterprise)
  • Visual Communication: Research and Synthesis (theoretical studies that includes lectures in contemporary critical debate within visual culture and leads into research and preparing an essay question and bibliography for your dissertation)

Credit Level 5

You will now be preparing your portfolio for entering the workplace or to continue with your research and studies at post-graduate level. This final year is focused on the culmination of your learning and the encouragement to produce work that defines your own direction and approach.

The Major Project and Dissertation modules help you to professionalise your practice and provide a final period of in-depth study. The two elective modules are designed to reflect vocational professional development or academic research and a personal practice that is less market driven. At this point teaching is principally guidance and advice on personal and professional development. As part of this industry launch, the course offers an exhibition for your degree show in London Gallery West, and as part of D&AD New Blood exhibition in Truman Brewery.

Subjects of study include:

  • Visual Communication: Dissertation (an 8 – 10,000 word essay on a topic chosen from topics studied earlier on the course and aligned to your practical work)
  • Research Informed Practice (course option for students whose practice is not vocationally driven and require time for deeper research and visual inquiry. This would apply for students continuing with post-graduate study, whose practice is more within the remit of film or fine art or intend to enter teacher training courses)
  • Professional Engagement and Enterprise (course option with a specific image-making and illustration industry focus for students who intend to work professionally in this sector of the creative industries)
  • Visual Communication: Major Project (an intense and extended period in which to develop practical work)

Credit Level 6

Westminster Plus Electives


As part of your course you may be able to take elective modules. Electives are an exciting opportunity to widen your experience at university and to gain skills and knowledge that will help make you more employable.

Find out about Westminster Plus Electives.

Entry Requirements

Typical offer

  • A Levels - a minimum of 48 UCAS points: a short portfolio may be required
  • International Baccalaureate - 24 points (minimum).

If English is not your first language, you should have an IELTS score of 6.0 overall, with a score of 5.5 in each element.

You may be required to bring a portfolio of practical work to interview.

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process.

Typical offer

  • A Levels - Pass with 45 credits at Level 3 with a minimum of 27 Level 3 credits at Merit or Distinction
  • International Baccalaureate - 24 points (minimum)

If English is not your first language, you should have an IELTS score of 6.0 overall, with a score of 5.5 in each element.

You may be required to bring a portfolio of practical work to interview.

More information

Pre-sessional English programmes

Need to improve your English before starting your course? We offer summer pre-sessional English programmes to help develop your English language skills.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English programmes.


Working in this sector is challenging but also highly varied and rewarding creatively and financially. Work in this applied field of the creative arts is normally through commission. Artists often combine employment and self-employment, doing commissioned work and creative work for agencies.

Graduates from this course go on to work in the following industries:

  • advertising
  • digital media
  • film and television production
  • publishing
  • digital arts
  • animation
  • art direction and management
  • commercial music promotion and events
  • fashion
  • exhibition and commercial/environmental installation and display

Alumni from the Illustration and Visual Communication BA include:

  • Jim Kay - Illustrator of most recent Harry Potter books for Bloomsbury
  • Tim Mcdonagh - Freelance Illustrator with agency Handsome Frank  
  • Joey March - Illustrator and Designer
  • Grace Russell - Illustrator and winner of the V&A Illustrator of the year Award 2014
  • Michael Lester - Illustrator and Designer, Ogivly & Mather international
  • Josey Senoy - Illustrator and Surface Designer. His clients include Anthropologie, British Museum Company, Design Museum, Historical Royal Palaces, Houses of Parliament, Illustrated People, Imperial War Museum,, Marks and Spencer and Somerset House
  • Hiroko Uemoto - Graphic Designer, Paldas, Japan
  • Adam Armitage - Graphic Designer, Wayward Studio
  • Anna Reynolds - Studio and Communications Manager at A Practice for Everyday Life, Designer and Assistant to Mike Radcliffe, Staff Writer for Grafik
  • Paul Vincett - Puppet Maker whose theatre credits include His Dark Materials, War Horse, Shakespeare's Globe’s Gabriel and film credits include: X-Men: First Class, Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, Thor 2, The Harry Hill Movie, Zoolander 2, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Beauty and the Beast
  • Raphael O'Selle - Brand Designer, The Guinness Partnership
  • Kaishi Yamaguchi - Graphic and Web Designer, Guanabana Resturants
  • Niall Grant - Freelance Illustrator whose clients include Universal Records and HLA London
  • Marcelina Gawonska - Creative Director and Illustrator whose clients include Digital Arts Magazine, Ribbed magazine, Baiser magazine, Celeste magazine and Slutwalk organisation
  • Miles Lauterwasser - Limited Editions Co-ordinator, Tate Gallery
  • Jonathan Roscoria - Online Web Processor, London Graphic Centre

Our Careers and Employability Service is here to support you to achieve your full potential.
With a growing network of over 3,000 employers around the world and a team of experienced careers consultants, we provide you with a variety of opportunities to work and develop new skills. As a University of Westminster student, you’ll have access to our services throughout your studies and after you graduate.
We can help you:
    •    find work placements, graduate jobs or voluntary experience related to your course
    •    discover international opportunities to enhance your employability
    •    write effective CVs and application forms
    •    develop your interview and enterprise skills
    •    plan your career with our career consultants
    •    gain insights into your chosen industry through mentoring
    •    meet employers and explore your career options at our employer fairs, careers presentations and networking events 
Find out more about the Careers and Employability Service.


Find out more about other employability initiatives at the University of Westminster. 


The course provides dedicated studio accommodation for each cohort with both collaborative and individual workspace.

Studios are equipped with computers, photocopiers, printers and scanners for IT and digital production. The studios are open 5 days a week, 8am–8pm with some studios and the campus library open for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our facilities provide multiple approaches to practice and include photography, animation, painting, drawing, printmaking, textile printing, 3D digital printing, laser cutting, high-end inkjet printing, digital imaging, three-dimensional design construction, ceramics, woodwork, metalwork and casting.

Fees and Funding

UK and EU tuition fee: £9,250 (Price per academic year)

The amount you will pay may increase each year to take into account the effects of inflation.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.


As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out about undergraduate student funding options.


The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

International tuition fee: £13,400 (Price per academic year)

The amount you will pay may increase each year to take into account the effects of inflation.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

International student funding

Find out about funding for international students.


The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

Course Location

The vibrant home of Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, the Harrow Campus offers one of the richest portfolios of creative industry research and learning in Europe. The recent redevelopment of the campus has seen the creation of fluid, informal learning spaces, dedicated project and gallery spaces and a revamped library. For more details, visit our Harrow Campus page.

Contact us

Contact the Course Enquiries Team:

+44 (0)20 7915 5511

[email protected]

Opening hours (GMT): 9am–4.30pm Monday to Friday

More information

Your Westminster

Book an open day. Order a prospectus. Sign up for newsletters.