Course Overview

UK Fees £9,250 *
International Fees £14,400 *
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.

Our foundation year in Art and Design is designed to provide you with an introduction to our range of subject areas, and to prepare you for the discipline of your choice. It will give you the opportunity to explore new ideas, opening up new perspectives on the key debates within the field. It begins in the first semester with the development of fundamental Art and Design skills, as well as practical exploration across all of the disciplines in our Art and Design foundation programme. In the second semester, you are encouraged to specialise in your own discipline and are supported at this stage by tutors from your host course. You will also benefit from workshops in our high-end facilities, and from working with leading academics who will encourage you to become a confident and creative thinker. Your practical development is accompanied by modules in both semesters on foundational academic skills – skills that will be essential as you progress to your chosen full degree.

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

Our Illustration and Visual Communication BA offers a flexible and multimedia approach to the study and practice of contemporary illustration and visual communication arts.

The ethos of the course is to nurture individual creativity, through a programme of study and practice that encourages an open and speculative approach through visual inquiry and diagnostic experimentation across a wide range of image media practices and contexts.

This breadth of approach is designed to support creative agility and flexibility, enabling you to be mobile in your future employment with key skills in visual communication, inventiveness and being able to reify imaginative thought into new and surprising visual forms and images.

Our course is located on the leafy campus of Harrow, which serves as the hub for many of the creative courses at Westminster. You will have ample studio space in which to make ambitious work as well as dedicated facilities for drawing, print-making, digital arts (VR, AR and effects), lens-based media, performance and installation, photography, animation, 3D, ceramics and craftwork.

The course has a strong professional focus as well as a creative one, providing opportunities for work experience, internships and the development of professional skills through the Creative Enterprise Centre at Harrow.

Successful alumni contribute to the teaching programme along with our dedicated course team of professional practitioners. With membership of the Association of Illustrators and Design & Art Direction, we are further able to offer students a range of professional and industry-led initiatives including participation in the New Blood festival at Truman Brewery as part of D&AD.

Top reasons to study with us

  • A wide range of career opportunities and world-class successful alumni – Jim Kay, illustrator of the Harry Potter publications with Bloomsbury; Chris Tichborne, who won a BAFTA in 2015 for a remake of the ‘Clangers’ for the BBC; Ben Jennings, a successful satirical illustrator for the Guardian and ‘I’ newspapers; Jason Stalman, an animation director who worked on Isle of Dogs, Boxtrolls and Corpse Bride; Stephanie Alexander-Jinks, art director of The Artworks Illustration Agency; and Grace Russell, winner of the student V&A Illustration Award 2014, and now a successful freelance illustrator for the Financial Times, also credited in Lurzer’s Archive
  • Generous studio spaces and facilities – everything our students need for creative practice in a wide range of technical, digital and traditional media
  • A friendly, creative community campus – within a heartbeat of central London with its galleries, events and museums and also a place to meet and collaborate with peers from film, journalism, design, music, fashion, fine art, animation, photography, advertising, television and radio

Course structure

Teaching and learning methods include individual tutorial sessions, group work, presentations, workshops, online training, lectures and frequent trips into central London to see exhibitions.

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

Subjects of study include (across 5 core modules): 

  • Art and Design Explorations
  • Critical Thinking for Academic and Professional Development
  • Introduction to Academic Practice
  • 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

The first year is focused on exploration and visual development of image-making, drawing and visual communication within a wide range of media processes and techniques. Learning is principally project-led and designed to build your understanding of how meaning, visual messaging and storytelling can be conveyed in visual form.

Drawing is a core activity both as a material process and through a range of technical mediums such as printmaking, animation and graphic mark-making. With the studio classes and technical workshops, there are lectures in visual culture and image media, exhibition visits, talks from visiting artists and collaborative activities such as exhibitions.

Subjects of study include:

  • Animation, time-based media and story-boarding
  • Computer-generated imagery and software training
  • Digital art and technologies
  • Figure Drawing
  • Location study and field trips
  • Printmaking and surface design
  • Visual and graphic communication
  • Visual Culture and image media
  • Workshops in Adobe software, ceramics, 3D, photography

Credit Level 4

The second year builds and expands your current knowledge that is now more focused on the contextualisation of image-making, where images are seen or consumed. The level of critical engagement with ideas and visual culture is deepened and leads increasingly to more independent development in both your practical and written work.

The flexibility in the curriculum at this level accommodates optional choices in both semesters including a study abroad opportunity.

Subjects of study include:

  • Contextualised practice (exploring and expanding upon the range and diversity of contexts and ideas in which illustration and visual arts can be developed)
  • Critical enquiry furthers topics within visual culture today leading to preparation for writing a dissertation in your final year.
  • Drawing systems (course practice option examines drawing approaches and processes)
  • Designing Narrative Experiences
  • In the second semester, you can choose to work in illustration within a commercial and applied context or explore interdisciplinary practice in digital technologies.
  • Option modules in graphic explorations and drawing complement and expand knowledge laterally.
  • There are also opportunities for collaboration and a greater sense of ownership and authorship of your work leading into your final year.

Credit Level 5

Entering your final year, optional choices enable you to take a more commercial route with the professional enterprise module, or a more self-defined research route. In the first semester, you commit to the writing of a dissertation based on a dissertation abstract completed at the end of your second year. The second semester focuses solely on your major project that carries 50% of your total mark in your final year.

Teaching support at this level is through individual supervised tutorials on the Dissertation and Major Project with peer reviews, professional talks and workshops.

Post final assessment you have the opportunity to exhibit your work in London Gallery West and participate in D&AD New Blood Festival at the Truman Brewery that is international and industry-focused serving as a launch into professional work.

Subjects of study include:

  • Participation in field trips/exhibition visits and events such as gallery visits and promotional activities including more extensive internships.
  • Self-directed practice, study and research culminating in the writing of a Dissertation and the production of a significant Major Project.
  • Workshops and talks from practitioners and professionals in the field

Credit Level 6

Programme Specification

For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the programme specification.

Careers

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Successful alumni

Our alumni include Jim Kay, illustrator of the most recent Harry Potter books for Bloomsbury, and Paul Vincett, a puppet maker whose credits include X-Men: First Class, and Thor 2.

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External Enterprise Projects

We run external projects with companies such as Transport for London to help students gain an understanding of the workplace.

3,000
Employers around the world

The University’s Careers and Employability Service has built up a network of over 3,000 employers around the world, helping all our students explore and connect with exciting opportunities and careers.

Work experience opportunities

Opportunities to participate in internships, work experience, study abroad and initiatives that prepare you to seamlessly enter the world of work will build throughout the course.

The Creative Enterprise Centre assists you in setting up work internships and placements and provides a range of career-focused activities including expert-led workshops, training, industry networking events and business guidance.

On the course, we encourage participation in industry-led initiatives through national and international student competitions and industry-led initiatives. Some of the organisations we have worked with include:

  • BBC
  • The Big Draw
  • Hayward Gallery
  • Landor Associates
  • The NSS
  • Transport for London

Industries

Our graduates are highly enterprising and have developed careers in a range of professions and enterprises as practitioners in the fields of illustration, graphic design, animation, fine art and film. Students graduating from this course also become managers, art directors, artists’ agents, and teachers - and they find employment within advertising, marketing, publishing, events management and the mass media.

The impact of new technologies has led more students and graduates to work as concept artists and designers for organisations that focus on visual effects, virtual and augmented reality for computer games, film and television, advertising, and training programmes for science and medicine.

Job roles

Many of our graduates operate independently as freelance, self-employed practitioners or work collaboratively in small business cooperatives, often with students they met during their course. 

Students have progressed on to job roles including:

  • Animator
  • Art director
  • Art therapist (requiring further training)
  • Company manager
  • Event manager
  • Gallerist
  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator – editorial illustration/ decorative merchandising and interiors, branding and promotion, visual effects, concept art
  • Teacher (requiring further training)

Our alumni

Our course alumni have progressed to many different careers, including:

  • Anna Reynolds - Studio and Communications Manager at A Practice for Everyday Life, Designer and Assistant to Mike Radcliffe, Staff Writer for Grafik
  • Grace Russell - Illustrator and winner of the student V&A Illustration Award 2014
  • Hiroko Uemoto - Graphic Designer, Paldas, Japan
  • Jim Kay - Illustrator of most recent Harry Potter books for Bloomsbury
  • 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, Made.com, Marks and Spencer and Somerset House
  • Kaishi Yamaguchi - Graphic and Web Designer, Guanabana Restaurants
  • 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
  • Paul Vincett - Puppet Maker whose theatre credits include His Dark Materials, War Horse, and Shakespeare's Globe’s Gabriel, and whose 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

International Opportunities

Many of our courses offer international study and work experiences, and the University provides other global opportunities that all students can apply for - so whatever you're studying, you'll have the chance to go abroad.

Opportunities could include:

  • Taking part in semester or year-long exchanges at institutions around the world
  • Attending an international summer school or field trip
  • Developing your CV through volunteering or work placements abroad

International experience broadens horizons, boosts self-confidence, and improves global understanding, alongside being fantastic for your career.

Find out more about our international opportunities, including funding options and where you can go.

Students working and studying internationally

Course Leaders

Emma Dodson

Senior Lecturer

Peter Dukes

Principal Lecturer

Peter Dukes is a Principal Lecturer in Westminster School of Arts, University of Westminster, and a course leader for the Art and Design Foundation year. He studied Fine Art at Central St Martins and the Royal College of Art, and was Course Leader for BA Contemporary Media Practice from 2006 to 2016. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is currently School Senior Tutor for Westminster School of Arts.

Dr Elizabeth Allen

Assistant Head of School

Elizabeth Allen is a course leader for the Art and Design Foundation year.

Why study this course?

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Professional insights

We regularly welcome industry professionals and members of our alumni community to talk to current students about their future careers and how to make the most of their time on the course.

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Collaborative learning

Throughout the course there are opportunities for collaboration with students from film, fashion, music, fine art, photography and the rest of the University.

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Excellent facilities

Harrow Campus boasts dedicated studio space and facilities, accommodating everything from large-scale work and traditional figure drawing to printmaking and camera rooms with green screens.

Online open days

Join us at an online open day and get a feel for student life at the University of Westminster.

You'll get a chance to: 

  • Speak to our academic staff
  • Take a virtual reality tour of our student halls
  • Ask us any questions you may have about student finance and accommodation

Find an online open day

Student taking notes while attending an online event

Entry Requirements

  • A Levels – DD
  • International Baccalaureate – 48 UCAS Tariff points from the IB
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – PPP
  • BTEC Diploma – MP
  • Access – 48 UCAS Tariff points from the Access course

In addition to one of the above, you should have: 

  • GCSE English Language grade 4/C - IB grade 4 Higher level, GCSE Maths Pass - IB Pass

If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS of 6.0 overall, with 5.5 in each component.

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

We also welcome applications from students who are taking a combinations of qualifications listed above. For further information, please contact Course Enquiries.

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

  • International Baccalaureate – 48 UCAS Tariff points from the IB

If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS of 6.0 overall, with 5.5 in each component.

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.

Learn new skills

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Learn a new language

From Arabic to Spanish, you can learn a new language alongside your degree with our Polylang programme

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Develop your entrepreneurial skills

Our award-winning Creative Enterprise Centre offers industry networking events, workshops, one-to-one business advice and support for your startup projects. 

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Gain extra qualifications

We provide access to free online courses in Adobe and Microsoft Office applications, as well as thousands of specialist courses on LinkedIn Learning.

Fees and Funding

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

When you have enrolled with us, your annual tuition fees will remain the same throughout your studies with us. We do not increase your tuition fees each year.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Funding

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.

Scholarships

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: £14,400 (Price per academic year)

When you have enrolled with us, your annual tuition fees will remain the same throughout your studies with us. We do not increase your tuition fees each year.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

International student funding

Find out about funding for international students.

Scholarships

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.

Facilities

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.

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Teaching and assessment

Below you'll find examples of how marks have been calculated and study time distributed in the past. Changes to assessment weights and division of study time may be made in response to feedback and in accordance with our terms and conditions.

How you'll be taught

Teaching methods across all our undergraduate courses focus on active student learning through seminars, workshops, problem-based and blended learning, as well as group work. Teaching will be informed by our research, giving you the benefit of the knowledge of current theories and, where appropriate, their practical application.

Year
0*
25%75%
1
30%70%
2
26%74%
3
18%82%
Scheduled hours Independent study

How you'll be assessed

Assessment methods across our undergraduate courses may include essays, reports, presentations, case studies, videos, podcasts and posters, as well as time-constrained in-class tests and exams.

 

Year
0*
30%70%
1
100%
2
2%98%
3
1%99%
Practical Coursework

* The foundation year information is provided as a guide only and not a definitive model of the course you are applying for.

Data from the academic year 2019/20

Supporting you

Our Student Hub is where you’ll find out about the services and support we offer, helping you get the best out of your time with us.

  • Study support — workshops, 1-2-1 support and online resources to help improve your academic and research skills
  • Personal tutors — support you in fulfilling your academic and personal potential
  • Student advice team — provide specialist advice on a range of issues including funding, benefits and visas
  • Extra-curricular activities — volunteering opportunities, sports and fitness activities, student events and more

visit our student hub

Illustration for the Student Hub

Course location

Harrow is our creative and cultural hub, home to most of our arts, media and digital courses. It houses state-of-the-art facilities for every discipline, including project and gallery spaces, film studios, creative labs, collaborative learning spaces, and the creative enterprise hub.

Harrow Campus is based in north-west London, just 20 minutes from the city centre by train.

For more details, visit our Harrow Campus page.
 

Contact us

We have an FAQs page if you are applying this year.

Or you can contact the Course Enquiries Team:

[email protected]

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Opening hours (GMT): 9am–4pm Monday to Friday

More information

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