I left Canterbury Christ Church University with a thorough understanding of how to approach and question creative briefs as well as a presentable portfolio, which ultimately landed me my first job.



Graphic Design involves developing your individual skills as a professional designer from the moment you arrive at our purpose-built studios.

You’ll leave with a professional portfolio based on your own interests, an in-depth knowledge of graphic design software (Adobe Creative Cloud), tools (risograph printing, laser cutting and etching, screen printing) and interpersonal skills equipping you to succeed in a competitive industry.

Throughout the course you’ll put your skills to use working with practising designers completing live briefs and entering national competitions. To capitalise on your design work, you’ll learn business and entrepreneurial aspects of the industry through working with a professional design agency.

The course is taught in specialist graphic design studio spaces in the new Daphne Oram building where you will have access to industry-standard software and a range of art and design technologies. We encourage, and support you, to take on freelance commissions throughout the course.

Dr Kate McLean, an internationally renowned creative smellmap designer, leads a team of graphic design industry specialists who care about your passions, your interests and your work.

Why Study Graphic Design?

Good designers are always in demand and having the knowledge, creativity and determination will help you find the right job, take on freelance work and even give you the confidence to set up your own business.

From day one, we'll consider you as designer with thoughts and opinions that can lead to great ideas and impactful work.

Entry requirements

A typical offer would be 88-112 UCAS Tariff points

Applicants have the opportunity to demonstrate their suitability for the chosen programme through the presentation of a portfolio of relevant practical work.

For more information on the IELTS (International English language Testing System) requirements for this course, please click here to visit our dedicated web page.

More information about entry requirements.

UCAS Points

All about the course

During Year 1, you'll develop the skills essential to graphic design, including a rapid introduction to coding and scripting, and games design software.

The academic year is split into two semesters. Semester 1 focuses on introducing the design process and a range of software and practical skills. In this first semester you'll be introduced to practical design skills required for print and for web design, learn the fundamentals of meaningful research, how to critique and the basics of coding.

Semester 2 focuses on broadening your experience into the printmaking studio through screen printing and other physical techniques to produce your designs for awareness-raising T-shirt designs. You'll also discover how animation works in both 3D and 2D, modelling your ideas and making design come to life. In this semester you also look at the History of Design and understand the context in which designs have been produced across cultures and ages.

Your tutors will encourage you to consider other designers, great designs and the wider world around you as you work.

Module information

Please note that the list of optional modules and their availability may be subject to change. We continually review and where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. Modules will vary when studied in combination with another subject.

Core/optional modules

How you’ll learn

You'll be taught through a combination of practical workshops, lectures, tutorials and critique sessions.

Each module will require you to respond to at least one 'brief' (as in industry). The brief will specify your deign challenge, itemise resources and assets, note any constraints and advise a schedule of activities.

During practical workshops you'll gain the skills and technical knowledge needed to respond to the briefs. Lectures will give you a firm grounding in the theoretical aspects of graphic design and will help you to develop your critical understanding of your own practice. Tutorials enable you to discuss your individual design work with your tutors and the critique sessions are to help you show and explain your working processes and to deliver and receive feedback with your peers and tutors. This combined approach encourages expression of your ideas, observations and experiences within a supportive academic environment.

You'll also meet with your academic personal tutor to get personal support throughout the course.

You'll typically have around 12 contact hours per week, but your actual contact hours depend on any optional modules you select.

All courses are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2022.

When not attending lectures, critiques, workshops or other timetabled sessions, you'll continue learning through self-study. Typically, this involves working on practical briefs and preparing for coursework assignments, workshops and tutorials, reading journal articles and books and undertaking research in the library, and making use of the print making studio facilities. Independent learning will take up to 24 hours per week.

Your module tutor will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities to complete before class.

In some of your modules in Year 2 and Year 3, you'll undertake independent research working under the supervision of a member of the course team. You will meet with your supervisor regularly and they will support you to ensure you carry out your research effectively and reach your full potential.

While your workload will change in response to deadlines, you should see your studies as a full-time job of at least 36 hours per week.

The team consists of highly qualified academics, who have interests and experience in diverse areas of graphic design. All of the teaching team hold teaching qualifications and are research-active, sharing a range of expertise and experience. They all have experience in delivering research-informed teaching. For more information see individual staff profiles and our professional practice web sites:

Dr Kate McLean (Programme Director) – https://sensorymaps.com

Shelley Bartlette – http://www.shiveringsands.co.uk/

Rob Flowers – https://robflowers.co.uk/

Tony Lyons – http://www.estuaryenglish.co.uk/

Tom Kell – http://tomvek.tv/

Rachel Hancock – https://www.rachellouisedesigns.co.uk/

The programme is led by Dr Kate McLean, an internationally renowned sensory designer and creator of smellmaps. Kate holds an MFA in Graphic Design and a PhD in Communication Design from the Royal College of Art. She co-edited a book, "Designing with Smell: Practices, techniques and Challenges" published in 2018. Kate is currently working on smell-based research projects with communities and hospitals.

As intelligent, talented young designers you will learn skills of graphic design through an understanding that we all need to be ethical and sustainable, using Graphic Design for Good.

Kate McLeanGraphic Design Programme Director

How you’ll be assessed

Graphic Design is assessed through the submission of practical assignments normally consisting of a practical response to a brief (such as a game), and a supporting set of materials (such as a PDF collection of sketches and planning, and/or a written or video-based evaluation). The requirements of each module will be made clear in their handbooks / briefs. There is one module per year that is assessed using essays, but this is primarily a practical degree programme. There are no formal exams. Each module contains several opportunities for 'formative' assessment also known as a “crit”/"critique" for which you give and receive feedback from your tutor and peers.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

Graphic Design is assessed 100% through coursework. Each practical module (5 per year in Years 1 and 2) will contain 2 briefs requiring responses from you. In the case of group work your individual contribution is what is assessed. While this is primarily a practical degree every year you have one theory-based module requiring an essay as your coursework submission. You are assessed against module-specific Learning Outcomes and School-level marking criteria which are made available to students during their studies.


You will receive formative feedback on all practice assessments and summative feedback on end of module assessment hand-ins. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor. In addition to summative feedback (normally returned 15 working days after submission), you will have frequent opportunities to present and receive feedback on your progress as part of the teaching.

80% practical coursework
20% written coursework

National Student Survey 2021

Graphic Design students satisfied with the academic support.

Your future career

Graphic design is a creative professional discipline that remains in strong demand, due to the ways that its underpinning principles inform almost all visual communication. Graduates from the course have moved into a range of creative careers, including working as graphic designers either salaried within design agencies or on a freelance basis.

Our interdisciplinary ethos and approach assists graduates in working not only in prescribed work roles such as graphic designers, graphic artists and artworkers, but in working across the range of creative industries including graphic design, influencing, marketing, social media, web design and beyond.

Many students also continue on to further study, such as postgraduate courses in graphic design or related creative disciplines both at Canterbury Christ Church University and at other institutions.

Recent graduate destinations include:

Patrick Thwaites (2019), Junior Designer at GAMA Healthcare, Watford

Zoe Deeley (2019), Artworker at Premier Print, Canterbury

Emily Porritt (2018), Graphic Designer at Yellobelly, Ipswich

Clarissa Holt (2018), Designer at Dassie Artisan, Brighton

Tyler Ayers (2017, 2015), Junior Designer at Truth, London

Mark Willis (2017), Brand Videographer & Graphic Designer, Mountain Warehouse

Becky Upson (2016), Graphic Designer at ASAP UK LTD, Sutton

Margaret Limbu (2016), Graphic Designer at Bigjigs Toys Ltd., Folkestone

Daniel Palmer (2015), Freelance Motion Graphics Designer, Margate

Rachel Hancock (2014), Art Director, Rachel Louise Designs, Masters Student & Lecturer at CCCU Graphic Design

Luke Sutton (2014), Creative Director at LEAP Marketing & Brand Development, Maidstone

Rachel Philogene (2014), Interactive Designer at Teads and Teads.tv, London

Alana Handford (2014), Digital Designer at The Simply Group, Faversham

Lisa Sloan (2013), Lecturer in Art & Design at Peterborough Regional College

I left CCCU with a thorough understanding of how to approach and question creative briefs as well as a presentable portfolio which ultimately landed me my first job. You don’t really realise how many skills you are absorbing in a relatively short space of time. The academic staff did a great job at encouraging curiosity that has become second nature for me in the real world."

SophieJunior Graphic Designer


The 2022/23 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK** Overseas***
Full-time £9,250 £14,500
Part-time £4,625 £7,250

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

Please read the 2022/23 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2022/23 tuition fees and year on year fee increases.

**Home (UK) Fees

The fees above are for the 2022/23 academic year but may be subject to change following any announcements by the UK Government (approved by Parliament) regarding maximum Undergraduate tuition fee caps for 2022/23.

In addition, the University reserves the right to increase all full-time and part-time Undergraduate tuition fees mid-course, in line with any further inflationary increase in the Government tuition fee cap which is approved by Parliament. The University will publish information about any changes to tuition fees on its website.

***Overseas Fees (including EU fees):

Undergraduate Overseas tuition fees for International students are not subject to the Government’s regulations on maximum tuition fees.

An International student Scholarship fee discount of £1,500 will be applied to all Full-time Undergraduate courses with a tuition fee of £14,500.

Further information can be found on the following weblink which will be updated for 2022/23 entrants in due course: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/fees-and-funding/international-student-fees-and-funding

Industry links

We work with a range of design companies and other industry partners as the initiators of live client briefs. In recent years these have included Finally Agency, Rising Sun Domestic Abuse Charity, The Goods Shed, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, Red Bullet Agency, Edible Kingdom, John Baxter (Parisian author and literary walking tour guide), Broadstairs Folk Festival, Saga Holidays, Greyhound Board of Great Britain, Sea Green Art and The Canterbury Society.

Regulated by the Office for Students

The Office for Students (OfS) regulates Canterbury Christ Church University. The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. It aims to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers. Further details about its work are available on the OfS website.

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