DESIGN STUDIES AT USW IS RATED TOP IN WALES AND TOP 10 IN THE UK FOR STUDENT SATISFACTIONNATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY 2021
This degree is based at USW’s purpose-built campus, in the creative centre of Cardiff.
Illustration is everywhere: in newspaper and magazine articles, advertisements and books, on products and on screen. It tells stories and reinforces messages. It makes complex ideas easy to understand and is a major part of our childhood. It makes us laugh, it makes us cry, and it makes us think.
During this Illustration degree, you’ll push boundaries, challenge convention, and harness new technology to solve illustration briefs, projects and design problems. The core principles of drawing are applied throughout. You’ll develop key skills in creative thinking, translating a brief, drawing and mark making, and colour theory.
To prepare for today’s increasingly fluid platforms of print, mobile and interactive image, you’ll communicate ideas in innovative ways using traditional and digital technologies.
Throughout your time on the Illustration course in Cardiff, you’ll have numerous opportunities to engage with creative professionals and clients. This may be in the form of an industry visit, guest speaker, or live brief.
USW Illustration students have previously collaborated with The Royal Horticultural Society, Anorak Magazine, Women's Equality Network Wales, The Roald Dahl Estate, Welsh National Opera and Kiehl's. Follow USW Illustration on Instagram
Top five in the UK for standard of teaching and student satisfaction in Design and Crafts. (Guardian League Table 2022)
The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for delivering our courses in the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to change during the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Whether you’re on-campus full time, part-time with online study, or full-time online, USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.
During your studies you’ll push boundaries, challenge convention, and harness new technology to solve illustration briefs, projects and design problems.
The core principles of drawing are applied throughout. You’ll develop key skills in creative thinking, translating a brief, drawing and mark making, and colour theory. To prepare for today’s increasingly fluid platforms of print, mobile and interactive image, you’ll communicate ideas in innovative ways using traditional and digital technologies.
In the final year, you’ll prepare for employment by producing a professional portfolio, and completing a critical research project, as well as a final major project to industry standard. You will also have the opportunity to enter illustration competitions where our current students have previously enjoyed success in The Batsford Prize, Welsh National Opera design challenge and YCN.
Subject to revalidation
This course is subject to revalidation, this means it is under review as part of the University’s standard quality assurance and enhancement processes. Course and module content is indicative and may change through the revalidation process. As soon as the course is revalidated, the details will be confirmed and published on the University website. In the unlikely event the course does not go ahead as planned, or is significantly amended, we will write to inform you. If this happens, we’ll help you to find a suitable alternative course either at USW or at another provider.
Our Illustration course at our Cardiff campus offers a simulating, creative environment, with dedicated studios, industry standard Macintosh software and experienced staff. You will be taught by our experienced tutor-designers.
The emphasis is hands-on studio-based work, reinforced by lectures, seminars and studio workshops. Individuals will aim to graduate at industry level, demonstrating the expertise and knowledge required to seamlessly sync with today’s changing technology, expanding networks and diverse contextual positions.
Your work is assessed entirely through the submission of coursework, with the majority (80%) through a practical portfolio of work. The remaining elements integrate practice and theory through written and other forms. You will be encouraged to discuss your work critically with staff, leading designers and other students, through individual and group critiques in a supportive studio environment.
There are live projects each year, working directly with design companies and industrial clients to enhance your portfolio and employability.
At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.
If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.
The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.
Applicants in the UK
Selection for this course is based on a suitable application and attendance at an interview with successful outcome. You may also be required to provide a portfolio of your work prior to attending interview where your course requires this, and full details of what is required will be provided once your application has been processed.
Applicants outside the UK
Selection for this course is based on a suitable application and submission of a portfolio of your work which the Course Leader confirms is suitable for an offer to be made.
BCC - CDD to include a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level with a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level
Pass the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances
In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.
However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course
Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment) *||£250||
Materials. Per year
Field trip UK
|Other: Printing & Exhibition Costs||£100 - £200||
|Trips||£100 - £1000||
Extra-curricular trips (all academic years)
Apply via UCAS if you are a UK residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly.
Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK.
With our experienced tutor-designers, our aim is to help you become a creative, skilled, well rounded and knowledgeable individual, who is capable of developing and advancing in industry.
When you graduate from the Illustration degree at USW, you could work as a freelance illustrator, storyboard and concept artist, medical illustrator, infographics illustrator, or in publishing and editorial.
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.
This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.
Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.