Illustration BA (Hons)

illustration sea and octopus
UCAS Code
W220
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Location
Main site

Overview

As an illustrator, your creative ability can shape culture. Fuse your talent with professional skills on a degree course that’ll set you up for a career doing what you love.

On this BA (Hons) Illustration degree course, you’ll examine your own work and reflect on the work of other designers, filmmakers, painters, sculptors and writers. You’ll develop your own practical skills in illustration across the board and build the skills you’ll need for a successful, creative career.

What you'll experience

On this degree course you’ll:

  • Explore traditional and contemporary illustration, while experimenting with a media such as print, animation, textiles and model making
  • Unleash your creativity by re-defining illustration, challenging convention and exploring illustration's social, political and historical context
  • Get your hands on the latest image-making technology and get professional experience that will help you compete in the commercial arena after the course
  • Interact with our visiting speakers – past guests include Sara Fanelli (children’s book author/illustrator), Darren Garrett (Creative Director of Littleloud Animation Studios) and Chris Riddell (UK Children’s Laureate 2015–2017)
  • Access our digital studios with Macs and PCs running professional-standard software including the Adobe Creative Suite
  • Get the chance to achieve Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) certification
  • Engage with live projects such as the Anglepoise Sketchbook Competition
  • Develop a professional portfolio and website to showcase your skills
  • Have the opportunity to exhibit your work at graduate showcases and exhibitions

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.

Previous students have completed work placements as illustrators and designers at companies such as:

  • MCI communications agency
  • Liquid Creative
  • Waving Bear

Interested in running your own business on your placement year instead? You can start up and run your own company for a year as an alternative to a work-based placement. You'll work alone as a freelancer or with fellow students to build and launch a successful venture.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Careers and opportunities

The creative and technical abilities in character animation, visual storytelling, compositing and editing you develop on this course could lead to a variety of creative roles in design and media.

Areas previous graduates have gone on to include:

  • artist book making
  • children’s book illustration
  • narrative illustration
  • print making
  • art direction
  • teaching

You could also continue your studies at postgraduate level, set up successful businesses with help and support from the University or start a career as a freelancer.

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

Entry requirements​

Entry requirements for this course may be more flexible during Clearing.
Entry Requirements

​Course costs

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £13,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You'll need to pay extra printing costs of around £100–£600 on portfolio work. Material and production costs are around £100–£500 a year.

You'll need to pay the full cost for optional study trips. Optional study trips abroad will cost around £200–£800. Optional study trips in the UK will cost around £50–£150.

​What you'll study

Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.

Units currently being studied

Core units in this year include:

  • Introduction to Professional Practice
  • Introduction to Visual Culture
  • Line, Colour and Development
  • Narrative Illustration
  • Research Methodology

There are no optional units in this year.

Core units in this year include:

  • Bookworks
  • Number Through Print
  • Social Sequences

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Professional Skills Development
  • Professional Experience
  • Student Enterprise
  • Visual Culture: Visions of the Body
  • Visual Culture: Cult Films and Postmodernism
  • Visual Culture: Design, Style and Identity
  • Visual Culture: Issues of Representation
  • Visual Culture: Technology and the Image
  • Visual Culture: Research Paper

Core units in this year include:

  • Illustration: Presentations
  • Illustration: Self-directed Research
  • Professional Practice – Projects
  • Professional Practice – Promotion

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Visual Culture: Dissertation
  • Visual Culture: Research Project

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.

Teaching​

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • workshops
  • lectures
  • projects
  • seminars
  • one-to-one tutorials

There's an emphasis on hands-on practical sessions, with a strong studio culture.

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:

  • Autumn teaching block – September to December
  • Spring teaching block – January to Easter
  • Assessment period – Easter to June

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. There's no teaching on Wednesday afternoons. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends. 

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You can also use many of the facilities and get support from Faculty staff in the evenings and weekends.

There’s no teaching on Wednesday afternoons. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

Your workload

The time you spend in teaching activities such as lectures and seminars varies year on year and will depend on which optional units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 19% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, and 81% studying independently
  • Year 2 students: 17% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, and 83% studying independently
  • Year 3 students: 10% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, and 90% studying independently

How you're assessed​

You’ll be assessed through:

  • written coursework
  • creative design group projects
  • self-led projects from initial concept to finished product
  • project presentations
  • sketchbooks and portfolio

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students100% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework 
  • Admissions terms and conditions

    When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

    Apply

    How to apply

    Want to start this course this year?

    There are still a few places available. To discuss your options and secure your place, give us a call on (+44) 23-9284-8090 or ask us to call you back.

    Want to start this course in 2019?

    To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You can start your application now and submit it from 5 September. You’ll need:

    • the UCAS course code – W220
    • our institution code – P80

    Not quite ready to apply?

    Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

    If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

    How to apply from outside the UK

    If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

    To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

    Contact information
    • Admissions
    • +44 (0) 23 9284 5566

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