Illustration BA (Hons)

Overview

Redefine the world with a pencil or stylus on this BA (Hons) Illustration degree course.

You’ll challenge convention in all spheres: from exploring illustration from new perspectives, to delving into its social, political and historical significance. You'll explore traditional and contemporary illustration techniques and the business essentials of the art form – and you can gain extra professional experience through a one-year placement, client projects, and entering design competitions.

At the end of this course, you'll become an all-encompassing illustrator that stands out among competitors in the creative industries. 

What you'll experience

On this course you’ll:

  • Raise your professional profile by taking on live projects with local and international clients such as Anglepoise
  • Catch potential employers' eyes by exhibiting your work at national exhibitions and our annual Graduate Show
  • Have the chance to win eminent awards by entering international competitions like Design & Art Direction (D&AD), The Macmillan Prize, and the V&A Illustration Awards
  • Enrich your practical and industry experience by taking an optional one-year placement – either with a company or by setting up your own
  • Showcase your Adobe expertise to industry peers by gaining Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) qualifications

Work experience and career planning

Get work experience while you study with support to find part-time jobs and volunteering opportunities. Towards the end of your degree and after graduation, you'll get 1-to-1 support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to find your perfect role. On top of this you'll get bespoke careers support through our faculty 'career-ready' programme.

After your second year, you can take an optional year-long placement to gain on-the-job experience in industries needing illustrators and designers. You can work for a company or organisation, or start up and run your own business. Together with your peers – or by yourself – you'll build and launch a successful venture.

In either case, our Creative Careers team is on hand to assist.

Our students have been successful in a variety of placement roles, including:

  • Creative Media Technician
  • Art Facilitator
  • Graphic Designer
  • Illustration and Production Intern

Our students have completed their placements at companies such as:

  • MCI UK Ltd
  • Zpos
  • Arty Farty Retreat
  • Wildern School

Module Details

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

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

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 modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Programme Assessment

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.

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

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 will depend on the modules you select throughout your course. Here's an example from a previous year of how students on this course were typically assessed:

  • Year 1 students:100% by coursework
  • Year 2 students:100% by coursework
  • Year 3 students:100% by coursework

Student Destinations

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

You can also continue your studies at postgraduate level.

Areas previous graduates have gone on to include:

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

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience. You can also venture into freelancing, or set up and run your own business with help from the University Startup Team.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.

BA (Hons) Award
September Start
Full-time, Sandwich Study Mode
3 years Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course


  • 112–120 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

University of Portsmouth in Pictures

Latest Updates from University of Portsmouth

Location of University of Portsmouth