Illustration BA (Hons)

Illustration BA (Hons)

School of Art, Design and Fashion




Under- graduate



Foundation Entry Route

If you do not meet the formal entry requirements specified, Foundation Entry offers an alternative route to study this degree.

Find out more

  • Duration:

    Full-time: Three years

  • Level:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time

  • UCAS Code:

    W225; Short form: BA/ILL

  • Campus:

    Preston (Campus code: U)

  • Start Date:


  • Award Type:

    BA (Hons)

Why study this course?

The images we see and take for granted in day-to-day life from book covers to advertisements in newspapers etc are more often than not created by an illustrator. A career as an illustrator opens the door to a wide variety of careers in design, working for graphic, media and advertising agencies, as well as publishers and newspapers. If you have an enthusiasm for drawing and practical creativity of all kinds, this degree will help you hone and develop your design skills via the communication of ideas with pictures, using the up-to-date digital and printing facilities available to you. Through our links with industry and relevant work placements, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the industry, so you’re well equipped to take your skills into the workplace. 

Entry Requirements

112 points at A2; General Studies accepted 
OCF BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction, Merit, Merit
QCF BTEC Diploma: Distinction*, Distinction*
Pass Access to Higher Education: 112 points
Pass International Baccalaureate Diploma: 28 Points
GCSE: 5 GCSEs at grade C including Maths and English or equivalent.
IELTS: grade 6 with no subscore lower than 5.5

For changes to 2017 UCAS tariff entry requirements please see our important information. UCLan requires all undergraduate applicants to have a minimum attainment of five GCSEs at grade C and above, or equivalent, (including Maths and English). In 2017 and beyond we will view the new Grade 4 as being equivalent to a C grade and will therefore require students to achieve GCSE Grade 4 or above. However, if the subject is relevant to our degree programme and requires a higher GCSE grade (e.g. GCSE B grade), and/or includes a Professional body that governs the entry requirements, Grade 5 or above may be required.

All applicants are invited to attend a Selection Day when they will be interviewed with a portfolio. You will be notified of your date for your Selection Day by our Admissions Office who will also update UCAS Track with details of your application.

Further information on our Selection Day and portfolio interviews.

Clearing 2017 - Secure your place

Course at a Glance

Year 1

  • Creative Thinking
  • Introduction to Graphic Communication
  • Communication Craft Skills
  • Historical Contextual Studies

Year 2

  • Applied Illustration
  • Graphic Communication in Context
  • Professional Practice
  • Contemporary Contextual Studies


Year 3

  • Illustration Set Project
  • Illustration External Project
  • Illustration Self-Initiated Project
  • Contextual Studies – Futures

Further Information

The Illustration degree at UCLan is a studio-based course aimed at students with an enthusiasm for drawing and practical creativity of all kinds. Illustrators make artwork to commission for a variety of creative disciplines. We have a very broad definition of the materials and processes you can use in the pursuit of innovative and challenging illustration. You can draw, paint, collage, print and photograph, you can also animate, and use 3D materials or digital media.

Year 1 (Year 2 if you have entered via the Foundation route) will introduce you to creative thinking strategies, as well as workshop skills such as printmaking, and a variety of drawing processes. Year 2 (Year 3 if you have entered via the Foundation route) allows you to explore your own working practice in greater depth and investigates how to apply your skills to a range of industry standard briefs. These include editorial, design, advertising and publishing projects.

In your final year you will aim to develop an individually directed portfolio of illustration, and create images for live projects such as the Macmillan Prize for Children’s Book Illustration, D&AD Student Design Awards, and the Association of Illustrators Images Award. You will also exhibit your final year work in public at the University and at external events such as the D&AD New Blood Exhibition in London.


The course is designed to help students create a portfolio of work so that they can work as independent illustrators or artists. Graduates find employment within a range of related creative industries, including animation, graphic design, fine art and arts education. Further information can be found at Preston illustration blog.

You will have the opportunity to spend a year or a semester studying overseas. In recent years students have chosen to study part of their course in Sydney, Australia. There are also opportunities to study in a range of European countries through the ERASMUS programme. International students from USA and Europe regularly study alongside our students via a module or year exchange programme.


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.

Apply Now

You can apply through Clearing now to start this September. Call us on 01772 830777

Contact Us

+44(0)1772 892400

Fees 2018/19

Full-time: £9,250* per year (UK/EU)

*Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated. Currently the 2018/19 fee level, which is due to increase in line with UK Retail Price Index inflation rates has not been announced by the Government.

Further information:

For 2017/18 fees please refer to our fees page.

Scholarships and bursaries

Industry Links

As an Illustration student at UCLan you will have an opportunity to create live project work either set by industry connections, or via professional organisations like D&AD. Placements have been arranged within greetings cards studios, in galleries and within design agencies. Our students are frequently visited by industry professionals, practicing illustrators, publishing and design commissioners and agents.

You will be able to interact with creative industry practitioners and we invite a wide range of visiting speakers and industry professionals to the course every year. Well-known illustrators and artists that have visited, lectured and worked with our students recently include: Tom Gauld, Lizzy Stewart, Gemma Correll, Katherina Manolessou, Stuart Kolakovic, Jill Calder, David Hughes, Nick Sharratt, Steven Appleby, and many others.

The course is a member of both the Association of Illustrators and Design and Art Direction


English Regions Skills Review 2015

UCLan has received a special mention in the English Regions Skills Review 2015 for its investigative work in bridging the gap between education and the workplace. According to the Report:

The bond between education and the industry is far stronger in the regions. The links between the industry and colleges and universities are well forged and productive. Both sides are keen to work together . . . The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is investigating a Spark finishing school to concentrate on specific skills gaps identified by this research (and others) around production management (among others).

At the forefront of this is the ‘soap-in-a-week’ collaboration in which ITV Studios and UCLan are partnering up. Cast and crew from Emmerdale and Coronation Street will work with UCLan students from a host of courses to brainstorm ideas, storyline the first episode, script, rehearse, shoot and show it, all in five days. ITV will be there for guidance only and the idea and execution will be done entirely by the students. For further information on this story, to receive a copy of the English Regions Skills Review, or for more details about how UCLan is bridging the gap between education and the creative industries, contact Emma Speed on 01772 895959.


UCLan Illustration students highly commended in national children’s book competition

UCLan graduate designs The Royal Mint’s first UK £50 face value coin

Learning Environment and Assessment

This is a practice-based course where you will be given the opportunity to work in a studio environment where practical exploration and creative playfulness is encouraged. You will be taught contemporary image making by experienced practitioners via project briefs.

Assessment includes portfolio and project presentations, verbal presentation and written work.

The facilities for design students at UCLan are amazing with laser cutting, 3D printing, letter press and screen printing facilities to mention a few.


You will have access to workshop facilities including digital facilities within the studios, and within the Victoria Building facility; as well as traditional and digital printmaking, and 3D workshops. In addition, students will have lectures, group critiques and one-to-one tutorials.