The page you are visiting was formerly part of the Which? University website, but is now being provided by The Uni Guide — part of The Student Room. For more information please click here.

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more

Graphic Design

Sheffield College

UCAS Code: W210 | Foundation Degree in Arts - FdA

Entry requirements

UCAS Tariff


Typical entry requirements would include successful completion of a design/art related subject with a minimum of 48 tariff points from the following: •BTEC National Diploma •AVCE Double Award •GCE A-Level •18+ Art & Design Foundation and viewing of a portfolio of work Please note GCSE Maths and English at grade C or above will be required for students wishing to progress to a top-up year at Sheffield Hallam University or other higher education establishment. Mature students and students with access qualifications are also encouraged to contact us.

You may also need to…

Attend an interview

Present a portfolio

About this course

Course option


Full-time | 2023


Graphic design

Validated by Sheffield Hallam University, this highly professional course has an enviable track record for graduate employment in graphic communication design. Over the course of two years this qualification will cover elements such as website design, corporate identity, branding, advertising, professional practice and contextual studies whilst preparing you for a top-up course at university or employment within the sector. You will hone your professional skills by using industry standard technology (Adobe Creative Suite) and undertaking work based learning.

The Foundation Degree in Graphic Design equips students with the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills required for success in current and future employment in the Graphic Design sector - or the opportunity for progression to further ‘top-up’ study on the BA (Hons) Creative Practice (top up) Graphic Design course here at Sheffield College or the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course at Sheffield Hallam University or courses at other institutions.

The qualification has a strong vocational and industrial focus designed to meet the needs of the design industry. Students graduate with a high-level of creative and professional skills, knowledge and expertise derived from a curriculum that places emphasis on work-based learning experiences and practice.

The course is full-time, over two years. Students can expect to spend at least 2.5 days per week in lectures and seminars and are expected to spend a minimum of around 4 hours per week self-study. Students can expect ongoing feedback throughout each module of study.  

Although not a requirement of the course students are advised to complete at least one work placement (usually of one to two weeks duration); some students commit to more than one placement. Students studying in the second year are regularly accommodated by Sheffield based design companies. Students also gain placement opportunities in the South Yorkshire region as well as Manchester and London.

Where does this Lead
Students who have successfully completed the foundation degree will have the opportunity to progress to the BA (Hons) Creative Practice (top up) Graphic Design course here at Sheffield College and will also receive an offer to progress to Sheffield Hallam University on their full-time honours degree progression route provided that they submit an application via UCAS by the deadline. Applicants who are studying for SHU-validated foundation degrees and who wish to progress to part-time study on their designated honours degree progression route will apply directly to the University. The offer made by the University will be subject to:

Successful completion of the foundation degree programme
Submission of a satisfactory personal statement and reference
Meeting the University’s literacy and numeracy requirements
Satisfying any additional specific course requirements for entry to the designated progression route (e.g. successful completion of associated bridging studies, portfolio, or any non-academic conditions) including successful portfolio interview
Offers are made subject to the availability of courses and the University Terms and Conditions.

Future Opportunities
Graduates will also have the opportunity to gain employment and enter professions in the graphic design sector of industry and in a variety of design related areas. Careers in Graphic Design include such diverse fields as:
Publishing and Editorial design
Advertising and art direction
Corporate design and branding
Typographic design
Interactive design
Screen-based and digital graphic design
Packaging and exhibition design
Illustration and image-making
The foundation degree can also be a starting point for careers in education, marketing and management.


Key Units
Year 1
Semester 1
Visual Communication (40 credits)
This unit embraces elements of graphic design, photography and opportunities to work as part of a team.

Contextual Studies 1 (20 credits)
An integral part of any design course to facilitate and contextualise design related principles.

Semester 2
Contextual Studies (continued from Semester 1)

Corporate Identity (20 credits)
A creative module reflecting current industry practices in Corporate Identity.

Advertising (20 credits)
Opportunity to conceptualise and embrace international design competitions.

Work Based Learning 1 (20 credits)
Learners will work on a design brief set by industry practitioners.

Year 2
Semester 1
Graphics and Branding (20 credits)
Embracing theories and philosophies pertaining to Branding and the application of a brand.

Design in the Digital Environment (20 credits)
Students build their own (personal) website to facilitate an online portfolio for placement and job opportunities.

Professional Design Practice (20 credits)
Liaising with industry practitioners, print production, costing, fees, legislation, placement, C.V.

Contextual Studies 2 (20 credits)
Designed to encourage students to make connections between theory and practice and engage in critical analysis

Semester 2
Professional Design Practice (continued from Semester 1)

Contextual Studies 2 (continued from Semester 1)

Competition Project (20 credits)
Engaging in National, International and Global design competitions (D&AD, ISTD, RSA and YCN).

Work-based Learning 2: Client-based Project (20 credits)
Students will work on a design brief set and critiqued by industry professionals.

Assessment methods

Methods of assessment and feedback, including moderation/internal and external verification and the requirements for progression through the programme are explained during induction. They will be reinforced at all module briefings and at relevant times during tutorials. The course incorporates Formative, Summative and Diagnostic assessments that are regarded as positive learning tools. Peer assessment also plays a vital role in your development and educational growth. These assessment strategies will support your understanding of your learning processes and are designed to engage you as an active participant in the development of all aspects of your learning. These strategies also help to promote autonomous learning and self-evaluation as vital elements within the overall learning process.

The course structure and design will ensure that you will receive feedback on your aptitude, performance and progress throughout your studies. Feedback from assessment will provide you with clear guidance for your future development. Feedback methods will include:

Progress meetings will be held at intermediate points within all modules and projects. Feedback will be provided by academic staff, industrial practitioners and peers (as appropriate). In the main this will be verbal though on occasions a summary of advice will be provided in written format. Intermediate critiques will also provide opportunity for formative feedback.

Via a critique of your work at the end of each project which will involve at least two members of staff and your peer-group. As appropriate you will have the opportunity to contextualise your work verbally and engage in critical discourse with staff and fellow students.

Formal written feedback is provided via module feedback sheets that provide both a summary of performance, opportunities for future development and final assessment grading. In critical theory work (Contextual Studies), written feedback is given with returned essays. For projects and live project work set in collaboration with design studios, client feedback will only be used to inform you of your performance and will not, in any way, form part of your assessment mark.

Weekly tutorials are for review, advice and guidance on an individual basis across all areas of the course. They provide the opportunity for personal reflection and evaluation of performance along with target setting for future development. Normally this will result in a written summary.

Tuition fees

Select where you currently live to see what you'll pay:

per year
Northern Ireland
per year
per year
per year

The Uni

Course location:



Design Studies

Read full university profile

What students say

Sorry, no information to show

This is usually because there were too few respondents in the data we receive to be able to provide results about the subject at this university.

After graduation

We don't have more detailed stats to show you in relation to this subject area at this university but read about typical employment outcomes and prospects for graduates of this subject below.

What about your long term prospects?

Looking further ahead, below is a rough guide for what graduates went on to earn.

Creative arts and design

The graph shows median earnings of graduates who achieved a degree in this subject area one, three and five years after graduating from here.



Note: this data only looks at employees (and not those who are self-employed or also studying) and covers a broad sample of graduates and the various paths they've taken, which might not always be a direct result of their degree.

Explore these similar courses...

Higher entry requirements
Cornwall College | St Austell
Art & Design Practice
FdA 2.0 Years Full-time 2023
UCAS Points: 48
Lower entry requirements
New College Durham | Durham
Graphic Design
FdA 2.0 Years Full-time 2023
UCAS Points: 32
Same University
Sheffield College | Sheffield
FdA 2.0 Years Full-time 2023
UCAS Points: 48

Share this page

This is what the university has told Ucas about the criteria they expect applicants to satisfy; some may be compulsory, others may be preferable.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

This is the percentage of applicants to this course who received an offer last year, through Ucas.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

This is what the university has told Ucas about the course. Use it to get a quick idea about what makes it unique compared to similar courses, elsewhere.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

Course location and department:

This is what the university has told Ucas about the course. Use it to get a quick idea about what makes it unique compared to similar courses, elsewhere.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF):

We've received this information from the Department for Education, via Ucas. This is how the university as a whole has been rated for its quality of teaching: gold silver or bronze. Note, not all universities have taken part in the TEF.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

This information comes from the National Student Survey, an annual student survey of final-year students. You can use this to see how satisfied students studying this subject area at this university, are (not the individual course).

This is the percentage of final-year students at this university who were "definitely" or "mostly" satisfied with their course. We've analysed this figure against other universities so you can see whether this is high, medium or low.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

This information is from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), for undergraduate students only.

You can use this to get an idea of who you might share a lecture with and how they progressed in this subject, here. It's also worth comparing typical A-level subjects and grades students achieved with the current course entry requirements; similarities or differences here could indicate how flexible (or not) a university might be.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

Post-six month graduation stats:

This is from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, based on responses from graduates who studied the same subject area here.

It offers a snapshot of what grads went on to do six months later, what they were earning on average, and whether they felt their degree helped them obtain a 'graduate role'. We calculate a mean rating to indicate if this is high, medium or low compared to other universities.

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

Graduate field commentary:

The Higher Education Careers Services Unit have provided some further context for all graduates in this subject area, including details that numbers alone might not show

Have a question about this info? Learn more here

The Longitudinal Educational Outcomes dataset combines HRMC earnings data with student records from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

While there are lots of factors at play when it comes to your future earnings, use this as a rough timeline of what graduates in this subject area were earning on average one, three and five years later. Can you see a steady increase in salary, or did grads need some experience under their belt before seeing a nice bump up in their pay packet?

Have a question about this info? Learn more here