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Graphic Communication BA (Hons) (top-up from HND) (full-time)

  • HE

This course offers the opportunity to top–up your existing Graphic Design or equivalent subject qualification to a BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Degree Level 6, (validated by University of Northampton), whilst studying within the highly successful Graphic Design faculty at Bedford College.

University of Northampton

You will benefit from:

  • Highly experienced, practicing tutors
  • Access to live industry-­led design briefs and national competitions
  • Visiting creative industry guest speakers and client presentations
  • Opportunities to exhibit locally and in London at D&AD New Blood
  • Impressive track record for winning competitions and placing students into employment
  • Small group sizes offering excellent tutor access and support
  • Excellent facilities and Apple Mac computer suites


I taught myself graphic design and website design when I was about 17 and studying at college. I went on to work as a receptionist for five years and then at an insurance broker, but eventually I’d had enough of the day job and started applying for roles in graphic design. Although I had some interviews, companies were unwilling to take me on without formal qualifications or a proven portfolio.  

That’s when I came to Bedford College. As a mature student with responsibilities at home, it was a more sensible option than going away to university. I completed the HNC and HND where I was delighted to achieve so much, including an international YCN Award.

We were the first year to be offered the chance to top up to a full BA (Hons) degree here at College, in conjunction with the University of Northampton. What I love about studying for the BA is the freedom to set up your own projects, and interpret things in your own way.

It hasn’t been without its challenges; we’ve had to write a dissertation and the general volume of work has been higher. However, both our tutors and the staff in the Learning Resources Centre have offered one-to-one sessions on how to structure your writing and reference correctly, which really helped. I’ve always had as much support from my tutors as I have needed during my time here, but these were an added bonus to help with the step up to BA.

After completing my degree I would like to get a job in the industry in order to increase my knowledge and experience further, and then hopefully go freelance. 

Emma - Graphic Communication BA (Hons)


I wanted to study Art & Design when I finished school, so my teachers suggested the Foundation Diploma at Bedford College. If you’re unsure about going to university then it’s a great option, as you spend the year sampling different disciplines before deciding what to specialise in. I had experience in illustration but the Graphic Design tutor, Jeffrey convinced me of the brilliant career prospects for graphic designers. I progressed on to the Graphic Design HND and when the opportunity for the BA opened up, I went for it.  

Highlights of the course were going to the D&AD exhibition in London and winning a YCN award. It prepared me for following a real life brief, deadlines and receiving criticism to improve things. I’m looking forward to progressing as a designer here at EMC over the next few years.   

Josie - Graphic Communication BA (Hons)
Junior Designer at EMC Design


When I came for an interview at Bedford College I was already studying for a Foundation Degree in Computer Science elsewhere. I was very interested in web design but not the technical side of coding. By the time I’d had my interview and seen the work other students were producing, I was convinced to make the switch to the Graphic Design HNC.

I learnt all the Adobe products from scratch, but the best thing about the course was the valuable input of the tutors and their links to the industry. You could sit at home and teach yourself InDesign, but you wouldn’t get to sit down with your tutor and get the expert critique on your work to help you constantly improve.

I went from knowing very little to landing a great job a month after graduating. The course covered editorial, branding, digital design, and here at Bonfire Creative Intelligence I am working on various launch campaigns and creating anything from banner ads and t-shirt designs to GIF images and bunting for pubs! I love it and I am learning so much.

William - Graphic Communication BA (Hons)
Junior Designer at Bonfire Creative Intelligence

cafe in the park image

BA Graphic Design student Daniel Rogers has successfully completed a design brief from Community Action Bedfordshire to create branding for a new soon to open 'Café in the Park' located at Parson’s Close Recreation Ground, Leighton Buzzard.

Multi-page PDF containing the logo, menu and other communications is attached along with the original client brief sent in to the College by John Gelder, (Director) of Community Action Bedfordshire. 

View the client brief here. View the final submitted work here.

D&AD New Blood 2015D&AD New Blood 2016

Entry requirements

Higher National Diploma (HND), Foundation Degree (FdA) or completion of years 1 & 2 of a Degree course in Graphic Design or an equivalent subject. Entry is subject to a successful interview and portfolio presentation. International students may submit their portfolio electronically.

Course content

In this final year you will develop stronger ownership of your work as you define your portfolio and career direction for either employment or postgraduate progression.

You will develop:

  • A substantive creative portfolio of professional design work with an accompanying exhibition
  • An understanding of design as communicated through wider sociocultural and ethical issues, themes, debates and practices
  • the ability to study independently, exercise initiative, take personal responsibility, manage a varied workload and make decisions in complex and unpredictable contexts


  • Graphic Communication (Final Major Study) (80 Credits) Consisting of a major self-­determined assignment, running alongside a range of staff-­‐set, industry and competition briefs.
  • Graphic Communication (Dissertation) (40 Credits) Written research dissertation with 20% of the overall grade assessed on the design and layout of the final submission.

Assessment methods

During the course you will work with a range of specialist lecturers (including practising designers) in well-equipped studios and workshops. Project briefs will be set for each assignment and you will be encouraged to develop a personal response to each task. All activities will be supported through one-to-one tutorials and group discussions to inform personal progress and aid assessment. Assessment will be continuous, with assignments graded at the end of each task.


Level 6 BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Degree (validated by the University of Northampton).

Further study and career options

Upon successful completion graduates are employed as graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, web and digital designers throughout the UK with some entering Europe and the USA. Alternatively, you could continue your studies with a Master of Arts (MA) qualification at University.

Additional information

External live projects, commercial activities and the course’s wide network of industry contacts supports and offers a range of work experience and placement opportunities. 

Earlier this year, Bedford based brewer Charles Wells challenged students to come up with branding design ideas for its new multi-million investment brewhouse and visitor destination, due to open to the public in early 2020. 20 students will soon have the opportunity to pitch their individual creative design ideas. Read more.

The Department offers each year an optional trip to a major European cultural capital.

Additional costs

  • Basic art & design equipment such as layout pads, pens, scalpel, ruler, and external hard drive as per materials list.
  • Developing a personal portfolio (completing students) and self-promotional items approx. £150, and occasional visits by train to London.

Pay by instalments

The College offers an instalment plan for Further Education and Higher Education courses to students where the total amount payable at the point of enrolment is £200 or more. Within the scheme there is an ability to pay up to 7 instalments, depending on the length of the courses and the final payment must be paid at least a month before the end of the course.

How to apply

To enrol on this course you must apply through the University & Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) using the institution code BEDF B23 and the course code GDT1. Visit or call us on 01234 291000 for more information.

You also need to register with the University of Northampton:

  • Visit, type Graphic Communication into the keywords and it will bring up the programme. Once clicked, it will bring up a list of session codes, CBAAGRCOM - 3FTBF is the code you need.
  • It is recommended that you use Google Chrome, Safari or Mozilla Firefox as opposed to Internet Explorer
  • In additional to capturing your personal information, the university requires you to upload a personal statement document and upload scans of your qualification certificates
  • You will also need to indicate how you will be paying the tuition fees: HE loan, self-fee payer, sponsor/employer to pay fees etc. If your employer should be invoiced, you will also need to upload a letter of authorisation from your employer on headed paper confirming this.

Course Information & How to Apply

You will need to complete a UCAS online application form to apply for this course, available at The codes needed are located in the 'How to apply' section above. Please call the College on 01234 291000 if you have any queries about your application.

LengthStart DateFeesLocationCourse Code
1 year 27/09/2021 £8000 Cauldwell Street BBL1618

Part-time course already started?

Our upcoming 2021-22 part-time courses will be out in May. Get alerted when they're released by selecting your campus of choice below and filling out the relevant form:

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Additional Learning Support
If you have a specific learning difficulty or disability, are deaf or hearing impaired, our Additional Learning Support team are on hand to give you assistance whenever you need it.  Find out more.

Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome Support
At Bedford College, we are committed to developing the provision for students on the autistic spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome.  Find out more.

We have access arrangements in place to help students with disabilities or any other particular needs. Call us on 01234 291000 for more information.

Additional formats
Course information sheets are also available in large print and audio formats. Call us on
01234 291000 to order your copy.