Undergraduate BA (Hons)

Graphic Design With Foundation Year

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology




Four year

Next enrolment

September 2022


In a nutshell

On the course, you’ll learn to develop research informed and ideas-led solutions to increasing complex visual communication challenges. You have the opportunity to engage with an extensive range of creative processes of production, embracing both the digital and traditional processes of design. This course allows for the development of a broad range of specialist skills in areas such as typography, branding, illustration and image making, information design, signage and wayfinding, art direction, exhibition design, editorial design, service design, front-end web design, user experience and user interface design.

Our graduate employment profile is excellent and supported through the focus of the curriculum on externally partnered and live briefs, networking events, exhibitions and competitions that our students engage with and undertake during their studies. There are many opportunities to engage with the local creative community within Greater Manchester as well as the wider industry on a national and international level. Our prime location on the University’s main campus within the New Adelphi building also fosters excellent opportunities for you to work collaboratively with students studying across a wide spectrum of disciplines.

The foundation year of this four-year programme aims to provide you with an understanding of the subject to allow you to progress on to the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course.

You will: 
  • Learn about the broad applications of graphic design, with the opportunity to focus and personalise your studies 

  • Develop research informed and ideas-led solutions to increasing complex visual communication challenges 

  • Embrace both the digital and traditional processes of design 

Find out more by signing up to our upcoming Open Day, or if you have any general questions please contact course enquiries.    

You can also find helpful FAQs, learn more about student life at Salford or explore all our Art and Design courses. Continue reading to understand more about this BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Foundation Year course. 

This is for you if...


You can demonstrate knowledge and enthusiasm about design


You are keen to develop skills in all areas throughout all stages of the creative process


You want to explore both new and traditional design processes

Course details

All about the course

We support students to develop idea led solutions, embracing the digital and at the same time engaging with traditional processes such as bookbinding and printmaking. Teaching is informed by research and academic staff contribute to subject networks, international conferences, exhibitions, books and papers. Student learning is facilitated through a range of workshops, seminars and lectures with additional support from a team of demonstrators.

The curriculum covers a broad range of specialist skills in both traditional and emerging areas such as design research methods, ideas generation and creative thinking, typography, branding, art direction, print-making, illustration and image making, bookbinding, photography, motion design, ambient media, interactive and multimedia design.

Foundation year

Digital Media Applications

This module helps you to become more familiar and confident with technology. As well as learning the creative software and photography skills, it will allow you to explore a creative subject of your choice and give you essential time management and research skills.

Creative Methods

This module will enable you to examine the creative and professional practice of others as a way of reflecting on your own practice. You’ll create a range of outcomes to help you build a dedicated portfolio as well as learning about major influences in art and design.

Creative Risk Taking

This module is all about challenging your creative thought and highlighting the importance of creative risk taking. The briefs allow you to produce a range of outcomes that underpin all of the main art and design disciplines as well as giving you the flexibility to interpret the brief to your area of interest.

Creative Practice Major Project

This module is designed to allow you to bring together all your prior learning from the previous modules. It gives you the opportunity to propose and create your own brief based on a theme, topic, or issue that you are passionate about. Within this module you’ll be supported by tutors who will guide you in creating in a meaningful body of work that demonstrates confidence in your chosen area. Your work will be exhibited in school of Arts and Media end of year show.

Introduction to the Creative Industries

This module enables you explore the creative industries and its career opportunities, You’ll learn about a range of subjects including responsible design and future trends within your chosen area of art and design. It will allow you to build on the technical skills that you have gained in the first semester to produce a creative publication.

Year one

Form and Content

This module introduces a variety of approaches to developing an applied understanding of the fundamental design principles used within graphic communication design practice. Through a series of practical workshops and projects you will examine process, materials, form, proportion, contrast, balance, space, colour and symbol and their impact and use.

Critical and Professional Contexts 1

The Critical and Contextual Practice module gives you the opportunity to intellectually explore and interrogate your chosen discipline. The module is supported by workshops, lectures and seminars aligned to and in support of the development of studio practice. The module aims to embed writing as a connected and integral part of design process where a series of interlocking, complementary texts and artefacts will be produced to help build deeper understanding of the theories, debates and discourses that surround the discipline of graphic communication design.

Process and Application

This module aims to develop an awareness of the contextual factors, which affect contemporary graphic communication design practice through the study of challenging real-world ‘wicked’ problems. Yous will be introduced to working within the constraints inherent in designing for specific purposes and encouraged to give due consideration of their responsibilities as designers to any stakeholders involved. Focus will be placed on the application of previous learning, the development of personal design processes and capabilities regards the generation of ideas and application of creative thinking.

Critical and Professional Contexts 1 (continued)

Further developing the knowledge and skills you acquired in semester one.

Year two

Graphic Design for...

In this module you will research how 21st century designers are expanding their role beyond the aesthetic and commercial and are applying their creative skills contributing to social, ecological and political issues. You will participate in several projects intended to help the development of socially responsible design practices and the broadening of perspective on how and where design can be applied in an ethical manner. These projects may range from devising and communicating inventive proposals to local level, everyday problems, to larger and more complex global issues such as food production, energy consumption, mass education and the protection and improvement of natural ecosystems and resources.

Critical and Professional Contexts 2

This module introduces further knowledge and context and facilitates the academic application and continuing development of the knowledge and skills gained on the course. You will investigate and test your position in relation to creative and cultural communities relevant to your developing practices. The module will also provide practice in working with others and explores the nature of applying research in collaborative situations.

Live Projects

This module will challenge you to utilise graphic communication skills and knowledge in the answering of a live design brief. Through negotiation, you will be encouraged to select and answer a project with externally set requirements. The work produced for this unit should demonstrate a clear understanding of the aims, goals, objectives and needs of stakeholders involved (clients, collaborative partners and target audiences). You will have the opportunity to expand and apply the skills and learning gained in an educational context within a professional setting.

Graphic Design and…

This module will allow you to investigate possibilities for graphic communication design connecting and interacting with other subjects such as sociology, anthropology, politics, science, philosophy, psychology, economics and technology. Through a series of project challenges, workshops and seminars, you will generate and evaluate ideas that help identify your own ambitions and develop specialist technical and practical skills.

Critical and Professional Contexts 2 (continued)

Further developing the knowledge and skills you acquired in semester one.

Creative Collaboration

The module will develop your awareness of the benefits of collaborative practice between different specialisms and the relationship between design and business. Where possible, the module will allow you to work alongside a live client and/or collaborate with other programmes within the School or wider University.

Year three

Design Practice

This module offers the opportunity to consolidate specialist interests by enabling you to select from a range of projects that allow flexibility of process, media and outcome. These projects will be either course set, industry partnered or from a range of design award schemes.

Critical and Professional Contexts 3

This module requires you, in consultation with programme staff, to formulate, investigate and produce an individual response to a subject area connected to visual culture or key critical, professional subject debates. It will also allow you to consider and articulate a personal agenda and prepare for life after graduation through the development a post degree plan and related portfolio of work.

Negotiated Major Project

The Negotiated Major Project module is designed to allow you to bring together and synthesise your prior learning and experiences on the course through the definition, negotiation and implementation of a self-determined programme of study. You are encouraged to identify a theme, topic, issue or set of issues around which to focus your exploration leading to the development and presentation of a significant body of work.

Critical and Professional Contexts 3 (continued)

Further developing the knowledge and skills you acquired in semester one.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What Will I Be Doing?


Practical studio work


Contextual and written work


We employ a range of teaching methods including practical workshops, seminars, tutorials, lectures and self-directed study for skills development. Design projects provide the main focus of learning and you have regular opportunity to gain feedback on your work through group tutorials and evaluative seminars. You benefit from learning to practice within large studio environment, which helps develop a working studio culture and facilitates further support and collaboration with peers, tutors and demonstrators. Project delivery ranges from one-day tasks to longer projects running the length of a semester or the whole academic year. You are given opportunities to develop transferable communication and organisational skills through enhancement opportunities including team working, presenting project work and project management.

Live and externally partnered briefs are integrated into several modules and there are opportunities to engage with industry through co-curricula projects, networking events, exhibitions and visits to and from local creative practitioners. Through the course, you are required to record, reflect and evaluate your experiences and progress and are supported through a personal tutorial system. You are encouraged to develop your subject awareness, contextualise your practice and develop skills that facilitate an ability to work independently. Collaborative practice and key team working skills are also developed.

There are regular group tutorials to feedback on progress, talks and debates to explore ideas and concepts, seminars to develop discussion around subject related themes and workshops to develop a variety of cognitive, practical and technical skills. A wide variety of assessment methods are used and modules often require the assessment of a mixture of visual, verbal and written outcomes.


For studio based modules you will be assessed on 100% coursework, which usually comprises of research and development work including ideas generation, design process, final outcomes and reflective analysis and evaluation.

The Critical and Professional Contexts modules offers a theoretical and cultural underpinning to your design practice and submissions throughout the course take the form of written outcomes, presentations and visual artefacts.


All our Art and Design courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology.     

Our School and University have strong and long-lasting relationships with local and national industry.     

Once you graduate with us, you’ll join a thriving alumni community in Greater Manchester and beyond. 


The Graphic Design course has large studios within the New Adelphi builidng so that you can benefit from working within a creative community and develop skills for working within a studio culture. There is access to various computer suites on campus complete with appropriate industry standard software.

In addition, there are a range of specialist technical areas such as a photography department with facilities supporting both digital and traditional processes, a print room which has newly equipped water based and traditional print processes and fully equipped 3D Workshop areas. All these areas are supported by a range of expert technical demonstrators who will induct you with the wide range of processes.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Graduates work in many areas of graphic design, including design for print, branding, editorial design, illustration, interactive design including app design, ezine and e-book design, online marketing and web design, as well as motion graphics. Students also move into related careers within the ever evolving creative industries in marketing, project management, social media and account handling.

Graduates work locally, nationally as well as internationally at companies such as Love Creative, Vault 49 New York, Typo com, Raw, Great Fridays, Mainframe, Code, Office, TBWA, GQ, Harpers & Queen, Showstudio, Skaggs Advertising in New York, Sha-La-La workshop, Hong Kong and Zietgiest in Germany. Graduates work within the creative industries, as well as freelance, and others pursue careers in teaching.


MA Contemporary Arts Practice with Industry Experience

MA Design for Communication with Industry Experience

MA Socially Engaged Arts Practice with Community Experience

A taste of what you could become

A Graphic designer

An Illustrator

An App designer

An Animator

And more...

Career Links

We offer many opportunities to engage with industry and the programme has close links with a range of design companies and industry networks both locally and nationally.

Industry experience is also integrated into module delivery with live briefs and other opportunities such as print fairs and exhibitions at internationally acclaimed venues within the north-west and beyond.

Live projects include Decode Recode as part of the official Opening of the University Building at MediaCityUK, this ran for 24 hours project with 24 countries, a live media Jam. Students designed branding, marketing and exhibition design for a networking event, DNA Carnival at Islington Mill, Salford. Other live briefs include Magma store promotion, album cover and merchandising for Ali Moss Late Bloomer (BT Ad) and ‘Sharing the Making’, a group that interacts with artisans in Peru to connect them with companies in the UK to offer fair trade. Another project was with BBC21CC, students worked alongside BBC media trainers teaching digital media skills to produce content for the BBC Big Screens.

Whilst not an assessed part of the course or part of a module, students are supported and encouraged to search for and undertake live briefs, freelance work or industry placement during the course, usually during the summer vacation period between years two and three.

Students gain work experience at a broad range of companies including Code, Design by Day, Hallmark, Havas Lynx, True North, DR ME, Lazerian, Like A River, Doodledo and Unconvention.

The graphic design programme delivers a popular professional speakers’ occasional programme of leading design professionals, from a broad range of disciplines, to present their individual philosophies and portfolios. Past speakers have included practitioners such as Textbook Studio, DR ME, Music, Si Scott, Peter Saville, Pete Fowler, John Burgerman and Trevor Johnson.


What you need to know

This course isn’t suitable for international students. If you are an international student and interested in studying a foundation year, please visit our International Foundation Year course page.


Applicants should be able to demonstrate knowledge and enthusiasm about design, and be keen to develop skills in all areas throughout all stages of the creative process. We would like to see evidence of creative thinking, thorough research skills and experimentation with a range of media and ideas as  well as the application of problem solving skills and evidence of critical judgement and analysis. All applicants are required to bring a portfolio to interview, which should include examples of your working processes such as secondary and primary research, ideas generation and project development in  sketchbooks and/or worksheets as well as final outcomes.

Your application statement should be succinct and personal to you. It should provide information that helps the admissions tutor determine the suitability of your application. 

It should provide answers for questions such as:

  • Why do you want to study Graphic Design?  
  • When did you realise this was the subject you wanted to specialise in?  
  • Who, within the field of creative practice, has produced work that you admire?  
  • What do you hope to gain through degree level study?  
  • How has your education and life experiences so far prepared you for degree level study?
Standard entry requirements


English Language at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent). Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) is preferred but not essential.

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.

A Levels

64 points including Art & Design

UCAS tariff points

64 tariff points from A-levels (or equivalent) to include an Art and Design qualification

BTEC National Diploma


Access to HE

Pass Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 64 points (relevant subject)

Scottish Highers

64 points including Art & Design

Irish Leaving Certificate

64 points including Art & Design 

International Baccalaureate

24 points including Art & Design 

European Baccalaureate

Pass Diploma with 60% overall 

Alternative entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2021/22 £8,250 for Foundation Year and £9,250 for subsequent years.
Full-time home 2022/23 £8,250 for Foundation Year and £9,250 for subsequent years.
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2022

UCAS information

Course ID W214

Institution S03