BA Honours in Illustration and Visual Communication


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Course summary

This ambitious and interdisciplinary course offers practice and study in image-making applied principally within illustration but also in a range of creative design and communication contexts from animation to commercial installation. Our premise is that within the contemporary visual practice the boundaries between art, design and illustration have merged, this in part is due to digital technologies but also the cultural merging of disciplines within the visual and performing arts.

New creatives can find themselves working on initiatives that require a range of skills, are multi-contextual, multi-media and increasingly involve collaboration with others. Within this context, the course offers an in-depth, reflective and process-led approach to image-making and image media.

Course structure

The following subjects are indicative of what you will study in this course.

Year 1

Year 1 serves as an introduction and diagnostic approach to visual communication through a programme that includes drawing and image-making developed through varied media processes and visual technologies. All practical work is project-led providing a menu of initiatives that test your imagination and help you build knowledge and skills. You will gain an understanding of visual culture and your views on many aspects of art and image-making will expand and become more informed through your learning and research. You will learn how to analyse and deconstruct images, especially in the media and advertising and you will be able to create your own work in a more informed and sophisticated way.

Subjects of study include:

  • Introduction to Contemporary Art and Visual Culture (theory).
  • Introduction to Image Media (theory).
  • Figure drawing. (course option practice – figure drawing from observation in the studio and on location).
  • Visual Communication Technologies: workshops and classes in animation, print-making, digital media, photography and 3D.
  • Visual Communication – Development and Production (project led practice in image-making).

Credit Level 4

Year 2

You will now be expanding and deepening your understanding in visual culture and applied image-making through a menu of industry-led and personally defined research initiatives, national and international student competitions and set projects. This year of study has the most flexibility where you can take elective or optional study modules in both semesters or undertake study abroad. This is a period of research, in-depth exploration of visual languages and methodologies in image-making and design. You will be beginning to tailor your own direction in the topics you choose and the media through which you develop your practice. In theoretical studies, you will be examining visual culture in greater depth and scrutiny leading into choosing a topic for your dissertation.

You will be able to choose up to 2 Westminster elective modules or course optional modules.

Subjects of study include:

  • Drawing Systems (course option practice – experimental drawing practise and research).
  • Interdisciplinary Practice (course option practice - that develops image media for online production and distribution).
  • Visual Communication: Contextualisation and Enterprise (project led practice that encourages image-making in context with the environment, society and contemporary culture. This module includes participation in national and international student competitions and external enterprise).
  • Visual Communication: Research and Synthesis (theoretical studies that includes lectures in contemporary critical debate within visual culture and leads into research and preparing an essay question and bibliography for your dissertation).

Credit Level 5

Year 3

You will now be preparing your portfolio for entering the workplace or to continue with your research and studies at the post-graduate level. This final year is focused on the culmination of your learning and the encouragement to produce work that defines your own direction and approach.

The Major Project and Dissertation modules help you to professionalise your practice and provide a final period of in-depth study. The two elective modules are designed to reflect vocational professional development or academic research and personal practice that is less market-driven. At this point, teaching is principally guidance and advice on personal and professional development. As part of this industry launch, the course offers an exhibition for your degree show in London Gallery West, and as part of D&AD New Blood exhibition in Truman Brewery.

Subjects of study include:

  • Visual Communication: Dissertation (an 8 – 10,000-word essay on a topic chosen from topics studied earlier in the course and aligned to your practical work).
  • Research Informed Practice (course option for students whose practice is not vocationally driven and require time for deeper research and visual inquiry. This would apply for students continuing with the post-graduate study, whose practice is more within the remit of film or fine art or intend to enter teacher training courses).
  • Professional Engagement and Enterprise (course option with a specific image-making and illustration industry focus for students who intend to work professionally in this sector of the creative industries).
  • Visual Communication: Major Project (an intense and extended period in which to develop practical work).

Credit Level 6

Entry Requirements

  • A-Levels - BB/CCC
  • International Baccalaureate - 26 points (minimum)
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended National Diploma - MMM
  • BTEC Foundation Diploma in Art and Design - Merit
  • Access to HE Diploma - Pass with 45 credits at Level 3 with a minimum of 27 Level 3 credits at Merit or Distinction. GCSE minimum grade 4 (Grade C in grading system prior to 2017) in English.

If English is not your first language, you should have an IELTS score of 6.0 overall, with a score of 5.5 in each element.

You may be required to bring a portfolio of practical work to interview.


Working in this sector is challenging but also highly varied and rewarding creatively and financially. Work in this applied field of creative arts is normally through a commission. Artists often combine employment and self-employment, doing commissioned work and creative work for agencies.

Graduates from this course go on to work in the following industries:

  • Advertising
  • Digital media
  • Film and television production
  • Publishing
  • Digital arts
  • Animation
  • Art direction and management
  • Commercial music promotion and events
  • Fashion
  • Exhibition and commercial/environmental installation and display

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

The University of Westminster is a dynamic international education institution with a distinguished 175-year history. With three campuses in central London (Cavendish, Marylebone and Regent) and one i ... Read More

The University of Westminster is a dynamic international education institution with a distinguished 175-year history. With three campuses in central London (Cavendish, Marylebone and Regent) and one in Harrow, it is home to over 20,000 students from over 150 nations. Read less