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Illustration with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

  • UCAS Code: W22F
  • Level: Foundation
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Study mode: Full Time (4 years)
  • Location: City Centre

Our BA (Hons) Illustration with Foundation Year degree course aims to give those with a passion for image making and illustration the skills they need to capture and communicate ideas through pictures. We celebrate the challenge of finding your individual visual voice through experimenting, risk taking and critical reflection. You will also explore how your work can be applied across a wide range of contexts, from commercial work to personally-driven projects.

This course provides an opportunity to develop a wide range of transferable skills and design process knowledge that is highly desirable to employers.

About foundation courses

This four year programme has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake additional level 3 study, to ensure you are successful on your chosen degree programme. The foundation year helps students to develop skills such as academic writing, referencing and researching, as well as important transferable skills such as project management and team work.

After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within Birmingham School of Art or the School of Visual Communication.

Why study a degree with a foundation year?

Foundation years are a great option if you have the talent, ambition and potential to thrive at Birmingham City University, but do not meet the entry requirements for your preferred course. It’s ideal if:

  • You want the flexibility of a year’s study on a more general course to find out the best degree choice for you.
  • You have changed your mind about your career since you chose your A-levels or BTECs and need to improve your skills in a different subject area.
  • You would like extra time and support to help you build your knowledge, skills and confidence before starting a full degree.

What's covered in the course?

Our challenging and exciting Illustration course will help you develop new skills and different ways of thinking, enabling you to find your own individual, visual voice and prepare you for the ever-changing creative industry.

The course celebrates the synthesis between illustration and all the other visual communication subject disciplines, leading to the development of strong student collaborations that again aims to reflect industry practice.

We support a lively creative community, encouraging the value of peer learning. This learning is supplemented by an integrated workshop programme that provides the opportunity to work alongside, and be informed by, industry experts from a wide range of disciplines.

"I took part in an internship with Moonpig and I’ve also worked for George Asda, as well as completing some design work for some festivals. The course gives you live briefs which gives you direct connections to the industry, as well as the opportunity for your work to actually be used and displayed somewhere." Phoebe Munger

Why Choose Us?

  • Your Foundation Year gives you the chance to explore Graphic Communication, Illustration, Design for Performance, Photography, Fine Art and Art and Design. You will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within Birmingham School of Art or the School of Visual Communication.
  • There will be opportunities to exhibit at high-profile London graduate shows, including New Designers and D&AD New Blood.
  • You will receive industry insight from significant practitioners, including Laura Carlin, Russell Cobb, Sarah Fanelli, Le Gun, Paul Willoughby, NoBrow, Paul Slater, People of Print, Dan Fern, Jonny Hannah, Isobel Greenberg, Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, Paper Cinema, Fabric Lenny, Sarah Maycock,Graham Rawle, Lizzie Stewart and Jo Todd-Stanton .
  • Live project partnerships include Tiny Tree Books, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, DanceXchange, Flatpack Film Festival, Playground Games and Moonpig.
  • Professional practice and core business skills are delivered by outside agencies such as the Association of Illustrators and other external specialists.

This course is open to International students

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Discover the School of Visual Communication

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information about how we're transforming the futures of creative practitioners.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

And in jobs such as:

  • Art Director
  • Buyer and Illustrator
  • Designer

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
Essential

80 UCAS tariff points.

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
IELTS Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
LEVEL 3 (and above) QUALIFICATIONS
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CDD / 80 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

AS and AS VCE

Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 80 pts

Access to HE Diploma

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
MMP

Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)

  • Pass
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts

IBO Certificate in Higher Level

  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall

Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)

Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects.

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

MMP

Scottish Advanced Higher

  • Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).

T-Levels

Pass overall (C or above on the core)

UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design

Merit overall

UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology

Merit overall

UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts

Merit overall
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS

Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

 

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

  • UK students
  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £13,200 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK students

UCAS

UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Portfolio Guidance

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

What's included

The course is a member of the Association of Illustrators, entitling you to various discounts on your membership and publications. During the course there are a number of large-scale collective group projects and workshops where the basic materials are supplied by the course.

You are taken on a selection of UK study trips. To date these have included London, Bristol, Oxford, Manchester and more local ‘mystery’ locations.

All students are provided with access to the online training site Lynda.com. This website provides a wealth of video tutorials to supplement your activities in the studio and allow you to be supported during your self-directed study.

Adobe accreditation is also available for all students. This allows you the chance to take an exam in the various software packages hosted by Adobe and be awarded a qualification at the end of each. Microsoft Office 365 and 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage space is provided free to all students.

Each student receives a starter amount of printing credits.

Foundation year

Working in a lively and energetic environment you will be given the freedom to expand your knowledge in conceptual development, practical skills and creative exploration underpinned by broad critical understanding and emerging theoretical principles.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Understanding Context
20 credits

This module explores the term ‘Context’, what it means to a practitioner and how you can apply it to your own work. You will explore how the context of your work can radically alter its meaning.

You will experiment with the design and layout of gathered information, supported by relevant seminars and workshops. Experimenting with layout and physical compilations of information you will produce a zine and/or other production. This will evidence carefully considered documentation techniques alongside an understanding of the word ‘context’.

Creative Development & Production
40 credits

Artists work in a globally influenced, culturally diverse, and technologically advancing world. Their art is a dynamic combination of materials, methods, concepts, and subjects that challenge traditional boundaries and defy easy definition.

This module will look at experimental approaches to drawing to identify radical new solutions from the perspective of the contemporary world we live in. Your brief is to apply the process of ‘rework’ to found imagery, object/s and or photographs. 

You will explore your ideas through a series of workshop activities that enhance established techniques and encourage new experimentation.
You will be encouraged to explore innovative ways of recording imagery that integrate with your developing practice.

Perspectives on Practice
20 credits

During this module you will meet lecturers, researchers and partners from across BCU, the city and further afield to open your understanding of practiced based creative work. Through lectures and workshops, you will be introduced to the versatility of subject areas in terms of ideas, development, research, materials, techniques and contexts.

Creative Realisation
40 credits

Creative realisation is not just about the practice of producing creative responses, it is about identifying the factors that generate creative thinking and facilitating the process. For this module you will draw on your own creative strategies to facilitate the development of a project that is appropriate for progression onto your chosen BA (Hons) course.

Successful completion of your Foundation year will guarantee progression to any of the accredited degree courses listed above.

First Year

You will undertake an Introduction to Visual Communication alongside students from the other Visual Communication degree paths. You will begin to formulate knowledge and understanding of the subject’s key visual and intellectual principles.

With the support from staff within the School you will start to develop a real depth of knowledge of illustration practice, as well as other design related areas. Towards the end of your first year, and into the second, you will receive guidance helping you to select your chosen area of practice within illustration and possible career progression.

Your modules will cover the processes of production within the field of illustration. You will develop entrepreneurial and collaborative skills through the Introduction to Visual Communication module, as well as developing connections across the four different subject disciplines, preparing you for the life of an illustrator.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

Introduction to Visual Communication
20 credits

This module introduces the universal principles and theories of visual communication, celebrating the wider opportunities for interdisciplinary practice within the School. The aim of the module is not only to introduce you to the principles within your own chosen subject area, but also to provide opportunities to take workshops in other subject areas, seek advice from experts in other disciplines and work collaboratively with students from across the Visual Communication subject areas.

Principles and Practice of Illustration
20 credits

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the main principles and common practice found within Illustration, creating a solid foundation of knowledge and skill based activity.

Enterprise of Illustration
20 credits

This project investigates contemporary approaches to illustration, looking at the way illustrators are bypassing traditional working models and developing their own voice as independent image-makers. It engages students in active learning towards producing a publication for a live exhibition or event.

Discourse
20 credits

Throughout your first year, a series of Perspectives lectures will be delivered on a regular basis, exploring a wide range of themes appropriate to the analysis and production of visual communication outcomes. These lectures will be coupled with studio-based discussions and/or activities considering discipline-specific research. Discourse follows on from this lecture series, and is a module in which you will produce a written response. The module, and preceding lecture series, will supply you with a broad contextual framework that will underpin your practice.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Narrative (Space and Place)
20 credits

The ‘Space and Place’ optional L4 module is designed to equip students with a good understanding of the issues surrounding these two areas. This will be achieved through a conceptual and practical understanding of the narrative process.

Narrative (Time and Sequence)
20 credits

The ‘Time and Sequence’ optional L4 module is designed to equip students with a good understanding of the issues surrounding these two areas. This will be achieved through a conceptual and practical understanding of the narrative process.

Narrative (Sound and Movement)
20 credits

The ‘Sound and Movement’ optional L4 module is designed to equip students with a good understanding of the issues surrounding these two areas. This will be achieved through a conceptual and practical understanding of the narrative process.

Narrative (Text and Image)
20 credits

The ‘Text and Image’ optional L4 module is designed to equip students with a good understanding of the issues surrounding these two areas. This will be achieved through a conceptual and practical understanding of the narrative process.

Narrative (People and Identity)
20 credits

The ‘People and Identity’ optional L4 module is designed to equip students with a good understanding of the issues surrounding these two areas. This will be achieved through a conceptual and practical understanding of the narrative process.

 
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Second Year

In your second year of study you will develop your practice, producing successful commercial outputs through a wide range of different projects and context. Your studies will focus on contextualising your chosen discipline within specific aspects of contemporary practice.

Live projects, industry links and competitions form a key part of the curriculum from this stage of the course onwards. We will encourage you to reflect upon your strengths and weaknesses and advise you to build upon achievements in order to improve your performance. Active participation through various workshops and masterclasses are a key part of the second year.

During your second year you will begin to focus on a specific area of illustration, preparing you for your final year of study. Working alongside a specially assigned tutor, as well as small groups you will identify and research a specific area of illustration practice. This will be supported by seminars and lecturers from industry experts.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

Context of Illustration
40 credits

Defining and communicating effectively to an audience is key to successful illustration. This module provides an opportunity through a range of briefs to begin defining an area of practice within a professional context. Students will explore briefs within established discipline areas of illustration such as editorial, publishing, advertising and narrative/sequential, with an emphasis on producing work that can be expanded upon to reach audiences in new, innovative and exciting ways.

Identifying Direction
40 credits

This flexible module reflects upon the range of experiences in Level 4 and Level 5 to allow you to identify a specific direction for your own practice and future aspirations. This will then form the initial stage and design of your Level 6 study. In this module, you will explore possible approaches, areas of research and projects that will help define your area of practice.

Live Project
20 credits

This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation. It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner with an aspect of your subject area, which contributes to the development of employability skills within the supportive infrastructure of the University. Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other courses. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the Creative Industries.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Work Placement
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and ADM Careers+.

Collaborative Practice
20 credits

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined project to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.

 
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Final Year

You will develop sustained and original work which will demand a lot of independent study. This will culminate in a dissertation, where you will develop and refine your specialist knowledge of a particular area of practice.

Your final year focuses on your professional future, ensuring your project work provides you with the research and skills you need to prepare yourself for after graduation.

You will have the opportunity to showcase your final year project at our Visual Communications graduate show, as well as having the chance to be nominated for a Visual Communication Graduate Award. In the past we have had award sponsors such as illustrator Dave McKean, photographer Brian Griffin and Trevor Beattie.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Critical Practice
60 credits

Level 6 Critical Practice constitutes a step progression from Level 5, building and elaborating a more advanced expansion of study. Critical Practice provides the opportunity to adopt an increasingly autonomous commitment to the individually chosen direction(s), from the wide spectrum of Visual Communication and Creative Design Practice. These directions are established with guidance and academic rigour through individual tutorials, guest professionals, workshops, group discussion and peer participation.

Major Project
60 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.

Course structure

During this course you will gain hands-on experience and produce relevant, innovative work. We encourage you to challenge yourself and produce work that sees you step outside your comfort zone. You’ll also experience high-level industry engagement through creative, practice-based learning.

Classroom projects and activities

  • Moonpig: We host a yearly collaborative project with Moonpig, culminating in student placements and publishing.
  • Le Gun: Le Gun deliver live workshops exploring drawing on a large scale. They work with students to break down their boundaries and inhibitions.
  • Fabric Lenny: A fantastically lively and collaborative project, engaging students in painting, sculpture, print, animation and live projection.  
  • Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Live Portrait Project “Hundred’s and Thousands”: Students responded to artwork in the gallery leading to the development of their own portrait pieces. These were exhibited in the gallery as part of a cultural exhibition. 

Student work

Helen Green
Helen specialises mainly in portraiture - particularly in relation to music - with a varying yet distinctive style. Since 2011, she has produced work for Lady Gaga, becoming part of her Haus collective, working on projects for her and the Born This Way Foundation.
 
She has since enjoyed work for a wide variety of clients such as Elton John AIDS Foundation, Warner Music, Tumblr, Hollywood Reporter, Sky Arts, TS3 (France), Refinery29, Esquire, ESPN FC, The Stranger (Seattle), airberlin, Economy (Rethinking Economics), American Express Essentials, Entrée Libre (France 5), StudioCanal UK and Skype.
 
For more information, visit Helen's website.
 
Josh Patterson
Josh is an award-winning freelance illustrator. The majority of his work is conceptual and editorial based as this allows him the freedom to express abstract and contemporary thinking. Josh's clients include BBC Sport, Computer Arts, Bulletin and Quarto Children’s Books.
 
For more information, visit Josh's website.
 
Sonny Ross
Sonny creates quirky characters and has a very personal and diverse visual language. He applies his designs to children’s books, self-publishing, editorial, fashion and surface pattern.
 
For more information, visit Sonny's website.
 
Katie Tomlinson
Katie shows a flair for working in more traditional materials such as graphite, watercolours and inks. Her strengths in mark making and observational drawing has led to commissions from Radley, Dr Martens, London Midland and Soho House Magazine.
 
For more information, visit Katie's website.

View examples of student work...


Trips and visits

While you study the course you will be offered opportunities to go on group excursions both in the UK and abroad. There are usually three overseas trips a year, which we offer both at subject level, as well as School level, to Venice, New York and Berlin.

Locations do alter each year to allow for students to experience a range of cities. We always put on UK study trips to places such as London, Manchester, Oxford and Liverpool. Where possible, UK trips are free or heavily subsidised.

As a Visual Communication student, you’ll be encouraged to take advantage of these trips as we see them as adding extra value to your course and they do offer additional research opportunities.

Further Study

As graduating students you will follow your own career path, which may mean going straight into industry. However, many students look at the opportunities we offer for postgraduate study at the University.

The School runs a one-year MA Visual Communication course as a natural progression from its undergraduate courses. You will be encouraged to continue your journey with us and develop your practice further.

Lauren Hope- foundation pages

Hear from our students

Lauren explains more about her experience of being a Foundation Year student, what she's enjoyed most about the course so far, and her top tips for anyone considering studying a Foundation course.

Find out more 

Enhancing employability skills

Throughout the course you will discover and refine a portfolio of practice which best suits your motivations and aspirations. Through this you will develop as a creative individual, equipped not only for a career within the illustration spectrum, but with the transferable skills to benefit a whole range of professional contexts.

This degree is designed to enhance your skills and aptitude, preparing you for a career within a landscape that is continuously changing. You’ll develop specialist knowledge and understanding within the field of illustration. As a creative practitioner and graduate of this course you will be able to generate a range of potential ideas and visual solutions. You will have the ability to produce creative work that demonstrates sound judgements in accordance to the theories and concepts of illustration and visual communication subjects, responding to the demands of industry.

You will develop an in-depth understanding of the relationship between theory and practice through research, allowing you to create meaningful, well-informed work and preparing you to take on further study. You will gain an understanding of the underlying concepts and established principles that govern creative practice.

Alongside this you will establish a range of working strategies, methods and materials, learning how to apply these to production. You will also discover, and respond to, the influence of audiences, clients, markets and other participants in relation to visual communication practice.

Placements

As an Illustration student you will be encouraged to develop your professional networks. We strongly believe that creating relationships with industry will enable you to develop your profile and enhance your professional networks. Networking is vital to furthering your opportunity to undertake work placements and paid jobs.

While placements are not a compulsory aspect of this degree you will be encouraged to engage with industry, incorporating this throughout your work. Engagement with industry is a core focus throughout this programme.

You will also be presented with the chance to attend trips and visits which will widen your insight into the working-practices of industry. In addition to this, as a School we have multiple working-relationships with organisations, allowing our students to take on professional roles and gain experience. Take a look at how students have worked with industry here

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

The School offers a broad education as well as the specific subject skills, so we see many graduates working in the creative industries but also in a variety of employment such as management, education, tourism, marketing and freelance business.

Industry demands are constantly changing, so it’s important that we prepare you for all eventualities. The internationalisation components mean you are aware of global expectations and the possibilities of work outside the UK. All modules have transferable skills built into the teaching, meaning you are able to apply your knowledge to a variety of tasks and challenges.

Illustration graduates work in a range of careers including:

  • Freelance illustrator
  • In-house illustrator/designer (Watermark Publishing & The Art File)
  • Art director (Playground Games)
  • Designer (Next)
  • Graphic designer (McCann Erikson)
  • Trend forecaster
  • Buyer (Next)
  • Print technician
  • Teacher

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Further Information

Students come to study in the School of Visual Communication from all over the world but we have nurtured some long-standing relationships with Malaysia, Thailand, China and India.

If you are a student from these countries, or any other, you should consider studying with us as we offer a wide curriculum that has internationalisation built into the modules. We actively encourage trans-disciplinary teaching, group projects and have established relationships with colleges and industry overseas.

We take a pride in developing strong creative communities and these thrive on the injection of different cultural experiences. To develop a sense of sharing all experiences and ideas is fundamental to the philosophy of visual communication.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our visual communication course is most popular with international students from:

Parkside - City Centre Campus
Parkside - Milo Studio

Our visual communication degrees are housed in the state of the art £62 million Parkside Building, part of our City Centre Campus.

We offer extensive studio and workshop space and cutting-edge equipment such as Vicon 3D (an external tracking motion capture facility) and Gypsy (an exoskeleton-based motion capture system). Both of these systems extend the possibility for production of 3D animation and films.

You will enjoy access to our Hollywood standard MILO unit. We were the first School of Visual Communication in Europe to offer MILO motion capture technology, now one of only two owned by Universities in Europe.

We offer cutting-edge provision such as digital print centres and Sonny Ross became the first student on the Visual Communication course to master the art of the RISO machine. He has since used this to produce many successful RISO publications including “Rojo & Baxter” which has been a success at various zine and book fairs across the country.

The Parkside Building also offers:

  • exhibition space
  • digital and analogue photographic facilities and studios
  • dark rooms

Margaret Street - Foundation course pages

Margaret Street campus

During your Foundation Year you will be based at our Margaret Street Campus - an impressive purpose built Grade 1 listed building. From industry-standard machinery in metal, wood and print, to our studio spaces and media suite, everything you need will be at your fingertips from day one.

See our facilities 

Jo Newman staff profile

Jo Newman

Course Director

As a practitioner she understands the urgency to ‘make’ and the excitement and frustration that comes with this. Jo has chosen to lead the Visual Arts and Communication Foundation Course so that she can introduce students to an environment where ‘making’ can be positively productive and can facilitate learning through creative exploration, providing a bedrock for future study. As an educator she teaches with both academic rigour and humour. Jo designs projects which aim to challenge students to stretch their understanding of art and design and she has admiration for the courage and curiosity of student perseverance.

Read Jo's full profile

Joe Miles

Lecturer in Photography

Specialising in commercial and editorial photography for national and international clients Joe works freelance alongside his work for the University. Experienced in both film and digital photography he is currently working with RED cameras, combining moving and still image. His extensive list of clients include: BBC, British Telecom, Fulham FC, Hyundai, Liverpool FC, Marie Claire, Microsoft, Nivea, the Times, Sotheby’s, The Sunday Times Magazine Tesco and the Young Vic Theatre.