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Visual Communication - Graphic Communication - China delivery - BA (Hons)

Develop your creative and academic skills with our exciting, innovative course in Graphic Communication. You’ll get to experience the constantly evolving world of graphic design, advertising and motion graphics, as well as our invaluable industry links....

Studying with us in 2021/22

It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • School School of Visual Communication
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Course overview

Develop your creative and academic skills with our exciting, innovative course in Graphic Communication. You’ll get to experience the constantly evolving world of graphic design, advertising and motion graphics, as well as our invaluable industry links.

You’ll be tasked with using your imagination and experimentation, tackling the contemporary issues, ideas and ethics the graphic design industry faces.

Birmingham Institute of Fashion and Creative Art

You can now gain a prestigious British degree while completing your studies in China, thanks to a new collaboration with a leading Chinese university. The Birmingham Institute of Fashion and Creative Art (BIFCA) is a partnership between Birmingham City University and Wuhan Textile University (WTU) based in Wuhan, China.

More about BIFCA

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Our Visual Communication (Graphic Communication) undergraduate degree works in partnership with other key subjects within the School of Visual Communication, providing you with interdisciplinary practice across all areas of the School.

You will receive an introduction to all four Visual Communication routes – graphic communication, illustration, film and animation and photography – before studying your chosen pathway in more detail.

This course is designed to keep up with the rapid pace of the creative sector, developing not only your skills and knowledge, but giving you room to specialise in what interests you. With a mixture of creative collaboration, external projects and live briefs, the course will push you to go beyond the world of photographic practice, but into the associated areas of employment.

You will learn through collaborative study, portfolio production and project work, and will undertake live projects to ensure you regularly engage with industry.

Throughout the course, you will have the chance to submit work to photographic competitions and will have the opportunity to join professional bodies such as D&AD.

Your modules are designed to make you think, respond and produce dynamic creative work. You will develop an in-depth conceptual and technical knowledge of graphics and advertising, looking at art history, projects and portfolio production.

Practitioner staff encourage your creative development and originality, helping you develop your own direction and understanding of graphics and visual communication.

Inspiration and direction from my tutor at Birmingham City University really helped shape me as a creative, and that has helped me move forward to where I want to be and believe in myself. Sarah Carter

Why Choose Us?

  • Our students are proactive, accepting opportunities with local companies and forming strong industry relationships.
  • This course is designed to motivate the establishment of your professional self, focusing on what works for you as a creative individual. Through industry engagement and the guidance of staff you will be able to identify your specialisms, and hone your practical skills.
  • Your portfolio will be showcased to a number of potential employers through our home-grown and independent talent pool, ‘We Grow Cherries’ as well as during your graduate show.
  • Research underpins our practice. It challenges students to engage on a world stage by responding to contemporary social issues and ethics, through imagination and experimentation, within a twenty-first century commercial context of design-led practice.

Graphic Communication China Overview Image

Entry Requirements

Please check our entry requirements to find out if you're eligible to apply for one of BIFCA's courses. If you're unsure, please contact us: bifca@bcu.ac.uk

China flag iconChinese students

BIFCA will recruit the highest performers in the China National Art and Design examination. If you're from China and are eligible to apply to study the course, you'll be expected to pass the required provincial art test. 

If you live in Hubei Province you'll be required to achieve minimum Tier 1 level in the Gaokao matriculation examination. 

If you live outside Hubei Province you'll be required to meet the provincial educational requirement for Sino-British jointly delivered courses.

Other international students

If you're a non-Chinese, non-Birmingham City University student, you'll be required to complete an application to BIFCA showing evidence of equivalent qualifications and have a minimum of a Level 5 IELTS.

A portfolio will be required to support the application. If you wish to express your interest, please contact us: bifca@bcu.ac.uk

International Students

Entry requirements here

Mature Applicants

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

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • TBC

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.

£150 free credit (home/EU students only)

For 2021 entry, all new home/EU undergraduate students will receive £150 worth of free credit to spend in a host of ways, on books and a range of learning materials.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

LinkedIn Learning

Free access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 5,000 in-depth and bite-sized courses.

Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence

Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Field trips (optional)

This course may include the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

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.

Guidance for UK students

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

How to apply

Chinese students
If you're a Chinese student, BIFCA applications are made through the Gaokao system.
International students
If you're an international student, please email bifca@bcu.ac.uk to discuss your application.

Course in Depth

Year One

You will receive an introduction to the four Visual Communication routes – graphic communication, illustration, photography, film and animation – before studying your chosen communication pathway in more detail. Within this module you will be provided with the opportunity to undertake collaborative work. You will work alongside students across all disciplines of visual communication, learning the underlying principles of the field.

Academic Language Skills for Art, Design and Digital Media

Communication and Study Skills for Art, Design and Digital Media

Key Concepts and Reflective Practice for Art, Design and Digital Media

Year Two

On this module, you will work alongside staff and fellow students to identify your own specialism within visual communication. You will learn new skills and techniques relevant to practice, and be prepared for tackling the issues that the creative industries face.

We will teach you to think and perform as a creative practitioner, enabling you to produce innovative ideas and imaginative solutions that are essential to professional practice.

Within this module you will explore the appropriate theories and philosophies which explain, discuss and challenge our ideas about creative practice. You will gain a better insight into meaningful production, and produce work that responds to a brief content for a mini-project.

Integrated Research Skills for Art, Design and Digital Media

Year Three

In this module, you will experience the collaborative conditions that exist in modern practice, engaging and contributing to a variety of reflective practice. You’ll work in students from different areas, producing content shaped by collaboration.

Within this module you will be expected to consider Visual Communication practice in relation to audiences, clients and markets. You will develop a range of working strategies, methods and materials, applying these to underlying concepts and established principles within the discipline of graphics. A requirement of this module is that you will engage with external competitions that are within your area of expertise.

Within this module you will conduct research into an area of employment which is specific to your area of interest, exploring areas such as networking, freelance practice, entrepreneurship, self-promotion and introductory media. This research will be supported by seminars and lectures from industry experts and practitioners.

This module is there to help you develop and construct a clear creative direction within your on-going practice, identifying skills you wish to refine and develop, as well dealing with contexts that link to your professional direction. You will produce work that focuses on a particular area of interest and that clearly connects to your chosen professional direction as well as examining related theories. You will also be asked to prepare work, undertake presentations and present dissertation proposals in preparation for your final year.

Year Four

You will conduct a study in which you’ll explore your own creative direction and show an in-depth understanding of visual communication. You will be expected to draw upon a range of analogue and digital skills and competencies.

This module is designed to encourage you to define your area of individual practice. You will nurture your ability to source and apply research, allowing you to work independently and articulate ideas that are central to your professional practice.

You will produce a major project portfolio, developing your negotiation and planning skills as well as showcasing your newfound range of skills and knowledge. You will exhibit a professionally presented portfolio, where you will successfully communicate ideas, information and adequate problem solving.

Year One

Year One includes an introduction to common Visual Communication principles and a brief opportunity to gain a better insight into the range of subjects the course delivers

Year Two

Year Two encourages students to gain confidence in their chosen discipline.

Your modules will cover the processes of production within graphic communication, exploring meaning, making and defining practice. You will develop entrepreneurial and collaborative skills through the 'Introduction to Visual Communication’ module. You will be expected to crowdsource funding to publish your own magazine designs.

You will further develop your collaborative talents through modules such as Practice in Action, where you will be expected to organise, fund and publicise your group outcome.

  
Images: Ben Lupton / Joshua Sallon

Year Three

The third year of study contextualises 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. You will also get an opportunity to opt for a Collaborative Practice module, working with students from different areas.

To begin the preparation for final year study, students begin to focus on a more discreet area of specialism within their subject, working in smaller groups with a tutor with expertise in their chosen specialism. They also embark on research of an area of industry/employment which matches their aspirations beyond graduation. This is supported by seminars and lectures from industry experts and practitioners who explore such areas as networking, freelance practice, entrepreneurship, self-promotion and introductory media.

  
Images: Amritpal Sembhi / Tom Armstrong

Year Four

The fourth year of study moves to negotiated projects and insists on greater autonomy and independence of study. Students develop sustained and individual bodies of work, supported by a greater depth of research and understanding, stimulated and contextualised by a dissertation.

The professional futures of all students are embedded in their project work and will be expertly articulated through a major project portfolio, the best of which is showcased in the graduate show. All students will also have an opportunity to be nominated for a Visual Communication Graduate Award. Recent sponsors of these awards have been industry leaders, such as illustrator Dave McKean and Creative Director Trevor Beattie.

Employability

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

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.

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.

International Students

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

We welcome students from across the world. Our graphic communication degree has an international cohort of students, particularly from regions such as South East Asia, alongside students from across Europe, the UK and the West Midlands region.

Our graphic communication degree is driven by an ideas-based philosophy. This differs to programmes offered internationally, which focus solely on design craft.

As an international student you will benefit from studying alongside a diverse range of students, all with different backgrounds and experience. In addition to this, the course is led by tutors with experience of teaching and learning through international partnerships. We have established a creative learning community with the School, where you will be able to engage and work collaboratively, producing high-quality, imaginative work. You will also benefit from studying in close proximity to the UK’s diverse and continuously changing creative industries, you are encouraged to engage and network regularly with these industries.

Facilities and Staff

This course is delivered at Wuhan Textile University in China.