course page main image

Graduate Diploma: Visual Communication Portfolio (Pre-Masters) - GradDip

Currently viewing course to start in 2022/23 Entry.

This course is for graduates who want to undertake masters’ level study but who have not yet met the required standard for admission to their chosen course. Through the course, we aim to help you to enhance your creative portfolio, knowledge and skills to a point that you will be eligible to join one of the MA courses within the School of Visual Communication....

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Visual Communication
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

This course is for graduates who want to undertake masters’ level study but who have not yet met the required standard for admission to their chosen course. Through the course, we aim to help you to enhance your creative portfolio, knowledge and skills to a point that you will be eligible to join one of the MA courses within the School of Visual Communication.

We acknowledge that students will begin the course with very different development needs; perhaps you need some support with your written or spoken English; or perhaps your portfolio would benefit from the world-class facilities available at Birmingham City University and the input of our experienced academic staff? Whether your development needs are creative or academic, this course will help you achieve your goals.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Your course begins with a diagnostic tutorial during which we will assess the support you need to develop your creative portfolio, knowledge and skills. This will result in a personalised plan to help you achieve your goals. The Academic Skills modules will allow you to improve those all-important skills needed for successful masters’ level study, such as understanding and communicating theories and arguments relevant to your practice. Through the Academic Skills modules, we aim to provide specialist support for students with English as a second language.

On successful completion of the course, you are guaranteed access to one of the following MA courses in the School of Visual Communication.

MA Visual Communication Exit Awards

  • MA Visual Communication - Illustration
  • MA Visual Communication - Photography
  • MA Visual Communication - Film & Animation
  • MA Visual Communication - Graphic Communication

You may also be eligible to join one of the other MAs in the wider Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, depending on the suitability of your portfolio and abilities.

While the main purpose of this course is to prepare you for Masters level study, the following transferable skills are embedded throughout the curriculum to help you become more employable:

  • Time management
  • Project management
  • Effective communication through a variety of methods, including presentations
  • Group working
  • Problem solving
  • Digital literacy

We recognise that students will have different prior experiences and competences and may not need to complete the full course in order to achieve the standards required for entry to Masters. Depending on your prior experience, the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning scheme may enable you to make a case to undertake just those aspects of the course which meet your development needs.

As part of the application process, we require a digital portfolio demonstrating critical thinking, technical abilities and creative process relevant to the subject area.

Why Choose Us?

  • The School of Visual Communication is one of the largest of its kind in the UK, with an international student body.
  • Based in the Parkside Building, we offer outstanding facilities such as a Hollywood-standard MILO unit - one of only two owned by universities in Europe.
  • Here at the School of Visual Communication, your knowledge will develop, you will be challenged and your creative practices will thrive.
  • You will be supported by a high-profile group of practitioners, theorists, academics and professionals in the creative and cultural industries who will enable you to realise your potential.
  • Our Masters graduates have located themselves across the globe, including Shanghai, Spain, Malaysia, London, Hong Kong, Birmingham, India, Kuwait, Thailand and Taiwan to name but a few. We are a truly global Master course. 

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area in our course talks.

Next Open Days: Autumn 2022

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements 

A good Honours Degree relevant to the discipline or equivalent experience.

IELTS 5.5 overall, with no less than 5.5 in all bands, or equivalent.

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

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: GradDip

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £9,250 in 2022/23

Award: GradDip

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £9,250 in 2022/23

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: GradDip

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £13,500 in 2022/23

Award: GradDip

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £13,500 in 2022/23

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.

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.

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.

Field trips (optional)

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

Personal equipment (optional)

Whilst not essential is it adviced you own a computer or laptop capable of design and video editing.

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

  1. Register with UCAS
  2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
  3. Select your course and write a personal statement
  4. Get a reference
  5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

Guidance for International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

  • Course choice - Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
  • Career plans - If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
  • Work experience - Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
  • School or college experience - Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
  • Non-accredited skills or achievement - eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Worried about Personal Statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Modules

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

Download course specification

Download now

Course structure

You will learn through a series of lecture seminars, competition briefs and (where possible), live projects, that will require you to engage through Dialogue, Discussion and Debate.

You will be expected to respond to the tutor led micro-briefs that will be delivered throughout the programme, which will also include critique presentations, peer learning and assessment by presentation.

The Academic Skills modules are for pre-masters students across the wider Faculty so you will get to know students from outside your subject area and benefit from exposure to their practice and perspectives. The module works in tandem with your Portfolio and Major Project modules, allowing you to use the knowledge and skills you are developing to communicate ideas about your own practice and that of others related to your subject area.

You will be taught mainly online, providing you with an opportunity to take part in interactive activities in your own time to support your learning. You will also participate in online group tutorials and seminars where your lecturers will help you to contextualise your learning to your particular subject area and your own practice.

Your assessment will consist of presentations, short written proposals and reports relevant to your subject area. You’ll have opportunities to get feedback on drafts of your work and to practice your presentations, with feedback from your fellow students and lecturers.

Employability

Enhancing Employability Skills

This course enables you to develop your practice within the field of visual communication. You will do so through a range of relective learning methods that will enhance advanced subject knowledge, developing your creative and innovative thinking, critical awareness and analytical practice. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to your own research and advanced scholarship.

You will establish a deep and clear understanding of how meaning is constructed with visual communication, across a range of media. You will acquire the skill and knowledge to produce meaningful and creative visual work within your own specialism.

The course will encourage you to challenge yourself, exceed your boundaries and produce work that is original, and significant. You will develop as a creative individual equipped not only for a career in your specialism, but with transferable skills which will benefit a whole range of professional contexts. Through research theory and practice, you will develop new knowledge that will pave the way for imaginative visual communication research.

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

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:

Facilities & Staff

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

Our staff

Robert Gibb

Associate Professor – International | Course Director - Postgraduate Studies

As Course Director for postgraduate studies within The School of Visual Communication, and as part of The Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts, Robert teaches across a range of subjects, with specialist areas including Photography, Fine Art, Curation, and Art & Design history.

More about Robert