BDes (Hons) Graphic Design

Undergraduate, Full-Time

Join award-winning students and gain practical work experience to shape the world around you on our accredited and industry recognised graphic design course.

  • Napier code:

    54109BH

  • UCAS code:

    W210

  • Course type:

    Full-Time

  • Duration:

    4 years

  • Award:

    BDes (Hons)

  • Location:

    Merchiston campus

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Course introduction

This course offers a broad design education, drawing on a rich theoretical and practical history and is forward thinking in the way visual language is applied to a wide spectrum of design disciplines in professional practice.

As a graphic designer, you'll help shape the world around you. More and more, designers are working in diverse industries to create our visual environment, from branding and packaging to book covers, clothing and signage.

You'll have the opportunity to apply your learning on an optional work placement, which may be undertaken overseas at one of our linked European universities. We also have a placement scheme with StudioLR.


graphic design

This course emphasises the importance of ideas and originality of content as key elements and the fundamental cornerstone of the graphic design process. It encourages creativity, integrity, social and ethical responsibility and a sense of challenge in the work undertaken.

Sharing its first year with the Product Design and Interior Architecture courses, this course will expose you to design in its broadest sense, including media, motion and spatial applications, and you'll study and create work that transcends the 2D format.

Previous students have won a number of design awards, receiving 11 commendations and one category winner at the Roses Creativity Awards in 2014. This recognition culminated in one of our student winning a Yellow Pencil at the prestigious D&AD student awards, the design industry’s equivalent of the Oscars.

You’ll gain the skills you need to successfully operate as a professional graphic designer. You'll work on conceptual thinking, design sketching techniques, illustration and the use of digital media. In addition, you'll learn verbal and visual communication techniques, effective client liaison, team working skills and business and marketing principles.

This is a full-time course studied over four years and is accredited by Creative Skillset. You’ll learn by a variety of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions and independent study.

What you study

Year 1

  • Foundation Graphic Design 
  • Foundation Digital Media
  • Debates in Design
  • Visual Research Methods

Year 2

  • Interactive Interface Design
  • Graphic Design Studio
  • Debates in Design
  • Design & Business
  • Illustration, Text and Image

Year 3

  • Art Direction
  • Graphic Design Studio
  • Design & Urbanism or Branding
  • Design Research Methods
  • Optional work experience or overseas study

Year 4

  • Media Production
  • Major project
  • Dissertation

You'll also enter work into competitions.

Work placement

Optional supervised work placement or overseas study module.

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

As our society becomes more and more visually-oriented, the need for excellent graphic designers increases. There is wide scope for employment including:

  • packaging design
  • branding
  • advertising
  • design management
  • exhibition design
  • web design
  • editorial design
  • merchandising

With further study, a career in design teaching could also be possible.


Minimum year 1

SQA Higher

BBBB including English or other literary subject*, plus one of: Art, Product Design, Graphic Communication.

Adjusted Offer Entry Requirement

BBCC including English or other literary subject*, plus one of: Art, Product Design, Graphic Communication. Please note that each of these required subjects must be at Grade B or above. 

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet specific widening participation criteria as outlined in our contextual admissions policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies.

A Level

BCC including English or other literary subject*, plus one of: Art, Product Design, Graphic Communication.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Pre-2017 Grading System: 

B1, B1, B3, B3 at HL including English or other literary subject*, plus one of: Art, Product Design, Graphic Communication.

New Grading System: 

H2, H2, H3, H3 at HL including English or other literary subject*, plus one of: Art, Product Design, Graphic Communication.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

Minimum grades DMM (Distinction, Merit, Merit) in a related subject.

BTEC (QCF) Diploma

Minimum grades D*D* (Distinction*, Distinction*) in a related subject.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Award of Diploma with 28 points overall with two subjects at HL with grades 6 and 5. These subjects must include English or other literary subject*, plus one of: Art, Product Design or Graphic Communication. In addition, one more HL subject is required at grade 4.

Minimum year 2

SQA Advanced Higher

BBC to include English or other literary subject*, plus one of: Art, Product Design, Graphic Communication.

A Level

BBB to include English or other literary subject*, plus one of: Art, Product Design, Graphic Communication.

HNC

Pass HNC in a relevant subject with Grade B in the graded unit.

Minimum year 3

HND

Pass HND in a relevant subject with Grade B at SCQF Level 8 in all graded units. 

Literary subjects accepted

*Modern Studies, History, Psychology, Sociology, RMPS, Theology, Media Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Sociology, Geography, Latin and Classics.

Other entry requirements

As part of the selection process suitably qualified applicants will normally be invited to submit a portfolio/attend an interview. This applies to all years of entry.

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We're committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.


Tuition fees
Students from 2017/18 2018/19
Scotland/EU £1,820 £1,820
England Wales and Northern Ireland £9,000 £9,250
Overseas £13,900 £14,350

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

Graphic design is 10

10 glorious years and 130 wonderful careers. Edinburgh Napier's graphic design course turns 10 years old.

More Than a Degree Show

Look back on our annual showcase of the creative talent of new and emerging designers, photographers, film makers, journalists, creative writers and actors.

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