BA (Hons) Design (Top-up)

Start date(s):
13 Sep 2021
1 year
Level 6
Credit Value:
Course Code:
Study Mode:
Full Time
Attendance Type:
Attendance Pattern:
Framwellgate Moor Campus
Course costs:
International - £10500
This programme is validated by Open University


Course details may be subject to change

This course aims to enhance the expertise, creativity and dedication required to successfully establish a career within your chosen specialism in design.

You can focus on your preferred specialist discipline such as graphic design, web design, textile design, multimedia design, or interior design, or take a broad and inventive multi-disciplinary approach based on what you want to see in your portfolio.

There is opportunity for external work placement and freelance design work to enhance your portfolio, and ensure you are developing the skills required to be a confident practitioner.
HE Graphic Design 2

Take a tour around our Graphic Design & Digital Arts facilities

As part of our £5 million development, our new bespoke creative space has been fitted with specialist equipment.


Experience Higher Education

We offer a wide range of degrees, higher apprenticeships and professional qualifications.  Find out how our flexible higher education programmes have progressed the career of our ex-students!

Jacob Ham - Graphic Design

Jacob Ham

Jacob is now the Founder and Senior Graphic Designer at AlderHam.

Similar courses...


BA (Hons) top-up Visual Arts

Explore visual art forms such as drawing, painting, sculpture, crafts, printmaking, and photography, and gain the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in this exciting industry.


Drawing the line

Drawing the Line

Visual Arts and Design students presented a selection of their artwork in a joint exhibition alongside their lecturers.

Art exhibition

DS x 16 Exhibition

Our higher education art, design and graphic students showcased their work during an exhibition held at the College.

Visual Arts

Empty Shop

Luke Roberts, art degree student, exhibited his work at the Empty Shop creative arts venue.


Aims are as followed:
  • Encourage development of professional, innovative and creative outcomes in a supportive work-related learning environment
  • Engage in academic activities and negotiated projects, as simulated or live client briefs, underpinned by personalised learning and individual focus
  • Promote engagement in industry focussed work, supporting the acquisition of professional skills relevant to employment or self-employment opportunities within the creative industries.


The programme contains the following three modules:
  1. Professional Context - Synthesise professional design skills through creative activity centred on self-promotion and creative portfolio building to support progression into a design focused career or further study.
  2. Design Research Study - Self-initiated and creatively designed in-depth research study on a topic of your choice.
  3. Final Major Project - Set your own self-initiated final major project(s) focussed on enhancing your personal style, opportunity for freelance, live work and work placements.

Time commitment

Average number of hours per week

Independent Learning


9am-12pm, 2pm-3pm
9am-12pm, 1pm-4pm
*Days and times of study are subject to change. Timetables are confirmed at the start of term.

Teaching & assessment

A range of teaching, learning and assessment strategies are incorporated into the programme and are appropriate for those studying at Level 6.

Personal Tutor System
A comprehensive personal tutor system is in place to make sure you have a direct personal contact with an individual member of the course team, to discuss academic and personal matters relevant to your learning. You will be allocated a personal tutor when first registering to the course.

Academic Support
In addition to support from your personal tutor, you will receive academic support from your module tutors. Support is given via tutorials at set intervals during the academic year and there is likely to be opportunity within some studio sessions for additional support.

Industry links:

This programme places focus upon the opportunity for you to engage in, and gain credit for, the development of industry based work. You will be given the opportunity to contribute to live client briefs with local and national organisations.


You will be encouraged to engage in work experience activities to enhance your portfolio and develop work based skills needed for progression.


HE Graphic Design 5

BA (Hons) Design (Top-up) course handbook

Prepare for September.



HE Information

Regulations for validated awards of The Open University.


You will have the skills required to progress into employment within your chosen specialism.

Meet our students

Jacob Ham - Graphic Design

Jacob Ham

Jacob is now the Founder and Senior Graphic Designer at AlderHam.

Laura Zwaka

Laura Zwaka

Laura fell in love with our new modern design studio.

What else?


General - External students 2

Annual increases

Tuition fees are chargeable for the academic period required by the programme, with annual amounts charged for each academic year of the programme unless otherwise stated. It is to be expected that tuition fees will include an inflationary rise each year, for the duration of study. This will be agreed by the College Strategy and Resources Committee who will consider Increases in College costs, including the provision of teaching, supervision and course-related facilities.

Campus Image 1

Fees and funding

Find out more about course fees and financial support for UK, EU and non-EU students, plus how to pay your fees.

Refund policy square 2018/19

Refund Policy 21-22

View our refund policy for further and higher education programmes (page 2) and full cost courses.


Additional Costs

Additional costs will include general art and design materials, access to a digital camera and personal computer (Mac or PC) with Adobe Creative software.

There will also be expenses for a yearly London visit, optional international visit, and costs associated with the mandatory presentation of creative outcomes in the final degree show exhibition.

Interview Instructions

Once an application has been received it is recorded and acknowledged by the college admissions team. The course team then views the application.

The process for interview is as follows:
  • Applications welcomed through UCAS and NCD Application Form.
  • All applicants are interviewed with portfolio of art and design work (international applicants via internet/email).
  • Acceptance, conditional acceptance, or rejection via UCAS and New College Durham application process after interview.

Entry to the course is at the discretion of the course team and based upon the combination of successful interview and a portfolio that illustrates an ability to meet Level 6 course learning outcomes.
Further Education

Getting ready for your college interview

Find out more information about your college interview.

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System Credits:


Entry Criteria

UCAS tariff points:
Standard Entry criteria
  • You should hold a Level 5 qualification at course commencement (HND/FdA/international equivalent 120 ECTS Credits) in a design related discipline.
  • All external applicants must be interviewed with an art and design based portfolio (international applicants via internet/email).
  • Evidence of digital literacy within portfolio to meet the needs of Level 6.
  • To have or be working towards Level 2 or equivalent in English Language (or a minimum 5.5 IELTS in each band for international applicants).

Non-standard entry criteria:
  • Evidence of appropriate creative experience or employment within the creative industries.
  • All applicants with non-standard criteria must be interviewed with an art and design based portfolio (international applicants via internet/email respectfully).
  • Evidence of digital literacy within portfolio to meet the needs of Level 6.
  • To have or be working towards Level 2 or equivalent in English Language (or a minimum 5.5 IELTS in each band for international applicants).

To gain entry to the programme, you must satisfy the standard or non-standard entry requirements to the course. If you fulfil the non-standard entry requirements, your application will be considered on the basis of relevant work experience and attainment of skills, which demonstrate an ability to study at this level.

Given the wide experience of potential applicants to this course, applications for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Accreditation of Experiential Learning (APEL) are welcomed in accordance with Academic Regulations. However, these must be discussed as part of the admissions process as once a student is registered to a programme RPL/APEL may not be considered for approval.