Wolverhampton School of Art

BA (Hons) Illustration with Foundation Year

BA (Hons) Part-time 8 years, Full-time 4 years

In the increasingly fluid and fast-moving creative industries, practitioners need to be quick in their thinking and multi-disciplinary in their approach. With traditional boundaries in constant flux creative professionals must, as a result, be fluent and dynamic. Our intention is to produce independent and informed visual problem solvers who are able to perform effectively in the industry.

In the increasingly fluid and fast-moving creative industries, practitioners need to be quick in their thinking and multi-disciplinary in their approach. With traditional boundaries in constant flux creative professionals must, as a result, be fluent and dynamic. Our intention is to produce independent and informed visual problem solvers who are able to perform effectively in the industry.

BA (Hons)
Start date(s)
25 September 2023
Course specifications
Course length
Part-time (8 years),Full-time (4 years)
Campus location
Wolverhampton City Campus
UCAS points calculator

What's unique about this course?

  • Our modules are assessed on 100% course work. 
  • The National Student Survey 2022 and our students have awarded our BA (Hons) course with 100%
  • We have a strong focus on live projects and employability with regular live projects set within industry

Why choose this course?

In the increasingly fluid and fast-moving creative industries, practitioners need to be quick in their thinking and multi-disciplinary in their approach. With traditional boundaries in constant flux creative professionals must, as a result, be fluent and dynamic. Our intention is to produce independent and informed visual problem solvers who are able to perform effectively in the industry.

The Foundation year prepares students for university level study. Successful completion of our Foundation course permits access to any of our Art or Digital Media BA (Hons) or BDes (Hons) degree courses, which include Fashion, Fine Art, Furniture Design, Glass and Ceramics, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Paint and Print Making, Photography, Product Design, Sculpture and Environmental Art — The Foundation year begins with modules aimed at providing transferable study skills and then, in the second semester, gives students the opportunity to study more specialist modules, with a focus on various aspects of Arts and Digital Media.

Our illustration course aims to develop your potential and enhance your creative responses through a broad range of innovative challenges. We aim to foster your personal vision by providing you with opportunities to experience a range of material and digital practices. This experimental approach, in a specialist workshop and studio environment, encourages you to challenge established orthodoxies, examine, analyse, conclude, and embrace the new.

We will challenge and support you to experiment, record, report and imagine. You will engage with original concepts and ideas and thoroughly explore and develop your visual language. You will be courageous, allow yourself to take risks and be open to unexpected possibilities and ideas. An experimental approach to drawing, printmaking and collage (both analogue and digital) is vital, and we will work with you to develop your abilities across a range of media. We actively encourage collaborative engagement with other specialist areas within the School of Art.

Each level is structured in order to allow you time for introspection, in other words projects that encourage you to work on the development of your own visual language, as well as a more external viewpoint in which you will engage with directed briefs closely associated with industry.

What happens on the course?

BA (Hons) Illustration is assessed on 100% coursework.

The curriculum is delivered through a series of projects, which will give you the opportunity to develop making and designing skills, conceptual ideas, contextual knowledge and understanding and experience of live industry briefs/ external projects in the public domain.

At Level 4 you will explore the fundamental aspects of image making through traditional techniques and with digital technologies. You will be encouraged to think of these processes as contextualised within a social and philosophical context, exploring the reasons for different styles and material manipulation in image making. The second module allows you to put illustration practice into context and to work briefly within a set of professional parameters in order to understand and experience, from the inside, how certain industry practices work. This will be supplemented through presentations and lectures from staff and other practitioners working professionally in illustration and related subjects. At the end of Level 4 you will have the opportunity to talk about and show your work.

Level 5 is designed to help you consider more closely the direction in which you would like your illustrative practice to develop. The two modules you will undertake ask you to question in more depth the component aspects of illustrative narrative practice and the areas in which you see your illustrative practice working best. Narrative Illustration breaks down in depth the component parts of illustrative practice in the development of narrative through a range of different illustration genres. This work may lead to animation, as well as more traditional narrative practice. Developing Specialist Practice offers opportunities for competitions and briefs that centre on the areas of illustration that you are beginning to specialise in. At the end of Level 5 you will have a clear sense of direction with which to launch into your final year. Throughout Level 5 there will be opportunities to show work and publish and also to work collaboratively with other students across the School of Art.

Level 6 sees the consolidation of your practice whilst giving you opportunity and time to continue your experimentation and development of your own visual language. Alongside this practice-based investigation, you will develop an extended research project that will lead to a dissertation or alternative assignment. This will galvanise research in theory and practice and provide a foundation for your final major project, which will be shown at the degree show and other venues.

Why not check out what our students got up to for their final projects at our annual Degree Show 2018.

Course Modules

Potential Career Paths

Employability is core to the ethos of the School of Art’s learning and teaching, and Illustration provides opportunities from Level 4 to experience and engage with professional and industrial contacts. At Level 4 students are encouraged to encounter and experience all aspects of their specialist area and further embed themselves into the subject through visits and speakers. At Level 5 students will have the opportunity to experience professional practice and will work on subject-specific briefs led by external clients/organisations. At this level there will also be an emphasis on off-site/live projects/placements that offer opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborative practice. Level 5 is designed to give students the opportunity to risk take and experiment within their subjects but also to meet and network with other students across the School of Art. Level 6 emphasises self-negotiated projects and provides students with the time and support to develop their individual voices as artists and designers. There is also provision for interdisciplinary teams working together on ambitious final outcomes where appropriate, and student will be supported to maintain placement learning and external networks established at Level 5. In addition, the University offers a Career Development Week each year, which is intended to provide cross-curricula activities that enable students to extend or galvanise their skill and employability goals.

All of our students have the opportunity to engage with an additional ‘Employability Award’ associated with their degree, and a high percentage of our students achieve the gold standard as a result of our employment-focused curriculum.

Additional Information

Everything you need to know about this course!

The School of Art houses a range of purpose built studio spaces and workshops with an extensive range of professional equipment not available in schools and colleges. Students at the School of Art are taught by practicing artists and designers working in academic and technical roles. These specialist practitioners teach both fundamental skills, support experimental and speculative practice and ensure practice is underpinned by knowledge and awareness of contemporary contexts.

The Illustration course in particular is distinctive in its approach because of:

  • The breadth of opportunities offered within the creative industries coupled with the wide reach of our course.
  • The focus on the fundamentals of image-making at the heart of our course.
  • The opportunities for individual, peer and cross-disciplinary collaboration.
  • The fluid relationship between theory and practice that will enable you to become a more reflective and analytical individual, with learning activities enhancing this transition.
  • You will receive continuous feedback on your work throughout your time with us.
  • All learning activities are delivered in specialist areas (mac lab, print, drawing studios and lecture theatre).
  • A series of visiting practitioners will complement your understanding of the subject
  • You will have the opportunity to engage with ‘live’ commissions and competition work.
  • Study trips, both national and international are offered and will enrich your cultural and contextual awareness.
  • An excellent library resource for Illustration
  • Membership of the Association of Illustrators
  • For more information about our facilities click here.
  • The member of academic staff who leads this course is Ben Kelly

BA (Illustration) offers an industry focus at all levels from introducing our students the different types of illustration employment at Level 4, to offering live brief and competition opportunities at Levels 5 and 6. Our students will also have experience of exhibiting and presenting work to a wide audience from Level 4 onwards, learning important transferable skills that can be applied to a number of other employment contexts. These broader skills will be consolidated by opportunities for students to work in a cross-disciplinary environment in the School of Art community as a whole. Here you will have the opportunity to establish a professional network of fellow artists, designers and makers before you leave to begin your working life.

All courses in the School of Art are now available with a professional placement option (Sandwich Year). A professional placement provides an opportunity for professional development in the work place and as such, greatly enhances the student’s prospects of finding rewarding and relevant employment at the end of their studies. The school assists students in securing work placements, undertaking live briefs, engaging directly with employers and developing key employability skills. The School is committed to raising student awareness of the opportunities that exist post-graduation.

Location Mode Fee Year
Home Full-time £9250 per year 2022-23
Home Full-time £9250 per year 2023-24
Home Part-time £3120 per year# 2022-23
International Full-time £13450 per year 2022-23
International Full-time £14450 per year 2023-24

Additional Course Costs

Additional materials: £50 to 200 per semester - Prices vary according your subject of practice.

Additional Field Trips: £50 to 400 - Prices will vary according to location.

Additional Events: £300 - Degree Show/New Designers. Costs will vary according to the medium and mode of your practice but considerations will be around materials, installation and presentation.

Further information on these additional costs will be provided prior to the start of your studies

The University is committed to a transparent fee structure, with no hidden costs, to help you make an informed decision. This includes information on what is included in the fee and how fees are calculated and reviewed

Key Entry Requirements 


  • A-levels: Grade profile of DD 
  • Access to HE Diploma (60 credits) of which a minimum of 45 must be at Level 3 (48 UCAS point equivalence, minimum 45 credits at pass)
  • BTEC: Grade profile of PPP 
  • T-Level: Pass grade with a core component profile less than C.  
  • Tariff: Other Level 3 qualifications are accepted for entry. A minimum of 48 UCAS Tariff points will be required. 
  • UAL L3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design or Creative Media Production & Technology- grade P
  • Other: We also consider applicants who have not achieved 48 UCAS points from prior level 3 qualifications. If you have a keen interest in this subject area or hold relevant experience, please make sure you outline this experience within your personal statement. This can be assessed through an alternative assessment route such as an academic essay. 

Use the UCAS Tariff calculator to check your qualifications and points

International entry requirements and application guidance can be found here

Other Requirements

Those meeting the entry requirements will be shortlisted for a Portfolio Review. Further details can be found at https://www.wlv.ac.uk/apply/how-to-apply/4---after-youve-applied/subject-specific-applications/. Applicants will also be required to provide a satisfactory reference.


Progression Information: 

Applicants who successfully complete the foundation year programme can progress onto Level 4 of this course area, you will not be required to reapply or reinterview. 

If you complete this foundation year programme and decide you wish to change your degree subject, you will be required to apply again through UCAS and take part in the course specific interview and selection process for this new course area.  


Tuition Fees Loan (Home Fee Status):

Most students will be able to apply for a loans to pay for these subject to eligibility. To find out more information please refer to the government Student Finance website.

Changes for EU students:

The UK government has confirmed that EU students starting courses from 1 August 2021 will normally be classified as having Overseas Fee status. More information about the change is available at UKCISA:

EU citizens living in the UK with 'settled' status, and Irish nationals living in the UK or Ireland, will still be classified as Home students, providing they meet the usual residency requirements, for more information about EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) click here.


If you don’t want to take out a loan to pay your fees or if you aren’t eligible to receive a loan, you might want to take advantage of the University’s scheme to pay by instalments: See How to pay.

For more information please contact the Gateway.

Your employer, embassy or organisation can pay for your Tuition fees:

If your employer, embassy or organisation agrees to pay all or part of your tuition fees; the University will refer to them as your sponsor and will invoice them for the appropriate amount.

We must receive notification of sponsorship in writing as soon as possible, and before enrolment, confirming that the sponsor will pay your tuition fees.

Financial Hardship:

Students can apply to the Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund.

for help with course related costs however this cannot be used for fees or to cover general living costs.

Bursaries and Scholarships:

In addition the University also offers a range of Bursaries and Scholarships packages

You can find more information on the University’s Funding, cost, fee and support pages.


01902 32 22 22




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