BA (Hons) Visual Communications


Level 1 (HE4) Level 2 (HE5)
Core Concepts in Graphic Design Graphic Design: Working with a Client
Book Design – Principles and Practice Illustration: Responding to a Brief
Key Steps in Illustration
Click here for the full Visual Communications Degree pathway

Visual communications is the artistic practice applied to communicating through a visual language. The BA (Hons) in Visual Communications builds knowledge across the disciplines of graphic design, illustration and book design all aiming to prepare you to become a visual communications professional, capable of applying your intellectual and creative skills to communications solutions. To build a broad foundation of your knowledge as well as studying graphic design, illustration and book design you can also choose to study complementary course units including digital film production, drawing, photography, painting, printmaking, textiles, creative writing, with art history and theory. As you progress to level 3 you can then apply your skills and understanding in a range of contexts, including client led briefs, competitions, and self-initiated projects. It supports the development of a personal and professional understanding of visual communications. The aims of the visual communications degree are to:

  1. To provide you with the opportunity to engage with a range of options within visual communications and select a specialism.
  2. To widen access to education in visual communications at undergraduate level through Open and Flexible Learning.
  3. To provide an intellectually stimulating programme of study based on high quality study material and tutor support.
  4. To encourage the development of a personal and professional understanding of visual communications and to establish a personal creative voice within it.
  5. To provide an opportunity for you to apply your skills, knowledge and understanding to a range of contexts.
  6. To develop autonomous learners capable of applying intellectual and practical skills in a chosen area of visual communications appropriate to employment, further study, or life-long learning.

Career choices

The Design Council’s Industry Insights Report 2010 highlights that 87% of design consultants employ less than 10 staff, supporting the view that emerging designers need to have the skills to be able to work in small teams and to be able to establish themselves in small businesses and as freelancers. This degree aims to prepare students to become visual communicator professionals and autonomous learners, capable of applying their intellectual and creative skills in a chosen area in employment, further study, or life-long learning.

Visual Communications Students’ work

Studying with the OCA

With our open learning approach, the OCA provides a real alternative to traditional campus based learning. Our inspiring course materials enable you to work at your own pace, in your own time, and whenever you choose to study. We have a thriving community of students all following their passion and achieving at the highest levels, supported by tutors who are experienced teachers and practising graphic designers and illustrators. As you work towards your degree, your work will be assessed against a set of criteria by our accrediting university the UCA, one of Europe’s largest specialist universities for art, design, architecture, media and communication. This enables you to gain HE credits towards your degree and is based on an examination of your course portfolio rather than a formal exam. Click here to find out more about studying with the OCA.


The flexibility of the OCA means you can complete your degree to suit you, taking anything from 3 to 12 years. The full degree programme must be completed in 12 years.

Interested in this degree?

With our flexible open learning approach you enrol on one course or one level at a time as you study towards your degree. The degree pathway sets out the options for you to study, allowing you to tailor what you study as your interests develop.

Choose your first course now

Download the BA (Hons) Visual Communications degree handbook

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Download the BA (Hons) Visual Communications Pathway

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Degree Programme Enquiry Form

Please fill in this form to begin the process of enrolling on one of OCA’s undergraduate BA (Hons) degree programmes. You are not committing to anything by filling in this form, and a member of the Head Office team will be in touch shortly to further discuss your application.