Study an Illustration degree with OCA

Illustration has the power to take someone on a journey through the use of imagery. Make sense of the world and communicating information through creativity and visual storytelling. If you’re ready to learn new skills and enhance your ability, practice and confidence as an illustrator, then this is the course for you!

Our BA (Hons) Illustration degree introduces you to all different types of drawing and image-making like magazine and book illustration, editorial and commercial briefs, collage, mixed media, comics and graphic novels.

The course provides the opportunity for you to sketch, draw and create captivating imagery, interpret a brief, experiment and communicate your ideas using your own personal, visual language. You’ll become a creative problem solver, learning how to generate ideas, create narratives, undertake your own visual research and develop a fluency in all illustrative contexts.

You’ll be challenged and encouraged to expand your definition of illustration both on and offline. Throughout your course of study, your specialist tutor will support you and your work, enabling you to work independently, ready for the world of visual creativity. 

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What is a BA (Hons) Illustration degree?

OCA’s distance learning illustration degree is open to anyone with a keen interest in illustration, regardless of previous experience or qualifications. It’s an ideal course for anyone wanting to pursue a career in illustration, graphic design, and a range of creative fields from marketing to web design. It’s also a wonderful choice if you’re simply looking to deepen your illustration skills and knowledge for your own personal development.

Distance learning courses allow you to learn at your own pace and complete an illustration degree within a flexible timeframe. This means you’ll have the time to build your artistic and creative skills in balance with your personal and professional life.

Looking for online illustration degrees? Begin your journey today with OCA!

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Course Structure

The degree is split into eight units; three at Level 1 (HE4), two at Level 2 (HE5), and three at Level 3 (HE6). There are some core units that all students take, many more optional units, and some prerequisites for units at higher levels.

As a flexible degree, you can complete the programme in up to 9 years, with a maximum of three years to complete each level of the course.

Core Units

At level 1 (HE4) you will undertake one mandatory unit, Illustration 1: Key Steps in Illustration.

Study at Level 2 (HE5) is underpinned by two core units, Illustration 2: Responding to a Brief and Visual Skills 2: Visual Exploration.

Level 3 (HE6) provides a framework for you to contextualise your practice, and develop a specialist understanding of Illustration through a body of written and visual research. This is through two units taken together Illustration 3: Visual Research, and a self-directed major project Illustration 3: Advanced Practice. You will then culminate your work in an exhibition showcasing your voice in Illustration 3: Sustaining your Practice.

Optional Units

Alongside the core unit at Level 1 in Illustration you can choose to study two of the following:

  • Illustration 1: Illustration Sketchbooks
  • Visual Communication 1: Graphic Fiction (Comics and Graphic Novels)
  • Visual Skills 1: Visual Dynamics
  • Book Design 1: Creative Book Design
  • Drawing 1: Drawing Skills
  • Graphic Design 1: Core Concepts
  • Painting 1: Understanding Painting Media
  • Printmaking 1: Introduction to Printmaking
  • Visual Studies 1: Creative Arts Today (available to enrol to until Sept 2021)
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Illustration Degree Pathway

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Programme Specification 2022/23 New Curriculum

This Programme Specification is for all units on the new curriculum.

Review Programme Specification Here

Programme Specification 2022/23 Running Out Curriculum

This Programme Specification details the units and learning outcomes that are being taught out.

Review Programme Specification Here

Programme Specification 2023/24 New Curriculum

This Programme Specification is for all units on the new curriculum.

Review Programme Specification here

Programme Specification 2023/24 Running Out Curriculum

This Programme Specification details the units and learning outcomes that are being taught out.

Review Programme Specification here

Illustration Accessibility Statements

Accessibility statements give an indication of the type and format of content, teaching, and learning activities on the course, and how these are ordinarily delivered.

Review Accessibility Statements here

Foundations

£935

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£4,500

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£4,500

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£4,500

For the level

Total approximate undergraduate fees

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,500

Per course unit (4o credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 1 (HE4) course units are worth 40 credits each. If you’re studying towards an Open degree, you’ll need three Level 1 (HE4) course units to gain the necessary 120 credits to move on to Level 2 (HE5).

Deposit is £465 followed by 7 monthly instalments of £155.

Level 2 (HE5)

£2,250

Per course unit (6o credits)

Some of the OCA’s Level 2 (HE5) course units are worth 60 credits each. If you’re studying towards an Open degree, you’ll need two Level 2 (HE5) course units to gain the necessarry 120 credits to move on to Level 3 (HE6).

Deposit is £595 followed by 11 monthly instalments of £155.

Level 3 (HE6)

£4,500

For the level

OCA’s Level 3 (HE6) course units hold differing amounts of credits depending upon the given Open degree pathway.

Foundations

£1,075

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£5,160

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£5,160

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£5,160

For the level

Total approximate undergraduate fees

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,560

Per course unit (40 credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 1 (HE4) course units are worth 40 credits each. If you’re studying towards a degree, you’ll need three Level 1 (HE4) course units to gain the necessary 120 credits to move on to Level 2 (HE5).

Deposit is £580 followed by 7 monthly instalments of £170.

Level 2 (HE5)

£2,580

Per course unit (60 credits)

Some of the OCA’s Level 2 (HE5) course units are worth 60 credits each. If you’re studying towards a degree, you’ll need two Level 2 (HE5) course units to gain the necessary 120 credits to move on to Level 3 (HE6).

Deposit is £760 followed by 11 monthly instalments of £170.

 

Level 3 (HE6)

£5,160

For the level

OCA’s Level 3 (HE6) course units hold differing amounts of credits depending upon the given degree pathway, and therefore are varied in cost. For individual pricing, please see the individual course unit pages on this website.

More Information
  • With the OCA, you can study a BA (Hons) degree in our flexible online learning model at approximately one third the cost of a degree at a traditional physical university.

    Students study and pay for the course on a unit-by-unit basis, so you only pay for the course as you enrol to each unit.

    This course is eligible for a part-time tuition fee loan from Student Finance England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or you can self-fund the course and break down costs even further through the deposit and instalment option.  Find out more about your funding options here.

  • You will require regular use of a computer or laptop and internet access. Most essential reading materials can be accessed through the digital library services and eBooks.

    Students are responsible for sourcing and, where necessary, purchasing any additional software and resources specified. These can be around £400 at Level 1, £500 at Level 2, and £550 at Level 3. Where possible, open or freeware equivalents will be discussed alongside industry standard options.

    You may be eligible for any student discounts on computer equipment and software by using your student email, and you can find out more information about student discounts here.

  • Illustration is an open access degree; this means that there are no formal qualifications or experience required to join the course. All you need is a passion for the arts, and willingness to learn.

    All OCA courses require students to be IT literate, have a good internet connection, and have a good standard of English equivalent to CEFR B2. You can review the study requirements here so you’re prepared for online study at higher education.

  • We accept enrolment for our BA (HONS) courses all year round, so you can start at a time that suits you. You don’t need to wait for a specific intake month, simply complete the online enrolment form and indicate your preferred start date.

    When applying for a Student Finance tuition fee loan, this may take 4- 6 weeks to process, so select a start date reflective of this. If you are also applying for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and would like this support to be in place before beginning your course, please allow 14 weeks from when you begin your application to your start date.

  • Our part-time degree courses are completed on average between 6 and 9 years. The degree is structured into three levels (instead of three years) so you’re able manage study around other commitments.

    Once enrolled, you’ll have a maximum of 12 years to complete your degree course. There are unit and level timeframes within the overall degree time frame, and you’ll need a minimum of 10 study hours per week to keep on track. To find out more about course duration and managing your time, click here.

  • Your course materials are accessible online through the virtual learning environment, OCA Learn, where you’ll also have access to student forums, a subject space, the student handbook and the online library. You’ll work primarily from a set text of course materials and resources, but can also sign up to webinars, workshops and study groups in addition to your core learning.

    Once you’ve completed the required assignments within a course unit and received tutor feedback, you’ll submit a portfolio of work to an assessment event. This gives you the opportunity to develop your work before you have it formally assessed to achieve credits towards your degree.

  • Upon completing the BA (Hons) Illustration degree, you’ll be set with skills to help you navigate the workplace. You could use your practice as a professional illustrator, graphic designer or digital designer – the possibilities are endless. Prospects can help you with a variety of options of where your degree could take you.

    While you’re pursuing your dream of being a professional illustrator, you can find a range of options to support your work. You could use your creative and research skills to work in visual communications, marketing, and many more roles.

    In May 2022 the Department for Culture, Media, & Sport estimated there were some 2.3 million jobs in the UK creative industries, and post pandemic the Creative Industries are growing faster than the UK economy as a whole.

    Creativity is a sought-after skill in today’s job market. Learning this as part of your degree could set you apart from the rest of the pack.

  • The Academic Regulatory Framework (ARF) regulations are applicable to all taught courses offered by the Open College of the Arts
    (OCA), and leading to an undergraduate award of the University for the Creative Arts (UCA).

    You can review the ARF through the link below:

    Academic Regulatory Framework

To Join

Want to join a thriving community of creatives? Enrol here, today!