Study a Illustration degree with OCA

Illustration has the power to take someone on a journey through the use of imagery. It’s driven by making 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 perfect opportunity for you to sketch, draw and create captivating imagery, interpret a brief and communicate your ideas using your own personal, visual language. You’ll be supported in becoming 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.

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 3–9 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.

A shared structure of course units at Level 3 (HE6) provides a framework for you to contextualise your practice, develop a specialist understanding of Illustration, synthesise critical ideas and visual work through a body of written and visual research (Illustration 3: Visual Research), and undertake a self-directed major project (Illustration 3: Advanced Practice) culminating in an exhibition (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 Skills 1: Visual Dynamics

Visual Communication 1: Graphic Fiction

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

Download the full programme specification

Foundations

£875

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£3,945

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£3,260

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,260

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,315

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 necessarry 120 credits to move on to Level 2 (HE5).

Level 2 (HE5)

£1,630

Per course unit (6o credits)

All 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).

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,260

For the level

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

Foundations

£1020

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£4,380

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£3,600

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,600

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,460

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).

Level 2 (HE5)

£1,800

Per course unit (60 credits)

All 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).

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,600

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

  • OCA degrees are paid for on a unit-by-unit basis and are around a third of the cost of a degree at a campus university. Unit costs depend on the level of the unit, and also whether you live in the UK or rest of the world.

    If you started studying with OCA before 01 August 2017, please contact accounts@oca.ac.uk as different fees may apply.

    If you are funding your course yourself you can either pay for units in full or you can spread the cost by taking advantage of our deposit and instalment facility for which a £50 fee is included in the deposit you pay.

    All OCA courses are listed with Student Finance England, Wales, and Northern Ireland allowing eligible students to apply for a Student Loan to cover the cost of fees. You may also be able to apply for a maintenance loan and/or Disabled Students Allowance to assist you with the cost of study.

    We’ve made this helpful guide to take you through the application process, making applying for Student Finance simple and straightforward.

    Download the Student Finance guide

    The OCA Learner Support Scheme can provide partial bursaries towards course fees for students who are not eligible for funding via Student Finance, based on financial hardship.

    Other sources of funding may include employer contributions, Enhanced Learning Credits (for Armed Forces Serving Personnel and Service Leavers) and Prisoner Education Trust.

    As a student with OCA, most reading materials can be accessed through the digital library services and eBooks, or sent to you in the post.

    Other costs you may find on your degree include purchasing materials/books/texts to assist in your practice and research. These can be around £500–700 at Levels 1 and 2, and £800–1000 at Level 3. Work is largely submitted to tutors and for assessment via email, however postal costs are expected to be around £40 per assessment for sending materials depending on quantity and weight of materials. Rates for overseas students will be higher.

  • 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. Further details on the entry requirements can be found in the Student Regulations.

  • 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 2017 the Department for Culture, Media, & Sport estimated there were some 3.12 million jobs in the UK creative economy, and 80,000 new jobs were created in 2017 alone. The creative industries are growing faster than any other sector in the UK.

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

To Join

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