Study a Visual Communications degree with OCA

Our BA (Hons) Visual Communications degree encourages you to explore the most creative and original ways to communicate a message to any given audience. It provides an opportunity for you to experiment with multiple creative disciplines and topics, so that you gain a more comprehensive understanding of meaning, purpose, interpretation and design.

You’ll learn how to communicate your ideas effectively across various media and practices, equipping you with new thought processes and reasoning behind your methods. This will help you produce an interdisciplinary portfolio of artwork that can span a range of areas including graphic design, illustration, web, moving image, comics, infographics, packaging and beyond.

Throughout your course of study, your specialist tutor will support you and your work, enabling you to work both independently, ready for the world of visual creativity. So if you’re looking to create meaningful communications for a client base or for yourself, our BA (Hons) Visual Communications degree is for you.

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Studying Visual Communications

The BA (Hons) Visual Communications course offers an accessible distance learning experience through which students can develop an understanding of visual enquiry and find a personal creative voice.

The curriculum explores a span of visual communication practices that encompasses graphic design through typography, editorial design, branding and packaging and illustration through drawing, image making and visual storytelling, animation and comics, all of which touch upon both traditional and digital skills and techniques.

An Open and Flexible Learning environment supports student expectations and needs, helping you to develop the skills necessary for autonomous learning. Our course team is made up of experienced tutors who are all practitioners within the field or lecturing at other UK art colleges and Universities. This learning environment encourages students to develop a personal creative voice within their work that can be extended into employment, self-employment, further study, or continued personal development.

Course Structure

The course is designed to give students the widest choice of course content while retaining a strong core structure. As students move through the three course levels they can refine their study choices as the range of study options broadens, making the course truly interdisciplinary.

Level 1

Level 1 support the development of creative ideas by examining how to analyse a brief, generate and visualise ideas, use reference material to inform approaches and begin to develop content and meaning within your work. You are introduced to the visual languages of illustration and design thinking through creative problem-solving exercises, explore the relationship between form and function, and consider how to develop a creative process through researching, visualising and presenting ideas. These units also offer a gateway into specialist study through a choice of content in areas of visual practice such as drawing, printmaking and photography.

Level 2

Level 2 supports students’ ability to further develop visual language and develop the critical and reflective skills to evaluate the results. You will explore the integration of typography and visual elements within layouts and examine the role of graphic design within identity design, branding and campaigning. You will also investigate how to use image-making in reportage, sequential narrative through storyboards, and consider a range of contemporary contexts for illustration. Stage 2 study also offers distinct options into specialist study, from book design and visual exploration to comics and graphic novels, and enables you to summarise all that you have learned by undertaking a self-directed brief from a range of professional contexts.

Level 3

Level 3 synthesize students’ creative practice and research interests across a self-directed body of work, and provide a framework that enables you to foster an increasingly autonomous and professional approach. You will demonstrate your creative voice through outcomes that include a portfolio of self-directed work, a reflective learning log, and a critical thinking assignment which can be written or take an alternative presentational format.

20/21 Visual Communications Pathway

Students enrolling new to the course prior to September 2021 will enrol on the 2020/2021 degree pathway linked below. When enrolling to a new Level of the degree, they will study from the Level of the 2021/2022 pathway.

20/21 Programme Specification 

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21/22 Visual Communications Pathway

The 2021/2022 pathway comes into affect September 2021.
For current students enrolled to a Level of this degree prior to September 2021, existing units  across all levels will remain available as ‘teach out’ units to ensure no students are disadvantaged due to the changes. Once enrolled to a new level, students will follow the new degree pathway.

21/22 Programme Specification

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Foundations

£900

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£4,050

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£3,340

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,340

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,350

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).

Deposit is £440 followed by 8 monthly instalments of £120.

Level 2 (HE5)

£1,670

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).

Deposit is £520 followed by 10 monthly instalments of £120.

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,340

For the level

OCA’s Level 3 (HE6) course units hold differing amounts of credits depending upon the given Open degree pathway. Two 40 credit units are studied concurrently and the deposit for these two units is £510 followed by 14 monthly instalments of £120. The only exception to this is the Creative Writing Degree, where Level 3 is split two course units, and the deposit for each is £520, followed by 10 monthly instalments of £120.

Foundations

£1,050

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£4,500

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£3,690

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,690

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,500

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 £590 followed by 8 monthly instalments of £120.

Level 2 (HE5)

£1,845

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).

Deposit is £695 followed by 10 monthly instalments of £120.

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,690

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. Two 40 credit units are studied concurrently and the deposit for these two units is £735 followed by 14 monthly instalments of £120. The only exception to this is the Creative Writing Degree, where Level 3 is split two course units, and the deposit for each is £695, followed by 10 monthly instalments of £120.

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 software (i.e. Adobe Suite)/materials/books/texts to assist in your practice and research. These can be around £400-700 at Levels 1 and 2, and £550-1000 at Level 3 depending on which units you choose. Costs will vary depending on students’ choice of medium and whether books are bought or loaned from the library. 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.

  • Visual Communications 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) Visual Communications degree, you’ll be set with skills to help you navigate the workplace. You could use your practice as a professional illustrator, digital designer, artist, brand or content specialist, the possibilities are endless. Prospects can help you with a variety of options of where your degree could take you.

    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.

To Join

To enhance your profession and expand your knowledge, enrol here today!

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