BA (Hons)

Visual Communications


With our open learning approach, the OCA’s Visual Communications degree (comprising of Graphic Design and Illustration courses) 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.

Degree overview

The BA (Hons) Visual communication course offers an accessible distance learning experience through which students are encouraged to develop a sense of visual enquiry, expand their horizons, and begin to find a personal creative voice within their practice. The course provides an interdisciplinary approach to study through which students can choose and explore a breadth of subjects, moving towards specialisms in graphic design, illustration or a combination of these subjects.

Degree aims

  • To widen access to art and design education at undergraduate level through Open and Flexible Learning.
  • To provide an interdisciplinary course of study across graphic design and illustration through which students develop specialisms.
  • To provide an intellectually stimulating programme of study based on high quality study material and tutor support.
  • To encourage the development of a personal and/or professional understanding of visual communication practices and to establish a personal creative voice within them.
  • An opportunity for students to apply their skills, knowledge and understanding creatively and within a range of appropriate contexts.
  • To develop autonomous learners capable of applying intellectual and practical skills within employment, sole practice, further study, or life-long learning.

Degree prospectus

Full details of the Visual Communications degree can be found in the Programme Specification below.

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The Open College of the Arts is the distance learning college of the University for the Creative Arts – one of the UK’s leading specialist art and design universities.

“At the end of 2012 I began studying illustration with the OCA. Having no art training, it had seemed out-of-reach to study at a tertiary level, until I discovered the OCA. The coursework has been wonderfully challenging; the practice of keeping sketchbooks has been invaluable and the feedback from my tutor have enabled me to finally begin to understand my own creative voice. ”


Katherine Jasven, Visual Communications student

Programme Leader for Illustration, Graphic Design and Visual Communications

James Pyman

I have been a practicing artist for 20 years. My work comprises pencil and ink drawings for gallery exhibitions as well as book and magazine illustration, cartoons and comic books. I have exhibited nationally and internationally…

Creative careers

The creative sector employs 1.9 million people in the UK alone.

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.

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