Communication Design

Key Facts


Programme Overview

How to Apply

Institution Name: GSA
Institution Code: G43
UCAS Code: W213


BA (Hons) Communication Design. All GSA degree programmes are validated by the University of Glasgow. Established in 1451, the University of Glasgow is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities and a founder member of Universitas 21, an international grouping of universities dedicated to setting worldwide standards for higher education.


Coursework, essays, practical design projects. Formative assessments take place at key points throughout the year with summative assessments at the end of each academic year.

Range of facilities including dedicated studio space, crit/group tutorial spaces, Case Room with a range of equipment including letterpress, Macs, digital cameras, animation, linoprints, wood engravings and monoprinting, photographic studios with facilities for colour and black and white processing.

Indicative Material Costs
Year 1: £200
Year 2: £100
Year 3: £600
Year 4: £600

Applicants should remember to budget for the cost of the materials they will use during their studies.

Communication Design Website

Graduate Destinations
include Pentagram, Graphic Thought Facility, Lust, O-SB, Weiden + Kennedy, Lewis Moberly, BBC, Stand, ISO, or freelance practice, working in publishing, editorial, film and TV.

Programme Leader
Donna Leishman

Elise Allan
Marc Baines
Brian Cairns
Michael Dancer
Moira Dancer    

James Houston

Emma Keogh 

Kimberley O’Neil

Jo Petty

Steve Rigley

Susan Roan

Andy Stark

Programme Overview

Never before has the communications arena had such fluidity for the realisation of student ideas and professional identity; whether it be simple or complex, witty or profound - Communication Design is a platform for the thinking of tomorrow.

Digital technology has provided a multimedia, multi-layered set of opportunities for Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography. Students now incorporate the traditional skills of drawing, printing, photography and other graphic processes with video, sound, animation and other aspects of moving image and multimedia. Students are no longer defined by their specialism, but through their creative interpretations and articulation of the brief.

In order for a student to develop a vision of the future, they need an understanding of the past. Each area within Communication Design encourages a critical engagement with historic and contemporary practice, relating social cultural and political contexts. Learning is supported by a weekly series of professional practice lectures, in which some of the most respected designers in Europe visit the School and meet our students.

Students are encouraged to undertake appropriate industrial placements and external assignments, as well as to engage in the numerous opportunities for national and international specialist competitions. Staff are active in research within the graphics industry through consultancy and freelance design.

There are three distinct specialisms in Communication Design at the GSA:

  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Photography

Each of the specialisms encourage students to develop an inventive and critical approach to solving communication design problems. 

Forum for Critical Inquiry

An element of the programme is delivered by the Forum for Critical Inquiry (FoCI) The Forum is an essential component of the programme. For most of the four years of undergraduate programmes in design and fine art, one day per week of the student timetable is allocated to the Forum.  It is a cross-school and externally linked critical mass of diverse research expertise in broad-based critical studies for contemporary creative practices in design, art and architecture.

The range of teaching styles varies from traditional keynote lectures to interactive discussion groups and experiential learning. Courses are constructed in order to both underpin studio practice and to open out and extend the range of student research.

All students are required to attend lectures and discussion groups, to make oral presentations, to write essays and in the final year, to present a piece of personal research in the form of an Extended Essay (20% of the final degree mark) or a Dissertation (30% of the final degree mark).

Students requiring learning support are provided with additional teaching tailored to individual needs. Each student also has a departmental contact tutor who acts in an advisory and pastoral capacity in relation to progress in Forum for Critical Inquiry.