Illustration BDes (Hons)

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 3 years
  • School: Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

With an eye to commercial avenues this course adopts a broad definition of illustration and provides a dynamic and experimental environment for the development of visual ideas.

Why study Illustration at Dundee?

Illustration is about the acts of personal interpretation and communication.

By focusing the curriculum on creativity, authorship and interpretation, delivered through a mix of live and personal projects, Illustration aims to address the on-going demand for compelling visual communicators who can engage their audiences.

We will help you to embrace traditional and contemporary production processes whilst developing a personal creative approach. Utilising our excellent digital and printmaking facilities the staff will ask you to experiment with a wide range of media ranging from book works, photography, drawing to graphic arts, moving and interactive media.

You will also have opportunities to participate in a foreign study trip and gain exposure and experience in D&AD's 'New Blood', an international showcase of the best graduates in visual communication and advertising.

Study illustration to:

  • Develop dynamic visual ideas
  • Learn to take ownership of our projects
  • Enjoy a wide range of opportunities including narrative, book arts, photography, printmaking and interactive media

At the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Subject research findings to argument and analysis
  • Structure research outcomes
  • Present an image and text based format
  • Explain the relationship between theory and practice in your own work

We can offer you:

  • Well resourced facilities
  • Local and national links with industry
  • Student focused teaching
  • Opportunity to enter competitions and win awards

Student exchange

The academic perspective is enhanced by opportunities for you to study abroad through exchange schemes that operate with centres of excellence in many European and transatlantic countries.

In addition, the department normally organises an overseas study visit for all Level 3 students.

Who should study Illustration?

You are:

  • Creative
  • Imaginative

You like:

  • Working by yourself as well as in groups
  • A challenge

You want to:

  • Develop your skills to us narrative and images to represent an overall idea or theme
  • Work in groups to develop your skills
  • Work independently to nurture your own projects

Communication Design

Illustration is one of three courses that comprise the communication design programme (animation, graphic design and illustration). While following your course in illustration, you will also gain a broad educational experience by being provided with a wide range of opportunities for you to engage with pertinent communication design issues as well as your pathway choice in illustration. The course has a track record in conceptually agile and technically skilled graduate designers who have a broad understanding of communication design coupled with deep knowledge and expertise in their chosen subject pathway.

For examples of student work, staff profiles, and news from Illustration, visit the DJCAD website.

Related Courses

The programme of study initially involves projects and workshops designed to help you, through experiential learning, to understand the fundamental discipline of your chosen subject. Many different approaches to teaching and learning are used including regular seminars, practical lectures, studio demonstrations, individual tutorials and group critiques.

Many different approaches to teaching and learning are used including:

  • Workshops
  • Studio demonstrations
  • Seminars
  • Practical lectures
  • Live briefs
  • Group tutorials
  • One-to-one tutorials
  • Group critiques
  • Self-assessment

Students are encouraged to develop their own directions within assignments and to engage in debate about their work.

Level 1

Students can enter illustration after successfully completing our Art and Design (General Foundation) course (apply for course WW12) or on successful completion of a recognised Foundation Course or equivalent (apply for course W220). This is normal for many art and design courses.

In the Art and Design (General Foundation) course you will learn the core values which will enrich and expand your personal visual language, preparing you nicely for a further 3 years in Illustration.

Level 2

  • Tutor-set Briefs
  • Introduction to Technical Processes
  • Introduction to Computer Aided Design
  • Introduction to Creating a Personal Programme of Study
  • Creative Research Methodology
  • Contextual Studies

Level 2 of the programme is structured to provide a broad foundation of knowledge and experience. You will be introduced to relevant equipment and varied media used in the production process for your choice of specialism. Projects and assignments help you develop the relevant learning, research and technical skills, exploring creativity and individual aptitude through each process.

Level 3

  • Personal Programme of Study
  • Tutor-set and Live Briefs
  • Strategic Experimentation
  • Research and Development of Ideas
  • Cultural Experience Foreign Study Trip
  • Contextual Studies
  • Elective modules such as:
    • Visual Effects
    • Comic Art & Graphic Novels
    • Printmaking

Level 3 is designed to encourage experimentation, cross course projects, exploring ideas and making use of appropriate technical methods. All students prepare and present a programme of personal project work that reflects the research and development of ideas. During this year you will undertake a series of assignments designed to develop good professional practice necessary to succeed in your chosen career.

Level 4

  • Personal Programme of Research
  • National Competitions
  • Supporting Study Elective
  • Exhibitions in Dundee and London

In the final year - Level 4 - you will organise and present a personal programme of study that will form the major part of your submission for the Honours degree examination. You will be encouraged to integrate all aspects of your research with a written thesis and the production of your final outcomes. You will produce a body of work that will demonstrate a mature visual understanding of materials, methods and processes required to transform ideas into reality.

Your progress is monitored with structured formal reviews and assessments. At Level 4 a team of internal and external examiners conduct the final degree examination.

The demand for illustrators has increased as related commercial fields have expanded. Our graduates have gone on to have successful careers in the following fields:

  • publishing
  • design
  • editorial
  • advertising
  • art
  • animation
  • online media
  • sequential imagery
  • film & television

Placements, live project work and participation in national and international competitions all hone the employability and aspirations of our students. Students have found employment with many major design studios and organisations such as:

  • The New York Times
  • Bank of Scotland
  • The Guardian
  • Edinburgh International Fringe Festival
  • The Scotsman
  • Orange
  • The Herald
  • Umbro
  • TimeOut London
  • National Museum of Scotland


Others have gone on to freelance and establishing their own successful businesses. Extra curriculum activities such as the Enterprise Gym help students cultivate entrepreneurial skills. The Greenhouse Business Pre-Incubator facility provides ambitious students with an office space to explore their business idea.

The following are the minimum requirements, please note qualifications have to be obtained at the first sitting of examinations.

Please note that the entry requirements in our printed prospectus may be subject to change. The entry requirements listed below are up to date and should be referred to in case of any discrepancy.

Courses starting September 2015

Advanced Entry (to Level 2)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher BB (Advanced Higher) + BB (Higher) in different subjects
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5, at Higher level)
Essential Subjects Art and Design, or related subject (at SQA Advanced Higher, GCE A-Level, IB Higher Level), an appropriate literate subject (at SQA Advanced Higher, GCE A Level, IB Higher Level) and one other subject outside art & design subjects (at SQA Higher, GCE A Level, IB Higher Level).
EU & International Applicants with alternative overseas qualifications should visit the relevant country page on our International website.
Other Qualifications
SQA A recognised Foundation Course or a relevant HND with BB in the Graded Units
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with BB at AH
SWAP Access
EDEXCEL A recognised Foundation Course or a relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM
Advanced Diploma Grade B with ASL A-levels in appropriate subjects at AB
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-levels in appropriate subjects at AB
European Baccalaureate 75% overall with 7.5 in an Art & Design subject and 7.5 in a literate subject

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application. Find out more about fee status.

Fee categoryFees for students starting September 2015 or January 2016
Scottish students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Rest of UK students £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants."
EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants."

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed for the length of your course. This means that the tuition fee you pay in your first year (shown above) is the same fee you will pay for each year of your course. We guarantee that this will not increase while you are studying with us. The only exceptions to this are our MBChB Medicine and BDS Dentistry degrees which charge a different tuition for the clinical years.

Students applying for Illustration must successfully complete our 1 year Art and Design (General Foundation) course. In this instance you should apply using the UCAS code WW12.

Alternatively, if you have already completed a recognised foundation course or equivalent elsewhere then apply directly to Illustration.

All applicants must submit a comprehensive portfolio of art and design work. The qualifications listed may be modified for an applicant presenting an exceptional portfolio.

Students are selected by assessing the contents of a portfolio of work that should convey a measure of creative, practical skill and intellectual/enthusiastic engagement in the practice of art and design.

  Degree UCAS Code KIS Data
Apply NowIllustration BDes (Hons)W220