Illustration BDes (Hons)

  • Entry: September
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Study Abroad: Yes
  • Study Mode: Full Time
  • UCAS: W220
TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

Illustration addresses the on-going demand for compelling visual communicators who can engage their audiences. The curriculum focuses on creativity, authorship and interpretation. We deliver it through a mix of live and personal projects.

We will help you to embrace traditional and contemporary production processes. You will also developing a personal creative approach.  

We have excellent digital and printmaking facilities. You will use them to experiment with a wide range of media, including book works, photography, drawing, graphic arts, moving and interactive media.

You will get the chance to take part in a foreign study trip. Extra exposure comes in the form of  D&AD's 'New Blood'. This is an international showcase of the best graduates in visual communication and advertising. 

Study illustration to:

  • develop dynamic visual ideas
  • learn to take ownership of 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

You can study abroad through exchange schemes that operate in many European and transatlantic countries.

The department normally organises an overseas study visit for all Level 3 students.

Who should study this course?

You are:

  • creative
  • imaginative 

You like:

  • working by yourself as well as in groups
  • a challenge

You want to:

  • develop your skills in using 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. The full list is animation, graphic design and illustration. While following your course in illustration, you will also get a wide range of opportunities to engage with communication design issues as well as your pathway choice in illustration.

The course develops conceptually agile and technically skilled illustrators who have a broad understanding of communication design coupled with deep knowledge and expertise in their chosen subject. 

Learn more about DJCAD

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

YouTube Poster Image (Cached)

The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

Courses starting 2018 and 2019
Qualification Level 1 Entry Advanced Entry to Level 2
SQA Higher/Advanced Higher Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course BB at Advanced Higher, including art and design or a related subject and an appropriate literate subject, plus BB at Higher in different subjects including one other subject outside art and design
GCE A-Level Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course ABB including art and design or a related subject, an appropriate literate subject and one other subject outside art and design
BTEC Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course A recognised Foundation Course or a relevant BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma with DDM
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course 34 points including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level to include art and design or a related subject, an appropriate literate subject and one other subject outside art and design
Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC)
Graduate Entry
SQA Higher National (HNC/HND) Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course A recognised Foundation Course or a relevant HND with BB in the Graded Units
Scottish Baccalaureate Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course Pass with BB at Advanced Higher
SWAP Access
Advanced Diploma Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course Grade B with ASL A-levels in appropriate subjects at AB
Welsh Baccalaureate Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course Pass with A-levels in appropriate subjects at AB
European Baccalaureate Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course 75% overall with 7.5 in an Art & Design subject and 7.5 in a literate subject
Other Qualifications Foundation course in Art & Design
Notes All applicants must also submit a comprehensive portfolio of art/design/creative work and may be invited to attend a portfolio submission event. In some cases an interview may also be required. All qualifications should include a relevant art & design subject & a literate subject, and will be considered on an individual basis.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

For non EU students

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

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.

How you will be taught

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.

How you will be assessed

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.

What you will study

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.

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 Centre of Entrepreneurship help students cultivate entrepreneurial skills.

Ben Bainbridge, Illustration Graduate

"Within Illustration I was able to explore different areas of the specialism I was interested in. This helped me understand my subject a lot more and really benefitted me as a young designer. With regular artist talks and workshops from professionals I was able to see how the industry worked past art school. They were not only informative, but inspiring too."

Emma Goldstraw, Illustration Graduate

"Duncan of Jordanstone has always been something of a "Mecca" for me. Any courses that were on offer, or exhibitions - I was there! The Illustration course allowed me to try various methods and ways of working that I had never done before. The course also allowed me to experience new technology, computer programmes and digital media. The staff in the department are all very supportive and approachable. Most importantly they helped me build my own confidence about my own work. It is an extremely proud feeling to know that I have an excellent degree from one of the top art schools in the country."

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

Fees for students starting 2019-20

Fee categoryFees for students starting 2019-20
Scottish and EU students £1,820 per year of study
Rest of UK students £9,250 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.
Overseas students (non-EU) £17,275 per year of study

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 not to increase by more than 3% per year, for the length of your course.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One off costOngoing costIncidental cost
Graduation feeStudio feeField trips

*these are examples only and are not exhaustive.

Additional costs:

  • may be mandatory or optional expenses
  • may be one off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study
  • vary depending on your programme of study
  • are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

For additional costs specific to your course please speak to our Enquiry Team.

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.

You will be prompted by our Admissions Team to submit your digital portfolio (and answer a few questions in respect of your interest in studying art & design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design), via the University of Dundee Applicant Portal, thereafter, if required, we may contact you to arrange an interview in person or via Skype.

We have more information on your portfolio in our How to Apply section.

If you require further information on any aspect of the application consideration process or the undergraduate programme in general, please do not hesitate to contact us.



Unistats data set (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS) Unistats data set - formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)

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