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About the course

On this innovative course you can turn your stories and creative concepts into narrative by exploring the art of illustration and visual communication in children’s and adult’s narrative, together with editorial and journalistic illustration.

In dedicated studio space at our Below Bar campus, you’ll have the room, equipment and academic support to reach your full potential. You’ll study a variety of modules such as Orientation, Concepts and Themes, Visual Language, Critical Discourse, Editorial, The Society of Superstition and Phobias and Research and Authorship; with options to specialise in your preferred area of creativity.

You’ll also propose, plan and produce a body of work that will draw together your technical and conceptual skills and demonstrate competence in studio protocols and proficiency in applying methods, materials and technologies. This innovative degree explores the art of illustration and visual communication in children’s and adult’s narrative, together with editorial and journalistic illustration which explores new approaches to contemporary illustration.

You will be encouraged to experiment and develop your own voice in an environment where you will feel free to take risks, and be ambitious in developing your personal approach to visual art as either a practitioner or critic and theorist. To underpin creativity and encourage understanding of transferable skills and management of learning, emphasis is placed on gaining hands-on practice, from working in the print room to drawing on the streets, and working on projects and case studies to gain experience of working on live briefs.

In previous years, students have been given the opportunity to exhibit, both in Southampton and London, and to have their work seen by a collection of art directors and agencies. Past students have also been encouraged to enter industry competitions to gain exposure for their creative work and have also been able to publish and print their work through our in-house printing organisation to sell at artists’ book fairs.

You have the opportunity to study abroad in one of our partner universities for a semester on this course.
Study abroad
If you're not quite ready for a full undergraduate degree, there's alternative entry through one of our foundation years.
Foundation year available
As part of your studies you will have the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement.
Built in work experience placement
This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies
If you have an appropriate Level 5 qualification, you can top it up to a degree in just a year.
Top-up option

The course places a strong emphasis on experimenting and developing a voice.

What does this course lead to?

Upon completion of this course, you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of roles such as freelancing, working as an art worker in a publisher or design house – or even working in the film industry producing concept art for animation projects.

Graduates will have developed a professional portfolio and will be well positioned to progress into further study at postgraduate level.

Who is this course for?

Solent’s BA (Hons) Illustration programme is perfect for students from a creative background, who are self-motivated and active in their desire to develop their visual language and understanding of the creative process in the field of illustration and beyond.

Facts and figures

Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2020/21 academic year are:
UK, EU and Channel Island full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £13,260 per year

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

While most course costs are covered by your tuition fees, some essential resources and optional extras may need to be paid for separately. These additional costs are listed below. For advice on budgeting and managing your money, please contact

The 2020/21 other costs are not yet available. For guidance, previous other costs have been:

Optional costs:

Optional trip to Amsterdam – cost is based on current air fares and accommodation prices.

General art materials may cost up-to £100 depending on individual needs.

Printing cost via studio laser print at 20p per copy.

Bursaries and scholarships

Solent University offers a range of bursaries and scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each bursary or scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our bursaries and scholarships pages to find out more.

Graduation costs

For graduates in 2020, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £45 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost. Extra guest tickets will go on sale after results publication and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis. The cost per ticket was £15 in 2019, but this fee is subject to change for future years. Please note, we do not guarantee there will be any extra tickets available to purchase.
Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

96 - 112 UCAS tariff points from A-levels or equivalent

  • A minimum of two completed A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma at MMM or BTEC Diploma at DM or equivalent qualification, or a combination of qualifications which comply with the minimum entry requirement of 96 UCAS points.
  • UK applicants will be asked to attend a portfolio viewing.
  • Applicants from outside the UK will be asked to send an electronic portfolio.
  • Direct entry into second or third year may be considered for this course
  • Applicants over the age of 21 will be considered based on relevant experience, without the tariff point requirements.
  • Alternative entry to this course is available through the Design Foundation Year.
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.
  • For further information about UK, EU and international qualifications, please refer to our course entry requirement statement.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each individual component
  • TOEFL IBT minimum 80 with a minimum of 19 in each individual component
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a pre-sessional English programme for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.

Study location

East Park Terrace

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Ask Solent team: 023 8201 5066

How to apply

Any student applying for the first year of a full-time/sandwich undergraduate course must apply through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service). This includes mature, overseas and EU students.

Nearly all schools and colleges offer their students the facility of applying electronically through the UCAS website using 'Apply'; it may also be used by those applying independently in the UK and overseas. This facility and all course information can be found on the UCAS website:

Your application should reach UCAS by 15 January if you hope to enter a course the following autumn. Early application is advised for the most popular subject areas. Late applications may be made until the end of June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Please click the links below to apply through UCAS:

Mode of study
Full-time 3 years Apply

Design Foundation Year route:

Mode of study
Full-time 4 years Apply
Top-up route:

We welcome applications from students currently studying a Foundation Degree, DipHE, HNC, HND or modules of an undergraduate degree course at another university, who wish to enter directly into Years 2 or 3 of one of our undergraduate degree courses. Please contact our admissions team for more information: contact us

How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core modules
  • Reading Visual Culture
  • Orientation
  • Stereotypes and Tribes
  • History and Critique
  • Progression
  • Visual Language

Year two

Core modules
  • Contemporary Art Critique
  • Editorial
  • The Society of Superstition and Phobia
  • Critical Discourse
  • Observed Community
  • Narrative Book Illustration

Year three

Core modules
  • Professional Context
  • Professional Practice
  • Research and Authorship
  • Negotiated Study
  • Final Major Project


Web-based learning

Solent's virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Key figures


Assessment by coursework

Meet the course team

Brian Reed academic profile Brian Reed Course Leader View profile
Jonny Hannah academic profile Jonny Hannah Senior Lecturer View profile
Paul Osborne academic profile Paul Osborne Associate Lecturer View profile
Jonathan Trayner academic profile Jonathan Trayner Associate Lecturer View profile
Benjamin Lower academic profile Benjamin Lower Technician Instructor View profile

The university cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.


You’ll make extensive use of our print room facilities, including screenprinting, letterpress and etching presses. You’ll also have access to our modern IT suites, featuring the latest industry-standard software, including the latest Adobe Creative suite.

Students have free access to dedicated studio space at our Below Bar campus where they are able to experiment with a wide variety of media including intaglio and silkscreen print making, photography, digital imaging, drawing and painting to discover their own style. The creative space also boasts an in-house publishing press, which brings together industry-standard digital with traditional printing resources for student publications. In addition, there are letterpress, print-making, drawing and bookbinding facilities, all of which are designed to aid students’ journeys from initial concepts through to producing a final product for their portfolio.

Illustration show 2017

The course team has strong industry links which have allowed past students the opportunity to work on live briefs from real clients.

Your future

Solent’s Illustration course will prepare you for employment in a variety of roles including:

  • Freelancer
  • Book illustration
  • Editorial illustration
  • Design-house Artworker
  • Junior Designer
  • Animation

Industry links

You’ll benefit from our programme of high-profile guest lecturers - previous speakers have included illustrator Holly Wales, Matt Curtis from the Sunday Times Magazine, and Hamish Muir, co-founder of MuirMcNeil. You’ll gain industry insight from links with the Association of Illustrators and advertising and design organisation D&AD. The course team will encourage you to enter industry competitions to gain exposure through your creative work.


We have strong links with a variety of clients, including local organisations such as Southampton City Council, and design bodies like D&AD and the Association of Illustrators. Every student will be given chances to exhibit, both in Southampton and London, and to have their work seen by a collection of art directors and agencies. You will also be able to publish and print your work through our in-house printing organisation, for sale at artist’s book fairs.

In addition to their studies at Solent, during their second year, past students have had the opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad at one of our EU partner universities in inspiring locations such as Valencia and Venice.

Graduate stories

Nate's story

Nate Kitch - Graduate

I really enjoyed my time studying illustration at Solent – it was a crucial three years in navigating and defining my style as a creative. One of the key factors in my progression was the lecturers on the course – with the majority of them working successfully in the field of illustration, it means they can give you a relative and justified opinion on the trends in illustration and can use this to engage with your work during crits, telling you where you are going right and wrong.

Personally I think this is an invaluable part of the course and really gives you confidence in what you are doing. The new studios are also a great environment to work in. With seminars held across the corridor, plenty of studio space with easy access to print and 3D rooms, you’re centred in a hub of creativity – not just with fellow illustration students, but graphic artists and fine artists too.

Exhibiting at D&AD was a huge opportunity, where I was able not only to liaise with fellow students from other top courses from all over the country but also with experts from within the industry. For me this was the most exciting thing that happened during my time at Solent. Having your works displayed whilst speaking to agents, editors and book publishers is almost surreal, and the contacts I built up from the industry would just not have been possible without having gone to the prestigious event. The fact that Solent pays for this to happen is such an important thing and you can’t help but feel that other universities who do not exhibit at D&AD are really selling their students short.

Another important fact I learnt at D&AD was the regard that Solent is held in for illustration. Many commented on the exciting depth and range of illustration we provided as a uni, but also how the course is beginning to fight its way up there with the likes of the London courses. After D&AD I was able to get in touch with my contacts and began setting up appointments and opportunities to let people know more about me and my work.

This led me to be where I am now, signed to an agent who then got me my first commission in a magazine. I don’t think where I am now would be possible without the tuition and guidance from Solent and the opportunities that they gave me afterwards. I feel very glad to have studied there and will always be willing to lend them a helping hand further down the line.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

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