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What makes Illustration at Worcester special?

Illustration is a visual language, and has a relationship with the text that it addresses. Each half of the partnership has different moves, but they have to work together.

At Worcester, you can be part of the global picture. With our emphasis on international collaboration and real-world experience, you will have the opportunity to develop your ideas and your portfolio, and will also have every chance to show them off in public exhibitions. Industry links with major illustrators and publishers from around the world, such as Axel Scheffler, means you can be a part of the international illustration community from day one.

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Key features

  • Work to real-world briefs provided by professional publishers
  • Home of the International Centre for the Picture Book in Society
  • Award-winning lecture staff have extensive experience as professional illustrators
  • Opportunities to exhibit your work nationally and internationally. Field trips within the UK and overseas
  • Celebrate your achievements and showcase your talent with our final year Degree Show, housed within the state-of-the-art facilities in The Art House and share your work with top industry professionals

Register your interest

Enter your details below and we will keep you up to date with useful information about studying at the University of Worcester.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

104 UCAS tariff points (for example, BCC at A Level)

Shortlisted applicants may be invited to attend an interview and to provide a portfolio for consideration

T Levels may be used to meet the entry tariff requirements for this course. Find out more about T levels as UCAS tariff points here.

Other information

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the Admissions Office on 01905 855111 or email for advice.

Further information about the UCAS Tariff can be obtained from the UCAS website.

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Illustration at the Art Degree Show

Illustration student, Luke, talks through his final project
Course content

Course content

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 

Year 1


  • Drawing for Illustrators
  • Image and text
  • Illustration: Digital Processes
  • Illustration: Origins and Function 1


Year 2


  • Visual Statement
  • Illustration Forms and Genres
  • Book Arts and Creative Publishing
  • Location Drawing and Reportage


Year 3


  • Final Research Project
  • Professional Practice
  • Contemporary Practice
  • Authorial Practice
  • Negotiated Project
International Centre for the Picture Book in Society logo

The International Centre for the Picture Book in Society

The International Centre for the Picture Book in Society is a new centre being developed by the University of Worcester. Its aims are:

  • To provide an international focus in the UK for the making and study of the picture book, defined in their broadest sense (children's books, comics, hand-made books, 'zines, educational books, e-books and graphic novels)
  • To promote a multi-cultural approach to engaging 'society' in its broadest terms with picture books, embracing minorities and socially disenfranchised people

To nurture new UK awareness of non-Anglophone picture book making, establishing a platform for showcasing picture books published across the globe.

Visit the Centre's website to find out more.

Student view

2 female students and 1 male student working at table

Study Illustration as part of a joint honours degree

As well as a single honours degree, Illustration is also available as part of a number of joint honours combinations, allowing you to combine it with another subject to match your interests and career aspirations:

Animation and Illustration BA (Hons)

Creative Writing and Illustration BA (Hons)

Fine Art and Illustration BA (Hons)

Graphic Design and Illustration BA (Hons)

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.


You are taught through a combination of practical workshops, lectures, seminars and tutorials. Theory and context is embedded within practical sessions supporting students practice led research. A strong emphasis is placed upon students developing their own unique visual language - learning programs designed to support communication, technical and research skills provide the basis for this.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 4 occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course.

You have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in the second year of the course. Further to developing your professional practice, many opportunities to work on live briefs and national/international competitions are provided. This is also supported by our outstanding visiting speaker program which takes the form of lectures, seminars and portfolio reviews.

You use industry-standard design software and have access to printmaking, 3d model making and lasercut facilities throughout the course.

Contact time

In a typical week you will have around 12-16 contact hours of teaching. The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the final year you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study.

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 12 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve accessing reading lists and online resources, researching in the library and online, group task work, preparing presentations and developing personal sketchbook practice.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Teaching staff

You are taught by lecturers who, themselves, are also professional, published illustrators working across editorial, publishing, advertising and authorial practices. Your learning is also supported by our technical team who provide demonstrations, tutorials and workshops.

Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy, and 60 per cent of course lecturers have a higher education teaching qualification or are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include a range of coursework assessments such as learning reports, portfolio submissions, interviews, presentations and a final year independent studies project.

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern for the course is:

  • Preparatory work (Levels 4, 5, 6)
  • Learning journal (Levels 4, 5, 6)
  • Finished artwork or production (Levels 4, 5, 6)
  • Presentation (Levels 4, 5, 6)
  • Critical report (Levels 5 and 6)
  • Essay, critical review (Level 5 and 6)
  • Contextual statements for competitions and pitches (Level 6)
  • Observational reports and portfolio statements (Levels 4 and 5)
  • Aural reports and presentation (Levels 4, 5, 6)
  • Visual and written research (Levels 4, 5, 6) 


You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate. We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

Arts facilities

Meet the team

Here are a few of the current members of the department who you may meet when you study this course. Visit the Humanities & Creative Arts 'Meet our Experts' page for the full list of department staff. 


Tobias Hickey

Tobias Hickey lectures in illustration, drawing and printmaking. Graduating with a degree in Graphic Design from Liverpool Polytechnic in 1992 and subsequently gaining his MA Illustration from Central St Martin's College of Arts and Design in 1995.

Tobias initially took on commissions to illustrate children's books. His freelance practice then broadened into design and advertising and he became an established editorial illustrator, with regular commissions for The Guardian, The Times The Observer and The Independent newspapers. His illustrations have been published throughout Europe and in Australia.

Andy Davies

Andy Davies

Andy has worked as a professional freelance illustrator and educator since 2004 and joined the University of Worcester in 2011. He uses his professional practice experience and research interests within his teaching, helping students to develop their understanding of visual communication. His artwork has been used in an editorial context by magazines and newspapers, in marketing campaigns, and for several children's books. To date, his work has been shown in exhibitions in the UK, USA, South Korea, Slovakia and Italy and publications including: 'AOI Images 29, 31 and 35', 'Creative Quarterly Journal', 'Mail me Art: Going Postal with the World's Best Illustrators', 'How to create a Portfolio' and 'Icon'. His work can be viewed on his website:

Desdemona McCannon

Desdemona McCannon

Desdemona writes about illustration, teaches illustration, organises conferences and exhibitions about illustration, and is a practising illustrator.


Stephen Fowler

Stephen Fowler was born in Bristol, grew up in Cornwall, before leaving to study Illustration at Harrow School of Art, and Central Saint Martins in London. After graduating he worked as a freelance editorial Illustrator for newspapers and magazines such as Design Week, Creative Review, Conde Nast, Redwood Publishing, Men's Health, Independent, New Law Journal, Haymarket Publishing, Illustrated Ape, BBC Worldwide Publications, Big Issue, Computer Active, Diesel Style Lab, Dennis Publishing, Time Out and Times Educational Supplement.

For the past 15 years, alternative printmaking, rubber stamping and small press publications, became the focus of Fowler's Authorial Illustration practice. His prints, zines and artist books have been exhibited and held in international collections such as the Tate Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum, West Yorkshire Print Workshop, Northern Print Newcastle, Arnolfini Bristol, Minnesota Centre for Book Arts, Malmö Artists Book Biennial and White Columns New York.

Final Year Art Shows

The Worcester Degree Shows are the culmination of work from students on the University of Worcester's arts courses.

Visit the website


Illustrators are in increasing demand as the media industries expand. Options for the professional illustrator include newspapers and magazines, books, advertising, exhibiting independent work, television and the internet. All these fields are potential showcases for graduates' work.

Our interdisciplinary approach gives flexibility and a wider view of the world that is attractive to employers. Graduates will find career opportunities not only in illustration but also graphic design, teaching, story writing, studio management, concept illustration for animation and games and advertising.

The course also provides an ideal basis for postgraduate study. 

Holly Reynolds

Holly Reynolds

Since finishing her Illustration degree at the University of Worcester, Holly Reynolds has seen her work used across the country and is currently bringing to life a classic novel.

Holly was one of the winners of a BBC contest to promote season 5 of popular drama Peaky Blinders. This saw her portrait of the character Tommy Shelby appear on billboards across the UK, as well as on social media platforms, and printed onto official Peaky Blinders merchandise.

She has also developed her own short book called Canine Tales of Britain, which is a collection of illustrated myths and folktales, and which she self-published in April 2022. Holly is now working on her first publishing contract, which is to provide the inside illustrations for Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty for an international publisher.

Full story here.

Cheryl Howard

Cheryl Howard is the 2013/14 winner of the Worcestershire County Council Illustration scholarship. Her work was exhibited in the New Art West Midlands exhibitions (Birmingham Art Museum and the Barber Art Institute) as well as in the Creative Quarterly in New York. Cheryl says of her experience on the course:

“The support and advice on the Illustration course at Worcester have enabled me to discover strengths in my own visual language. Through embracing the modules to try different media, including print making and collage, it challenged me to understand different briefs and what would enable a strong visual concept.”

Kathryn Martin

Since graduating from the University of Worcester, Kathryn Martin has been studying for an MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art in London. During her first year at RCA, she has participated in two pop up exhibitions at the university, and will have work published in the first issue of a new graphic newspaper, Modern Times. Kathryn says about her years in Worcester:

"Without Worcester Illustration, I would not be at the Royal College of Art. During the three years of my BA, I was introduced to many different ways of thinking and working by excellent tutors who not only supported me, but gave me the freedom to play with my own ideas and research to reach something new. This level of freedom, especially during my third year, not only helped me get the most out of the direction I wished my work to go in, but prepared me for the self-directed nature of the MA course I am on now."

Two students are walking next to each other and smiling

Careers and Employability

Our Graduates pursue exciting and diverse careers in a wide variety of employment sectors.

Find out how we can support you to achieve your potential

Fees and funding

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard fee for full-time home and EU undergraduate students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2024/25 academic year is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2024/25 academic year is £16,200 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the academic year 2024/25 are £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20-credit module, £2,312 per 30-credit module, £3,083 per 40-credit module, £3,469 per 45-credit module and £4,625 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

You may also need to pay for relevant art equipment and materials.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Chestnut Halls' at £131 per week to 'Oak Halls' at £221 per week (2024/25 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How to apply

Applying through UCAS

Single Honours:
Illustration BA - W220

Joint Honours:
Please visit the individual joint honours course pages for UCAS links:

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.



Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.

Tobias Hickey

Course leader