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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.

Read the Worcester Illustration Course Blog.



Key features

  • 100% overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2020
  • 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

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Top 20 for student experience

We're in the top 20 for student experience in the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

100% satisfaction logo

This course received 100% overall student satisfaction (NSS 2020)

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

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

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.

If you are an international student who does not have the relevant entry requirements for direct entry onto this course, our pathway courses at University of Worcester International College could be the right option for you and enable you to still graduate with this degree. To find out more visit the Art and Design & Creative Media pathway page.

Some recent student work

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Course content

What will you study?

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


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

How will you be taught?

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 15-16 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.

Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • 4 hours of formal lectures
  • 2 hours of demonstrations
  • 10 hours of supervised studio practice
  • typical class sizes range between 15 - 22 students

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 each year of the course is:

Year 1

  • Portfolio of practical outcomes
  • Sketchbook submissions
  • Critical learning reports

Year 2

  • Portfolio of practical outcomes in response to set briefs
  • Sketchbook submissions
  • Critical learning reports
  • Individual or group presentations

Year 3

  • Major independent study project comprising of a portfolio submission containing practical outcomes, supported by a critical report
  • Portfolio of self-directed projects
  • Critical learning reports


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:

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

Where could it take you?

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

Holly graduated with a BA in Illustration and her work was picked from over 1,000 entries across the UK as the winner of a national BBC competition.

“My plans now are to try to get work as a freelance illustrator, and since finishing my university course, I have worked with the BBC as part of a competition to provide artwork for the national poster campaign promoting Peaky Blinders, season five” said Holly.

Holly was the recipient of the Otter-Barry Books Narrative Illustration prize at the Final Degree show and her work has been viewed by thousands of Peaky Blinders fans.

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 walkng 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.

How much will it cost?

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 2022/23 academic year is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

* subject to changes in the government regulated fee cap.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students enrolling on BA/BSc/LLB degrees and FdA/FdSc degrees in the 2022/23 academic year is £13,400 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

* subject to changes in the government regulated fee cap.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students registering on this course in the academic year 2022/23 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.

* subject to changes in the government regulated fee cap.

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 a 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 'Traditional Hall' at £108 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £184 per week (2021/22 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you 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