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Universities suggestions


Junior Member
Hi everyone!

To introduce myself a little, my name is Ivaylo Klissarov I'm 20 years old and I live in Montreal, Canada. I've been learning graphic design & photography on my own since a few years.

I'd like to know if any of y'all know any good universities for graphic design programs in London(or it could be anywhere else in Western Europe)? I wanna come back live in Europe, through studies, and since I don't know anyone out there- I'm trying to get informations from where I can.

Since I started researches(around a month now), in the UK, I found these 3 places.

Central Saint-Martins

I've heard really good reviews about CSM, but not much about the two others. Any of y'all heard about them or know any other places?



Staff member
Not sure about the quality of the courses in Graphic Design but I went to Huddersfield University for my degree, lovely peaceful place with plenty of different pubs for those who like that sort of thing :)

CSM seems very good, but the class/studio/group sizes are apparently very big, so you get less time with your tutors. As a foreign student you'll be paying a fortune for your fees, so you'll want to get as much for your money as possible. Great location(s) though, right in the middle of London. Can't speak for Falmouth, but Ravensbourne is very good — or it certainly was when I was there. It's much smaller than any other similar college, we shared 3 full time and numerous part time staff between 22 students when I was there!

You should also look at London College of Communication which is great (mainly because I teach there sometimes). They have excellent facilities including an awesome letterpress studio in the basement. The one downside to Ravensbourne is that they're far too concerned with super-new digital design — they got rid of their print making and letterpress facilities a couple of years before I started. Luckily my tutors didn't allow us anywhere near a computer for the first year, they were incredibly concept and substance driven. If you want to learn the latest photoshop effects then don't go to Ravensbourne.

If you're especially interested in typography however, then Reading is for you, without a doubt. I know nothing about it other than it's very famous for the quality of its type design courses.

Check University of the Arts London - The UK's leading arts university for a few of the other arts colleges in London.
go to bournemouth for the proper student life... it's a great place, bars/strip clubs etc etc... plus a nice beach too...

i went to Middlesex University to study graphic design, although it was pretty good... social life wasn't amazing as everyone already had their cliques... and londoners don't like talking to people they don't know for fear of being mugged/stabbed/shot.

look outside london for a good experience iiwy


Junior Member
First, I'd like to thank everyone for all these replies... Really helpful and appreciated.

Second, after some researches- I'm still confused on a particular point. What's the difference between a BA and MA? Am I right by understanding that you must complete a BA in order to start a MA(where you can specialize yourself into something)?

I am also wondering if there's a limit of applications that I can send to all universities in the UK, or do they all work independently?

Have any of you heard about these universities?

Greenwich University
London Metropolitan University
Kingston University

Thanks a lot Matt, your post was really great. I'm looking out on your link.

Thanks again to y'all.

PS: Is UK the "best" place to learn graphic design? I mean, by the environment which you're placed, the multiples inspirations you come across, the culture where you learn, etc... What about France or Belgium for example? If language is not a barrier, what y'all think of these places compared to UK?
A Bachelor of Arts is an undergraduate degree. Yep, you need to have one of these (or an equivalent from abroad) before you can do a Masters or post graduate course.

Not sure about a limit of places you can apply to, I seem to remember something about prioritising three choices. But I'm a UK resident and that was ten years ago. Get in touch with a couple of your preferred universities, I'm sure they can advise you more accurately on this.

I've heard of all three. I think I've heard good things about Kingston's motion/animation course(s). I'm sure all of them offer perfectly good graphic/communication design courses, but my advice would be to look at universities who specialise in art and or design:

Central St. Martins School of Art
Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication
London College of Communication

These places only offer studies in various sub-divisions of art/communications/design/image making etc. which means all of their facilities, staff and budgets are devoted to said studies. That's not to say other bigger universities don't offer very good courses in communications and arts, you'll have to carefully read the course descriptions and structures to choose which is best for you. And if you're serious about this, come over and visit a few — a lot of them will be having open days around this time of year.

The UK, and specifically London, is a great place to start, given the rich heritage and mix of cultures. London is also crammed full of world class museums, exhibitions, galleries and libraries. Also look at Germany, Denmark and Switzerland (in no particular order) for great design heritage and history. I couldn't personally speak for the education there, but the Basel School of Design is world renowned. Have you thought about something closer to home? California Institute of The Arts and Yale School of Art are both supposed to be excellent.


Junior Member
Ralph, thanks for the information!
Thanks for the suggestion, Glen- I'll look out for it.

Matt, now I understand why you've been suggesting me these particular universities- and I guess that's exactly what I was looking for(an environment completely dedicated to Arts). I definitely am planning to come visit the universities, I just need to finalize my researches and select the ones I wanna apply to(long process! hehe). Cause there are a few I'm interested into in Paris also, so I'd like to come for the two places at the same time, otherwise it would be a waste a money.

Anyways, I'd like to ask you something- since you teach there. It seems like most BA's at LCC are focused on specific subjects instead of having a general BA in Graphic design(which covers it all; Corporate identity, Typography, Moving image, Illustration, Packaging, etc..). Does LCC offer such a course? Because for a situation like mine(never learned Graphic design at school)- I must experience all of them in order to see which ones I prefer.

Yeah I've heard and looked a little bit about these two universities in the USA. But to be honest, there's something I don't like about the culture/lifestyle in America. That's mainly why I wanna come back in Europe.
Right, if you've never studied design you may have trouble getting a place at the more respected universities. I'm sure others will correct or disagree, but you may find you'll need to do a BTEC Foundation diploma or some kind of equivalent before you start a degree. For all I know you may have already done an equivalent abroad, so check the individual entrance requirements. If in doubt, phone up and ask.

LCC offer pathways of any given specialities in the first year. So I think you do a bit of everything in the first term, then you choose two preferred pathways for the following two terms, before deciding which you'd like to specialise in for your degree. The idea is that you try out some of the varying elements of graphic design before choosing which you want to study full-time (which is pretty much what a BTEC Foundation degree is, so I'm not sure why they do it).

I think their thinking is that they would rather teach you typography or information design, or whatever, properly instead of brushing over every aspect of graphic design on a non-stop-three-year-tour of such a rich and multi-faceted subject. Of course you're encouraged and expected to do personal studies into other disciplines — type, print-making, motion design etc. as any good student will. Some pathways offer more opportunities for multi-disciplinary work like their design for advertising pathway (the one I help out on); the core teaching is the concept and the distilling of message, but the output can vary from print to motion to web to audio, whatever.

As before though, check each course for their description and structure to find the best one for you. If you're unsure you should be able to phone or email to ask specific questions. And open days are for exactly that — turn up and ask any questions about the course, the teaching, the facilities, student life etc. etc. Remember, students mean business, they want you there so they should be very happy to answer any questions you have.
Right, if you've never studied design you may have trouble getting a place at the more respected universities. I'm sure others will correct or disagree, but you may find you'll need to do a BTEC Foundation diploma or some kind of equivalent before you start a degree
If this is the case and you don't have anything to get you onto the degree course, look into the Access courses available. I know TVU offer one (I'm on it now) but I think they're keeping that at the Reading campus when they split this September.

It's a really good course though - will help you get a feel and prepare for being on a graphics course, plus you'll have the portfolio work at the end of it plus your pass will get you into university.

I've applied to TVU and UAL (CSM), I was going to apply to London Met but was put off by the amount of redundancies of tutoring staff, so I just stuck with the two above.

I've also heard Bucks New University offer good design courses.


Junior Member
Basically, all I have is a High School Diploma- which is the equivalent to a GCSE(not quite sure though). I'm trying to figure out the difference between GCSE & GCE(if anyone can help).

Now, when I take a look at BTEC Foundation diploma, this pretty much looks to me like a "College" diploma here in Quebec. It does not exist in other provinces in Canada, nor anywhere else in the world I think. Here this College diploma is presented by a choice of a 2 years or 3 years(you can go work after) program in order to enter University. The thing is that, you can still enroll into University(depending on your program) if you don't have a College diploma. You must be 21 years old and present personal works and motivation.

Do such a thing exist in the UK?
Let's say for a person like me, who do not have a BTEC diploma or equivalant, is it still possible to get into a Undergraduate degree if I present a neat & professional portfolio and I am motivated to learn. Or there's not point of applying(in a Undergraduate) if they'll refuse me because of my academical background?

But otherwise, it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to go throught the BTEC. I'm just trying to see if I can save some time & money.

Thanks for clarifying all this up with me. I'll also have my talk with the Universities.

Matt, I've looked up but it seems like all three places already had their open days.


Junior Member
I came across a College advertising in a UK graphic design magazine, and I was wondering if any of y'all ever heard about Shillington College?

Went on their site, and the way they present it seems pretty interesting.. but one thing kept coming across my mind... 3 months? Is it worth, or I won't learn all that much?
IMO 3 months isn't a lot of time to mature as a designer. I feel that being a designer isn't just about knowing software and knowing about design theory... its about ideas and that isn't something that happens straight away when you're on a course, well at least in my experience anyway.