Graphic Design 90 Credit Diploma/Extended Diploma Level 3





Awarding Body




About the course

The diploma gives you a solid understanding of Graphic Design & Communication practices, skills and techniques. The course is designed mainly for school leavers who have experience of Art & Design at GCSE level, as well as having a passion and desire to explore the diverse subject area that is covered by Graphic Design. The 90 Credit Diploma consists of 9 units equalling 90 Credits.

This course is part of a wider study programme, which includes a tutorial and personal development element, work experience opportunities through outside set projects and design challenges, development of English and Maths Skills through embedded activities.


  • Between the ages of 16-18 you do not need to pay tuition or exam fees for your course.
  • If you are between the ages of 19 and 23 and have not achieved a full Level 2 or Level 3 qualification before, you will not need to pay tuition, exam or material fees using the Level 2 or 3 Entitlement.
  • If you are aged 19 or over, studying a Level 3-6 and a Level 3 Entitlement does not apply, you will need to pay the full cost of the course. You may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the fees.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade C or above which must include English and/or Maths or equivalent (L2 Functional Skills) or NVQ 2 or Level 2 Diploma at Merit grade with ideally GCSE English and/or Maths at minimum Grade C or equivalent (L2 Functional Skills).

You will be enrolled on the 90 Credit Diploma, which is a one year course. Upon successful completion of year one, you can progress onto the Extended Diploma in year two.

What will I do on this course?

The 90 Credit Diploma consists of 9 units equalling 90 Credits. The units will focus on: Visual Recording Skills, Exploration of Materials, Techniques and Processes, Generating Ideas and Concepts within Art & Design, Exploring communication through Art & Design, Understanding contextual influences and referencing in Art & Design. Through a wide range of practical work-based projects, you will work on design briefs in the following disciplines

  • Packaging
  • Typography
  • Magazines
  • Cover Design
  • Branding / Corporate ID
  • Web Design
  • Advertising

Although the course does not include any formal English and Maths qualifications, you will work with vocationally relevant projects to help develop an understanding of the contextual language and numeracy involved within the subject at industry level. You will also develop your personal presentation, communication and organisational skills. Work experience opportunities are available. Units undertaken on this year are also counted towards the second year (Full Extended Diploma). The Units are:

  • Visual recording in Art & Design
  • Materials, techniques and Processes in Art & Design
  • Ideas & Concepts in Art & Design
  • Communication Through Art & Design
  • Contextual Referencing in Art & Design
  • Typefaces and Letterforms
  • Mixed Media Image Making
  • Computers in Art & Design
  • Graphic Image Making
  • Information Graphics

Extended Diploma

Specialist units will provide you with technical and creative skills. Through a wide range of practical work-based projects, you will work on design briefs in the following disciplines:

  • Packaging
  • Typography
  • Magazines
  • Cover Design
  • Branding / Corporate ID
  • Web Design
  • Advertising 

You will also write and design your own project within the subject and present your work through an end of year show.

Who is it for?

This is the perfect course for a student who is interested in getting into the Graphic Design and Communication industry, which can open up routes into print and digital based design, as well as moving image and animation. The course is designed for 16-18 and 19+ learners who wish to develop a career in the graphic arts. It is mainly for school leavers, but can accommodate students who have studied at level 3, including other BTEC diplomas and/or A Levels. 19+ students, returning to education are welcome to join, but individual circumstances will be reviewed to ascertain if you can claim funding. You will need to be creative and be willing to explore and experiment with different techniques within the subject specialism.

  • School Leavers who have studied a creative arts and media programme at GCSE level
  • 16-18 students who have studied on A-Level or other Level 3 qualifications
  • 19+ Returning to education looking top develop a career in Graphic Design.
How Is this course assessed?

Your work will be assessed through written and practical means. You will present the work in sketchbooks, digital blogs and in different practical formats. You will be assessed on your research, development and experimentation and final outcomes. You will have access to a full record of feedback and marks for you to monitor your progress, self assess and reflect on your own practice.

What could I do next?

Progression will be onto the Extended Diploma in Graphic Design second year. This is subject to the successful competition of the 90 Credit Diploma. You can also progress onto one of our other Extended Diplomas to transfer your skills. This includes

  • Extended Diploma in Interactive Design
  • Extended Diploma in Art & Design
  • Extended Diploma in Photography

Some students may choose to leave on completing the 90 Credit Diploma to go into Higher Education (depending on previous level 3 qualifications), find employment or an apprenticeship. The 90 Credit is a valid qualification to help with these progression routes.

As part of your tutorial aspect on the course, your tutors will work with you to help you in your desired progression route.

Additional cost

The course is free to anyone between the age of 16-18 at the start of the programme. If you are 19-23, there may be funding available if you have not completed a Level 3 qualification. Anyone who is not eligible for funding or is over 24, can apply for an Advanced Learning Loan, which will pay for tuition and will be wiped if you enter Higher Education the year after completing your course. More information can be found on our page

There is no formal kit list for consumables, but financial support is available through the learner support fund. Applications can be made through the college's Learner Services team.


The course will require an interview, which will aim to assess your abilities and judge if the level of learning is right for you. We aim to offer all applicants a place where applicable, and can look at enrolment onto a less demanding qualification for those learners who are between levels 2 & 3.

You will be invited to an interview where you will meet staff and see our facilities. If you have a examples of work, please bring it with you to showcase any creative work.

Please bring with you a report from your school if you have one available. At your interview, you will be given an opportunity to discuss your personal progression route and given impartial advice and guidance on how to achieve your goals.

If you cannot attend your interview, you can contact the college to re-arrange. If getting to the college for an interview is not possible, we can arrange a Skype interview. Call: 0117 312 5000 / Email:



How old will you be when the course starts?

16-18 19+
Start Date:



Course Code:



Hours in college / week:

Course Fee:


Related Courses

Find out more