BA (Honours) Illustration with Foundation Year

Year of Entry 2024/25
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BA (Honours)

Illustration with Foundation Year

Full-time Art and design

Become an illustrator, expanding your skills, portfolio and professional networks, through personal and professional real-world creative projects with an initial foundation year to prepare for the course.

Everything you need to know...

  • Pound sign

    What is the fee?

    Home: £9,250 per year (£1,200 for placement year)
    International/EU: £16,655 per year (£1,200 for placement year)

  • Time

    How long will I study?

    4/5 Years

  • Location

    Where will I study?

    City Campus

  • Bookmark

    What are the entry requirements?

    80 UCAS Points

  • Checkmark

    What is the UCAS code?


  • Date

    When do I start?

    September 2024

  • Avatar

    Placement year available?


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Course summary

  • Develop the knowledge, skills, and attributes you need to become a professional illustrator
  • Experiment with the latest digital tools and technologies in our purpose-designed workshops and illustration studios
  • Transform your illustrative practice through live, client-led creative projects for diverse audiences
  • Build a unique portfolio and showreel to prepare for a career in the wider creative industries and further study

The BA (Hons) Illustration course is a progressive, innovative, technologically enhanced course that prepares students for professional practice. Employability is integrated into the curriculum through applied creative projects. These real-world challenges and work experiences are designed to build confidence, creativity and resilience.

This foundation year course is for those who don't meet the entry requirements for our BA Illustration course, or would like extra preparation before starting degree-level study.

Creative UK membership

We are members of Creative UK, which means our art and design students are also members until they graduate. With 10,000 members in its network, Creative UK represents, champions and supports the UK’s creative industries, advocating on the issues that matter the most to creative communities.


View our students' work

View our gallery of student work and learn more about the exciting projects they've been working on this year.

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Graduate View

BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Will Rea talks about why he chose to study the course at Sheffield Hallam and how it helped him establish himself as a freelance illustrator and muralist with his recognisable artwork bringing popular venues to life across Sheffield.

How you learn

All our courses are designed around a set of key principles based on engaging you with the world, collaborating with others, challenging you to think in new ways, and providing you with a supportive environment in which you can thrive.

This foundation course brings together students across all our art and design courses as one creative community. You’ll work and learn together in a dedicated studio space and have access to our top-class facilities. 

Based in our bespoke studios, workshops, and digital spaces, you’ll become part of a dynamic and collaborative learning community. Together, you’ll undertake creative adventures, explore possibilities, and challenge conventions.   

Through our teaching, we help you unlock your potential to contribute as a creative thinker and doer – applying your knowledge to art practice, culture, society, and life systems.     

You learn through:

  • Studio practice  
  • Workshops  
  • Technical demonstrations  
  • Group work and collaboration
  • Crit activities  
  • Lectures  
  • Guest talks
  • External visits and field trips  
  • Live projects

We take a holistic and person-centred approach to assessment to support your creative growth while respecting the diverse ways people learn.    

Key themes

Year one lays the foundational principles of illustration practice. Drawing is at the heart of developing your conceptual, theoretical, and practical skills. You’ll learn the core methods used in illustration practice – research, process, and presentation. 

As the course progresses, we’ll also explore the future role of illustrators and learn what it will mean to thrive as an illustrator of the future.

You’ll gain confidence with both analogue and digital tools, learning how to adopt new and emerging technologies as you define your own, unique visual language. You’ll also get to test your concepts on live industry projects with commissioners, agents, and future employers – not only developing professional skills, but also helping you build your profile and network.

In your final year, you’ll curate a portfolio of work that articulates your practice and moves you further towards your creative path. 

Course support

We’re a dedicated, qualified, and highly experienced teaching team, with world-leading research and recognised professional creative reputations, who take the time to get to know you.  

  • Access to our Skills Centre with one-to-ones and online resources to help with planning and structuring your assignments
  • Access to office and studio space, expert workshops, freelancing opportunities and a vast business network to tap into
  • Industry-specific employability activities and careers support for up to five years after you graduate

The course develops strategies of attention, empathy, imagination, courage and resilience in the face of an uncertain future. Our course prioritises care as a critical activity – care for global human contexts and for the more-than-human world.

Course leaders and tutors

Jeremy Lee
Jeremy Lee
Principal Lecturer in Creative Media

Principal Lecturer and Portfolio Lead for the Media Arts Department and Course Leader in Animation and visual effects at Sheffield Hallam

Applied learning

Your course has been designed to embrace real-world challenges and provide you with the practical skills and knowledge to be successful. 

We do this by developing your expertise in collaboration with the professional creative and cultural sectors – with commercial and creative practitioners, commissioners, clients and arts organisations. 

Work placements

You’ll have the opportunity to undertake a year-long work placement (25 weeks minimum) or multiple placements before your final year. This gives you valuable work experience to prepare you for your future career and allows you to graduate with an Applied Professional Diploma to add to your CV. 

Live projects

You’ll have the opportunity to work on live projects, giving you the chance to apply your skills in a professional setting and gain valuable feedback, exposure and networking opportunities. 

Recently, our students have created illustrations on beer can labels for Triple Point Brewing, produced posters for Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, and designed activist billboards with FlyingLeaps.

Field trips

In each year of your course you’ll have the opportunity to go on study trips in the UK and abroad. In recent years these have included trips to London to visit illustration agencies, working professionals and exhibitions. 

There’s also the option to enhance your studies further with our optional field trips. Previous international trips have included Tokyo, New York and Reykjavik.

Students can also apply for funding through the Turing Scheme to support a study exchange or placement outside of the UK. 

Networking opportunities

You’ll be able to work alongside practising illustrators who bring their expertise and network connections to the course. Throughout the course, you’ll learn valuable business and enterprise skills through our partnership and participation in the Sheffield Print Fair.

You’ll be part of a thriving community of creative practitioners through our membership with the AOI, BIMA, and our visiting lecture programme.

Competitions and exhibitions

We’ll encourage you to enter national and international design competitions. These include Penguin Cover Design Awards, D&AD New Blood, RSA Student Awards, Creative Conscience Awards and more.

At the end of your final year, you’ll have the opportunity to exhibit your work in our annual Future Now Festival of Creativity – to which we invite VIP guests, employers, businesses, influencers, friends and family, and the general public. The festival is widely attended and is hosted in the city centre. You’ll also be able to curate and exhibit your work on our online Gallery.

Future careers

This course prepares you for careers and future study in: 

  • Illustration (agency and freelance) 
  • Animation 
  • Motion, interactive and games
  • Children’s books 
  • Surface pattern design 
  • Publishing 
  • Art direction 
  • Digital publishing 
  • Printmaking 

Many of our graduates launch their own businesses. Previous graduates of this course have gone on to work for: 

  • BBC 
  • Empire Magazine 
  • Everton FC 
  • Harper Collins 
  • Hodder Children’s Publishing 
  • Lush 
  • New Balance 
  • NHS 
  • Sheffield Council 
  • Templar Children’s Publishing 
  • The Big Issue 
  • The Economist 
  • The Leadmill  
  • The Sunday Times 
  • True North Brewery 
  • Twinkl Educational Publishing 
  • Vodafone 
  • Wessex Archaeology 
  • Which Magazine 

Where will I study?

You study at City Campus through a structured mix of lectures, seminars and practical sessions as well as access to digital and online resources to support your learning.

City Campus

City Campus is located in the heart of Sheffield, within minutes of the train and bus stations.

City Campus map | City Campus tour 

City Campus map

Howard Street
S1 1WB

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Learn more about your department

Art and Design facilities tour - shared workshops

Take a look around the shared workshops in the Department of Art & Design at Sheffield Hallam University.

Equipment and facilities

You'll have access to a wide variety of facilities across the university campuses – including a 24-hour learning centre, Students’ Union, cafes and eateries, lecture theatres, exhibition spaces and more. 

You'll be based in a fully equipped and purpose-designed studio, with state-of-the-art facilities including: 

  • Industry-standard computer software and equipment 
  • Adobe Creative Cloud 
  • Digital and analogue print facilities including screen-printing, etching, and risograph 
  • Life drawing 
  • A photographic studio and creative media centre  
  • Digital fabrication and rapid prototyping 
  • Stop-motion rostrum facilities 
  • Virtual reality equipment and software for coding 
  • Textile printers 
  • Ceramics

Entry requirements

All students

UCAS points

  • 80

This must include at least 32 points from at least one A level or equivalent BTEC National qualifications (to include a relevant subject, such as Art, Design and Technology, Textiles or Graphics). For example:

  • CDD at A Level with a grade C in a relevant subject.
  • MMP in BTEC Extended Diploma in a relevant subject.
  • Pass overall from a T level qualification with C from core
  • A combination of qualifications which must include an A level grade C or BTEC grade M in a relevant subject and may include AS levels, EPQ and general studies
  • Access to HE Diploma from a QAA recognised Access to HE course. Normally we require 15 credits at level 2 and 45 at level 3. At least 15 level 3 credits must be at merit grade or above from a QAA-recognised Access to HE course, or an equivalent Access to HE certificate.

You can find information on making sense of UCAS tariff points here and use the UCAS tariff calculator to work out your points.


  • English Language or Literature at grade C or 4

We may also accept you, if you have limited qualifications but can show evidence of ability and a genuine commitment to studying Art and Design.

We treat the foundation year as part of the Art and Design degree programme. Offers made to students will be for four years of study (or five years of study including a placement). This is made up of the foundation year plus one of our Art and Design degrees.

If English is not your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills or equivalent. If your English language skill is currently below IELTS 6.0 we recommend you consider either the International Foundation Programme: Art, Design and Media or Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve an equivalent English score.

Portfolio review

If your application is successful you will receive an email inviting you to submit your portfolio by email and submission details by an online google form.

The portfolio helps us understand whether we are able to offer you a place on the course you’ve applied for. Your UCAS statement and portfolio provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your creative experience, potential ability and enthusiasm for the course you’ve applied for. Visit our portfolio review guidance

Additional information for EU/International students

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

For details of English language entry requirements (IELTS), please see the information for 'All students'.


Module and assessment information for future years is displayed as currently validated and may be liable to change. When selecting electives, your choices will be subject to the core requirements of the course. As a result, selections may be limited to a choice between one of two or more specified electives in some instances.

You will be able to complete a placement year as part of this course. See the modules table below for further information.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Foundation Projects — Developing Creative Practice
Credits 60
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Foundation Skills & Methods
Credits 60
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Year 2

Compulsory modules

New Adventures In Illustration: Methods, Tools, Technologies
Credits 60
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Pencils & Pixels: Drawing Foundations For Illustration
Credits 60
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Year 3

Compulsory modules

Future Now: Collaboration In Action
Credits 20
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Illustration In Action: Character, Narrative & Sequence
Credits 60
Assessment Coursework(100%)
In Here, Out There: Illustration Agency
Credits 40
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Year 4

Optional modules

Placement Year
Credits -
Final year

Compulsory modules

Future Paths: Illustration Portfolio
Credits 60
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Future Proof: Illustration Practice
Credits 60
Assessment Coursework(100%)

Fees and funding

Home students

Our tuition fee for UK students starting full-time undergraduate study in 2024/25 is £9,250 per year. These fees are regulated by the UK government and are therefore subject to changes in government policy. During your placement year you will pay a reduced fee of £1,200.

If you are studying an undergraduate course, postgraduate pre-registration course or postgraduate research course over more than one academic year then your tuition fees may increase in subsequent years in line with Government regulations or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) published fees. More information can be found in our terms and conditions under student fees regulations.

International students

Our tuition fee for International/EU students starting full-time study in 2024/25 is £16,655 per year. During your placement year you will pay a reduced fee of £1,200.

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Financial support for home/EU students

How tuition fees work, student loans and other financial support available.

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Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs for Art and design courses (PDF, 290.8KB)

Legal information

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and Student Regulations.


How do I apply?

Apply now via UCAS

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Why choose us?

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We are Gold rated in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) for the outstanding quality of our teaching and student outcomes

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We guarantee to find you an affordable place to live that’s close to campus and comes with all bills included

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95% of our UK graduates are in work or further study 15 months after graduating (2020/21 Graduate Outcomes Survey)

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