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We look at all applicants holistically – reviewing your portfolio, personal statement, academic record, and a sample of your writing. We welcome applications from across the UK and internationally.

Example of undergraduate applicant Philippa Lane's design portfolio

Our unique course means we’re looking for uniquely talented applicants – people who want to continue to develop their academic skills from school or college whilst also building their ability in professional design practice. We accept applicants with any combination of A levels or equivalent qualifications – as long as you can demonstrate a commitment to your current studies, and a passion for graphic design and visual culture.

You can apply to our course directly through the UCAS website

This page will help guide you through our application process.

The application process

1. Discover our course

There are several sources of information about the course. Each will give you a different perspective on what makes BA Graphic Communication at Reading so special.

We run open days in June and October if you want to come and visit before applying. We also advertise taster sessions and other activities on our Instagram.

2. Make an application

You can apply to our course directly through the UCAS website.

3. You’ll hear back from us promptly

We aim to process applications within 10 days.

  • Applicants who meet all our entry requirements will be made immediate offers via email.
    • You can accept the offer right away via UCAS, or wait to attend a visit day later on.
  • Applicants who are slightly below our requirements will be invited to submit a portfolio and a sample of written work to help enhance their applications
  • Applicants who are substantially short of our requirements are rejected. However, if you think we might have missed something important, by al means get in touch with the Admission Tutor (James Lloyd, for a conversation about it.

4. Showing us your portfolio and a sample of written work

You don’t have to show us these things at all! We value applications from a diverse range of candidates. We can see a lot from your academic record and your personal statement, and our course supports students who have only limited experience of graphic design through prior study. We want you to show us your best attributes in a way that makes you feel comfortable. If you feel that your application could be enhanced by showing us examples of written or practical work, we’d love to see it! But it’s not essential in order for us to consider your application. After you apply, we’ll give you the option to show use some additional work. It’s up to you.

5. Come to a visit day

The single most useful thing in helping you decide on the right course for you is to come and visit. We run visit days online and in person in the Spring. If we make you an offer, we’ll invite you to attend one. It’s a chance to meet staff and current students, see our facilities and get a sense of how we teach (which is in very small groups, in a supportive and intensive fashion). These days are a real pleasure for us!

6. Accept our offer

You can do this via the UCAS website. If you have any questions before making your decision, contact our Admission Tutor (James Lloyd,

Your portfolio

Early design sketches as part of applicant portfolio

You don’t need to submit a portfolio, but we would expect an applicant to do so if they felt that it would enhance their chances. This may be because:

  • Their grades from school or college are below our standard offer (BBB).
  • They don’t have a lot of design experience in their current studies, but have done creative work in their own time.
  • They just want to ensure they show their full range of skills

Submission format

If you are submitting your digital portfolio, please note the following:

  • All portfolios must be digital, not physical, and can be either:
    • a PDF attachment in your email
    • a file hosted in a cloud storage location (e.g. google drive, onedrive, dropbox, wetransfer). Just include the link in your email and make sure that anyone with the link has permission to view it
    • An actual website, in which case just include the link in your email

What is a portfolio?

If you choose to show us your practical work, we have some guidance to help you make a good impression.

A portfolio is a collection of your design work that showcases how your skills and ideas have developed over a period of time. It should demonstrate your creativity, personality, abilities, and commitment, and helps us to evaluate your potential.

When we assess portfolios, we believe that being able to demonstrate your research and development processes are as important as the final work itself. We are particularly interested in your most recent work and pieces you have produced independently in your own time, even if they are unfinished.

Example of typeface design in undergraduate applicant's design portfolio

What kind of work should your portfolio contain?

We have no expectation of the kind of work you’ll show us in your portfolio. It could be:

  • sculpture
  • websites
  • photography
  • architectural work
  • animation
  • product design
  • handmade books
  • painting
  • printing
  • graphics
  • apps
  • branding
  • posters... or anything else that shows how you can shape things into a graphic form.

Ideally, we would like to see projects that translate easily to graphic design, such as an interest in lettering or typography. This is not essential, however, and we are happy to consider students without specific art or design qualifications.

Presenting your portfolio work

Graphic design is presentation-focused, and so from your portfolio we're hoping to see you embrace the challenge of presenting your own work in a clear and compelling way.

  • Show us between three and six projects. These can be from school or college or be more personally-directed.
  • Demonstrate the progression within each project, from initial sketches to finished items.
  • Show us your interests and the knowledge you've gained so far.
  • Bear in mind that you won't be there when we look at your work. This means that your portfolio needs to be self-explanatory.
  • Include graphic design techniques such as annotations, footnotes, diagrams, and any other methods that interact with your content.
  • Your portfolio can include work of any size and any medium. If your work is more physical than digital in nature, photographs are welcome.


Your written work

Our course is academically focused, so we offer you the chance to provide a single piece of written work so that we can assess your skills in this area.

This could be an essay or report from school or college (from any subject), or a piece of personal writing.

If you don't have an academic essay, you are welcome to show us a piece of written work that demonstrates your commitment to principles that you think we might value: work ethic, creativity, typography, research, or professional design skills.

We value argument and discussion over a more "narrative" approach. We like to see footnotes, citations, or a bibliography, demonstrating an academic approach.

As with the portfolio, this work is optional, and you only need to provide it if you feel it will help your application.


Visit day schedule

The programme for the Visit Days is as follows:

  • 09.00–09.45: Registration
  • 09.45: Welcome from our current students, meet and greet
  • 10.00–11.00: Get to know our course: roundtable discussion
  • 11.00–12.00: Typography workshop: a sample class from our course

At the end of the Visit day, staff and students will still be on hand to continue discussions for as long as it’s useful. We want you to get what YOU need from the day.


Location for Visit Days

The Visit Day on campus will take place at the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication, which is located near the Earley Gate entrance to the Whiteknights campus at the University of Reading. For further information about travelling to the University of Reading and a map of the Whiteknights campus, please visit The Department of Typography and Graphic Communication is Building 21 (TOB2) on the Whiteknights campus map. 


Connecting to virtual Visit Days

If you book to attend a virtual event we will send you a meeting invitation via email, which will contain a link to join the virtual event. The meeting invitation will be sent to you closer to the date of your virtual visit day. No special software is needed, though the experience will be far better on a laptop or desktop computer than on a phone or tablet.

We suggest:

  • A quiet, comfortable space in your home
  • A strong network connection (ideally a wired connection)
  • A good computer that you trust
  • Headphone with a built-in microphone

    Please also remember that we’d love to actually see you, so if you plan to put your camera on do think carefully about your location, lighting, and privacy.


Information for parents

The Visit day is aimed at applicants, but parents and guardians are free to join in, observe and ask questions. 

Any questions?

If you have any further questions about how to prepare your portfolio and written work, please contact James Lloyd, Admissions Tutor by phoning 0118 378 4906 or emailing