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Open for Clearing 2024

BA (Hons) Communication Design

Key information

Approach communication design by analysing collaborative experiences, socially dynamic and inclusive agendas, and key forms of critical design research.

Programme code
Delivery type
Full Time
Degree qualification
BA (Hons)
Mode of delivery
4 years
Scottish Borders
Start date

Our BA (Hons) Communication Design will provide you with expertise in three key areas of design; conceptual, applied, and entrepreneurial practices to communicate information through a variety of media. The programme will encourage you to use design thinking to transform and interpret data, develop knowledge, and transform information into ethical, meaningful, and inclusive communication design experiences.

You’ll approach communication design by analysing collaborative experiences, socially dynamic and inclusive agendas, and key forms of critical design research. You’ll gain experience in moving image and animation, photography, graphic design (including illustration), and interaction design (UX/UI/Experiential). This will establish your communication design skills across various creative approaches, making you highly employable and sought-after upon graduation.

The programme offers specialised modules in communication design and various related topics. You’ll develop and apply your learned skills, techniques, and knowledge to undertake your final year project and establish your interests within the industry. There may be an opportunity for you to gain a global perspective of communication design, by studying abroad at our international exchange partners in Europe, India, and the USA.

Upon completion of the programme you’ll be able to maintain a sustainable practice in the management of design and design research projects and communicate critically and effectively to individuals and organisations, through professional visual, written, and verbal presentations. You’ll develop the necessary skills and knowledge to develop critical communication design practices within a variety of industry, commercial, and non-commercial contexts.

Your student experience


Your learning will be informed by our design faculty and staff, whose work covers many key areas including:

  • Visual Communication
  • Photography
  • Typography and Design for Print
  • Digital Illustration
  • Film Making
  • Branding and Branded Environments
  • Design for Heritage and Culture
  • Design for Health and Wellbeing
  • Placemaking design
  • Interaction Design
  • Experiential and Installation Design
  • Exhibition Design
  • Design Thinking
  • Design Innovation
  • Co-design

Go Global

With Go Global, Heriot-Watt's global student programme, you can carry your studies to new places and experience new cultures, expanding your horizons on the way. You'll discover what it means to be a true global citizen and emerge prepared for wherever your career journey will take you.

Inter-Campus Transfer: Dubai

Discover new friends and places with an inter-campus transfer to Dubai.

Course content

September Intake

The first year focuses on initial design and visualisation skills setting up the student with the fundamentals in overall photography, visual development, design thinking, and introductions into illustration.

Mandatory September

  • Rethinking Design 2: Develop and Deliver
  • Rethinking Design 1: Discover and Define

Mandatory January

  • Introduction to Communication Design
  • Introduction to Creative Media
  • Introduction to Photography

Programme Video

Design & Communication at Heriot-Watt

Heriot-Watt students and academics explore the importance of Design and Communication. Understand how the programme focuses on how to solve the problems of the future, connecting with audiences, sustainability, and new strategies. Experience what studying Design and Communication at Heriot-Watt can offer you.

Fees and funding

ScotlandPaid by SAAS
England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland£9,250
  • Status: Your residency status is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course.
  • International: 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above).

Scholarships and bursaries

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details

Entry requirements

We have standard entry requirements for all of our courses that you will have to meet.

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers ABBB (including English)
  • A-Levels BCC
  • Int. Baccalaureate 29 points
  • BTEC DMM (in a relevant area
  • Please check that you meet our University-wide National 5/GCSE (or equivalent) English and Maths requirements.
  • Please see "Additional Information" below for details about Portfolio submission

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC (including English)
  • A-Levels BCC

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Why Heriot-Watt

We're the top university in Scotland for graduate outcomes which means that more of our graduates are employed or in postgraduate education than any other institution in the country and we ranked 5th in the UK.

We're also rated number one in the UK for CEO or MD roles, meaning more of our graduates go on to become CEOs or MDs than any other university in the whole of the UK. On top of that, we have beautiful campuses, across the globe, so you'll get a truly international education. Our Edinburgh Campus is home to Oriam, Scotland's National Sports Performance Centre combined with plenty of wellbeing resources, prioritising fitness and mental health for all students. Our Global Research Institutes look at solving real world issues such as climate change and saving our oceans as well as working on the next medical technological breakthrough and the future of AI and robots.

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