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BA (Hons) Illustration

The online BA (Hons) Illustration programme from IDI will teach you the fundamentals of illustration, honing your skills in drawing, animation and visual storytelling as you build up a portfolio of professional-level work.

Gain the skills needed to reach your potential as an illustrator, while earning the same Illustration degree as on-campus students at the University of Hertfordshire, 100% online.

Image: IDI Student Sandrine Pilloud

What You'll Learn

Master the Fundamentals

Build your confidence in the essential illustration skills and the use of creative techniques in drawing, animation and visual presentation.

Develop Your Personal Style

Develop your personal language and style as an illustrator, as you begin to define your future contribution to the creative industries.

Embrace Visual Storytelling

Learn how to clearly communicate ideas through the use of visual media and deliver a compelling visual message with your illustrations.

Improve Your Core Drawing Skills

Enhance your core drawing skills, refining your technique to give yourself the best possible foundation for future development and innovation.

Make Use of Emerging Techniques

Experiment with digital media and animation, using multiple mediums to equip yourself with all the skills needed in a multi-skilled professional workplace.

Complete Live Award & Competition Briefs

Take the opportunity to enter live briefs and respond to international student design awards and competitions as part of your studies.

Why Choose IDI?

IDI was founded in 2004 with the aim of giving everyone the opportunity to get their degree in a design subject, without having to attend college or university.

We became a partner of the University of Hertfordshire in 2008, and have since grown to become the UK’s leading provider of online degree courses in art and design.

73% of our students gain a 2:1 or above
1000+ students from over 70 countries
100% completing postgraduate students pass-rate

*All percentage figures come from our performance in the most recent academic year, 2016/17.

Why Choose our BA in Illustration?

100% Online Degree Education

Gain your Illustration bachelor’s entirely online from anywhere in the world, with no face-to-face classes to attend.

Learn From Industry Practitioners

Benefit from the experience of dedicated, qualified tutors throughout your studies, all of whom are subject specialists.

Flexible Learning Experience

There are no set lectures or exams. All assessments are coursework-based so you can fit study into your own weekly schedule.

Save Money on Tuition Expenses

With lower fees and no travel or living costs, online study with IDI is much more affordable than attendance-based options.

One-to-One Feedback and Support

Get unlimited one-to-one guidance from your expert tutors, and help from your dedicated student support team.

Same Degree as On-Campus

Graduate with exactly the same BA (Hons) qualification as on-campus students at the University of Hertfordshire.

Additional Benefits

There are also some extra benefits of our BA (Hons) Illustration programme that you should know about.

Earn Your Degree in 4 Years

Studying part-time around your other commitments, you’ll gain your degree in Illustration fully online in 4 years.

A Manageable Schedule

We advise 15-20 hours per week to complete your course activities, letting you fit study into your own timetable.

100% Responsive Platform

Our online study site is 100% compatible with your laptop, mobile or tablet, making access as simple as possible.

How Does It Work?

As an IDI student, you’ll have access to our easy-to-use online study site, where you can:

  • Log in at any time, from any device
  • Benefit from unlimited tuition, guidance and support
  • Communicate with your peers in secure forums
  • Receive ongoing feedback and course grades
  • Message your support teams at any time

Play the video for an overview of how you’ll study, or click below for a closer look at the study site.

Course Overview

  • 'The Essentials Level'

    Level 4: Certificate of Higher Education

    The first level of your degree is designed to improve your core knowledge and understanding of illustration and the creative industries.

    You’ll explore and develop a foundation of fundamental skills in a wide range of media, using both traditional illustration techniques and industry-standard digital software.

  • 'The Professional Level'

    Level 5: Diploma of Higher Education

    In this next level, you’ll develop your newfound skills through activities in development and presentation as you progress towards working independently as a professional illustrator.

    You’ll also learn how to produce professional-standard work within constraints imposed by clients in the creative industries.

  • ‘The Portfolio Level’

    Level 6: BA (Hons)

    In your final bachelor’s level, you’ll focus on building a portfolio of professional-level illustration work, while developing a critical approach to your design process.

    You’ll work on professional projects such as live briefs and competitions, while also expanding your self-promotion work by applying your illustrative style to 3D packaging design.

Student Work

The most rewarding thing is to look back at the work I produced at the start of the course, and see how far I have developed as a designer since then.
Matthew Wood
IDI graduate

Once you’ve developed your knowledge and skills in illustration, you’ll have a final opportunity to showcase your creative portfolio (if you choose to do so) in our Graduate Degree Show.

Click below to see the exceptional design work some of our graduates have created over the course of their studies.

Start Dates & Schedules

The four-year online Illustration degree programme is split into three levels: Level 4, Level 5 & Level 6.

Each level has four semesters, consisting of 12 weeks of study followed by four weeks of assessment.

While you’re studying, we recommend you set aside a minimum of 15-20 hours per week for activities, as well as additional time to read supporting materials and for discussion with your tutors and peers in the forums.

Click the image to see the schedules for each start date in 2018.

Are You Eligible?

We consider all applications for the BA (Hons) Illustration on an individual basis.

To be eligible you’ll normally meet certain academic or professional requirements, but we also welcome applications from those with non-standard qualifications.

Read up on our entry requirements below, or see our handy admissions guide to see what’s required for your application:

Image: IDI Graduate Claire Taylor

Advanced Entry

If you already have an HND-level qualification or equivalent work experience, you could be eligible to ‘top-up’ to an honours degree in as little as 2 years.

Our Accredited Prior Learning (APL) process means you may be able to count this previous experience towards the completion of your degree. There are two types of APL:

If you’ve previously studied a course with similar learning outcomes to IDI’s programme, then you can apply to have these credited against your degree. However, if your qualification or credit is more than 5 years old, it could be considered out of date and may not be used towards a degree.

If you have international qualifications, we may ask you to provide an official document that states how your international qualification compares to UK qualifications.

If you’ve previously developed skills and knowledge through experiences outside the formal education and training systems (normally in a work environment), you may also be able to have this recognised and credited towards your degree.

APEL is different from formal learning, as it’s often unstructured and can be more personal and individualised. Please be aware that learning must be at an equivalent level to the modules offered on our programmes, and you’ll need to provide evidence of this. This is typically done by means of a portfolio. It’s usual for this to involve some sort of reflective writing about your learning, but it might involve many other forms of evidence too.

Fees and Payment Options

Studying online means you’ll avoid the extra costs (like travel and accommodation) that come with on-campus study.

The tuition fee for the BA (Hons) Illustration is £4,500 per level – there are a number of payment options available:

Payment in Full Payment Plan 1 Payment Plan 2


per level

There are three levels in a BA (Hons) degree programme. (Fees are payable per level)


per semester

4 instalments of £1,152
(£4,608* per level)


per month

16 instalments of £288
(£4,608* per level)


Read on below for ways you could save on your fees, or you can speak with an Admissions Advisor if you have any questions about fees or funding options.

Ways to Save

At IDI, we know that investing in your future is a big commitment. To help make that investment easier, here are some ways you may be able to fund, or save on, your Illustration bachelor’s fees.

Future Finance Loans

If you’re based in the UK, you may be able to apply for student loan funding.

Learn more »

Employers Discount

We offer discounts to self-employed students or employers supporting employees to study.

Learn more »

Student Discounts

As an IDI student, you’ll benefit from discounts on tools such as Adobe Creative Cloud.

Learn more »

Graduating with IDI

Graduation is a huge day for any student, and at IDI this is no different.

While you’ll study 100% online, when you complete your degree you’ll have the option of attending a graduation ceremony in the heart of Edinburgh.

Every year we welcome our latest graduates from all over the world to Scotland’s capital to celebrate their achievements.

Watch the video to hear from one of our recent BA (Hons) graduates.

Tuition & Support

We believe that students studying online should get more support, not less. When you study with IDI online, you’ll be helped every step of the way by our faculty and support teams.

Application Help

Ready to start? An Admissions Advisor will walk you through your application in our easy-to-use admissions site.

One-to-One Teaching

You’ll benefit from continuous guidance and feedback from industry-experienced tutors, who you can message at any time.

Student Support

Your dedicated student support team will be there to offer any admin or technical assistance you may need.

Jack Gordon,
Programme Coordinator

Meet Your Programme Coordinator

As the Programme Coordinator for the BA (Hons) Illustration programme, Jack will be your first point of contact for any non-tutorial enquiries.

Jack has oversight of all aspects of the programme, and will therefore be able to provide you with the best guidance and advice throughout the entire course of your studies.

He began working within the university sector in 2015, and is passionate about communication and simplifying the online learning experience for IDI students.

Further Your Career

Gaining your Illustration degree online can present you with a wide variety of career paths to explore.


Possible Areas to Specialise In

  • Publishing and Print
  • Advertising/Marketing
  • Digital Design/Animation
  • Teaching/Education
  • Fashion
  • Theatre, Film & TV
  • Arts and Cultural Heritage
  • Web Design
  • Freelance Illustration
  • Architectural Illustration
  • Medical/Technical Illustration
  • Signage Illustration

Some Potential Job Titles for Graduates

  • Illustrator
  • Animator
  • Graphic designer
  • Teacher/lecturer
  • Multimedia programmer
  • Production designer
  • Printmaker
  • Fashion designer
  • Arts administrator
  • Fine artist
  • Textile designer
  • Advertising accounts executive


These are just a few of many career options open to you – the creative industries offer many opportunities for qualified designers, and illustration graduates often go on to advance their careers in a great variety of roles.

You May Also Be Interested In

If Illustration doesn’t seem right for you, you can click below to browse similar subjects that better suit your goals.

Or if you already have prior qualifications or experience, you may be interested in our Master’s programme.

Illustration Bachelor's start date reminder


Next start date:

18th Februaryth


Future start dates: June, October

Ready to Get Started?

To take the next step, get in touch or click ‘Start an Application’ below to access the Admissions Portal.

Our Admissions Advisors will then guide you through
the whole process and answer any questions you might have.

Applying is free, and there’s no obligation to enrol. Your progress will be saved and you can resume it at any time.

+44 (0)1317 779321

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