Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design



The NWU’s Graphic Design programme has existed for 20 years, and in that time has established itself as providing a sought-after qualification. Our students have proved that they not only possess immense talent, but are continuously able to excel in their chosen fields and professions. Our staff are dedicated mentors and facilitators of our students’ growth, and ensure that they continue into the industry with a competitive edge. 
Our priorities have always been clear: to nurture the next generation of graphic designers and creative thinkers so that they can evolve into individuals who are outstanding in their craft – whether it be graphic design, illustration or multimedia design – and in their critical problem-solving and thinking abilities. Our students are immersed in a creative environment with a sense of responsibility towards the discipline of visual communication, our society and the planet through their devotion, hard work and passion. We sincerely hope that you start your journey with us, and continue to build on our legacy of design achievement.

The vision of the BA in Graphic Design programme is to effectively and successfully equip and enable graduates to be fully rounded conceptual thinkers, problem-solvers and skilled practitioners in their industries, as well as critical thinkers and future researchers. The BA in Graphic Design programme aims to achieve this vision through its teaching and learning and in preparation for research by:

  • Introducing research methodologies and critical analysis in the field.
  • Embracing and developing critical thinking and problem-solving competencies.
  • Enabling continuous-learning facilitation and adaptability for explorative solution-driven practice.
  • Promoting creativity, innovation and responsive interactions in industry and society as a whole.
  • Generating national and international mindfulness and interconnectedness in the creative industries.
  • Providing physical and digital learning environments that allow and enable investigative collaboration, design-thinking creativity and enquiry.

We endeavour to achieve these goals to:

  • Serve the creative industries by preparing future graduates to become professionals who can contribute meaningful solutions, innovations and societal impact.
  • Instil best practices for professional graphic design and related disciplines in our future graduates so that they can become leaders in the industry, characterised by progressive thinking, academic vigour and practical expertise.
  • Encourage and nurture interdisciplinary collaboration, not only in the creative industries, but also in other fields relating to our profession and research.

Degree options

BA in Graphic Design

BA in Graphic Design with Communication

Both degrees are four-year full-time selection courses offered on our Potchefstroom Campus (PC) only.


Core subjects

First year – design crafters
In the first year, our students build their foundational graphic design and drawing skills.

Second year – design problem-solvers
The second year provides students with the opportunity to further their interests in either Communication Studies or History of Art and Illustration as ancillary fields alongside their core Graphic Design modules.

Third year – design practitioners
During the third year, students construct a portfolio showcasing a variety of work, in the process developing and refining their critical thinking in terms of audience, strategy, conceptual generation and crafting skills.

Fourth year – design researchers
Students receive individual guidance to advance and refine their practice, culminating in thinking/making that is both thorough and discerning. It prepares students for senior positions in the industry, and also for further research studies in the fields of Graphic Design, Multimedia Design and Illustration.


Admission requirements

APS score of 24

English Level 5 (60–70%)

The APS Calculator can assist in working out your APS score.

Intake information

University applications close 31 May 2024
Portfolio submissions close 28 July 2024
Selection tests and Interviews take place on 20 & 21 September 2024


Selection procedure

Phase 1: NWU admission and application

The NWU university admission procedure takes place before the Graphic Design selection process. Acceptance into the Graphic Design subject group can only take place after a prospective student has been accepted into the University (refer to admission requirements). Please ensure that your application has been submitted and approved before taking part in the second and third phases of the selection procedure. Take note that non-selection course applications close in September, but that the applications for the BA in Graphic Design degrees close earlier. 


Phase 2: Graphic design portfolio

You are required to compile a portfolio representing your creative thinking and technical skills. This portfolio consists of a short questionnaire, standardised prescribed projects and a personal selection of your own work. Please refer to the NWU BA in Graphic Design prospectus and application booklet, and video for more details. Please remember that you need to complete the full three-phase selection procedure to be eligible for a seat in a BA Graphic Design degree programme.


Phase 3: Skills test and/or interview

Successful Phase 2 applicants will be contacted via email with arrangements for scheduling a skills test and interview. Please refer to the BA Graphic Design prospectus booklet for more information on this.


Please contact our administrative assistant, Zita Kyster, for more information at or call 018 299 4091.


Career opportunities

The graphic design industry is a growing, dynamic industry and is known as the largest employer of artists in creative professions. However, individual talent, drive and personality play a crucial role in determining the position that a qualified individual will hold in the market. Several enterprises, companies, design institutions, communication and printing houses appoint graphic designers.

The qualified individual who enjoys their independence can start their own undertaking or appoint other designers to work with them. The world of graphic design is one of the most stimulating and exciting fields of study a talented student can enter and offers numerous career opportunities that are satisfying and full of challenges.

These are some of the career opportunities that await you:

  • Graphic designer
  • Professional graphic designer
  • Publication designer
  • Brand manager
  • Typographer
  • Layout artist
  • Art director
  • Creative director
  • Copywriter
  • Web, app and UX designer
  • Editorial designer
  • Packaging designer
  • Multimedia designer
  • Interaction designer
  • Film and TV director
  • Documentary filmmaker
  • Game designer
  • Motion graphics artist
  • Sound designer
  • 3D concept artist
  • 3D animator
  • Professional illustrator
  • Editorial illustrator
  • Storyboard illustrator
  • Comic book artist
  • Botanical illustrator
  • Graphic novelist
  • Pattern designer