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Start date

3 year(s) full-time


Program Code


Assumed Knowledge

2021: AUD$ 29,400 per annum (per 1.0 EFTSL)

English Language Requirements
  • IELTS total [6.0]
  • IELTS reading [6.0]
  • IELTS writing [6.0]
Equivalent English qualifications (PDF)

International Admission by Country
See full entry requirements


Degree overview

  • Study SA's only communication design degree and gain specialist skills and knowledge.
  • Benefit from the opportunity to work on projects addressing real-world issues.
  • Learn from teachers who are established designers and academics, offering insight into what it takes to create effective visual communications.
  • UniSA is No.1 in SA and top 10 in Australia for Art and Design1 and No.1 for Student Satisfaction in Creative Arts2.
  • Be taught by world-class leaders in research – UniSA's research in communication design is ranked world class3.
  • Learn in on-campus studios and workshops in our vibrant city precinct.
  • Benefit from our networks and relationships with the design industry – locally, nationally and internationally, and gain valuable practical experience.
  • Gain in-demand skills that industry are looking for- with communication design students in high demand for industry internships.

1Ranked equal 10th, 2019 QS Subject Rankings
2ComparED (QILT): Course Experience Questionnaire 2018-19 – Overall Satisfaction Indicator (Undergraduate). Public SA-founded universities only.
3Results in Design Practice and Management - 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)



Communication design involves creating identities, messages, ideas and images that inform, motivate and educate across a range of sectors, from the educational, arts and cultural to commercial and entertainment.

This degree has been the starting point for many of the country’s leading communication designers, and it will prepare you for a vibrant career in the creative visual communications industry. Taught by established academics and designers, you will graduate with an industry-relevant qualification.

A focus on practical learning integrated with design thinking means you will gain the skills and knowledge needed to design stimulating, effective visual communications, and the confidence to create across a range of communication platforms and contexts.

What you'll learn

What you Learn

With an emphasis on studio-based learning, research-led practice, creativity and teamwork you will graduate with the ability to design effective communications applied to diverse contexts. You will:

  • learn to design visual communication, from information and publication design, identity, branding and design strategy, to design for motion and interaction
  • cover topics including: typography, branding and identity design, packaging design, drawing and illustration, web and publication design.
  • develop practical and technical skills in typography and image design in a variety of media
  • learn how to integrate creative skill with design thinking methods to address wide-ranging communication tasks and scenarios

Communication design is a practice based on creative and critical thinking integrated with craft and technical skill. Throughout this degree you will learn how to respond effectively to communication problems through design as you develop the skills to articulate ideas and approaches and to working independently and in a team.

As part of your studies you will also be required to complete design electives, which provide the opportunity for you to further explore areas and pathways of interest. Design electives will be subject to student demand and staff availability.

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Design Foundation Studio GRAP 1017 9
Introductory Drawing for Design GRAP 1019 4.5
Visual Argument and Design Culture VSAR 1102 4.5
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Communication Design Studio 1 GRAP 1020 9
Design, Culture and Society 1 GRAP 1023 4.5
Computer Graphics and Imaging for Design GRAP 1018 4.5
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Communication Design Studio 2 GRAP 2007 9
Design for Publication GRAP 2011 4.5
Design, Culture and Society 2 GRAP 2030 4.5
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Communication Design Studio 3 GRAP 2008 9
Typography: Design for Reading GRAP 2027 4.5
Design for Web GRAP 2020 4.5
First Semester (Study Period 1, 2 or 3)
Communication Design Studio 4 GRAP 3006 9
Critical Design Practice GRAP 2022 4.5
Design Elective 4.5 Note(s): 2,3
Second Semester (Study Period 4, 5 or 6)
Professional Practice Studio GRAP 3007 9
Advanced Design Elective 4.5 Note(s): 2,3
Free Elective 4.5 Note(s): 1,3

Study hours

For each course you study, you will need to allocate time for various classes such as lectures, tutorials, workshops, seminars and practicals. Plus you will need additional hours to study in your own time to complete assignments, readings and projects and contribute to online discussion forums (independent study). So as a general rule, if you are studying full-time you would need to allocate 12 – 26 hours of study when at university and 14 – 28 hours of independent study per week.



Your studies will incorporate practical, professionally focused and research-based learning, so assessment types will vary. You can expect them to include:

  • reflective papers
  • studio-based projects
  • proposals and reports
  • presentations
  • essays and assignments
  • portfolio

Global opportunities

Enrich your studies and your life – make overseas study part of your qualification. Australian and international students may have the option to do an exchange, short-term program or study tour overseas. We have links with universities worldwide. You can choose short-term or semester-long study from a range of universities and countries depending on your area of study and cultural interests.

Take a look at the global opportunities available.

Global opportunities

Why Bachelor of Design (Communication Design)

Why this Degree

If you are interested in designing visual communications that make an impact and want to learn from industry professionals in a stimulating, creative environment, this degree is a great choice.

Our teaching is informed by our research – 97 per cent of which is at or above world class1 – so you can be assured that by studying this degree at UniSA you will take away industry-relevant skills and knowledge. Many of our teaching staff are also professional designers, so the curriculum is industry-relevant and highly practical in nature.

On campus, our custom-built workshops, digital printing facilities and design studios ensure you have the opportunity to further develop valuable practical skills. In addition to these world-class facilities, you will benefit from our strong industry links and award-winning teaching staff and academics. Our teaching staff received top ratings in the 2017 Good Universities Guide for teaching and staff qualifications.

For high achieving students there is also the opportunity to complete a one-year Bachelor of Art and Design (Honours) degree, a one-year Graduate Diploma and two-year Master of Design (Communication Design).

12015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

Real-world connections

You will benefit from our strong industry links and relationships with the design profession locally, nationally and internationally. Throughout your studies you will have the opportunity to engage with real-life design tasks and practicing designers, and work in multidisciplinary teams to further strengthen your professional networks and practical experience. We also host regular University-wide employee master classes and employment expos, and alumni events in Australia and overseas.

Career outcomes

Your career

This industry is expecting strong growth in long-term employment Australia-wide, with the number of job openings over the next few years, until November 2019, expected to be above average1. Graduates enjoy careers in a variety of roles, such as:

  • communications designer: specialised graphic designer that uses software applications to create visual design elements for publishers, web developers and multimedia companies 
  • graphic designer: create visual concepts to inspire, inform or captivate an audience 
  • art director/creative director: responsible for the visual aspects of a publication, campaign, or other published material; a chief liaison between the client and designers 
  • animation and motion designer: use graphic software to create animated images 
  • illustrator: produce still drawings for use in advertisements, magazines, on packaging, greeting cards and in newspapers 
  • typographer: create the typeface that graphically reflects a client’s brief 
  • web designer: create and maintain websites, this may include the design, layout and coding 
  • packaging designer: create 2D graphics for 3D forms, and see your ideas to come life on the shelf.

Creativity, interpersonal skills, motivation, commitment and, of course, excellent communication skills, are all qualities of a successful communication designer.

1Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2015

Professional accreditation and recognition

Graduates of this program are eligible for Graduate Membership of the Design Institute of Australia. Graduates are eligible for Associate Membership of the Design Institute of Australia after two years of professional practice.

Industry facts


Employment for graphic and web designers, and illustrators in Australia is projected to increase by 6,800 (14.5 per cent) by November 20201.

1Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2015


The number of graphic and web designers, and illustrators in Australia is expected to reach 53,300 by 20201.

1ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.

How to apply

How to apply for international students will give you helpful information about the application process at the University of South Australia. When you are ready, apply through our International Application System. If you would like to talk to someone near you about studying at the University of South Australia, we have agents all over the world who can assist you. Find an Education Agent in your country.

Alternative Pathways


There are other pathways you can follow to study this degree, including:


There are other pathways you can follow to study this degree, including:


Every year, over 2,500 UniSA students are supported in their studies through scholarships and grants worth millions of dollars. Check out the scholarships below. One of them may be perfect for you. Visit our scholarships page for more.

More scholarships

Your study experience and support

As a student at the University of South Australia you will have unique access to work placement opportunities, overseas study tours and exchanges, networking events, internships, guest speakers and more.

Our campuses are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, workshops, laboratories, and areas that simulate real work environments. These are all supported by the latest technologies and a 24/7 online learning platform. We have health services on campus, gymnasiums, technology zones and great student lounges. You will also have access to a range of community clinics, which provide professional and cost effective services in areas of health, law and psychology. There are campus sport activities to keep you active, and if you are keen to explore the social side of university life, there are movies, cooking demonstrations, parties and lots more.

Adelaide has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation or private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages for plenty of options. If you need somewhere to live, our new student accommodation by urbanest is on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, a perfect location for students. It is within easy reach of UniSA’s city and metropolitan campuses, Rundle Mall shopping, the Central Market, Chinatown, and the West End’s vibrant nightlife. It is also across the road from the Adelaide train station, and on bus and tram routes.

Student services

Student services

International Student Services will make your life at university easier. We want you to be successful, and if you need help we will be there to assist. Support services include:

  • careers advice
  • help with student visas and health cover
  • personal counselling
  • academic counselling
  • fees and finance help
  • common rooms
  • prayer rooms
  • security officers
  • services offered through our student association, USASA
  • accommodation services 

We also offer study support from our Learning Advisers. You can work with them face-to-face or online. They are here to help you develop academically and professionally during your studies. They also offer help with the English language. When you become a UniSA student you can contact Campus Central for help with anything related to your degree. They will help you with your enrolment, ID cards, fees, timetables and any other questions you might have.

24/7 digital environment

Our learnonline facilities include a personal learning environment with virtual classrooms, lecture recordings, emails, learning support, administration, library access and results. The environment is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can tailor your learning to your life. We are continually investing in innovative digital technologies for a high-quality student learning experience.

Student services

Your campus

We have six campuses in metropolitan and regional areas, each with advanced facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, laboratories, and areas that simulate real work environments.

Location This degree is delivered at the following campus.

Your study spaces

As a design student you will have access to dedicated computer studios, design studios and workshops, with an extensive range of traditional and new tech machines and tools.  

Your study spaces

Your program director

The Bachelor of Design (Communication Design) program at UniSA is the design program of choice in South Australia for graphic and communication design.

The Communication Design program at UniSA, is the only program to offer a bachelor degree through specialised training in: typography; image design; print and electronic publications, digital media platforms; brand and identity design; information graphics, user experience and packaging design. Communication Design graduates from UniSA, have a strong employment rate with students employed in graphic design studios; multi-disciplined consultancies; publishing houses; museums, government agencies; digital media studios and new startups.

Graphic and communication design contributes to contemporary society through visual strategy, problem solving and design research in various areas of communication and we prepare our graduates to innovate through design practice and design thinking in a broad range of social cultural contexts.

Ms Luci Giannattilio

Program Director

Portrait image for Ms Luci Giannattilio
Portrait image for Ms Luci Giannattilio

Ms Luci Giannattilio

Program Director


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What others are saying

What I liked the most about this degree was being able to work on projects for real clients, having opportunities for exposure and the opportunity to join various design associations.

Claudia Fernandez Villasante

Bachelor of Design (Communication Design)

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Claudia Fernandez Villasante

Bachelor of Design (Communication Design)