University of Technology Sydney

C10309v2 Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication Bachelor of Arts in International Studies

Award(s): Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication (BDesign)
Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (BA)

UAC code: 609290 (Autumn session)
CRICOS code: 077341J
Commonwealth supported place?: Yes
Load credit points: 240
Course EFTSL: 5
Location: City campus


This course version is for students commencing in 2020 and onwards.

Course aims
Career options
Course intended learning outcomes
Admission requirements
Assumed knowledge
Course duration and attendance
Course structure
Course completion requirements
Course program
Other information


In the Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication students learn how to create visual messages and experiences that communicate information and ideas across many media.

The combined Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication Bachelor of Arts in International Studies provides students with additional practical skills, in particular those that raise their awareness of the international contexts of design, by providing the opportunity to acquire knowledge and understanding of a language other than English and another culture.

Students experiment with both traditional and emerging design practices, and develop a visual language that allows them to work across digital, physical and analogue media. This visual language is broad, encompassing typography, interaction and image-making.

This degree prepares students for the evolving nature of design by engaging with the social, technological and ecological context of design practice. Graduates are industry-ready, thanks to their ability to articulate design practices and process, the degree's internship program, and the curriculum's emphasis on real-world problem solving.

The international experience enhances career options, making students more marketable to prospective employers.

Course aims

The degree has a hands-on, studio-based culture that is supported by a strong theoretical component. Academics encourage both traditional and experimental research methods to help students make work that is conceptually rigorous and socially responsive.

Offering a variety of interdisciplinary subjects, graduates are able to move into their professional lives with the diverse knowledge and skills required to work collaboratively and across disciplines. All students work with industry clients on real-world projects and undertake work experience during their degree.

A further two years of study in the international studies component introduces and consolidates learning a language other than English and about another culture.

Career options

There are many career options in a range of fields for graduates, such as digital media, publication designer, graphic designer, interactive media designer, web designer, branding specialist, art director, motion graphics designer, advertising, illustrator, and exhibition designer. Graduates are also equipped with the skills to become writers, researchers, editors and critics, and to apply design thinking in a non-design industry business.

Course intended learning outcomes

A.1 Apply sensitive and respectful behaviours in diverse social and cultural contexts
A.2 Awareness of and/or engagement with sustainable and socially responsible practices
A.3 Reflective approaches to design practice
A.4 Cultural awareness required to work sensitively in Indigenous contexts
C.1 Professional and academic visual, oral and written presentation skills
C.2 A capacity to collaborate effectively in a variety of group work contexts
I.1 Capacity to create designs that respond to their context in formally or conceptually innovative ways
I.2 Advance ideas through an exploratory and iterative design process
INT.1.1 Employ effective cultural strategies to operate within professional settings in Australia and internationally.
INT.2.1 Conduct independent research into contemporary societies and cultures.
INT.2.2 Evaluate research findings and creatively use research methods in International Studies.
INT.3.1 Reflect on and use knowledge of contemporary societies to engage with diverse cultures.
INT.3.2 Communicate effectively for everyday and/or professional purposes in an additional language.
INT.4.1 Value Indigenous knowledges and sovereignty in Australian and international settings.
INT.5.1 Develop capacity to engage with current issues and to act ethically in Australian and international settings.
INT.6.1 Communicate clearly and effectively in written and spoken English.
P.1 Independent development of high level technical and craft skills for the production, presentation and documentation of your work
P.2 Awareness of and/or engagement with the local and global design community
P.3 Understanding of academic and professional ethics, copyright and appropriate acknowledgement of intellectual property
P.4 An ability to critique your own work and the work of others with reference to standards drawn from contemporary design practice
R.1 Development of relevant insights and arguments from research
R.2 Employ a range of qualitative research approaches including practice-led visual and material exploration and social and participatory methods


INT = International Studies course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

Admission requirements

Applicants must have completed an Australian Year 12 qualification, Australian Qualifications Framework Diploma, or equivalent Australian or overseas qualification at the required level.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building may consider applications based on the results of the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) if students lack academic qualifications but have extensive professional experience. The STAT is conducted through the Universities Admissions Centre.

Students are admitted to the international studies program with no guarantee of entry to a specific major, although every effort is made to meet students' preferences.

Students must refer to the inherent requirements for all degrees offered by Design and Architecture in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building.

Non-current school leavers are selected on the basis of academic merit or on the basis of portfolio and interview rank.

Students must refer to the portfolio eligibility for the faculty’s consideration in order to get a place.

The English proficiency requirement for international students or local applicants with international qualifications is: Academic IELTS: 6.5 overall with a writing score of 6.0; or TOEFL: paper based: 550-583 overall with TWE of 4.5, internet based: 79-93 overall with a writing score of 21; or AE5: Pass; or PTE: 58-64; or CAE: 176-184.

Eligibility for admission does not guarantee offer of a place.

International students

Visa requirement: To obtain a student visa to study in Australia, international students must enrol full time and on campus. Australian student visa regulations also require international students studying on student visas to complete the course within the standard full-time duration. Students can extend their courses only in exceptional circumstances.


International students

International students (excluding those studying in an Australian high school) must submit an application to UTS International (in person, by mail or online) or through an accredited UTS representative.

The applicants must submit the following material:

  • a six-page digital portfolio in PDF format (landscape) of their work; this may include images, animation or video (max. size 5MB)
  • one of the PDFs must be a 150–200 word written submission that selects and identifies one of the submitted pieces of work, addresses what was the aim of the work and why it succeeded (to enable this PDF to be easily viewed, text must be supplied in 16-point Helvetica, with 1.5 line spacing).

Assumed knowledge

There are no prior language requirements for the international studies program.

Course duration and attendance

The course is offered on a five-year, full-time basis. Students may study this program part time after consultation with the program director. Students spend two sessions of study at a university or other higher education institution in the country of their major.

Course structure

Students must complete 240 credit points made up of 120 credit points of core visual communication subjects, 24 credit points of electives and 96 credit points in international studies.

Course completion requirements

STM91427 Core Subjects (Visual Communication) 108cp
STM91424 Design Studies 24cp
CBK91878 Electives 12cp
CBK90005 Country major choice 96cp
Total 240cp

Course program

The example program below is for a student commencing in Autumn session and undertaking the course with Germany as the international studies major. Other countries may be chosen from the list of majors in CBK90005; the program has the same structure but with subjects specific to the chosen country major.

Year 1
Autumn session
87631 VC Design Studio: Text and Image 1   12cp
87100 VC Project: Ways of Seeing   6cp
85502 Researching Design Histories   6cp
Spring session
87632 VC Design Studio: Text and Image 2   12cp
87222 VC Project: Symbols and Systems   6cp
85503 Thinking Through Design   6cp
Year 2
Autumn session
976001 Foundations in International Studies   8cp
97601 German Language and Culture 1   8cp
87441 VC Project: Contexts of Visual Communication   6cp
Select 6 credit points of options   6cp
Spring session
97602 German Language and Culture 2   8cp
87443 VC Project: Typography in Context   6cp
87009 VC Project: Visualising Experience   12cp
Year 3
Autumn session
87731 VC Design Studio: Narrative, Form and Time   12cp
97603 German Language and Culture 3   8cp
87012 VC Project: Research Through Design   6cp
Spring session
97604 German Language and Culture 4   8cp
976421 Contemporary Germany   8cp
85202 Design Futuring   6cp
Select 6 credit points of options   6cp
Year 4
Autumn session
977420 In-country Study and Fieldwork Project 1: Germany   24cp
Spring session
978420 In-country Study and Fieldwork Project 2: Germany   24cp
Year 5
Autumn session
87832 VC Design Studio: Design Practice   12cp
85302 Social Media Cultures   6cp
Spring session
87011 VC Design Studio: Visual Communication and Emergent Practices   6cp
87010 VC Project: Socially Responsive Design   12cp

Other information

Further information is available from the UTS Student Centre on:

telephone 1300 ask UTS (1300 275 887)
or +61 2 9514 1222
UTS: Design, Architecture and Building
UTS: International Studies