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Awarded in partnership with the UK’s highest-ranking creative art institution, University for the Creative Arts, this degree programme fosters an engaging and practical approach to illustration. Students are encouraged to develop their own unique approach to the subject, gaining the skills they need to thrive in their future careers. 

Our broad approach in teaching methods within this course includes a special focus on narrative and drawing practice as well as critical analysis, workshops and collaborative live projects.

This course will enable you to develop your analytical and technical skills. You’ll explore innovative approaches to the subject with access to a studio environment, combining all your newly acquired skills within a dynamic and inventive visual storytelling final project.

The four-year international route programme includes a foundation year, which will introduce you to the fundamentals of the creative industry and will give you the opportunity to refine a career path. You’ll build a strong portfolio needed to progress directly into your BA degree, whilst being prepared to use English language in an academic context. 

Berlin School of Business and Innovation is in proud partnership with the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), a Gold Standard Institution under the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF). The university was the highest placed specialist creative university in the Complete University Guide and The Guardian’s 2020 League Table.

Secure your place on this programme by applying today for early 2022 intakes - find out how to apply here.

What will you experience?

Essential tools taught in this programme include narrative, drawing skills and self-directed study which is progressively introduced and encouraged. Students will learn through studio time, seminars and workshops accompanied by subject specific tutorials. Your learning experiences will be enriched as you will be studying in Hamburg, one of  Europe’s most exciting creative and leading industry hubs which is in close proximity to the start-up capital of Berlin.

Why study this course?

This course provides you with industry relevant tools needed to thrive in a fast-evolving field. You’ll become equipped with advanced technical drawing skills whilst using state-of-the-art digital software applications. Students are supported throughout their studies with an expert faculty who draw on their extensive years of industry experience.

Who should take this course?

We encourage students to use illustration as a visual platform for communication of ideas and opinions. These ideas will be linked to contemporary socio-political and cultural developments with a special focus on independent visual communication to boost your employability upon graduation. This course aims to encourage you to delve into the exciting possibilities and routes of illustration in an industry related context and develop through individual originality your own personal style.

Course Price

International Students Price: €11,000  per year 

EU Students Price: €8,000 per year

Top-up: €8,000 per year

The School's admissions process is subject to the Consumer Contracts (Terms and Conditions). Information on your Right of Withdrawal and our Refund Policy can be found in the BSBI study agreement.

Programme Structure

The majority of your work will be completed in groups and on-going support will be provided through the use of structured, targeted individual tutorials and online tutorials.

The learning and teaching will consist of a variety of elements such as lectures, tutorials, workshops, animated/non-animated video, practical work, seminars and trips. The assessment strategy will include individual/group reports and/or presentations, case studies, essays, portfolio development, reflective journals and experiential work based activities.

International Foundation in Art Design and Media
  • English for Academic Purposes, Research and Study skills
  • Exploring Practices, Process, Materials and Techniques
  • Investigating Specialist Practice
  • Final Major Project
Year 1
  • Professional Practice 1: Destination
  • Drawing and Narrative
  • Theory & Context
Year 2
  • Documentary Illustration
  • Professional Practice 2: Platform
  • Exhibition practice
  • Critical Analysis and Research
  • Study Abroad Exchange (optional)
Year 3
  • Major Project
  • Professional Practice 3: Launch
  • Responding to external briefs
  • Illustration Dissertation
  • Delivery: Campus
  • Duration: 3 years / 4 years including integrated International Foundation Studies in Art Design & Media
  • Intakes
    • 2021: October 21 (4-year option incl. International Foundation)
    • 2022: February / October
  • Location: BSBI Campus, Hamburg
  • Awarding Body: Degree awarded by University for the Creative Arts
  • Fees:
    • EU students: €8,000/year
    • International students: €11,000/per

The School's admissions process is subject to the Consumer Contracts (Terms and Conditions). Information on your Right of Withdrawal and our Refund Policy can be found in the BSBI study agreement.

Foundation (International Route)

Minimum Age: 18 (titles awarded upon completion of at least 12 years of schooling)

During the foundation year of this course, you’ll be taught how to create an exceptional portfolio to guarantee you a direct progression into your degree course.

Academic qualifications: A school leaving certificate with a pass to pursue higher education in Germany e.g. Abitur, Fachhochschulreife or Matura. Alternatively, an international baccalaureate, international school leaving certificates, BTEC/national diploma or advanced vocational certificate of education will be accepted.

If you do not meet the above academic requirements, applicants with professional qualifications and/or four years of full-time work experience will be considered on an individual basis.

TOP-UP Entry requirements

  • Portfolio submission: HTK graduates are not required to present a portfolio upon certified successful completion of their vocational training and are eligible for a direct entry into year 3 Top Up Degree.
  • English language requirements:
    • HTK students are required to pass BSBI English diagnostics test which will be provided by BSBI in Hamburg.

English language requirements:

  • IELTS Academic - Minimum overall score of 6.0 (with min 5.5 in each component) or equivalent test (i.e. Password Test, PTE, TOEFL IBT)

The English Language test can be waived and a medium of instruction letter submitted if:

    • Applicants have achieved NARIC recognised high school certificate or above*, where the medium was entirely taught in English (teaching and assessment)
    • You are a Canadian national who has completed studies at an English-speaking school/college/university
  • West African Certificates (WAEC AND NECO only) with a minimum of C6 in English and issued within the last 5 years. Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) is also accepted with an overall grade C or above. For applications from Tanzania and Cameroon, we request an IELTS (or equivalent certificate)
  • Cambridge IGCSE, Cambridge AICE certificates
  • International baccalaureate diploma with: English Syllabus A: Standard or Higher Grade 4, or above and English Syllabus B: Standard Grade 5 or Higher Grade 4, or above.
  • Nationals of majority English speaking countries who have obtained their academic qualifications in that country do not need to sit an English test. This includes applicants from Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, UK and USA.

* A high school certificate can be an undergraduate certificate, undergraduate diploma, HNC, HND,CertHE, DipHE, etc.

1. Computer Equipment

In terms of recent developments of hybrid learning, we require each student to arrive equipped with their laptop. We, therefore, recommend the purchase of a design-friendly mobile laptop. You will receive specific details on your laptop requirements purchase from our admission team via the admission portal.

2. Your Portfolio Submission

For year 1 entry you’ll be required to submit an online portfolio via our BSBI Applicant Portal.

What is a portfolio?

  • Your portfolio is a collection of your best work. We want to see what inspires you, how you develop your work, your creative thinking processes, how and what you create and what makes you a unique creative individual.

What should my portfolio contain?

  • Your portfolio might contain sketches and paintings, digital art and design.It might also contain sound work, short films.
  • Upload up to 12 pieces of work which can include audio or video files.

How do I submit my portfolio?

  • We’ll only be accepting portfolios digitally. You can do this once you’ve applied via our online submission system within the Applicant Portal.
  • You can also link to external websites such as Vimeo and YouTube.

Further information on how to compile and upload your portfolio will be provided by our admissions team via our admissions portal once you have applied.

You can apply now to study with BSBI! It’s quick and easy, here’s how it works:

  1. Create an account here
  2. Select the programme and intake you want to apply for
  3. Complete all sections of the online application
  4. Submit online application
  5. Our Admissions Team will liaise with you with regards to next steps

BSBI, in partnership with leading creative institution, University for the Creative Arts (UCA) is offering the opportunity to enrich your vocational qualification with this top-up bachelor’s degree in just one year.

The course will enable you to reach your full design potential with the help of industry experts. You’ll build a strong portfolio of powerful software skills and demonstrate effective thinking methods to navigate the challenges of today’s creative industry. This course is ideal for those looking to top up and enhance their expertise, confidence and skills in illustration. You’ll become equipped with the latest skills in digital design and illustration software in order to produce an industry standard portfolio for future career opportunities.

This top-up course is ideal for anyone looking to build their subject knowledge and technical skills to a level needed to thrive in a number of creative roles within today’s illustration industry.


•Major Project
•Professional Practice 3: Launch
•Responding to external briefs
•Illustration Dissertation

Key Facts

Duration: 1 year (full-time)
Intakes: February, October
Delivery: On-campus (Hamburg)
Fees: €8,000/year

Entry Requirements

Graduates from a vocational design or communications academy/institute in Germany are not required to present a portfolio upon certified successful completion of their vocational training and are eligible for a direct entry into year 3 top-up degree.

English language

Graduates from a vocational design or communications academy/institute in Germany are not required to present an IELTS language test but required to pass BSBI English diagnostics test which will be provided by BSBI in Hamburg.

Download Factsheet >>

Learn all about what Hamburg has to offer as an international study destination by clicking here

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course students should be able to:


  • Apply good knowledge of English to communicate relevant international, cultural, contemporary knowledge and historical, theoretical and professional contexts
  • Take a responsible and individual approach to developing creative practice which demonstrates political, social and cultural awareness
  • Work both independently and collaboratively in the development of self-critical, analytical and evaluative approaches in the broader understanding Illustration practice


  • Apply autonomy to deliver primary and secondary research involving the identification and use of relevant resources
  • Adopt a flexible approach to a variety of circumstances and challenges both in your practice and career development
  • Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in your specialist field in the practice of illustration and/or postgraduate study


  • Enhance understanding of critical engagement within the creative arts industry
  • Learn to quickly respond to complex demands and initiate successful creative solutions
  • Present and communicate compelling ideas, both orally and in written form through an understanding of the historical, contemporary and cultural frameworks
  • Navigate future career paths through professional networking opportunities and focused research

Download Factsheet >>

Career Progression 

BSBI’s industry focused study environment supports students in reaching their career ambitions. Upon successful completion of this course, you’ll be able to pursue careers in the following areas:

  • Freelance illustration
  • In-House illustration and design
  • Printmaking
  • Project management
  • Web and app illustration
  • Digital imaging
  • Art Director
  • Set designer
  • Education

Hamburg shows it is at the heart of the creative industries within Europe.

Designers and illustrators can benefit from digitization and the positive economic situation in Germany, did you know the industry has had an average growth of 4.1% until 2014-2019 in the communication design industry? Source: Ibisworld.com

Established Creative Agencies: Study in Hamburg and be close to creative agencies like Jung von Matt, Blynk, Serious, Paperlux Studio, Sum.Cumo. Better yet, be near to start ups featuring client portfolios reaching from BMW, Google, Airbus to Mercedes Benz and Mc’ Donalds.

The gaming industry is booming, and here's why: 

  • Are you aware that the German games market has had a considerable surge in sales revenue in the Covid-19 year 2020? What does this mean? It means that this industry is gaining popularity, interest and the investment from both a consumer and customer is growing - so as a budding illustrator, more job opportunities will arise. Source: Game.de
  • Of 1.2 Million employed in the creative industries, over 30%, around 472k are based in the software/gaming industry. Source: Statista
  • In Hamburg, the software and games industry, which will likely need illustrator, accounts for 28% percent of the workforce. Source: Monitoring report culture and creative industries 2019 on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). ZEW - Leibniz Center for European Economic Research GmbH Mannheim. Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI. December 2019