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SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED QUALIFICATION: 

Bachelor of Arts Honours in Graphic Design 
SAQA QUAL ID QUALIFICATION TITLE
91721  Bachelor of Arts Honours in Graphic Design 
ORIGINATOR
The Independent Institute of Education 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
CHE - Council on Higher Education  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
Honours Degree  Field 02 - Culture and Arts  Visual Arts 
ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
Undefined  120  Not Applicable  NQF Level 08  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
Reregistered  SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2021-06-30 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2022-06-30   2025-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE OF THE QUALIFICATION 
Purpose:
This qualification typically follows a Bachelor's Degree, and serves to consolidate and deepen the student's expertise in a particular discipline and to develop research capacity in the methodology and techniques of that discipline. This qualification demands a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual independence.

The Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree: Graphic Design is aimed at students who desire to engage with graphic design on a higher intellectual and professional level than is possible in a 360 credit Bachelor of Arts qualification. This qualification will aim to develop innovative, independent design enquiry and critical thinking through the application of basic research practice to inform design solutions. It will prepare students to specialise in a sub-discipline within graphic design and prepare them for further Postgraduate study in the field of design. The outcomes of the programme have been identified by practising professionals in the field as relevant an appropriate for a qualification of this nature.

This qualification combines the application of theory and basic research practice to direct the reach of design solutions more specifically at an intended target market, and deliver a visual message effectively for maximum impact.

Students will learn to challenge conventional design thinking to develop and apply more refined and innovative thinking processes which consider the impact and effectiveness of proposed solutions.

Rationale:
The Design Education Manifesto of The International Council of Graphic Design Associates (ICOGRADA) states that design education should "integrate theory, history, criticism, research, and management to increase the production of design knowledge in order to enhance innovation and efficacy in respect of environment and human factors". Globally, businesses are becoming more reliant on digital media communication channels to reach markets. This trend has made the graphic design industry more competitive and design practitioners need to demonstrate the ability to solve more complex design challenges to compete effectively in the job market. This requires a higher level of innovative design thinking and problem solving than can adequately be mastered during a three year undergraduate degree programme. The programme is designed to be offered via distance education over a period of two years.

The Honours Degree: Graphic Design will position students to compete for design work more effectively by manifesting a deeper understanding of design solution development and the impact of design decisions on a market. Students will be prepared to approach design challenges critically and innovatively and produce solutions informed by research that will effectively meet client specifications, and draw the right attention in the global market place for a competitive edge.

Career opportunities for graduates of the Bachelor of Arts Honours: Graphic Design include:
  • Art directors in design and advertising agencies.
  • Layout artists for editorial agencies.
  • Graphic designers in web and multimedia companies.
  • Junior lecturers in undergraduate programmes. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    It is assumed that the student would have met the admission requirements and would thus be competent in the language of instruction (English) and the theoretical and practical knowledge and understanding accomplished at that level.

    Recognition of Prior Learning:
    Learners may be granted access or advanced placement to the qualification through Recognition of Learning at the discretion of the institution.

    Access to the Qualification:
    A Degree in Graphic Design or equivalent qualification. 

    RECOGNISE PREVIOUS LEARNING? 

    QUALIFICATION RULES 
    The Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree: Graphic Design consists of 5 modules, all at NQF Level 8.

    Modules:
  • Research Methodology, 15 Credits.
  • Contemporary Design Discourse, 25 Credits.
  • Visual Culture Studies, 20 Credits.
  • Graphic Solution Design, 30 Credits.
  • Research Practice, 30 Credits. 

  • EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES 
    1. Evaluate contemporary design theories appropriate to given design challenges.
    2. Perform research to develop and support design solutions.
    3. Classify success criteria for given design challenges in a variety of contexts.
    4. Independently solve complex design challenges by developing innovative human-centred design solutions that will effectively achieve defined objectives.
    5. Evaluate the impact of visual communication through a design solution to gauge its effectiveness. 

    ASSOCIATED ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 
    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Key concepts in design are articulated in a clear and concise manner in both written and oral modes.
  • Visual communication is explained through the application of analytical and interpretive methods.
  • Theoretical frameworks applied in design research are evaluated.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • A research problem related to contemporary graphic design is identified.
  • A plan to conduct research to resolve the problem in an academically appropriate manner is proposed.
  • Research is carried out by collecting and analysing data and presenting the results.
  • An argument or solution rooted in published academic material is formulated.
  • Research findings and solutions are effectively communicated through verbal and visual modes.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • A comprehensive client brief is developed that includes information regarding competitors, target audience and description of proposed design elements in the campaign.
  • Criteria that are appropriate, achievable and assessable are developed.
  • A timeline to determine completion of phases in the design process that will gauge progression and allow for ongoing assessment of developmental work completed is developed.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Visual outputs clearly articulate proposed visual solutions to identified design problems.
  • Design solutions are rooted in basic research findings.
  • A strong visual continuity is evident among the graphic elements presented in a campaign.
  • Design solutions are developed and then presented in a professional manner.
  • Media and design solution techniques are innovatively applied.
  • Visual solutions are executed professionally using appropriate industry related software.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • Design solutions are evaluated according to developed criteria.
  • Areas for improvement are identified and explained.
  • Plan of action for improvement is developed.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Formative Assessment:
    Learning and assessment are integrated. Continual formative assessment is required so that students are given feedback on their progress in the achievement of learning outcomes. The scheme of work includes assignments based on the learning material and students are given feedback. The process is continuous and focuses on smaller sections of the work and limited numbers of outcomes.

    Summative Assessment:
    Summative assessment is concerned with the judgement of the learning in relation to the Exit Level Outcomes of the qualification. Such judgement must include integrated assessments which test the student's ability to integrate the larger body of knowledge, skills and attitudes that are represented by the Exit Level Outcomes as a whole. Examinations, projects, reports or equivalent assessments, such as a portfolio of evidence, assess a representative selection of the outcomes practised and assessed. Summative assessment also tests the student's ability to manage and integrate a large body of knowledge to achieve the stated outcomes of a module.

    Integrated assessments will be designed to achieve:
  • An integration of the achievement of Exit Level Outcomes in a way which demonstrates that the purpose of the qualification as a whole has been achieved.
  • The evaluation of learner performance which can provide evidence of applied competence.
  • Criterion-referenced assessment which is clearly explained to, and understood by, the students and which can be applied in the Recognition of Prior Learning. 

  • INTERNATIONAL COMPARABILITY 
    This qualification was compared to qualifications registered on the New Zealand and Australian Qualifications Frameworks.

    There is a substantial degree of similarity with the qualification offered at the Massey University in Australia. Students at this institution need to complete a combination of practical and theoretical modules and undertake a design research project.

    The BA Hons: Graphic Design also compares favourably with the Bachelor of Visual Communication (Honours) Degree offered at Australia's University of Newcastle, which qualification enables students to advance their conceptual and technical skills as well as to prepare them for further higher degree study. It is presented as a combination of practical and theoretical modules.

    The Bachelor of Art and Design (Honours) offered by the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand provides students with research methodologies to conduct theoretical research to underpin visual inquiries into design issues. This approach of integrating the research module with practical application is similar to the Bachelor of Arts Honours: Graphic Design.

    The Bachelor of Arts Honours: Graphic Design compares favourably with international qualifications in general and particular, in its level of depth and complexity in particular. 

    ARTICULATION OPTIONS 
    Horizontal Articulation:
    This qualification articulates horizontally with the Bachelor of Arts Honours: Multimedia Design, at NQF Level 8.

    Vertical Articulation:
    This qualification articulates vertically with the Master of Arts: Information Design, at NQF Level 9. 

    MODERATION OPTIONS 
    The institution ensures the quality of its qualifications through a stringent process of internal and external control as set out in the relevant assessment policy.

    All Exit Level modules are externally moderated while all others are internally moderated. The institution which is a multi-site provider has a sophisticated system of internal and external moderation to assure quality and ensure equity of provision. Feedback from moderators is used to improve the quality of assessments, material and student support, as well as to ensure fairness and validity in any particular examination cycle. External moderation is also used to ensure that the quality of the programme content and its assessment is comparable to that offered by other providers.

    Internal Moderation:
    The role of internal moderation is to ensure that assessments are conducted appropriately and fairly and that they are a valid indication of a student's performance. Lecturers who are involved in the assessment of learning outcomes need to be able to account for all levels of assessment including assignments, examinations and portfolios etc. Moderation of assessment is formalised within the institution on both internal and external levels through relevant institutional policies.

    External Moderation:
    External Examiners/External Moderators are appointed to examine the exit level subjects of a qualification.

    External moderators must:
  • Be someone not employed by the institution.
  • Hold a relevant qualification one level higher than the exit level of the qualification being moderated and competency in assessment.
  • Have relevant and extensive industry/educational experience in the specific field of practical.
  • For theoretical subjects, relevant educational experience and a qualification higher than the level which they are moderating.
  • Be drawn from a range of backgrounds and institutions. 

  • CRITERIA FOR THE REGISTRATION OF ASSESSORS 
    Assessors and moderators must hold a qualification at least one level higher than the qualification being assessed or moderated. Moderators are also required to have more than two years' teaching experience. Assessors with less than two years' experience have their assessment work moderated by a peer. 

    NOTES 
    N/A 

    LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION: 
     
    NONE 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. The Independent Institute of Education 



    All qualifications and part qualifications submitted for public comment, or registered on the National Qualifications Framework, are public property. Thus, the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction: it is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.