Bachelor of Design & Visual Communication

SAE Design student
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Bachelor of Design & Visual Communication
Domestic Fees

Indicative Total Course Fees*

$63,292 AUD

* The Indicative Total Course Fee reflects the students are charged fees on a per unit basis and the fee for a unit may increase.

FEE-HELP Available
6 Trimesters Full Time (Fast Track)

Complete your course faster by studying units across 2 years (6 trimesters).

Bachelor of Design & Visual Communication
Course Durations
6 Trimesters Full Time (Fast Track)

Complete your course faster by studying units across 2 years (6 trimesters).

8 Trimesters Full Time

Complete the study units across 2.5 years. (8 trimesters).

9 Trimesters Full Time

Whilst still classified as a full-time study load, you will complete course units over a 3 year period (9 trimesters).

Part-time option available

If you want to take a little longer, that’s ok too. We’ll help you work out the best study load to suit your needs.

Note: Part-time is not available for international students.

We understand that things can change, so you'll have the flexibility to change your study load throughout your course if you need to.
Start Date(s)
February 2023
Bachelor of Design & Visual Communication
Start Dates
  • February 2023

  • May 2023

  • September 2023

Entry Requirements
Bachelor of Design & Visual Communication
Domestic Entry Requirements
Domestic students must meet one of the following criteria:
Completion of a Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (QCE, WACE, HSC, SACE, etc) (like your Year 12 certificate or equivalent); OR
Completion of a Diploma level qualification issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF); OR
Completion of a Certificate IV level qualification issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF); OR
Experience-Based Entry – for applicants who do not meet the requirements of entry criteria above.
More info


Our course is about much more than visual aesthetics, providing you with a detailed understanding and hands-on experience of the role of design in the contemporary world. You’ll explore branding and identity design, online and print design, digital image-making and user-centred design. You’ll create targeted designs with a particular audience in mind, and develop the skills to come up with creative solutions to complex problems in almost any context.

At SAE, you will engage in virtual collaborative learning and also one-on-one mentoring opportunities you may not find in a larger university. You’ll apply theoretical knowledge through studio best-practices and access the latest software like the Adobe Creative Suite as well as have the option to access on-campus facilities.

Your growth and development will be assessed holistically based on your engagement with and completion of real-world projects and you’ll learn to apply a strategic, entrepreneurial eye to your clients’ needs. You will build up a diverse portfolio of work to share with potential employers and clients.

Ultimately, the Bachelor of Design and Visual Communication will allow you to flourish in a rapidly changing world, giving you the skills to apply design-led solutions to a wide range of communication challenges. With a design qualification, you can work in large corporations or small agencies, as a freelancer, or as part of an entrepreneurial project team in any industry. Work placement will provide practical experience and help to build your network. You’ll be equipped with employability skills, giving you professional strategies in communication and self-promotion, and the confidence to claim your place in the workforce.

With a Bachelor of Design and Visual Communication, you’ll be ready for cutting-edge industry roles using modern creative business concepts and strategies. Career options include UI Designer, Content Creator, Creative Director, and Branding or Identity Designer in any industry.

Enjoy the benefits of being SAE trained – our design students have achieved great success in the creative industries. SAE graduates are known within the industry for their high-level skills and are in high demand.


SAE Bachelor of Design & Visual Communication offers:

SAE Design student wall
Apply best practices and advanced techniques using tools and software Access to a range of software packages like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Adobe XD and After Effects.
Practical, immersive training Learn as you collaborate on real-world projects and briefs. Build a portfolio to share with an employer or first client.
Cross discipline collaboration Use your design skills to work across film, audio, music, gaming and animation projects at SAE.
Expand your career Graduate with a portfolio, work experience, employability and entrepreneurial skills and a network of fellow creatives.

Tools & Software

Design & Visual Communication Skills

Branding and identity design Online and print design Digital image-making User-centred design

Course Structure

The Bachelor of Design & Visual Communication is broken up into three distinct stages, each designed to develop different skills.
Gradient of graphic design qualification
Stage 1: Foundations
Develop the essential technical design skills and the knowledge required to collaborate with other creative media students and professionals.
Credit Points: 10

In this unit, you will learn about the ideas and concepts of design. You will discover the art of presenting and defending a point of view in a convincing and effective way by referring to valid and trustworthy sources of information. Thinking about and referencing the work of others helps you to develop critical thinking skills. By using tools on the internet and working with others you will expand what you alone can achieve. In your projects, you will delve into the history and language of the design industry in order to develop an understanding of your place and purpose within it.
Credit Points: 10

In this unit you will learn about the principles of design through creating vector graphics in the form of motifs, pictorial marks and logos using Adobe Illustrator and other tools. Project briefs and activities in this unit introduce the principles of design; these are visual rules that can be applied in the creation of any image to enhance their impact, attractiveness and ability to communicate. The principles of design are useful and essential to your ongoing design practice
Credit Points: 10

In this unit you will learn about illustration and the creative and technical production of digital images using photoshop and other tools. Working by hand and digitally you will explore a range of drawing techniques and tools including processes of iteration and refinement. You will investigate visual storytelling through the development of a series of images. Storytelling through your creative practice is essential to your ongoing design practice.
Credit Points: 10

In this unit you will learn about designing page layouts for print through the combination of images and type. Your work will include the design of posters, brochures and flyers. You will investigate historical design styles; analysing, adapting and applying these styles in your work. You will explore the typographic art of arranging letters and words to make copy easy to read, visually appealing, and stylistically appropriate. Knowing how to use typography and layout effectively is essential to your ongoing design practice.
Credit points: 10
This unit will introduce you to the mindset and skillset of the creative entrepreneur, and transform your approach to problem-solving. You will analyse historical and contemporary models of leadership and best practice in entrepreneurship, and use tools for project design that include ideation, problem framing, and pitching. The skills in this unit will assist you in developing your creative thinking, exploration, and experimentation methods, allowing you to experiment with project design and content for creative media.
Credit Points: 10

In this module you will learn to understand the user or target audience as part of your design process, through an exploration of UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) design. By applying the tools of UX design such as personas and user journeys and those of UI design such as prototyping, iterating and testing you will explore the creation of websites or apps that provide an ideal user experience.
Credit Points: 20

This unit will simulate being in a real-world studio. Your designs will respond to larger project briefs with multiple deliverables, and you will engage in teamwork. This means time management, communication and scheduling will be crucial. You will learn to consider projects strategically in terms of your client’s brand or identity, and how these can be communicated visually and through associated text and structures. You are encouraged to explore and seek out new contemporary methods and tools for design and communication.

In this studio setting your facilitator will act as your project manager, producer, mentor and colleague.

This unit will be holistically assessed based on the criteria outlined in the unit guide. Teamwork, collaborative skills, and engagement with specific feedback processes are emphasised in this unit, as you further refine and reflect on a set of Transferable Skills.
Stage 2: Refine & Expand
Broaden your scope to work on complex multidisciplinary projects in accordance with industry standard practices.
Credit Points: 10

In CIM210 you will be working on interdisciplinary projects that relate to some of the most important concepts in contemporary media production. You will learn practical and analytical skills in order to help you develop your creative powers and meet briefs that take you out of your comfort zone. You will need to bring all of the skills you have learned so far: technical skills, research skills, communication skills and a growth mindset, and be prepared to encounter new concepts and new ways of working.
Credit Points: 30

Like in Studio 1, this unit will simulate being in a real-world studio. Your designs will respond to larger project briefs with multiple deliverables, and you will engage in teamwork. Your teams may also include students from other disciplines or campuses. This means consideration of your teammates' cultural and industry contexts as well as thoughtful and conscientious time management, communication and scheduling will be crucial. Problem framing will be a key consideration in order to provide clear goals that will allow effective teamwork. You will learn to consider projects strategically in terms of your client’s brand or identity, and how these can be communicated visually and through associated text and structures. You are encouraged to explore and seek out new contemporary methods and tools for design and communication, and to enhance your existing skills.
Credit Points: 10

Media and culture are not simply entertainment, but something that affects the “real world”, our everyday lives, and our worldviews. As such, we will not ask whether media accurately reflect the real world but instead ask how media shape, reinforce, and challenge power structures that influence our understanding of the world and ourselves. This unit takes a ‘critical theory’ approach to analyze media and culture. In this unit, you will explore media texts, contexts and meaning, society and subjectivity, pop culture aesthetics, and critical cultural discourses that inform creative media practices.

Drawing on a range of creative content and analytical frameworks, you will be encouraged to develop ways of thinking about media and culture that demonstrate a broad awareness of aesthetic principles and stylistic trends; subjectivity, agency, ethics, and relations of power; contexts, disciplines and discursive formations. In support of this exploration, you will produce a range of media artifacts that explore and contextualize the relationship of media to culture through individual analysis, collaborative and interdisciplinary creative practice, and critical reflection.

Credit Points: 30

Like in Studio 2, this unit will simulate being in a real-world studio. You will build on skills gained earlier in the course with various modes of design but with a stronger strategic focus and with a set of skills and mindset that seeks out and allows you to collaborate effectively.

You will actively explore the benefits of bringing creatives from other disciplines into your teams in terms of the value this brings to your campaigns. Your teams may include students from other disciplines or campuses and external clients. You will consider how your transferable skills enhance your own identity as an emerging professional. This means consideration of your teammates and clients’ cultural and industry contexts as well as thoughtful and conscientious time management, communication and scheduling.

Crafting compelling driving questions will allow you to attract interested, engaged and motivated creative teams. You will reflect on your scholarly practice looking for connections to your design practice.

You will learn to consider projects strategically in terms of your client’s identity, and also your own identity as a professional, by considering what you can personally provide to allow for successful and satisfying projects.
Stage 3: Showcase
Execute a project of your own design which is of high quality and externally published, with the knowledge to commercialise if you choose. You'll also apply your skills through industry work placement.
Credit Points: 20

This is the first unit in a two-part process of developing a collaborative project, designed to meet professional publication standards. In a group, you'll design and execute a full-scale creative project which will be designed to a specific target audience and market of your team's choosing.

Working closely with SAE Project Supervisors, your project will be guided through formal pre-production and production processes to deliver a creative media project. If you are undertaking a specialisation in your course, you will be required to align it with this capstone project as part of the approval process.

This unit is designed to support the pre-production process, long term success of the project and the fair and equitable contribution of group members. You'll present to the panel your forward plan for the project, which demonstrates rigourous pre-production processes to mitigate risk to ensure the project can be delivered on time and to specification.

Once you successfully complete this unit the emphasis of the capstone project development will move away from pre-production into full production mode.
Credit Points: 20

Your final studio unit is an opportunity for you to finesse your skills in areas that appeal to you, with your capstone project development in mind. You will be responding to industry-related briefs in a way that displays your personal and professional skills.

As an effective collaborator, you will be expected to engage in projects that extend and refine your practice and provide high quality examples of creative work for your portfolio. You will confidently apply what you have learned about time management, communication and other transferable skills keeping in mind the ways that your transferable skills enhance your own identity as an emerging professional.

You will think about and apply what you have learned in your scholarly practice to your work in terms of themes and concepts, and seek out a community of practice that explores similar ideas, and that may form a network for your professional practice.

You may create a point of difference in your work through the creative application of contemporary methods and tools for design and communication that augment your abilities, and enhance your existing skills.
Credit Points: 20

Using the project plan and pre-production work that you completed in the Major Project Development Unit, you'll adopt a quality framework that will lead to the publication of a final creative piece.

This quality process will be accountable to multiple, external stakeholders and will test your ability to problem solve, evaluate and synthesise information to the standard that we expect from all SAE graduates. Throughout this journey, you will interact with your classmates and other key stakeholders using the processes and systems and that you would have developed throughout your course.

The publication and subsequent success of the final deliverable will represent the broadening and deepening of your professional practice which has occurred during your journey.
Credit Points: 10

Gain an introduction to the principles of entrepreneurship to create and operate your own creative media small business venture. Through analysing the global media landscape, You'll be able to identify and explore start-up opportunities within the creative industries.

This unit is designed to be done in parallel with your capstone project. You'll apply the skills and knowledge from this unit to formulate a rigorous business case to help you commercialise your capstone project and use it as a basis for a creative media start-up.
Credit Points: 10

Future jobs will require workers to learn on the job; focus on relationships with people; have strong communication skills; use a range of transferable skills. Research consistently points to the benefits of students being prepared with documents that are required for job applications, such as a Resume, Cover Letter, and E-portfolio.

In addition, the value of a Work Placement which provides you with professional experience and an opportunity to use skills and knowledge gained from study to complement this.

The Work Placement for SAE Bachelor students requires a minimum of 80 hours at one or more host organisation. Both the student and the host are required to complete an SAE Agreement which formalises the placement.
Credit Points: 10
CRICOS Course Codes
105484B (6 TRIMESTERS) 105483C (8 TRIMESTERS) 108446F (9 TRIMESTERS)
Australian Qualifications Framework
We consult closely with industry professionals so you can expect a course that’s highly relevant and equips you with sought-after skills.
SAE Design class


What jobs will this course lead me into?

  • Graphic designer
  • Content manager
  • Print and digital designer
  • Social media designer
  • UX designer
  • UI designer
  • Creative director
  • Branding and identity designer
  • Art director
Gradient of qualifications from Bachelor to Masters.

Easy transition into postgraduate courses

SAE Bachelor Degrees are structured in an integrated course framework.

This means that when you complete an SAE of Design & Visual Communication you will be awarded the maximum credit points available, providing you with the opportunity to seamlessly transition into the higher-level postgraduate qualifications if you choose to do so.

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Course FAQs

All SAE courses have a focus on practical, hands-on delivery. The amount of practical time you experience during your studies does vary, depending on your course. You will also have opportunities to access campus resources and facilities outside of class time, during campus opening hours.

Read more about SAE enrolment for domestic students here.

Read more about SAE enrolment for international students here.

You can apply for SAE courses quickly and easily online. Go to our Apply now page for further information.

FEE‑HELP* is an Australian Government loan scheme that assists eligible fee paying students pay all or part of their tuition fees. It cannot be used for additional study costs such as accommodation or text books. The total amount of FEE‑HELP a person can use is known as the ‘FEE‑HELP limit’.

Once a person begins using FEE‑HELP, the amount of FEE‑HELP they have left to use is known as their ‘FEE‑HELP balance’.

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SAE may recognise your prior learning and may grant credit towards satisfying the requirements for a VET or a higher-level program. This is applied where previous learning is considered equivalent to the content and learning outcomes prescribed for units within the program.
For full details, please refer to SAE's policy on recognition of prior learning and credit transfers.
Design model of a multicolour face


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