Diploma of Graphic Design

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Diploma of Graphic Design
Domestic Fees

Units x Costs ($AUD)
4 x $3,807
2 x $2,728
1 x $5,456

Indicative Total Course Fee*
$26,140 AUD
Plus Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

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

For more information view the SAE Fee Schedule or visit the Fee & Payment page.

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

Complete your course faster by studying the course units over approximately 7 months (2 trimesters).

Diploma of Graphic Design
Course Durations
2 Trimesters Full Time (Fast Track)

Complete your course faster by studying the course units over approximately 7 months (2 trimesters).

3 Trimesters Full Time

Whilst still classified as a full-time study load, you will complete the course units over one year. (3 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)
May 2024
Diploma of Graphic Design
Start Dates
  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

Entry Requirements
Diploma of Graphic Design
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 Certificate III level qualification, or higher, 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


The Diploma of Graphic Design has a strong practical focus, underpinned by key theoretical components. The course content is informed by our strong links to the creative industries and our 40+-year history in designing and teaching creative media courses.

You will engage in virtual collaborative learning, producing work in response to a client brief. You’ll explore the mechanics and operations of a studio environment, including the different roles involved in larger projects, collaborative creativity, design strategy, and project workflows.

To complement your technical skills, you will graduate with employability skills, introductory project management skills, and academic techniques for higher education.

Upon completion, you will be eligible for up to 80 credit points towards the Bachelor of Design and Visual Communication.

SAE Design class

Career Outcomes

What jobs will this course lead me into?

  • Entry-level Graphic Designer
  • Entry-level Digital Designer
  • Entry-level Typographer
  • Graphic Design Production Assistant
  • Entry-level Digital Illustrator
  • Entry-level User Experience Designer
  • Entry-level User Interface Designer

Why study a Diploma of Graphic Design at SAE?

Design student
Understand and apply best practices of industry tools and software Apply your learning 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.
Flexible course options Completing one of the three stages of the Bachelor of Design & Visual Communication, this course provides an excellent pathway into the degree.
Become job-ready To complement your technical skills, you will develop communication, introductory project management, teamwork and collaboration skills.


Access to Tools & Software

Graphic Design Skills

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


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Course Structure

The Diploma of Design & Visual Communication is stage 1 of the 3 stages of a Bachelor.
Pink. Infographic explaining Trimesters 1-6 for the Diploma, Associate Degree and Bachelor Design courses at SAE.
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.
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.


Here are some frequently asked questions.

Read more FAQs

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’.

* Terms and conditions apply. For the latest updates regarding FEE-HELP please refer to

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.

SAE has three intakes per year: February, June and September. Short courses and certificates courses may have different intake timings. View our academic calendar for trimester start dates or contact your campus for further information.

Course structure line graph

Easy transition into the Bachelor of Design & Visual Communication

SAE Diploma, Associate and Bachelor Degrees are structured in an integrated course framework.

This means that when you complete an SAE Diploma of Graphic Design you will be awarded the maximum credit points available, providing you with the opportunity to seamlessly transition into the higher-level Associate and Bachelor degree qualifications if you choose to do so.


SAE may recognise your prior learning and may grant credit towards satisfying the requirements for 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.
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