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Bachelor of Design – Communication Design

Design cutting-edge communications for any industry and learn from practising industry professionals.

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3 years full-time

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Mar, Jul, Nov

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100% Online

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‘The support from Swinburne Online services and teachers helped me immensely, offering student study support, extensions and checking systems that all helped me gain confidence in my abilities and to keep going.’

Sharyn, Swinburne Online graduate

12.9% ▴

As a Graphic Designer, you’ll have a strong future ahead of you, with a 12.9% increase expected in the next five years.


We’re in the QS ‘Top 50 Under 50’ rankings for 2021.

‘The support from Swinburne Online services and teachers helped me immensely, offering student study support, extensions and checking systems that all helped me gain confidence in my abilities and to keep going.’

Sharyn, Swinburne Online graduate

12.9% ▴

As a Graphic Designer, you’ll have a strong future ahead of you, with a 12.9% increase expected in the next five years.


We’re in the QS ‘Top 50 Under 50’ rankings for 2021.


Design your future.

Turn your passion for design into a career in devising effective communications that cut through with our Bachelor of Design with a Major in Communication Design.

With great graphic design comes great responsibility. Now more than ever, visual messaging is a huge part of how brands communicate to their customers. The success of a campaign or a product can live or die on its visual presentation. This degree prepares you to work in a range of creative industries, including advertising, branding, merchandising, communications and publication design.

Our communication design course will develop your design thinking and practice to prepare you to thrive in today’s fast-paced digital environment. Learn core specialisations such as typography, image-making, brand and identity, 3D form packaging, information design, web design and publication design. Then combine them with strategy, concept development and design to create razor-sharp ideas that cut through the competition.

You’ll be taught by practising designers who bring a real-world perspective to coursework and group discussion. You’ll be learning from one of the top 50 Art and Design courses in the world.

What will you learn?

  • Concepts and Narrative: Explore the fundamentals of design conceptualisation and layout for 2D and 3D projects.
  • Packaging Design: Take an integrated approach to branding and visual communication, including packaging.
  • Digital Design: Develop design techniques for engaging in the digital environment.
  • Visual Design: Explore how language and sign production work with design to communicate a message.
  • Brand and Identity: Discover how to utilise different elements of identity to define a brand and speak to a target market.

Flexible study

What does flexible study mean for me?

Studying at Swinburne Online gives you the freedom to study how it suits you. Decide when and where it fits in with your life and tailor your study journey to your own needs. Get a world-class degree without giving up what’s important.

Flexible study at Swinburne Online

Set a study pace that work with what’s going on in your life. If you’re unsure about how much you can commit to, we can offer part-time options and the option of increasing your unit load as your progress. Interested in fast-tracking your studies? You also have the opportunity to complete up to 12 units per year.

You don’t have to put your life on hold to study. Prioritise what matters to you and fit study around family, work and personal commitments through a course that is flexibly designed for online learners.

Start when it suits. Swinburne Online offers multiple intake dates and flexible unit availability, so you can choose when you begin your studies or if you need to take a break.

Flexible study requires flexible support. As a Swinburne Online student, you’ll have support for extended hours, seven days a week, with Student Advisors available to help with anything from tech support to research advice and dedicated online tutors in each of your units.


Your course structure

This is an example of a full-time study load. Whether you’re looking to fast-track your studies or prefer a part-time study option, Swinburne Online degrees flexibly fit around your study needs.


Undergraduate timeline


The Bachelor of Design with a Major in Communication Design consists of 23 units, including eight core units, seven Communication Design Major units and eight elective units (four of which are recommended). Recommended electives are only available to Design students.

Throughout your course, you’ll produce work for real clients and develop a professional portfolio. You’ll also complete a communication design ‘Capstone Project’ that draws upon your theoretical knowledge you have gained throughout your course. This project allows you the freedom to experiment with your established skills and knowledge.

Studying communication design with Swinburne Online is a unique opportunity. Our courses are at the forefront of industry and provide you with the practical skills to success come graduation. View all units in your bachelor’s degree.

View All Units

How you'll learn

Learning designed for online

Your study journey with Swinburne Online is tailored to the digital space. You’ll study in a dynamic virtual classroom environment, interact with your peers in the custom-built social platform, and receive support at the times you need it from advisors who understand studying online.

Your online study journey

You’ll complete each of your units in Canvas, your online classroom, and guided through coursework by an online tutor with real-world experience in your field of study. Canvas is where you’ll access classes, assignments and discussion boards with your peers.

The Student Hub is your online campus, where you’ll access the support and resources to assist you throughout your study journey. From managing your course to technical support and library resources, you’ll find it all in one easy location.

Swinburne Online will be there for you each step of the way. From enrolment through to graduation, we offer extended, flexible support in each of your units and advisors to assist with anything from technical support to referencing and assignment tips.

Entry requirements

Completion or partial completion of an approved tertiary qualification (including diplomas, advanced diplomas, associate degrees and degrees). Additional performance criteria and prerequisite requirements may also apply.

Submission of a portfolio of your creative work examples that sufficiently demonstrates an understanding of the practical aspects of visual communication design is required. Your work examples might include design work you have previously created for clients or friends and/or artwork you have created as a hobby. The aim is to demonstrate the breadth of your creative skills by including examples of work that show a variety of different skills or design applications.

Please note the technology requirements for this course.

Students admitted to the course with prior tertiary studies that satisfy part of the academic requirements of this course may be eligible for academic credit of up to 16 units.

Applicants without a formal qualification but with significant and relevant work experience and appropriate English language skills, or a suitable Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) result, will be considered if they can demonstrate that they can undertake the course with a reasonable prospect of success.

Read our Applying and Enrolling FAQs.

The University may determine selection criteria and restrictions in respect of courses to apply in addition to these entry requirements.

  • Applicants must meet the associated minimum ATAR score.
  • VCE Units 3 and 4: a minimum study score of 25 in any English (except EAL) or 30 in English as Alternate Language (EAL) or equivalent
  • VCE Units 3 and 4: a minimum study score of 20 in one of Art, Product Design and Technology, Media, Interactive Digital Media C, Creative and Digital Media (VCE VET) I, Studio Arts or Visual Communication Design or equivalent.
  • A portfolio of work and a certified Statement of Results will be required.
  • If you are applying as an international student, please view the English Language Requirements.


The estimated annual fee for this course is $8301*. This is based on completing eight 12.5 credit point units in one calendar year.

Commonwealth provided loans are available to assist eligible students to pay their course fees and there are a range of university, government and privately funded scholarships and prizes.

Discover more information about HELP loans.

Course fees will be affected by a student’s unit selection and any credit awarded in recognition of previous academic experience.

This course is offered to domestic and offshore international students. Depending on your citizenship, you may be eligible for a Commonwealth Supported Place.

Domestic students also contribute to student services and amenities via an annual fee.

Scholarships are available for both commencing and current students. You may be eligible for Swinburne Scholarships.

Career Outcomes

Your pathway to industry

Our design graduates work in a range of rewarding roles and industries. The Bachelor of Design with a Major in Communication Design prioritises arming you with practical experiences so you can begin building a professional portfolio. You will:

  • Complete a communication design ‘Capstone Project’ that prepares you with key workplace skills
  • Learn how to work within a range of industries to ensure your career path is diverse and flexible
  • Learn from key industry leaders.

Produce design solutions for clients and oversee creative projects from start to finish.

Develop and execute marketing strategies and create strong graphic design elements.

Produce creative campaigns using graphic design, web and video advertising content.

Be the face of the company as a key contact point to important clients. You’ll manage their goals and expectations, creating valuable and lasting relationships.

Use your creativity and expertise to design websites and produce assets for web pages.


‘I enjoy the flexibility and the quality of course content and support.’


Swinburne Online graduate

What are other students asking?
For students undertaking a degree, most of your learning materials are included with a free license provided to you by Swinburne Online. However, in some cases, you will be notified via your student email that you will need to buy specific software or eTexts. For TAFE Business students, all of your learning materials will be available online and are covered by your course fees. You won’t need to purchase any further materials.
When you enrol to study a degree with us, you will nominate how many units you would like to select per teaching period, based on a recommendation from one of our Course Consultants. From here, our enrolments team will allocate you automatically to the units they feel will be best suited to your needs, so you don’t need to worry about choosing units. If you want to choose something different than what you are allocated to, that is no problem, just get in touch with our Student Advisors and they will take care of it for you.
You won’t normally have to be online at a specific time. Your course material is available for you from the beginning of each teaching period and you can work through it in the hours that suit you. There are some live webinar sessions that run approximately once a month. These are a special opportunity for students to sign in at the same time as their tutors, normally before an assessment deadline. It gives you the chance to ask any questions relating to the assignment in real time and hear other student’s questions and thoughts. We understand that students won’t always be able to make these sessions, so they can be replayed the next day.

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