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Graphic Design and Illustration - BDes (Hons) - Video

Creative use of words and pictures for every type of communication.

Take a look

Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations

  • Chain Reaction In-House Studio
  • Digital Platform Company
  • Emma Kenny Limited
  • Freelance
  • Hannah McKeown Photography
  • Genesis Advertising
  • Conor McClure Design & Illustration

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles

  • Freelance art direction trainee / Freelance Graphic Designer
  • Freelance Designer
  • Graphic designer
  • Junior Designer
  • Junior Graphic Designer
  • Manager
  • Photographer

Overview

In this section

Creative use of words and pictures for every type of communication.

Summary

Graphic Design and Illustration is about the creative and diverse use of words, pictures, language, ideas and problem solving. Our approach to Graphic Design and Illustration explores areas such as advertising art direction, branding, illustration, typography, photography, in print, digital and video form.

Thinking and ideas are central to producing good work. We value research, the design process and professionalism. Our analytical approach enables you to engage with exciting design challenges, react to a rapidly changing industry and to develop as sensitive and intelligent designers.

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About this course

In this section

About

Like most university courses the learning process in Graphic Design and Illustration happens through modules. These modules have been designed to take the studnet through a journey of acquiring new skills , exploring the subject area and developing the individuals creativity. They are individually assessed and accumulated as you progress.

Year 1 is spent developing awareness of the subject. Subjects like typography are often new and take some time to become familiar with. You will carry out projects that help develop your skills with words and images while deepening your understanding of how this can be used to communicate in a wider society. You will work in a dynamic studio environment and learn via lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops.

Year 2 is about increasing your skills and knowledge and applying them in a range of ways including illustration, branding, photography, advertising and motion graphics. Projects will include live competition briefs and projects throughout the course.

Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) orDiploma in Professional Practice International (DPPI)

On successful completion of Year 2 studies, students have the opportunity to take the optional module Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) or (DPPI). This year of study provides an opportunity for students to gain first hand practical experience within a professional environment such as an advertising agency or brand consultancy prior to their final year of study. This module links the education experience to the real life situation of practice in the creative industries. It provides students with a range of experiences and skills relative to their practice, future career and professional development.

Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS).

On completion of Year 2, students have the opportunity to take the other optional module Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS). This optional module provides an opportunity for students to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland, developing an international perspective and an appreciation of cultural sensitivities which are desirable qualities in any graduate. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Year 3 is when students are encouraged to become increasingly independent in their working methods and in their choice of project. Students are encouraged to take part in major national/international student competitions such as Design and Art Direction (D&AD), the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) and Young Creative Network (YCN).

Associate awards

Diploma in Professional Practice DPP

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Find out more about placement awards

Attendance

Full Time

Three years (with option of four years with optional paid placement).

Attendance on the course is made up of taught sessions, lectures, seminars/tutorials, peer review/feedback, supervised studio and independent study.

Attendance at all sessions is mandatory and it is expected that you will engage not only with the taught elements but also with independant learning in the provided studio environment where your individual learning can be expanded through informal conversations with fellow students.

Start dates

  • September 2020
How to apply

Teaching and learning assessment

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor

- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement

- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

Attendance and Independent Study

As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

Assessment

Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

Calculation of the Final Award

The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Teaching methods

Formal presentations, briefings, lectures and ’hands on’ workshops form the core of each module. Modules include group tutorials, seminars, feedback and IT training sessions in all three years. Graphic Design and Illustration students are given assistance in directed and independent learning, so that they can make the most effective use of resources and of the image/information networks. We also expect Graphic Design and Illustration students to be interested in design, art and the media in the broadest sense and to reflect on such work through personal logs. The professional aspects mean that elements of entrepreneurship are built into almost every module.

Assessment

At each level, modules are assessed according to specific criteria and weightings which are published before the beginning of the semester. Assessment is both formative and summative, and, where appropriate, criteria are written to encourage risk-taking, enterprise and experimentation.

Feedback on your work helps you to reflect on your strenghts and weaknesses so that you can develop and improve your work throughout the course.

Marks for all Final Year modules contribute to the final classification of the honours degree.

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Graphic Design and Illustration 1

Year: 1

This module seeks to

• to introduce Graphic Design & Illustration as a problem solving process

• to intoduce key design principles that underpin Graphic Design & Illustration

• to introduce type/image as a central aspect of Graphic Design & Illustration

• to introduce imagery/image making and visual language

• to introduce type, typography and the semantics of type

• to introduce layout, composition and the dynamic use of space

• to introduce awareness and knowledge of media options - introductions to both graphic design and illustration will begin to enable students o make informed choices for later specialism

• to encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning through self-directed study and critical self-reflection

• to introduce the overall areas of graphic design and illustration to enable students to begin to make an informed choice for future specialism

Graphic Design and Illustration 2

Year: 1

Students will undertake a range of projects of growing complexity aimed at developing their confidence and skills in typography and image making as the semester progresses. The central relationship between type and image will be explored in a variety of projects and media - highlighting the importance of layout and hierarchy in graphic design and illustration. Students will learn about traditional and digital processes and the wide variety of professional practice contexts where these integrated graphic design and illustration skills can be used.

Influences

Year: 1

This module will develop Study skills to move from a 'teacher-focussed' mode of learning to a more confident and independent approach, encouraging students to engage with and write about key influences and ideas in graphic design and illustration. Students will learn of the wider social, cultural, economic, political and technological contexts influencing, and being influenced by their practice. The module encourages students in establishing good observation skills and sound research practice.

Research and Writing 1

Year: 1

This module introduces year one students to key ideas and developments in graphic design and illustration history that have informed and influenced current practice. Students will learn of the wider social, cultural, economic, political and technological contexts in which graphic design and illustration work has been made and used. The coursework encourages students in establishing good observation skills and sound research practice.

Year two

Graphic Design and Illustration 3

Year: 2

The module extends students' understanding of a range of new and traditional techniques, methods and formats for print and screen in preparation for working in graphic design and illustration practice. The focus on professional contexts and case studies (studio based, freelance, entrepreneurial, collective…) develops a rigorous approach to the acquisition of knowledge with a wide range of skills and expertise relating to processes, terminology and applications that will be pertinent to working in graphic design and illustration. This is an important module in helping students more fully reflect on their practice after the transition from Year 1 to Year 2 (or joining the course at that point). This reflection and development will assist students to choose a more specialised approach in semester 2.

Professional Practice GDI 1

Year: 2

This module will introduce students to the professional aspects of being an artist/designer in a rapidly changing society. It investigates the professional contexts of graphic design and illustration and also explores cognate fields where their attributes and skills are increasingly acknowledged, needed and valued as having wider application.

Illustration Research and Writing 2

Year: 2

This module is optional

The module considers seminal and recent academic approaches and debates in illustration visual communication design. Using exemplar historical and theoretical texts students develop an understanding in the ways in which issues and discourses are constructed in relation to their practice and the broader cultural context.

Illustration, Visual Narrative and Motion

Year: 2

This module is optional

The module considers seminal and recent academic approaches and debates in illustration visual communication design. Using exemplar historical and theoretical texts students develop an understanding in the ways in which issues and discourses are constructed in relation to their practice and the broader cultural context.

Graphic Design Research

Year: 2

This module is optional

The module considers seminal and recent academic approaches and debates in graphic design, art direction and wider visual communication. Using exemplar historical and theoretical texts students develop an understanding in the ways in which issues and discourses are constructed in relation to their practice and the broader cultural context.

Graphic Design and Art Direction

Year: 2

This module is optional

The module extends students' understanding and capacity in a range of advancing techniques, methods and formats. Concept development is the central core around which the role of typography, media, image, motion, formats and interactivity are contextualised. Students are able to experiment with new media, materials and methods and to develop a rigorous approach to the acquisition of knowledge and skills related to processes, terminology and applications.

Year three

Placement

Year: 3

This module is optional

This is an optional placement year for students who have completed Level 5 prior to the final year of study. The placement must be a minimum of 25 weeks duration and can be in a broad range of Art/Professional practice. A programme of work is agreed by the student, the Placement Tutor and the Placement Partner and usually takes place in Europe with respect to the relevant health and safety and diability regulations (SENDO). The placement is designed to increase experience of workshop/studio/communal and technical practice, while broadening and enhancing the student's social, personal and professional development. Upon successful completion of the placement year the student is awarded a Diploma in Professional Studies (DPP) or a Diploma in Professional Practice International (DPPI) upon graduation from the course.

International Academic Studies

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Year four

Illustration Research and Writing 3

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module facilitates a broader understanding of the context of illustration/visual communication practice using theoretical debate and analytical methodologies. The student led nature of this module, through researching and writing a dissertation or using other research presentation formats will develop intellectual confidence and self-expression.

Illustration Development

Year: 4

This module is optional

In this module students will work critically and ambitiously to make, develop and refine work that integrates risk taking, practical, aesthetic and intellectual knowledge. Students will further develop and refine understanding of the wide range of professional applications of visual communication through undertaking illustration focused briefs/projects. The module will focus on contemporary illustration practice. Project activity, weekly peer discussion, small group, paired, and individual tutorials will further develop critical awareness and evaluation skills in preparation for professional illustration practice and/or the rigours of postgraduate study.

Professional Illustration Practice 3

Year: 4

This module is optional

The Professional Illustration Practice 3 module develops research, strategic planning and professional management skills. Students document, critically review/evaluate and present their illustration practice from the concurrent Illustration Development module. Student extend knowledge and understanding of their practice in the professional environment; PDP 2, Verbal/Visual Presentation, Self Promotion.

Professional Development

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module content is directly linked to the project work undertaken in Negotiated Projects. All projects work in line with appropriate rationales and schedules and documentation. Analysis and reflection on practice through personal development and reflection. Preparation and production of final assessment exhibition, printing and display techniques and skills. Design advocacy through use of appropriate and effective language.

Major Projects Portfolio

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module challenges students to develop a portfolio of work that demonstrates high levels of integration between conceptual, intellectual and practical skills. International competitions and schemes are used to bench-mark the global standards expected of successful students seeking to further develop in practice or research post-graduation.

Graphic Design Dissertation

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module facilitates a broader understanding of the context of Graphic Design using theoretical debate and analytical methodologies. The student led nature of this module, through researching and writing a dissertation will develop intellectual confidence and self-expression.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

A level

The A Level requirement for this course is BCC - BBB.

Applicants can satisfy the requirement for one of the A level grades (or equivalent) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University.

Applied General Qualifications

The BTEC Extended Diploma requirement for this course is based on an overall BTEC award profile of DMM - DDM to include 15 merits.

Irish Leaving Certificate

The Irish Leaving Certificate requirement for this course is H3, H3, H3, H4, H4 – H3, H3, H3, H3, H3 and English Language at grade O4 or above.

Scottish Highers

The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is CCCCC - BBBCC.

Scottish Advanced Highers

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is CDD - CCC.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum 24 points (12 at higher level).

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Successful completion of Access Course with an average of between 60% - 70%.

GCSE

GCSE Profile to include English Language at minimum grade C.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

Applicants may be selected through interview and/ or portfolio submission.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations. Here are some examples:

  • Chain Reaction In-House Studio
  • Digital Platform Company
  • Emma Kenny Limited
  • Freelance
  • Hannah McKeown Photography
  • Genesis Advertising
  • Conor McClure Design & Illustration

Job roles

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles. Here are some examples:

  • Freelance art direction trainee / Freelance Graphic Designer
  • Freelance Designer
  • Graphic designer
  • Junior Designer
  • Junior Graphic Designer
  • Manager
  • Photographer

Career options

Graphic Design and Illustration graduates are successful in the design / advertising / illustration/ multimedia / photography/ broadcasting / publishing and promotional industries.

Most of the Design and Advertising Studios in Northern Ireland are staffed or run by graduates from this course. Graduates include graphic designers Tim Farell, Alan Jackson and Amy McArthur, illustrators Oliver Jeffers, Barry Falls and Peter Strain and art directors Darcie Graham, Ruth Jackson and Matt Evans. In addition graduates find employment in diverse media, television and publishing roles.

Alumni achieve regular success and awards in advertising, book design and illustration, typography and branding for companies competitions and clients such as:

BBC, BT, Guinness, O2, Remus, New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, The Financial Times, Random House, Channel 4, Orange, UNICEF, Sesame Tree, the Kate Greenaway Medal and the British Book Awards: Children's Book of the Year, Walt Disney.

Those wishing to research and develop their own work to a higher level go on to pursue a Masters qualification either at the University of Ulster in the MFA Multidisciplinary Design ( Communication) or at other institutions in the UK and further afield. There is also the potential for entry onto a PhD.

There are also opportunities for those wishing to teach after the completion of a postgraduate teaching qualification.(PGCE)

Work placement / study abroad

On successful completion of Year 2 studies, you have the opportunity to take the optional module Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) or (DPPI). This year of study provides an opportunity for you to gain first hand practical experience within a professional environment such as an advertising agency or brand consultancy prior to your final year of study. This module links the education experience to the real life situation of practice in the creative industries. It provides you with a range of experiences and skills relative to your practice, future career and professional development.

You also have the opportunity to take the other optional module Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS). This optional module provides an opportunity for you to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland, developing an international perspective and an appreciation of cultural sensitivities which are desirable qualities in any graduate. You will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Apply

How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications for full time undergraduate courses are made through UCAS.

Start dates

  • September 2020

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

Northern Ireland & EU:
£4,275.00

England, Scotland, Wales
and the Islands:

£9,250.00  Discounts available

International:
£14,060.00  Scholarships available

Scholarships, awards and prizes

Discounts for student from England, Scotland and Wales:

International Undergraduate Scholarship

  • Value £2,000 scholarship applied as discount to your annual tuition fee. Open to all new international (non-EU) entrants on the first year of a full-time undergraduate course delivered on one of our Northern Ireland campuses, commencing September 2018.

Other scholarships :https://www.ulster.ac.uk/international/apply/scholarships

Recent International Student Prizes and Awards include:

D&AD (Design and Art Direction) Awards, London, 2014

James Kirkpatrick - Best in Book (App Design);

ISTD (International Society of Typographic Designers) Awards 2014

Emma Kenny;

D&AD (Design and Art Direction) Awards, London, 2013

Christopher Dunlop - Yellow Pencil nomination (Graphic Design/Illustration)

Catherine McConalogue - Best of Year (Open Craft);

ISTD (International Society of Typographic Designers)Awards 2013

Paul McNally and Karen Shearer;

ISTD (International Society of Typographic Designers)Awards 2012

Karla Burns, Sarah Panasch, Declan Mount;

D&AD (Design and Art Direction) Awards, London, 2012

Stephen Pierce - Yellow Pencil Award (Advertising)

Stephen Moffet - Best of Year (Branding)

Tori Phillips - Best of Year (Communication);

D&AD Awards, London 2011

Jonathan McKee - First Prize (Animation);

AOI Best of British Illustration 2011 (Association of Illustrators, London)

Peter Strain - National Critics Award (Illustration).

Additional mandatory costs

Students purchase materials for their own coursework.

Consumable workshop contribution of up to £100 is optional and contributes to materials used by students.

Field trips may incur additional costs.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.

Contact

Joint Course Directors:

Bruce Ingman

T: +44 (0)28 9536 7304

E: b.ingman@ulster.ac.uk

Jill Spratt

T: +44 (0)28 9536 7563

E: j.spratt@ulster.ac.uk

Student Services Centre

T: +44 (0)28 9536 7202

E: bsart@ulster.ac.uk

For more information visit

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Belfast School of Art

Disclaimer

  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
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  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.