Postgraduate study
Design

MA Visual Communication (with Advanced Practice)*

The MA Visual Communication course is about communicating small and big data in visual ways – graphic design, visual communications, infographics.

Course information

Full-time

  • 2 years

More full-time details

2019 entry

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information

 

This specialist programme reflects the dynamic contemporary practices within the creative industries. It stimulates you to create challenging solutions to real-world design issues to create innovators and leaders in the field of visual communication. You identify the key transferable skills to help you create or respond to career opportunities or undertake further research.

You consider branding, graphic design, illustration, marketing, user experience, new media and future technologies – exploring and visually representing important information. You explore scenario building, fore sighting and future proofing as important factors in establishing the direction of your work and potential developments in design, communication and cultural industries.

This course prepares you, as a creative individual, for professional practice in developing new business ideas, products, systems and artefacts. And it provides a stimulating environment to support high-level enquiry into emerging and future aspects of creative practice, through individual and collaborative action. You benefit from existing work that staff are doing around interactive technology and social design.

This two-year programme enhances your qualification by spending one semester completing a vocational internship, research internship or by studying abroad. Although we can’t guarantee an internship, we can provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own internship position. A vocational internship is a great way to gain work experience and give your CV a competitive edge. Alternatively, a research internship develops your research and academic skills as you work as part of a research team in an academic setting – ideal if you are interested in a career in research or academia. A third option is to study abroad in an academic exchange with one of our partner universities. This option does incur additional costs such as travel and accommodation. You must also take responsibility for ensuring you have the appropriate visa to study outside the UK, where relevant.

The programme begins with group research projects, sharing information and references from diverse sources. Collecting and analysing information from a theme of common interest helps to develop your awareness of the subject from multiple perspectives. Stage 1 involves developing your professional skills, ideas, research, project work and provides you with the opportunity for co-working, partnerships and collaborations. Your interests are evaluated for their enterprise potential and innovative outputs are proposed. 

Stage 2 culminates in a feasibility study for a negotiated research project. Stage 3 enhances your learning through practice with the potential to spend one semester working full-time in industry, on a major research project, or studying or working abroad. 

Stage 4 enables you to direct and display your major project work, supported by regular tutorial contact and studio interaction. You show future ambitions and plans for the project including how it may be distributed or realised beyond the University. 

Course structure

Core modules

Critical Thinking and Theoretical Contexts

This module explores and interrogates key concepts and critical thinking in the 21st century. It promotes debate on developing themes within culture and the creative arts in theory and practice.

Through lectures you explore critical thinking and cultural philosophical approaches. Key issues are explored through talking and debating in seminars.

There are two assessments; a 20 minute presentation focusing on cultural theory in relation to your design practice and field of specialism, and a critical report that recognises design practice with respect to cultural and critical theory.

Design Research Methods

You learn a number of research methods and practices in order to carry out primary design research to identify solutions to real-world problems.

You cover investigations into practical design applications, strategic planning and theoretical speculations.

Through seminars you debate and discuss case studies and the practical application of research methods.

You are assessed on your research plan (20%) and a critical analysis of research methods appropriate to your own design practice, identifying how these are implemented within a design problem solving context (80%).

Enterprising Leadership and Project Management

You learn through seminars and student-led group work, with guest speakers providing real-world perspectives and expertise. You are assessed by a group portfolio, demonstrating innovation, inventiveness, an entrepreneurial mindset, leadership, creativity and project management. The portfolio contains a product development report and a group presentation detailing the process and findings.

MA Visual Communication Major Project

Post Digital Futures

Specialist Skills

Visual Communication and Creative Direction

 

Advanced Practice options

Research Internship

Develop your research and academic skills by undertaking a research internship within the University. Experience working as part of a research team in an academic setting – ideal if you are interested in a career in research or academia.

Study Abroad

Take part in an academic exchange with one of our partner universities and experience study, student life and culture in a different environment. This option offers a valuable life experience and enhances your ability to adapt to working and living internationally. This option does incur additional costs such as travel and accommodation. You must also take responsibility for ensuring you have the appropriate visa to study outside the UK, where relevant.

Vocational Internship

Spend one semester working full-time in industry. We have close links with a variety of local companies who can offer you the chance to develop your knowledge and professional skills in the workplace through an internship. Although we can’t guarantee you an internship, we will provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own internship position. A vocational internship is a great way to gain work experience and give your CV a competitive edge.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

At MA level it is vital that you take an active role in structuring your own learning, and engage with the relevant methods and underpinning theories of your discipline. 

Tutorials, seminars and workshops enable you to apply key learning principles to your day-to-day interactions. Individual support, provided by a personal tutor, is an integral feature of the learning and teaching strategy. 

Research is also an intrinsic part of your study. You need to find and make sense of a wide variety of information from books, newspapers, journals, magazines, websites, archives and many other sources, then analyse and discuss your findings to inform the creative process. Lectures and briefings introduce topics and impart key aspects of disciplinary knowledge, usually to larger groups. 

You develop your practical and professional skills with hands-on experience, informed by subject knowledge and critical understanding. Practical workshops introduce specific skills, followed by independent learning, project work, tutorials and critiques.

Critical reflection is key to all successful problem solving and is essential to the design process. You are expected to test and assess your solutions against design criteria which you develop in the light of your research.

How you are assessed

Your assessments are primarily in-course assessments – you submit work during the module rather than sit timed exams at the end.

Design modules are generally project based and primarily assessed through appraising your portfolio of work, often accompanied by a verbal presentation. Design work is largely developmental and you are assessed on your problem-solving process as well as the result, so it is essential you provide clear evidence of your development work.

Work placement

There may be short-term placement opportunities for some students, particularly during the project phase of the course. 

Career opportunities

When you graduate you have the opportunity to go on to a range of design-related employment, develop new enterprise propositions or receive project funding to take your ideas to market.

You can work across a range of professions within design and the creative industries such as a freelance designer, creative entrepreneur, designer maker or creative director. Further study at doctoral level is also an option.

Entry requirements

You must have a second class (2.2) honours degree or higher in an arts, design or other creative discipline. We also consider relevant experience or equivalent qualifications. Applicants are normally interviewed and required to present a portfolio of work.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

Health conditions requiring adjustments

For this particular course, you may need to undertake an occupational health or work-based risk assessment check. If you have a disability, specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism spectrum condition, sensory impairment or medical condition that may require reasonable adjustments during an external placement, in the university or in a clinical practice area, this must be declared as part of the enrolment process. If you are unsure you can contact the relevant admissions or course tutor for guidance.

* Subject to University approval

Course information

Full-time

  • 2 years

More full-time details

2019 entry

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information