Postgraduate study
The Arts

MA Comics and Graphic Novels

Our MA Comics and Graphic Novels covers specialist areas relevant to comics, graphic novels and manga. You focus on core drawing skills including regular life drawing classes and develop the cognitive and technical skills to equip you for enterprise, employment and further academic research. As a graduate, practising creator or mid-career professional, you can engage in reflective creative practice at an advanced level.

Course information

Full-time

  • within 1 year (September start), 16 months (January start) or 2 years with advanced practice (September or January start)

More full-time details

2019 entry

Part-time

  • Up to 3 years (can be completed in 2 years if preferred)

More part-time details

2019 entry

Contact details

Further information

This course is distinctive in its focus on both the visual and textual elements of the comic medium, combining the development of an authorial voice with establishing a unique visual style.

You have access to industry standard technologies and excellent facilities including specialist drawing equipment such as Cintiq Wacom Tablets, software such as Adobe Creative Suite and ClipStudio as well as more traditional facilities such as wet-spaces, scanners, drawing tables and light boxes. There are three routes you can choose from to gain an MA Comics and Graphic Novels:

  • full-time - 2 years with advanced practice (September and January start)
  • full-time - 1 year (September start) or 16 months (January start)
  • part-time - up to 3 years (can be completed in 2 years if preferred).

Course structure

Core modules

Adaption and Interpretation

You demonstrate a deep and nuanced understanding of the key issues relating to the development of sequential art created in response to provided written material.

The provided written document may be in the form of a professionally formatted full scrip. You also explore a range of written material from a variety of sources.

You undertake appropriate research and analysis, which is synthesised into your visual interpretation.

You experiment with storytelling techniques and visual style to recognise and develop your individual strengths leading to an original creative approach.

You critically reflect on your work to promote further development of specialist skills.

Your assessment is a portfolio of artwork and a reflective document.

Advanced Drawing for Comics

You develop your drawing skills, concentrating on observational and compositional techniques as well as imaginative interpretation and critical reflection.

You carry out a variety of practical tasks including life drawing and observational drawing of objects and architecture. You experiment with materials and techniques and reflect on practice and context. You identify and reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and undertake practice based research to develop original creative approaches.

Assessment is a portfolio of traditional artwork and a presentation.

You are required to draw from naked models of either gender for this module.

Comics Practice: Engaging with Industry

You work for a client, as a freelancer or potentially as a creator within a larger organisation. You attend meeting and pitch to clients. You are also responsible for pricing, copyright and ownership issues.

You work on briefs covering a range of subjects, depending on the client’s requirements, such as the origination of comic strip work, character/creature designs, environment art, vehicles, weapons and storyboards.

Wherever possible industry professionals brief assignments and hold feedback sessions.

Your assessment is a portfolio of visual artwork created to a given brief, a reflective journal, and an additional industry based ‘art test’.

Developing a Personal Voice in Comics

You create a piece of sequential art to communicate an idea developed from a topic of specific interest to you.

You research and analyse your area of interest and develop a range of creative responses. You can express your ideas in an original and idiosyncratic way.

You demonstrate a high level of professional competence and willingness to experiment with a range of visual approaches.

You explore a range of publishing venues, including small press and web comics.

You critically reflect on your work to promote further development and appropriate professional skills.

Your assessment is 100% ICA consisting of a finished piece of sequential art and a reflective document.

Master's Project: Comics

You undertake a major, in-depth, individual study into a specialisation relating to the programme. You explore appropriate commercial, industrial, artistic or research-based problem areas. You research and investigate relevant aspects of a specific area of study, followed by the production of a major deliverable portfolio of relevant practice based materials from the field. You also produce a written report that contextualises and critically evaluates your final outputs.
Your assessment is a report, product and viva.

Pitching the Idea

You work in teams to produce a pitch for a proposed comic book, graphic novel or other form of sequential art.

Mimicking the collaborative nature of the industry you work together on a joint project and have the opportunity to specialise. You collaborate closely and support each other working towards an agreed goal.

Pitch presentations enable you to present your work to rest of the class and help you gain confidence and develop professionalism.

Your assessment is a portfolio of individual work and your contribution to the presentations.

Research Methods

You gain the knowledge and skills to understand the research process in computing and digital media, and the necessary skills to undertake your masters project. You learn how to use and critically evaluate previous academic research, and to generate good evidence material to justify their professional practice. This involves you learning about different research strategies and data generation methods and how they fit into the development lifecycle and the evaluation of the user experience, the use of the academic research literature, and research ethics.

Assessment involves you preparing a research proposal which can form the basis of your master's project.

 

Advanced practice

Internship

The internship options are:

Vocational: spend one semester working full-time in industry or on placement in the University. We have close links with a range of national and international companies who could offer you the chance to develop your knowledge and professional skills in the workplace through an internship. Although we cannot guarantee internships, 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.

Research: 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 for those who are interested in a career in research or academia.


 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

You learn about concepts and methods primarily through keynote lectures and tutorials using case studies and examples. Lectures include presentations from guest speakers from industry. Critical reflection is key to successful problem solving and essential to the creative process. You develop your own reflective practice at an advanced level, then test and assess your solutions against criteria that you develop in the light of your research.

How you are assessed

Various assessment methods are used throughout all of the modules and are specified in the module handbooks. These are primarily what we call in-course assessments, where you submit work during the delivery of the module, rather than sit timed examinations at the end. Arts modules are generally project-based and primarily assessed through appraisal of a portfolio of work, often accompanied by a verbal presentation. Creative work is largely developmental and you are assessed on the process by which you achieve your solutions as well as the result, so it is essential that you provide clear evidence of your development work.

Work placement


Entry requirements

You will normally have a first degree in related discipline (2.2 minimum) or relevant experience or equivalent qualifications.

In addition, international students will require IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.

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.

Course information

Full-time

  • within 1 year (September start), 16 months (January start) or 2 years with advanced practice (September or January start)

More full-time details

2019 entry

Part-time

  • Up to 3 years (can be completed in 2 years if preferred)

More part-time details

2019 entry

Contact details

Further information