Like us, you view communication as a profound achievement of human evolution. Engaging with ideas that will radically alter the current terrain? Already have relationships with research bodies confronting key issues in your field? What you need now is a laboratory for experimentation and sustained academic discourse.

Meet Programme Director Rebecca Wright and students

Reasons to Apply

  • MA Communication Design enables you to pursue your studies whilst also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities. You are expected to commit 30 hours per week to your studies; your taught input will normally be scheduled over a maximum of two to three days per week during term time. 
  • You’ll able to attend professional practice talks with UK based communication design professionals and internationally acclaimed designers. Guest speakers have included Johnny Hardstaff, Morag Myerscough, Mason Wells, Michael Wolff, Chip Kidd, Javi Mariscal, Ahn Sang-Soo.
  • Graduates, such as Bibliotheque's Mason Wells, have gone on to launch their own successful design studios, to work for UK's most respected companies and international design companies, freelance in their chosen areas or follow a design research career.
  • Our students hosted the international speakers’ event TEDx at our brand new Kings Cross campus in March 2012. The theme of the conference was ‘Emergence’ and the event hosted speakers from design, political, social and third sector backgrounds, new voices in sociology and anthropology, and those involved in new media behaviours, gaming and the private sector.
  • You’ll learn to draw on a very wide range of extra-disciplinary resources including aesthetics, anthropology, behaviourism, cognition, linguistics, teleology and typology to deploy within your major project.
  • You will have the opportunity to work on a range of UK and international client projects. Clients include ITRS, McCann - Erickson worldwide Royal Shakespeare company, Samsung.


Course Leader

Rebecca Ross

Course Location

King's Cross, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 7023

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course LengthFull time: 2 years (60 weeks)
Home/EU Fee

Tuition fees for 2015/16: £4,750 per year.

Please note that fees for second year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course. 

International Fee

Tuition fees for 2015/16: £11,450 per year.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course. 

Start DateSeptember 2015
Autumn Term DatesMonday 28 September 2015 – Friday 11 December 2015
Spring Term DatesMonday 11 January 2016 – Friday 18 March 2016
Summer Term DatesMonday 18 April 2016 – Friday 24 June 2016
Application Route

Direct application

Content and Structure

Communication is one of the profound achievements of human evolution. Its ever-developing complexity, its unpredictability and its application possibilities are at the heart of MA Communication Design at Central Saint Martins. As the 'operating system of the 21st century', communication design touches every sphere of human and political interest, impacting profoundly on culture, finance, globalisation, localisation, policymaking, socio-economic development, sustainability and much more.

MA Communication Design is part of the Graphic Communication Design programme. How do students begin to engage with communication design at Masters level? MA Communication Design starts by framing questions that identify important themes, issues or problems. Then we develop an investigative structure or methodology through project work, tutorials, seminars and lectures, embracing independent study and professional connections within academic and professional communities energised by these questions.

Inevitably, working this way produces outcomes and solutions that court difference, that are unpredictable, that aren't bound by current disciplines and paradigms.

These outcomes are appropriate to the communication design question, audience and personal standpoint. They manifest themselves in, for example, data dynamics, image making, information and interaction design, photography, programming, typography, writing, or in new and as yet undefined products.

Contemporary communication design questions aren't inward looking or introverted. They draw on a very wide range of extra-disciplinary resources including aesthetics, anthropology, behaviourism, cognition, linguistics, teleology and typology in search of mechanisms with which to probe, enlighten and deliver new applications.

To follow this process at Masters level you'll have acquired high-level practical and intellectual skills. Throughout the course your research question drives and shapes the acquisition of deeper subject and practical knowledge and determines your career direction and aspirations.

About the course

  • MA Communication Design is offered in a two-year, 60-week, extended full-time (EFT) mode, requiring approximately 30 hours study per week. Taught delivery is normally timetabled across three days per week including self-directed study.
  • MA Communication Design is credit-rated at 180 credits, and comprises two units as follows: Unit 1: 60; Unit 2: 120 credits.
  • Students must pass both units to be considered for the award of MA, with the award of a distinction being based on the achievement in Unit 2 only.

Unit 1: Shared Language

This unit acts as an induction into the College and to the subject of communication design by establishing a shared language and foundation for your postgraduate learning. Through an immersion into communication design as a problem solving discipline and service, we encourage you to engage with the subject’s purpose, context and opportunities.

The unit introduces you to critical thinking and discourses within the subject debate, utilising a collaborative, team- based approach to learning. It supports you in establishing the necessary contextual knowledge and research skills needed to explore the subject and locate yourselves within it, whilst establishing what is, or might be possible in terms of communication design and its responsibilities. The unit offers the opportunity to experiment, take informed risks, engage with uncertainty and learn from failure.

This Unit helps to re-enforce and define the critical position of your practice, and in particular the development of a Programme of Study for your Major Project in Unit 2.

Unit 2: Communication question

Unit 2 acts as a natural extension to Unit 1, providing the opportunity for manifesting and materialising Masters level processes and methods of enquiry and evaluation in the form of a substantive, coherent and extended collection of practical and written product relating to the exploration of the communication design question. It lasts for 40 weeks, from term 3 in Year One until the end of the course, and builds in regular formative assessment opportunities.

The emphasis of the Unit is your interrogation and gradual focusing of your research question, manifested through a variety of visual and text-based outcomes, as appropriate. Towards the end of the course, you complete and present a research paper at a College-hosted Symposium – using the experiences of Unit 2, your projects and their outcomes to explain and substantiate the communication question you have been interrogating.

The unit’s teaching and learning is essentially self-directed supported by regular supervisory points of contact consisting of seminar discussions, presentations and individual tutorials.

Throughout the unit professional practice talks and UAL research network events provide the necessary professional and research currency.


Course Leader: Dr. Rebecca Ross

Typography Subject Leader: Professor Phil Baines
Printmaking & Bookbinding Subject Leader: Douglas Bevans
Advertising Subject Leader: Clive Challis
Moving Image Subject Leader: Esteban Gitton
Illustration Subject Leader: Andrew Hall
Context Subject Leader: Dr. Paul Rennie
Digital Media & Interaction Subject Leader: Dr. Rebecca Ross
Photography Subject Leader: Gary Wallis
Illustration Tutor: Alan Baines

Design & Interaction Tutor: Cath Caldwell
Design & Interaction Tutor: Amanda Lester
Context Subject Tutor: Andrea Lioy
Typography, Design & Interaction Tutor: Dr. Catherine Dixon
Design & Interaction Tutor: Val Palmer


Personal and professional development is a core element of MA Communication Design. Throughout the postgraduate programme we encourage you to deepen your understanding of professional practice so that, on graduating, you'll be well positioned to become an active and valued member of the international design community.

MA Communication Design alumni have gone on to launch their own successful design studios in London and beyond, to work for some of the UK's most respected companies, or to freelance in their chosen specialisms. Others follow a design research career.

The breadth of opportunities for design professionals grows every year. It's the aim of the course to help students understand, devise and implement design processes that will enable them to work confidently across diverse media.

For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit the Student Jobs And Careers section.

Entry Requirements

Minimum entry requirements

MA Communication Design are: Honours degree; evidence of experiential learning equivalent to a degree; or 3 years relevant professional experience.

English language requirement

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you send us an English language test score together with your application to prove your level of proficiency. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please clearly indicate this on your application form. When you have received your test score, please send it to us immediately. The standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. For further information visit the Language Centre website.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the External English Tests page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.

What we look for

MA Communication Design suits applicants who are investigating today's significant communication design questions and engaging with emerging questions that will radically alter the terrain. Candidates may already have formed relationships with the professional studios, agencies and research institutions working on questions at the forefront of their discipline and are seeking a laboratory for experimentation and sustained academic and professional discourse. This places a high demand on current skills and supposes the evolution of new and as yet undefined skills.

Student selection criteria

MA Communication Design applicants will be selected on the basis of the following criteria demonstrated in the communication question and accompanying portfolio:

  • Completeness and coherence of communication question proposed
  • Awareness of current communication issues
  • Awareness of organisations, agencies and institutions related to current communications issues
  • Awareness of how research and practice supports the communication question proposed
  • How your personal aims and objectives relate to the communication question proposed in your application

Application advice

We select applicants from the major project programme of study, (see below) and the effective use of the  portfolio as evidence of the process of investigation. You will be asked submit a selection of work to support your application via an online Portfolio Review Website. When the college receives your application you will be contacted via email with the link to upload images of your work and details of the file formats that you can use.

Major Project Programme of Study

Defining a Communication Design question, which directs the production of a sustained major project, is an essential part of masters level qualification. It demonstrates advanced understanding of contemporary design thinking and practice within the field of communication design.

Communication Design questions are wide ranging, providing an opportunity to comprehensively investigate contemporary or future communication design issues, position your interests academically, commercially, socially and culturally and identify and apply or develop appropriate technology/ies.

Your application to MA Communication Design requires you to propose a programme of study for your Major Project identifying your Communication Design question.

When answering questions posed in the programme of study ensure you refer to work in your portfolio, which supports your answers. The programme of study and your portfolio work together as a integrated application.

The template below provides a structure to develop and identify your intended communication design question and the resultant outcomes.

The structure is predicated on the following:

  • What am I investigating?
  • Why is it important to my studies, professional development and the field of study?
  • Who is the intended audience for my work?
  • How will the question be answered?

Project subject area: What is the subject area the project will investigate? (refer to work in your portfolio).
Project summary: Briefly describe the project.
Core communication design question the major project will investigate (what): What is the communication design question/s to be investigated by the major project?
Personal objectives (why): Why is the project of personal relevance? Refer to your skills/experimental/experiential background and plan for continuing professional/educational development (refer to work in your portfolio).
Project rationale (why): Why is the project of importance? How does the project extend subject knowledge in the field? (what new knowledge will be created).
Project audience (who): Who is the intended audience, who am I communicating with?
Proposed approaches, methods and methodologies (how): Briefly explain your proposed approach, demonstrating an awareness of planning, project stages and the timescales involved. Explain briefly how you propose to conduct the research and the main research approaches and methods you might use (refer to work in your portfolio) Indicate any possible ethical issues involved such as copyright, publication, confidentiality. health and safety etc.
Possible outcomes or products (how):  Indicate the expected or anticipated outcomes, products your communication question design might result in and what resources might be needed to complete the project.
References and bibliography: Indicate the importance of previous related studies by providing evidence of key texts (theories/approaches/sources) and state their relevance to the proposed project (refer to work in your portfolio).

Personal statement

Your personal statement (300-500 words) should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course. What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally, personally? Why do you want to study MA Communication Design? Do you have any relevant experience? Why do you think you're a suitable candidate for acceptance?

Portfolio of work

You will be asked to submit a selection of work to support your application via an online Portfolio Review Website. When the college receives your application you will be contacted via email with the link to upload images of your work and details of the file formats that you can use.


Home/EU and International applicants

Download your MA Communication Design application form:

Each form contains detailed information about the application process

Your application must include:

  • A completed application form
  • Personal Statement - Please address both of the following prompts in your personal statement (200-250 words on each prompt):
    • What are your motivations for applying to MA Communication Design at Central Saint Martins? What kind of background, skills, interests and ambitions would you bring to your studies?
    • Choose any work of design or art (besides your own) that you think is important. Explain to us why you believe the chosen work is important and how it relates to your own academic or design practice. You may wish to reference relevant literature
  • Copies of your latest qualifications certificates
  • Two references at least one should be an academic or professional reference
  • An electronic portfolio of design work, with the preferred format of PDF or PowerPoint (QuickTime for moving image). There is no restriction on the number of images. The portfolio of work should demonstrate the applicant’s design/visual practice, and will be considered in relation to the applicant’s communication question. Captions or short explanations of the work are recommended.

Please ensure your application is complete. If you’re sending references separately, please state this clearly. We recommend you send your application by recorded mail. Due to the large number of applications we get, we cannot send confirmation that your application has been received.

Further information for Home / EU applicants

Our website includes all the information you need to successfully apply. However, if you still have unanswered questions about the admissions process, please use our course enquiry form.

Further information for International applicants

There are two ways international students can apply to a postgraduate course at Central Saint Martins:

To apply through the College, our website includes all the information you need to successfully apply. However, if you still have unanswered questions about the admissions process, please use our course enquiry form.

The University has a dedicated team to help prepare you for your studies. For help on visa requirements, housing, tuition fees and language requirements visit the University's International section.

The Language Centre offers international students quality language training from qualified and experienced teachers. The Pre-sessional Academic English Programme is available to all international (non-EU) students who have been offered a place on a full time course at the University of the Arts. For further information visit the Language Centre website.

We also offer a number of short courses that enable students to improve their portfolios and English skills before applying to their chosen course. For further information visit our Short Course section.

Home/EU applicants please send your completed application to:
Student Administration
MA Communication Design
Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design
University of the Arts London
Granary Building
1 Granary Square
London N1C 4AA.

International applicants please send your completed application to:
International Office
MA Communication Design
Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design
University of the Arts London
Granary Building
1 Granary Square
London N1C 4AA.

When to apply

Applications can be submitted throughout the year. Places are limited, however, so we advise you to submit your application as early as possible (March / April) to avoid disappointment. We start interviews in February.

What happens next?

We read and consider all application forms and personal references. Please note we give particular attention to your communication programme of study, personal statement and references.

Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, preliminary selection is based on your communication programme of study documentation of work and supporting information. You may then be invited to attend an interview. For candidates applying for external funding, interviews will be scheduled prior to funding body deadlines.

Can’t attend the interview?

If you’re a home/EU or international applicant unable to attend for interview, the MA Communication Design Course Leader would hope to discuss your application by telephone or email.

In the case of applicants unable to attend for interview and unable to discuss their application by telephone or email, a decision regarding the offer of a place on the course will be made on the basis of a review of the application materials. We keep notes about decisions made following the initial application review and the interview process.

Selection is by the Course Leader and offers of places are made on the basis of our selection criteria. Applicants are informed of the decision via either the Student Administration or the International Office.

Open days 

Open days are a great opportunity to meet staff and students and to find out at first hand about courses, teaching and student life. Visit the open day section for dates to book your session. Bookings can only be made online, not by phone or email.

Industry Collaborations

Working with paying clients on live briefs will give you valuable commercial experience which may mean your work being taken forward for production or, if so desired, in the purchase of your intellectual property. All paid projects are conducted within a carefully developed legal framework, which includes student agreements to protect your work and help you realise its commercial value. 

Recent client projects in the Graphic Communication programme include: TetraPak | Karstadt | Sony Music | Beefeater Gin | Fabriano | Kagome | Hewlett Packard | Tod's | Fresh. Find out more about the Lacoste client project. 

Once you’ve graduated, you may be picked as part of a small team to work on a live creative brief, organised by our Business and Innovation department, under the supervision of an experienced tutor. This can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline and has resulted in graduates being hired by clients.

Enquire about this Course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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