• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length2 years full time (60 weeks)

MA Graphic Communication Design

As the ‘carrier signal of the 21st century’, graphic communication design concerns every sphere of human life, impacting profoundly on culture, technology, social justice, economics, the built environment, globalisation, policy, sustainability and much more. MA Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins promotes a shared exploration of an ever-developing subject while enabling your progression as an individual designer.

This course is part of the Graphic Communication Design Programme.

Great reasons to apply

  • Our graduates are versatile makers, astute commentators, and agents of positive socio-economic, cultural, and technological change
  • We take a critically informed and experimental approach to the production, form, and circulation of knowledge bringing together the traditional studio and craft traditions of graphic design with research driven approaches
  • We experiment openly with existing specialisms such as illustration and web design but also develop our own new ones
  • Our students have access to a diverse range of workshops including letterpress, print-making, photography, video, sound and digital facilities
  • Our individual and collective practices benefit from a highly international and diverse student and staff community.
Emma King | 1984 by @realdonaldtrump

Emma King | 1984 by @realdonaldtrump 

Emil Kozole – Project Seen

Emil Kozole | Project Seen

@CSMGraphics on Instagram

    Course detail

    MA Graphic Communication Design pursues a direct and in-depth connection between the ‘applied arts’ tradition of graphic design and a critical and creative approach to communication. A carrier signal, in any form of communication, is the baseline flow of information. It is continuously modulated to transmit messages; it refigures meaning. If music can be understood as a carrier signal for the twentieth century, both expressing and amplifying waves of cultural change, then graphic communication design reveals itself to be the carrier signal of the twenty-first.

    MA Graphic Communication Design cultivates a considered stance towards visual and other media. Through this course, you will be challenged to simultaneously develop critical positions, through and about graphic communication design, and innovate its new forms. The curriculum synthesises research driven and hands on approaches to graphic and communication design.

    Course structure

    The course is delivered over two three term academic years across three 60 credit units, each lasting two terms.

    Unit One: Graphic Communication Design as Research

    The purpose of Unit 1 is to introduce you to graphic communication design as a knowledge practice as well as a subject of study. If indeed, as Marshall McLuhan asserted ‘the medium is the message’, it then holds that the production of knowledge is intertwined closely with its form and circulation. By positioning graphic communication design as research, we open up new opportunities and ways of working, new kinds of integrity and effectiveness, challenging the conventional understandings of what knowledge is and how it could be deployed. Unit 1 is delivered through a series of five project briefs. A sequence of three briefs will introduce you to a range of themes and approaches within graphic and communication design. These are followed by an external client brief completed in groups. The unit concludes with a negotiated brief that supports the development of your individual areas of interest leading into the start of Unit 2.

    Unit Two: Situated Practice in Graphic Communication Design

    Where the intention of Unit 1 is to expose you to a diverse range of perspectives, Unit 2 sees you strengthen your particular stance as a designer. Individual reflection and authorship are part of this process. However equally important are how your work interacts critically with the wider frames of reference to which it is related. During this unit, you will develop and contextualise an in-depth position regarding graphic communication design related to your broader practice in the form of a research paper. Your paper will form the basis of your contribution to a cohort-wide publication. Your cohort will also plan a symposium to which you will each contribute a presentation of your work. On behalf of the cohort and the course, the symposium and publication are intended to articulate and question the present landscape of the discipline.

    Unit Three: Graphic Communication Design Project

    Development, editing and refinement are crucial sites of signification in graphic design practice. Unit 3 further develops your understanding of graphic communication design as research by carrying this proposition through to the interrogation of the details and processes of production across an individually negotiated body of work. Important to this unit are the details of production across multiple visual, textual, and/or other media based outcomes that build upon your Unit 2 coursework. The experience of committing and attending specifically to these aspects of graphic communication design practice will inevitably give rise to new insights and questions that should ultimately support new directions and lines of inquiry for your work. During Unit 3, your cohort will also plan an exhibition as part of Central Saint Martins’ annual degree show which receive tens of thousands of visitors.

    MA Graphic Communication Design Programme Specification 2018/19 (PDF, 316KB)

    Industry collaborations

    During Unit 1 you will work on a client brief which is set collaboratively by the client and academic staff. During this project you are explicitly encouraged to re-write the brief and actively interrogate the conventions of design-client relationships and different models of employment which you might pursue in future. You are also encouraged reflect on the institutional context of a university, and hence your own stance regarding the purpose of your education relative to industry and employment.

    In addition to this required element of the course, you are encouraged to engage with co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities provided by GCD at programme level. These include live and sponsored project opportunities ranging from competitive commercial briefs for multi-national companies to explorative projects and challenges set by local government or NGOs, providing a choice of focus and the opportunity to build a portfolio of client based work alongside your main coursework.

    Facilities

    Staff

    Course Leader: Dr. Rebecca Ross
    Programme Leader:Rebecca Wright
    Year Leader: Joao Carilho
    Graphic Communication Design Lecturer:Luise Vormittag
    Graphic Communication Design Lecturer:Jaap de Maat
    Associate Lecturer: Sheena Calvert
    Associate Lecturer: Marcus Leis Alion
    Associate Lecturer: Paul Finn
    Associate Lecturer: Max Colson
    Associate Lecturer: Ken Hollings
    Associate Lecturer: Andrea Lioy
    Typography Subject Leader: Professor Phil Baines
    Advertising Subject Leader: Clive Challis
    Moving Image Subject Leader: Esteban Gitton
    Illustration Subject Leader: Andrew Hall
    Context Subject Leader: Dr Paul Rennie
    Photography Subject Leader: Gary Wallis
    Practitioner in Residence: Paul Elliman
    Visiting Practitioner: Guglielmo Rossi



    How to apply

    2018/19 entry

    Applications for 2018/19 entry will open in Autumn 2017.

    Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

    When to apply

    We recommend you apply by the end of May at the very latest to avoid disappointment. Your application will only be considered after you have successfully completed an online application, submitted required documents and a digital portfolio.

    We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

    Required information for all postgraduate courses

    Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form:

    General Information

    • Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses);
    • Current English language level;
    • Current and/or previous education and qualification details;
    • Employment history;

    Personal Statement

    Part 1 (200-300 words)

    What motivates you to pursue postgraduate study in graphic communication design?

    If your undergraduate degree was in an art/design subject, what do you hope to gain from further study?

    If your undergraduate degree was in another subject, how do you think studying graphic communication design will extend and expand upon your existing experience?

    Part 2 (200-300 words)

    This question tests your writing skills as well as your approach to reflecting upon and contextualising contemporary visual culture. Choose any recent film or television show. Write a brief critical response focusing on analysis rather than summary of any aspect. If useful, feel free to cite relevant literature.

    Please note: If you do not complete required information or upload the documents, we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

    After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

    What happens next

    Portfolio Review

    If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

    Please submit a PDF portfolio of between 15 and 40 pages:

    • Include images from between 5 and 10 projects that demonstrate your interests and experience.
    • Please provide captions or short explanations that put things into context but keep them brief (a sentence or two).
    • If you have worked on a project as part of a group or team, be sure to indicate the specific nature of your role or involvement in the project.
    • Feel free to include links to web-sites, videos, or other media on the internet.

    Following a review of your application and portfolio, you will either be invited for an interview via Skype or your application will be rejected via the UAL Applicant Portal.

    Interview

    The interview will be with a member of the course’s academic staff team, and will last approximately twenty minutes. We will ask you some standard questions that we ask of all candidates. There will be a few minutes toward the end for you to ask any questions that you might have. As part of the interview process, you will be asked to discuss the work you have submitted in your PDF portfolio, which we recommend that you have at hand during the discussion.

    How we notify you of the outcome of your application

    You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

    Deferred entry

    Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry. 

    2018/19 entry

    Applications for 2018/19 entry will open in Autumn 2017.

    Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

    When to apply

    We recommend you apply by the end of May at the very latest to avoid disappointment. Your application will only be considered after you have successfully completed an online application, submitted required documents and a digital portfolio. 

    We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadline above subject to spaces available.

    Required information for all postgraduate courses

    Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form:

    General information

    • Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses);
    • Current English language level;
    • Current and/or previous education and qualification details;
    • Employment history;

    Personal Statement

    Part 1 (200-300 words)

    What motivates you to pursue postgraduate study in graphic communication design?

    If your undergraduate degree was in an art/design subject, what do you hope to gain from further study?

    If your undergraduate degree was in another subject, how do you think studying graphic communication design will extend and expand upon your existing experience?

    Part 2 (200-300 words)

    This question tests your writing skills as well as your approach to reflecting upon and contextualising contemporary visual culture. Choose any recent film or television show. Write a brief critical response focusing on analysis rather than summary of any aspect. If useful, feel free to cite relevant literature.

    If you do not complete all the required information or upload the necessary documents, we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

    After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

    Immigration History Check (for International Applications only)

    Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

    What happens next

    Portfolio Review

    If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

    Please submit a PDF portfolio of between 15 and 40 pages:

    • Include images from between 5 and 10 projects that demonstrate your interests and experience.
    • Please provide captions or short explanations that put things into context but keep them brief (a sentence or two).
    • If you have worked on a project as part of a group or team, be sure to indicate the specific nature of your role or involvement in the project.
    • Feel free to include links to web-sites, videos, or other media on the internet.

    Following a review of your application and portfolio, you will either be invited for an interview via Skype or your application will be rejected via the UAL Applicant Portal.

    Interview

    The interview will be with a member of the course’s academic staff team, and will last approximately twenty minutes. We will ask you some standard questions that we ask of all candidates. There will be a few minutes toward the end for you to ask any questions that you might have. As part of the interview process, you will be asked to discuss the work you have submitted in your PDF portfolio, which we recommend that you have at hand during the discussion.

    How we notify you of the outcome of your application

    You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

    Deferred entry

    Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry. 

    Entry requirements

    An applicant will be considered for admission who has already achieved an educational level equivalent to an Honours Degree. 

    This educational level may be demonstrated by:

    • An Honours Degree or an equivalent academic qualification;
    • A professional qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours Degree;

    Applicants who do not meet the standard course entry requirements may still be considered if the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might be demonstrated by:

    • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be shown to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
    • A combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning that, taken together, can be shown to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

    English language requirements

    All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is:

    IELTS Academic 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the 4 skills (on one single test).

    For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

    What we look for

    We're seeking imaginative, resourceful individuals who are committed to exploring art practice.

    Selection criteria

    Your application, personal statement and supporting material will be assessed for:

    • Creative intelligence and aesthetic sensitivity demonstrated by design portfolio;
    • Flexibility, self-awareness and ability to think critically;
    • Written and verbal communication skills;
    • Awareness and understanding of the field;
    • Personal vision and a sense of purpose;
    • Relevant previous experience;
    • Alignment of personal aims and objectives to the course.

    Fees and funding

    Home/EU fee

    Tuition fees for 2018/19: £5,550 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.

    ELQ 

    Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the 'ELQ' fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. If you have a query regarding the ELQ fee, please use our course enquiry form.

    International fee

    Tuition fees for 2018/19: £13,890 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.

    Additional costs

    In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

    Accommodation

    Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

    Scholarships and awards

    There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

    Scholarships search

    Careers and alumni

    It's easier and more affordable to print a newspaper or a book, publish a web page, or shoot and edit a video than it's ever been before. This democratisation of media is energising, but what becomes of the professional designer? By asking important questions such as why we design, what it means to claim identities as graphic communication designers, and where being a designer may take us, graduates of MA Graphic Communication Design are well equipped to take a pro-active and innovative approach to building their futures.

    Our interrogative approach to careers is underpinned by a wide range of practical exposure and support. Students attend weekly Graphic Communication Design programme lectures by contemporary practitioners, which explore a variety of professional practices and offer insights into life as a designer. The programme also hosts alumni events where graduates share their experiences and network with students. The university also provides a wide range of practical careers support available to all students at UAL. 

    Our graduates have gone on to launch their own studios and publishing companies, work for large-scale institutions and corporations around the world, freelance in their chosen areas, or develop their own new models for design practice. An increasing number of our graduates are following the MA with PhD study and choosing to pursue a design research career.

    Alumni profiles

    • Ewa Smyk

      Ewa is now a designer with a focus on book design and illustration

    • Emil Kozole

      Emil is a designer who works with design and typography in a context of socio-political structures.

    • Francesca Ulivari

      Francesca came to the course after working for a period as a graphic and product designer in Milan