MA Graphic Communication Design

Applications closed 2017/18

Applications for 2017/18 entry to this course have now closed.

As the ‘carrier signal of the 21st century’, graphic communication design touches 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-changing subject while enabling your development as an individual designer.

This course is part of the Graphic Communication Design Programme.

Scholarships, Awards and Funding available:

Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships: Home/EU | International
Alan Fletcher Scholarship
Jane Rapley Scholarships

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.

Insun Jang – Hunger

Insun Jang – Hunger

Emil Kozole – Project Seen

Yuki Shimara – Me and Tiny Me

Wei Shao – Blank City

Wei Shao – Blank City

Emil Kozole – Project Seen

Emil Kozole – Project Seen

5 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.

Facts

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 2017/18: £5,050 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. 

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

International Fee

Tuition fees for 2017/18: £12,860 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. 

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Start DateSeptember 2017
Autumn Term DatesMonday 25 September 2017 – Friday 8 December 2017
Spring Term DatesMonday 8 January 2018 – Friday 16 March 2018
Summer Term DatesMonday 16 April 2018 – Friday 22 June 2018
Application Route

Direct application

Content and structure

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.

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

Unit 1: 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 2­: 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 3: 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.

Staff

Course Leader: Dr. Rebecca Ross

Programme Leader: Rebecca Wright

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
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
Photography Subject Leader: Gary Wallis

Practitioner in Residence: Paul Elliman

Visiting Practitioner: Guglielmo Rossi

Careers

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. For more information on this, please visit the Student Jobs And Careers section

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.

Entry requirements

Selection to MA Graphic Communication Design is determined by the quality of your application (including a written indicative study statement and supporting material). You'll also need to meet the minimum entry requirements as indicated below, but please note that these qualifications alone won't be sufficient to secure entry to the course. 

Minimum entry requirements

We consider applicants who have already achieved an educational level equivalent to an Honours degree. You can demonstrate this educational level by: 

  • Having an Honours degree or an equivalent academic qualification;
  • Having a professional qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours degree;
  • 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 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. 

For further information visit the English Language requirements page. 

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

What we look for

MA Graphic Communication Design is aimed at graduates with a suitable background in any creative discipline. This includes graphic design, photography, illustration, film, or a similar studio-based discipline or a high level of achievement in any related academic field. Immediately related academic fields include media and communication studies but applications are invited from backgrounds ranging from engineering to anthropology.

Students applying with an undergraduate degree in art and design, in addition to demonstrating a depth of craft and visual agility in their portfolio, should demonstrate an interest in and capacity for approaching their work from an intellectually informed perspective. 

Students applying without a relevant studio background at degree level do not necessarily need to submit polished design work but will need to demonstrate a capacity for meaningful visual experimentation. 

We value flexibility, self-awareness, independence, and open-ness to new ways of thinking and making. 

Selection Criteria

In the first instance, we will assess your application and supporting materials according to the following criteria: 

  • 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.

Apply - UK/EU

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. 

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form: 

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

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form. 

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the online application form, we will send you a confirmation email. 

You will be emailed a link to our online application tool, where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

References

This course requires 1 reference which should be an academic or professional reference.  Please upload your references in PDF format

Personal Statement

Question 1

EITHER: If you have an undergraduate degree in an art/design subject:

Given that you are already qualified to work in your chosen field, what motivates you to pursue postgraduate study in graphic communication design?

OR: If you have an undergraduate degree in another subject:

How do you think postgraduate study in graphic communication design will extend and expand upon your existing experience?

Question 2

Choose any work of art or design (besides your own) that you think is important. Explain what aspects of this work interest you and how it relates to your own academic or design practice! You may wish to reference relevant literature. 

Portfolio and CV

You should also upload a single PDF which will should include your CV and portfolio: 

Please submit a PDF portfolio of between 15 and 40 pages: The first 1-2 pages of the portfolio should be a current CV detailing all professional and academic experience. For academic credentials, please include any marks or grades. Your CV should be followed by 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 particular project. Feel free to include hyperlinks to web-sites, videos, or other media on the internet. 

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.  

What happens next

We read and consider all applications and give particular attention to your portfolio.

Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, selection is based on your project proposal and documentation of work and supporting information. You may also be invited to attend an interview either in person or by skype. 

Deferred Entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

Apply - International

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.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

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

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form. 

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page. 

Immigration History form (for International Applications only)

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an Immigration History form. 

We will email you an Immigration History form when we receive your application.

You will need to send this back to us, by email, with copies of the following documents: 

  • Your passport photo page;
  • Your current visa (if you have one) and any previous UK study visas;
  • Your current English language certificate (if you have this);
  • Your academic qualifications (A2, IB, high school diploma, foundation etc. - if completed. Translated into English). 

Please note: If you do not complete and return your Immigration History form we will not be able to proceed with your application. 

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the online application form, we will send you a confirmation email. 

You will be emailed a link to our online application tool, where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

References

This course requires 1 reference which should be an academic or professional reference.  Please upload your references in PDF format

Personal Statement

Question 1

EITHER: If you have an undergraduate degree in an art/design subject:

Given that you are already qualified to work in your chosen field, what motivates you to pursue postgraduate study in graphic communication design?

OR: If you have an undergraduate degree in another subject:

How do you think postgraduate study in graphic communication design will extend and expand upon your existing experience?

Question 2

Choose any work of art or design (besides your own) that you think is important. Explain what aspects of this work interest you and how it relates to your own academic or design practice! You may wish to reference relevant literature.

PDF upload

You should also upload a single PDF which will should include your CV and portfolio: 

Please submit a PDF portfolio of between 15 and 40 pages: The first 1-2 pages of the portfolio should be a current CV detailing all professional and academic experience. For academic credentials, please include any marks or grades. Your CV should be followed by 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 particular project. Feel free to include hyperlinks to web-sites, videos, or other media on the internet. 

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.  

What happens next

We read and consider all applications and give particular attention to your project proposal and portfolio.

Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, selection is based on your project proposal and documentation of work and supporting information. You may also be invited to attend an interview either in person or by skype. 

Deferred Entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

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. 

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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