MA Graphic Media Design

Delivered in both full time and part time modes, MA Graphic Media Design explores the use of graphic design as a critical tool to probe the particularities and complexities of contemporary culture in an informed, expansive and progressive manner. Through intensive and original practice-led research, we support our participants to develop an independent and critical attitude with a view to producing relevant and unexpected perspectives on and for the world.

Student Work // Zheng Duan – Mind Folder

Local residents join LCC to explore Elephant & Castle's regeneration through graphic design
Image of a bright orange book layout design on a bright green background by Dario Gracceva.
Image © Dario Gracceva

Student Work // Dario Gracceva

Student Work // Matteo Bisato – Euugghh. (Or, the Future Doesn’t Need You)

Paul Bailey, Course Leader for MA Graphic Media Design at LCC, discusses the redeveloped course.
Image by Lewis Bush
Image of Jan van Toorn, Els Kuijper and others viewing work in a classroom as part of the workshop.

Watch // Postgraduate Shows 2016: Design School

Image of zine designs by Jess Yanzio – black and white photo of topless woman covered by tape, bright pink background.
Image © Jess Yanzio

Student Work // Jess Yanzio – My Body is My Protest

Students from RMIT University, Melbourne visit LCC for graphic design workshop
Image by Vladimir Molico
Book spread design by Sarah Krebietke on pastel orange background.
Image © Sarah Krebietke

Student Work // Sarah Krebietke

Image of work by Rebecca Worth - upside down book with text layered over image, on a grey background.
Image © Rebecca Worth

Student Work // Rebecca Worth – Bi-literate Brain

Image of people sitting in a circle on chairs with a pineapple in the centre of the group

Field(ing) Study Workshop – Yeb Wiersma, Sophie Demay, Paul Bailey

Image of Articles Gallery.

Articles Gallery presenting The Cactus Network, March 2016

Reasons to Apply

  • Flexible modes of engagement: we’re one of the only courses in the UK to offer both full-time and part-time modes to accommodate diverse study and working practices.
  • Subject Expertise: we engage with national and international visiting lecturers – with notable recent guests including Turner Prize-winners Assemble, design historian and writer Alice Twemlow, and world-renowned design practitioners Paul Elliman and Jan van Toorn.
  • Distinctive Practice: our graduates secure high-profile careers in key areas of design practice, research and education – including Sarah Boris (Associate Art Director, Phaidon Publishing), Tzortzis Rallis (PhD student at LCC; Design Museum Design of the Year Awards 2013 shortlist), Marwan Kaabour (Barnbrook Studio) and Cat Drew (Work & Health Unit, Policy Lab, UK Government)
  • Design Discourse, Research and Debate: our established MA and PhD community offers opportunities to seek expert academic guidance, engage in research-oriented workshops and contemplate progression to PhD, as well as interact with a growing number of research hubs at LCC, such as Design Activism Research Hub, Graphic Subcultures, Conscientious Communicators, Typographic Research Unit, and many others across UAL. 
  • Resourcing Excellence: LCC’s exceptional resources span both the traditional and contemporary spectrums – from letterpress, screen-print, photography, 3D construction and bookbinding studios to 3D printing, laser-cutting, sound engineering and more.

Funding opportunities

Find out about the range of funding options available for postgraduate study.

Use UAL's 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.

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.


Course Leader

Paul Bailey

Course Location

London College of Communication 
Elephant and Castle
Find Us

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time or Part time
Course Length1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model) or 2 years part time (90 weeks across a seven-term model)
Home/EU Fee

2017/18: £8,500 (Full-time) / £4,250 per year (Part-time)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount
Course fees may be paid in instalments

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL. 

International Fee

2017/18: £17,920 (Full-time) / £8,960 per year (Part-time)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount
Course fees may be paid in instalments

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.

Start Date25 September 2017
Application Route

Direct to College

Application DeadlineApplications are accepted, and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Content and Structure


MA Graphic Media Design has evolved from LCC's highly regarded MA Graphic Design course, renowned for its excellence in teaching and learning at postgraduate level, with established links within the field of graphic design nationally and internationally.

Your self-authored, practice-led enquiry will drive the negotiated programme of study in collaboration with the course tutors, fellow course participants and external partners (where applicable). Your long-term independent enquiry will be punctuated with specialist workshops; course-led briefs; tutor, peer and expert critique forums; site-visits; lectures and talks from leading practitioners, thinkers and doers.

You will join and participate in a critical studio environment where practice-led, theoretical and historical contexts will be explored, critiqued and contemplated alongside one another. This integrated design-oriented approach opens up new opportunities for you to explore the practice, the writing and the reading as blended visual research tools ripe for critique, invention and application.

MA Graphic Media Design runs alongside a suite of established and newly developed post-graduate courses spanning the rich and diverse spectrum of the current and emergent practices in the fields of visual communication, illustration, interaction design, service design, branding and identity, advertising, documentary, journalism, photography, publishing, public relations, sound arts and screenwriting. This diversity of individual and collective pursuits promotes a rich discursive arena for all engaged.


The MA Graphic Media Design course structure appreciates the varied requirements and aspirations of the contemporary practitioner interested in the pursuit of post-graduate study in the subject. The course is delivered in two modes to accommodate those interests and external commitments - full-time and part-time. This is a particularly distinctive feature as we are one of the few courses in the United Kingdom to offer this option for postgraduate study in the subject.

Whether full-time or part-time, the course is demanding of time and commitment. A defining aspect of postgraduate study is the independent, self-directed approach. You are expected to timetable and manage your own learning according to your ambition and intentions.

Typically, as a full-time participant you will work with the course team (and guests) in the MA Graphic Media Design studios two days per week dependent on the stage of study, plus you’ll also attend a lecture series scheduled for another day in the week.

As a part-time participant you will attend studio sessions and core lectures timetabled for 1 day per week (Wednesday). We advise the equivalent of one more working day in between sessions to complete required course work (e.g.) a number of evenings, or a day at the weekend.

Outside of this core delivery you will have the opportunity to utilise a range of excellent resources available at LCC to produce your experimentation and continue developing your projects. Tailored Academic Support and Language Support sessions are also scheduled to support and inform your developing academic literacies whilst you are with us on the course.

Your success or failure on the course will depend, to a great extent on how rigorously and responsibly you take this self-direction and how well you respond to tutorial advice and advice from peers and collaborators. The level of self-management required will increase throughout the course.

NB — We will assume that you are technically proficient and able to research and develop any further skills you require. Technical tuition is restricted to the tutorial support of individual projects. If you need to acquire a significant skill base, then you are advised to do so before you apply for the course.

Full Time Mode

Autumn, Term 1

Units Summary:

  • Unit 1 - Critical Perspectives & Methodologies (60 credits)

Unit 1 Critical Perspectives & Methodologies functions as an introduction to postgraduate study, critical and reflective practice, and alternative working approaches that blend graphic design practice, history and theory. Within our critical studio model — a space where theory, history and practice meet, inform and influence one another — you will learn to approach practice-led enquiry and design writing as visual research tools. This blended approach is employed to build a confidence in moving past the familiar to the unknown, through close readings of the variables that shape contemporary graphic design practice. A curated lecture series, anchored by key reference material, will support the studio-based delivery.

Spring, Term 2

Units Summary:

  • Unit 2 - Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

The Collaborative Unit urges you to independently initiate opportunities to socialise your research through building relationships with key stakeholders associated with your research agenda/s i.e. users, commissioners, producers, fellow practitioners/researchers, subject or technical experts, etc.

  • Unit 3 - Design Enquiry & Definition (40 credits)

Alongside Unit 2, you will continue establishing a hypothesis for your Major Project in Unit 3 Design Enquiry & Definition by testing your projects currency in varied ways through practice-led design methodologies and processes; readings and writings around your field/area of study; and on-going critical reflections thereon. The products of this enquiry will feed directly into your Major Project Definition, which you will submit as part of your Unit 3 submission.

In this period, you will also work with your fellow participants on the course to devise and realise an opportunity to share your work-in-progress and test your propositions with a relative public/s. This may take the form of a publication, exhibition, event, symposium, a workshop series, etc to be negotiated with the course team.

Summer, Term 3

Units Summary:

  • Design Enquiry & Definition (continued)
  • Unit 4 - Major Project (60 credits)

Within this final stage of the course, you will further your knowledge and extend your critical/professional understanding through the consolidation and realisation of Unit 4 Major Project. You are expected to produce work demonstrating significant synthesis of research and practice drawing on the skills and knowledge acquired across the first three stages of the course.

Your Major Project will demonstrate both in content and form your advanced understanding of graphic design practice, history and theory. Your major project output will Students will spend this phase of their study pursuing an argued and distinct line of inquiry working towards a major output (or body of work). This will be supported by a critical context paper and critical rationale articulating the motivations and objectives of the project acknowledging key theories, contexts and stakeholders for the research.

Autumn, Term 4

Units Summary:

Major Project (continued)

Part Time Mode

The content of the units in Part Time mode is the same as those described above in the full time version of the course.

Year 1

Autumn, Term 1

Units Summary:

  • Unit 1 - Critical Perspectives & Methodologies (60 credits)

Spring, Term 2

Units Summary:

  • Critical Perspectives & Methodologies (continued)

Summer, Term 3

Units Summary: 

  • Unit 2 - Collaborative Unit (20 credits)
  • Unit 3 - Design Enquiry & Definition (40 credits)

Autumn, Term 4

Units Summary: 

  • Collaborative Unit (continued)
  • Design Enquiry & Definition (continued)

Year 2

Spring, Term 2

Units Summary:

  • Unit 4 - Major Project (60 credits)

Summer, Term 3

Units Summary: 

  • Major Project (continued)

Autumn, Term 4

Units Summary: 

  • Major Project (continued)

Additional costs

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

Course Structure

The information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course.

Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year.

In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.


Course Leader:Paul Bailey

Lead Tutor:Vanessa Price

Lead Tutor:Tony Credland

Associate Lecturer: Sophie Demay

Associate Lecturer: Ken Kirton

2015-16 Guests:

Guest Tutor: Penny Hilton
Guest Tutor: Susannah Rees
Guest Tutor: Robert Mowray

Guest Workshop: Jan van Toorn & Els Kuipers - Staging the Message
Guest Workshop: Joanna Choukeir, UsCreates - Designing Methodologies
Guest Workshop: Tom Foley & Riccardo De Franceschi, Dalton Maag – Letter, Word, Paragraph, Page
Guest Workshop: Mark Pawson - Zine
Guest Workshop: Myles Palmer – Prototyping & Digital Design
Guest Workshop: Alex Cooper - Letterpress
Guest Workshop: Kyuha Shim - Programmatic Type
Guest Workshop: David Benque – Narrative Forgery
Guest Workshop: Yeb Wiersma, artist – Field(ing) Study
Guest Workshop: Francesca Laura Cavallo, curator – Risk Assessment

Guest Lecture: Francisco Laranjo, Modes of Criticism - Design, Criticism and Method
Guest Lecture: Dr. Mark Ingham - Critical Histories of Design

UAL Chairs:

Nick Bell – Chair of Communication Design, UAL
Fred Deakin – Chair of Interactive Digital Arts, UAL
Scott King – Chair of Communication Arts, UAL
Professor David Toop – Chair of Audio Culture and Improvisation, UAL

Something or Other Lecture Series:

Bruno Ceschel
Paul Elliman
Neil Cummings
Steve Spence
Scott King
Alice Twemlow

More info:

Visiting guests in recent years:

Participants have attended lectures, seminars and discussions with leading practitioners, critics and writers in previous years such as: Teal Triggs, Daniel Eatock, Erik Spiekermann, Paul Elliman, Adrian Shaughnessy, Nick Bell, Patrick Burgoyne, Neville Brody, Peter Bilak, Richard Hollis, Mark Pawson, Hamish Muir, Tony Dunne, Why Not Associates, Daniel van der Velden (Metahaven), Stuart Bailey (Dexter Sinister), Rick Poynor, Spin, Ken Garland, Wim Crouwel, The Partners, Jonathan Barnbrook, Bruno Maag, Anthony Burrill, Sam Winston, Sara De Bondt, Domenic Lippa, Vaughan Oliver, Jeremy Leslie, LUSTLab and Roosje Klap.


Participant Trajectories

The full and part-time modes have an excellent history in working with participants at varied stages in their careers. They have joined the course as:

Participants have joined the course as:

  • progressing students from undergraduate, PG Cert and Diploma courses locally from UAL, nationally and internationally;
  • recent graduates/freelancers active within the thriving design community in London;
  • graphic design lecturers/researchers/academics from notable national and international institutions;
  • established independent design practitioners;
  • cross-disciplinary fields and contexts such as biophysics, law, civil service and government policy departments.

Progression routes forward are vast and varied. Graduates from of the course have progressed on to:

  • PhD study;
  • teach and lead UG/PG design courses internationally;
  • establish and take up key positions in significant design studios, agencies and organisations;
  • publish books on the subject;
  • present independent research across the world;
  • exhibit, write, perform; and more.

Student Jobs and Careers at UAL

We are here to help you establish your career and achieve success in your chosen field. Our strong relationships with industry give our students exclusive opportunities and access to networks and funding.

Careers and Employability is dedicated to helping students build up work-relevant skills, knowledge, experience and networks throughout your time here. 

Creative Opportunities is the UAL job and work placement website for students and graduates, advertising hundreds of creative opportunities each month. This includes ArtsTemps in-house recruitment agency, placing students and graduates in paid temping roles within the University.

UAL houses a number of organisations which promote aspects of career development in the arts and media, and which hold regular workshops and careers fairs. These include:

  • Own-It (intellectual property issues)
  • ArtQuest (career development resource for artists and designers)

Entry Requirements

Recruitment and admissions

The MA Graphic Media Design course team welcomes thoughtful, critical and productive participants concerned with the effective articulation of design.

An Honours degree in a relevant subject, or a professional or academic qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours degree. If you do not have the required qualifications, but do have professional experience, you may be eligible to gain credit for previous learning and experience through the Accreditation of Prior and Experiential Learning (APEL) i.e. professional experience or a combination of courses and work experience.

Applicants from non-traditional backgrounds, as well as those already within employment, are also welcome, as the course has been designed to accommodate flexibility in educational engagement. Your experience is assessed as a learning process and tutors will evaluate that experience for currency, validity, quality and sufficiency.

Language requirements (International/EU)

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please clearly indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score.

If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability when you enrol.

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills.
  • You can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

Selection Criteria

All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:

  1. Firstly they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  2. Then they will scrutinise your personal statement, portfolio, study proposal and any previous work experience

Academic or professional references are not required for this course.

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:

• Critical thinking and curiosity 

• Research processes and methods

• Aesthetic sensibility and visual literacy 

• Aptitude to identify and negotiate timely issues and subjects

• Written and verbal communication skills

• Practical and technical skills

• Prior knowledge, awareness and experience in/of the field 

• Alignment of personal aims and objectives to the course

Personal Statement (150 words)

Please say why you are applying for this course, outlining relevant prior experience and your current knowledge of contemporary graphic design debates, developments and discussions. Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes.

It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future. This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.


Please provide a CV detailing your education and qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

Portfolio (10-20 images documenting 4-5 projects maximum)

Applicants must present a portfolio evidencing their aptitude, skill and engagement in the field of graphic design or a relative neighbouring practice.

Please submit an edited selection of work (10-20 images, 4-5 projects maximum) accompanied by a short caption for each project acknowledging the motivation, development, realisation and impact (one-two sentences maximum). Please indicate your role and contribution to any collaborative projects included. We welcome developmental work, sketches, tests, process-led experimentation in the portfolio.

Study Proposal (300-500 words)

Applicants must submit a study proposal outlining the intentions of their MA research. Please include your aims and objectives, intended methodology and evidence of contextual understanding. Please illustrate your proposal with key visual references. 

Interview advice

Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will take place at LCC, or via Skype/telephone. 


Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:

If you need more information about funding please email or visit Postgraduate Funding page.

How to Apply

You can begin your application for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the course Entry Requirements section to learn about the application process, including detailed guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide later in the process. 

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.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will need to contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

Extra information required for applications to this course

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

From January 2017 you will be emailed a link to our online application tool, where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Personal statement (150 words)



Study proposal (300-500 words maximum)

The course leader will then review your work, may invite you to interview, and will then make a decision on your application, from January 2017.

The admissions team will be in touch after that to let you know the outcome and to guide you through the next steps. 

Start your application now

Applications are accepted, and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Apply now for the full-time study mode of this course

Apply now for the part-time study mode of this course (please note that the part time mode of this course is not available to applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study)

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.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

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.

Make an enquiry