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MA Design for Visual Communication

This is an exciting, challenging and unique opportunity for current students and graduates of Postgraduate Diploma Design for Visual Communication to gain a Master’s qualification by engaging with an extended, research-led period of practical study from anywhere in the world.

As this course is delivered online, it allows for flexibility to fit in with your work life and broader commitments. It will also give you the opportunity to engage with industry and gain valuable experience, either by working with your employer, or by being supported to find an appropriate industry partner.

Course overview

As a current student or graduate of Postgraduate Diploma Design for Visual Communication, you can apply to join the optional MA Design for Visual Communication – an additional 60-credit unit where you’ll be supported by tutors to pursue a self-directed project and achieve an Master’s award upon completion.

This unit will enable you to advance your portfolio even further with advanced critical skills that demonstrate a high level of design research and practice.

Delivered online to accommodate flexible learning while enabling you to develop your own self-structured learning journey, you’ll engage with the course through tutorials, peer-to-peer feedback, workshops and community building sessions.

You’ll also be encouraged to pursue a project that can be achieved in collaboration with a company, charity, cultural institution or other organisation.

What to expect

  • The 20-week MA unit provides an exciting, challenging and unique opportunity for current PG Dip students and graduates to engage with an extended, research-led period of practical study.
  • You'll build on a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of design in practice with critical, contextual design thinking and research in an applied context.
  • Supporting the focus and diverse ambition of our students towards purposeful and applied practice, this phase will provide scope for you to specialise more intensely in a subject area of your choice that you’ll develop in consultation with your tutor.
  • Core teaching and learning methods include one-to-one tutorials; asynchronous workshops and lectures; synchronous community events, presentations, seminars and workshops; and supervised technical workshops.
  • You’ll have access to the full range of LCC’s online facilities such as workshops and support sessions from the Library, Academic and Language Support, Enterprise and Employability, Digital Space, and Creative Technology Lab, among others.
  • You’ll be prepared to use your design skills and literacy in the context of business, policy, strategy, social activism and creative directorship, in addition to other leadership roles that value critical and creative thinking grounded in practical and technical skills.

Who is this course for?

If you’re a current PG Dip Design for Visual Communication student or recent graduate, you may be interested in taking this higher qualification

  • Deepen the specialism you developed on the Postgraduate Diploma, or through relevant work experience
  • Develop a larger collaborative project with an industry partner or organisation
  • Work on this self-directed, practice-led design research project towards further research study.

Course Unit

In 2019, UAL declared a Climate Emergency. In response, LCC's Design School set an ambitious Sustainability Action Plan in place to fully embed responsible practices within the curriculum and in everything we do.

As part of this initiative, we’ve shaped our courses around social and environmental sustainability principles that ensure learning outcomes reflect the urgent need to equip you with the understanding, skills and values to foster a more sustainable planet. Our aim is to change the way our students think, and to empower you to work towards a sustainable future.

MA Unit (60 Credits)

MA Design for Visual Communication involves one unit, totalling 60 credits. The unit takes place over the Spring and Summer terms (2 and 3), and you'll have the opportunity to apply during the Summer term (Term 3) of your Postgraduate Diploma.

This unit will support a broad range of practical and research ambitions by enabling you to develop both a practice project and a critical report or thesis that reflects on your area of specialism or study.

It facilitates a broad range of practical and research ambitions, and will encourage you to inform your research and development work through collaboration, relevant professional practice, and participatory research and interdisciplinary methods.

Supported by a personal tutor who can offer guidance on both the theoretical and technical aspects of your work – alongside additional help from staff and peers across LCC - you’ll develop your self-directed project in an identified and agreed area of specialist practice.

You may decide to explore practical and social challenges in areas such as: the role of design in civic management, the Climate Crisis, social change, information design and visualisation, health and social care, accessibility, education, and urban life.

Mode of study

MA Design for Visual Communication runs for 20 weeks over the Spring and Summer terms. You will be expected to commit 30 hours per week to study.

Course dates

Monday 10 January 2022 - Friday 24 June 2022

Assessment methods

Assessment takes the form of ongoing individual, peer and staff formative assessment through research and development critiques, as well as small group project reviews.

Summative assessment is through the submission of:

  • A digital project portfolio which demonstrates your research and development process
  • A critical reflexive report on your subject of study and the development of your project, which is delivered as a pre-recorded presentation or text.

How to apply

To apply to this unit, you must have successfully completed all 120 credits of LCC’s Pg Diploma Design for Visual Communication within the past 3 years.

Entry requirements

To study on the course, you must have an IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the 4 skills. Your test results must be within 2 years’ validity at enrolment.  

If your first language is not English, you can check whether you’ve achieved the correct IELTS level on the UAL Language Requirements page.

Selection criteria

Decisions on applications to the MA unit will be based on the following selection criteria.

You will be expected to demonstrate:

  • Self-direction, an eagerness to experiment and engage in new ideas, and a confidence to explore these ideas in applied contexts at MA-level.
  • Enthusiasm to further develop specialist practice, and to contribute original knowledge to design and visual communication through active engagement with peers, collaborators or partners.

Making your application

Your application must consist of:

  • A Study Proposal, which should include an outlined timeline and project objectives, and detail opportunities for research and collaboration. Before submitting your Study Proposal, please make sure you've read the MA Design for Visual Communication Study Proposal Guidance document (PDF 105KB).
  • Your Study Proposal must be a designed, visual, A4 landscape presentation document saved in a PDF (.pdf) format. It should also feature supportive comments throughout the document (500-750 words) on how you intend to develop your project, along with your methodology.
  • It’s important to recognise that your ideas will inevitably develop and change during your study on the course, and so will only serve to inform your application at this stage.
  • A copy of your CV.

Please note: You will not be required to provide a personal statement or portfolio as part of your application.

Start your application now

The online application 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 press submit.

Apply now

Application deadline

15 October 2021

Immigration permission: visitor route

Study on this online course is not supported by a student visa. However, students on the MA Design for Visual Communication can apply for the Visitor route immigration permission if they wish to use the facilities at LCC.

The Visitor route is issued for a period of 6 months to those who spend the majority of their time outside the UK and come to the University for short periods of study.

What happens after I submit my application?

The course team will review your application and will then invite suitable applicants to be interviewed, before a place can be offered.

Interviews will be held online, and details will be sent to you via the UAL Portal.

Offers of a place on the course will be conditional upon completion of the Pg Diploma Design for Visual Communication course, and if relevant, on providing an English language test result which will be within two years validity at the start of the course.

Fees and Funding

Home fee


This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals. However, the rules are complex and you can find out more on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage.

International fee


This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

International fees are currently charged to students from countries outside of the UK. However, the rules are complex and more information can be found on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage.

Additional costs

You may need to cover additional costs which are not included in your tuition fees. These could include travel expenses and the costs of material. Find out more about additional costs.

Scholarships, bursaries and awards

If you’ve completed a qualifying course at UAL (which includes study abroad courses), you may be eligible for a tuition fee discount on this course. Find out more about our Progression discount. You can also find out more about the other types of funding.

How to pay

Find out how you can pay your tuition fees.

Contact us

For queries relating to the Coronavirus outbreak, read our Coronavirus guidance for prospective students.

To register your interest and receive information and updates about studying at UAL, please complete this form.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for or to ask a question, please contact us.