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Chelsea College of Arts

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Graduate Diploma Graphic Design

Start date
September 2018
Course length
1 year

Course summary

Places available 2018/19

This course has places available for UK and EU applicants only. Applications have now closed for international students.

You can apply for this course via the ‘How to apply’ section on this page.

Graduate Diploma in Graphic Design at Chelsea College of Arts will enable you to develop your graphic design thinking and making.

The course is designed for students who wish to progress to MA level or develop a sustainable professional practice.

Course details

This course is subject to validation. Validation is a process that makes sure students get a high quality academic experience. During validation there maybe be some changes to course content. Please contact us if you have any questions about this course.

What students can expect

  • To be introduced to key elements of graphic design alongside historical and contemporary theoretical contexts
  • Project led learning based around a ‘tool kit’ of transferable and professional skills as well as discipline specific crafts such as typography, analogue and digital image making and contemporary presentation techniques
  • Opportunities to work on commissions and live projects
  • To improve your application of conceptual, production and critical skills within the design process. This will be through input from professional practitioners, group crits, workshops, seminars and discussions
  • A visiting speaker programme exploring contemporary practice and culture
  • To be part of a university wide graphic design postgraduate community
  • To have access to Chelsea's shared workshops. These include ceramics, casting, laser cutting, photography, metalwork, woodwork and audio-visual editing suite. View the Chelsea facilities

Course units

Unit 1: Research and risk-taking - exploring your practice

This unit is designed to foster a spirit of experimentation and exploration of the wider subject area. Alongside set projects you will have workshop and technical inductions.

You will receive an introduction to graphic design practice and the range of the subject. The unit will help you develop an approach where theory, practice and professional context are interdependent.

Unit 2: Contexts - critical and professional

This unit features a series of practice-based activities including participation in live projects. It will encourage you to explore the creative possibilities of the design brief through a variety of processes, interactions, media and materials.

You will receive studio-based teaching and be expected to undertake self-directed research and study.

Unit 3: Practice - development and realisation

In the final unit of the course you will focus on self-directed project work. You will interact with, and present to a designer or client.

You will test and challenge your concepts through the use of professional processes and making skills. These will be informed by enquiry into client and consumer needs.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Group crits, demonstrations and workshops
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Studio based group and individual tutorials
  • Studio teaching by practitioners
  • Studio visits and work-based learning opportunities
  • Visiting specialists

Assessments methods

  • Design submissions
  • Oral and visual presentations
  • Peer and self-assessment
  • Research portfolio
  • Written work


  • Laura Knight

How to apply

2018/19 entry

Applicants can apply for this course using our online application form.


Application deadline

The home / EU deadline is midday, Friday 31 August 2018.

This course is now closed to international applicants.

Further information about the application process

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

  • Personal details
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Personal statement
  • CV (curriculum vitae)

Once you have submitted the form you will be emailed a link to upload your portfolio (30 images).

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

Entry requirements

  • BA (Hons) degree or equivalent academic qualifications
  • Evidence of ability in art or design
  • Alternative qualifications and experience will also be taken into consideration
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio of work

English language requirements

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Personal statement

This should be about 500 words long and include:

  • Your reasons for choosing the course
  • Your current creative practice and how this will help with your future plans
  • If you do not have any formal academic qualifications please describe your relevant education and experience

Portfolio advice

  • A range of visual, graphic design work - image and typography based and/or print and film
  • Clear documentation of work that is too large to bring to interview
  • Self-initiated as well as project or course work
  • Evidence of research and development of ideas
  • Evidence of recent written work - where relevant to your practice

What we look for

  • Evidence of visual and conceptual creative abilities
  • A clear commitment to the chosen field of study
  • Potential to develop the full range of practical, expressive, critical and conceptual skills necessary to complete the course
  • Ability to benefit from the learning environment and experience
  • Awareness of contemporary and historical graphic design contexts
  • Some understanding of the formative role that contemporary critical thought and historical study can play in the development of personal creative work
  • Ability to communicate and discuss issues and ideas (in English) both verbally and in written form
  • Awareness of how to communicate with an audience
  • Ability to manage your own time and initiate projects

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£10,600 (2018/19).

Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) fee

This course has an undergraduate-level qualification as an entry requirement, and the quoted Home / EU fee rate reflects the fact that most students enrolling on this course will already possess an undergraduate-level qualification. Home / EU applicants for this course who do not already have an undergraduate-level qualification, or students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA), may pay a reduced fee.

International fee

£19,350 (2018/19).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

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.


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

Scholarships and awards

Use our search tool to find out more about the scholarships and awards available to students.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

The course is committed to supporting students in developing the skills, knowledge and confidence necessary to continue your creative practice.

Personal and professional development is integrated into the course with opportunities to develop your skills through bespoke sessions, talks with industry practitioners, career management and postgraduate progression seminars.

Find out how careers and employability helps our students and graduates start their careers.

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