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MA Data Visualisation

Start date
September 2019
Course length
1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

Course summary

MA Data Visualisation at London College of Communication is a practice-led course where students research, interpret, critique and visualise data using a range of media, tools and techniques.

Reasons to apply

  • Work within a diverse cohort and collaborate with other courses within LCC's Design School, with links to the Media School and Screen School, to develop your own creative practice and a portfolio of data visualisation work.
  • Industry links with leading practitioners such as Duncan Swain – LCC's Visiting Fellow in Data Visualisation and Co-Founder of Beyond Words Studio – will give you the opportunity to engage with the tools and working methods used in professional practice.
  • Initiating and delivering your own research-led body of enquiry in the field of data visualisation – engaging with the social and ethical implications of this practice – will support you developing your own highly informed critical position.
  • Develop your ability to effectively articulate your ideas, through regular presentations and discussions with peers, tutors and internal and external collaborators.
  • Practical and technical workshops, seminars, lectures, collaborative projects and individual briefs will equip you with the experience and understanding to operate in the new and evolving field of data visualisation.

Open evenings

The next Open Evening for this course will be on Thursday 6 December.

Book your place


A close-up of the moveable type available in the Letterpress area.
Image © Lewis Bush

Printing and finishing

A close-up of the moveable type available in the Letterpress area.

The Digital Space, London College of Communication.
Image © Ana Escobar

The Digital Space

The Digital Space is an open-plan, creative hub with computers set up with specialist software.

The 3D Printer.
Image © Lewis Bush

Prototype and Code

A multi-purpose space with specialist hardware, that supports students in creative code and physical computing.

Course details

MA Data Visualisation is driven by the intelligent interrogation of data and intensive practice-led research. In a data-driven society, it is increasingly important for businesses, policymakers, governments and NGO’s to communicate data coherently using diverse visualisation tools and techniques.

You will develop the ability to translate data into creative narratives that a wide variety of audiences can understand using the most appropriate form of communication design for each project, including print, physical objects, environmental design or a screen based interaction.

What can you expect?

You'll be supported in developing an independent and critical view, producing visual narratives to bring about positive change, taking a collaborative and cross-disciplinary approach across sectors including science, health, education and underrepresented social groups through the use of data.

You'll gain an in-depth understanding of information design within the context of communication design, acquiring a range of digital and analogue skills, underpinned by a historical, theoretical and critical framework.

The course recognises the social, cultural and ethical dimensions of data visualisation practices and will support you in developing a highly informed understanding of the role and implications of an editorial voice. 

You'll produce work through a research-led body of enquiry that explores the power, potential, social and cultural impacts of data visualisation.

Course units

MA Data Visualisation is delivered across four terms, starting in September and finishing in December the year after. Incorporating a summer break, this is a one-year full-time course (45 taught weeks), delivered over 15 months.

Unit 1

Data Visualisation Research and Practices (20 Credits)

Through the engaging with key texts, projects and practioners in a series of lectures and seminars you will develop the knowledge and understanding to situate your data visualisation practice within the broader discipline, with reference to related fields such as data science and graphic design.

Unit 2

Visualisation Tools, Datasets and Data Stories (60 Credits)

Through a series of workshops in fundamental design principals such as typography, visual language and colour you will develop your information design practice. In parallel technical workshops will allow you to explore and experiment with tools and software from processing to prototyping. Working with large data sets you’ll develop your understanding of the practice of visualisation as a means of both exploring and explaining with data. Collaborative projects developed with industry-based practioners will support you producing a variety of experimental and finished outcomes.

Unit 3

Final Major Project Proposal and Critical Reflection (20 Credits)

In the first and second terms a series of workshops, seminars and tutorials will support you developing a major project proposal.

Unit 4

Collaborative Project (20 Credits)

In the collaborative unit you will work with fellow students and/or external partners and practioners to collaboratively produce a project outcome. This unit is designed to enable you to identify, form and develop collaborative working relationships with a range of potential partners in the field of data visualisation.

Unit 5

Final Major Project and Critical, Visual Report (60 Credits)

Engaging with the social and ethical dimensions of data visualisation practice you'll produce a final major project and a critical visual report that will give you the opportunity to engage in a major research-led project. Here the emphasis will be on defining, analysing and developing an individual and focused approach to a data visualisation related problem, subject, question or issue.

Changes to courses

Information provided by the University is accurate at the time of first publication. Courses, however, remain subject to change. Changes may be necessary to improve the quality of educational services; in order to meet the latest requirements of a commissioning or accrediting body, bring course content in line with best practice activities across the Higher Education sector, respond to student feedback, and/or due to a lack of student demand for certain units or options.
Events may arise outside of the reasonable control of the University which leads to changes to courses. Such events may include industrial action, civil disorder, severe weather, and changes in applicable laws and/or safety requirements. If you have accepted a place on a course, we shall notify you of any changes as soon as reasonably practicable.

Webpage updates

We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact a member of the course team.


Henrietta  Ross

Henrietta Ross

Course Leader, MA Data Visualisation

David  Sims

David Sims

Programme Director, Graphic Design Communication

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The MA Data Visualisation course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world, who have achieved a Hons degree qualification that evidences their aptitude, skill and engagement in the field of graphic design/communication or a related design practice. Applicants from non-traditional backgrounds, as well as those already within employment, are also welcome on the course.

Educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (named above);
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

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 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.

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.

Selection criteria

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

  • Sufficient prior knowledge and experience of and/or potential in a specialist subject area to be able to successfully complete the programme of study and have an academic or professional background in a relevant subject
  • Also to show a willingness to work as a team player, good language skills in reading, writing and speaking, the ability to work independently and be self-motivated
  • Critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject area and capacity for research-led design, intellectual inquiry and reflective thought through: contextual awareness (professional, cultural, social, historical); evidence of research, analysis, development and evaluation (from previous academic study and employment) and a grounded understanding of the world of sonic, visual and networked culture and be able to engage in and contribute to critical discussion
  • In the project proposal a description of the area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of their intended project. This should include an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project and the methodology
  • Portfolio should be conceptual and research-based, you must show your thinking and making process and a curious nature to explore, test and experiment


Please provide a CV detailing your education, 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.

Personal statement advice

Please say why you are applying for this course, outlining relevant prior experience and your current knowledge and experience of graphic design/communication 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.

Portfolio and interview advice

Applicants must present a portfolio evidencing their aptitude, skill and engagement in the field of graphic design communication or 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 for Major Project (300–500 Words)

Applicants must submit a study proposal for the Major Project  outlining the intentions of their MA research (300-500 words).

Include a description of the area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of the intended project, and an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project and the methodology.

It is important to recognise that these ideas will inevitably develop and change during your study on the course and only serve to inform your application at this stage.

If you have links to web projects or media, please note these in your CV.

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


Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2019/20 but wish to defer to 2020/21, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the deposit in order to defer. In all cases, deferred places will be held for one year.

Making a deferred application (during 2018/19 for entry in 2020/21)

Home/EU applicants are permitted to make a deferred application. International applicants are not permitted to make a deferred application.

Making your application

We ask all applicants to complete an online application and upload additional digital items, via the Apply now link. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the course Entry Requirements section below to learn about the application process and additional items you would need to supply.

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:

  • First, they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement and portfolio

There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Required information for all postgraduate applicants

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

  • 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Before submitting your application, you will need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the application form. Once you have submitted the online application, we will send you a confirmation email.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will ask you 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

You will be asked to supply:

  • Portfolio
  • Study Proposal (for the Major Project)

After you have submitted your application, the course leader will then review your work, may invite you to interview or interview you via Skype, and will then make a decision on your application.

The admissions team will be in touch soon 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 are made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Apply 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.

As you progress through the application process we will send you emails with important information, so do check your inbox regularly (and junk folder, just in case).

After you apply

Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£10,890 (2019/20)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

International fee

£19,930 (2019/20)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

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. We strongly suggest you read the information on our Additional Costs page.


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

Scholarship and awards

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

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.

Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Upon completion of the MA Data Visualisation course, graduates will be equipped with a keen critical understanding of the field of data visualisation and will have acquired a diverse set of technical and project management skills represented in a portfolio of data visualisation work.

We expect graduates to have the skills, experience and confidence to address a range of academic or professionally focused problems within this field; drawing on specialist knowledge and experience and a familiarity with related areas such as information design, user experience design and design thinking.

Graduates will have acquired leadership skills, an entrepreneurial mind-set and the ability to tackle complex problems with insight and determination.

Career options include:

  • Design Consultancy
  • Exhibition Design
  • Editorial
  • Data Journalism
  • Data Visualisation
  • Data Science Supervisor
  • Data Analyst
  • Self-employment/freelance
  • Integration of design skills into other disciplinary areas

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