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Postgraduate

MA Design for Data Visualisation

Close up shot of moulded shapes in a variety of pastel colours
Mini Maker Fair, London College of Communication, UAL | Photograph: Lewis Bush
College
London College of Communication
Start date
September 2023
Course length
1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

MA Design for Data Visualisation is driven by the intelligent interrogation of data and intensive, practice-led research. Using a range of media, tools and techniques, you will research, interpret, critique and visualise data, developing creative narratives that a wide variety of audiences can understand.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • Design-led and interdisciplinary: Recognising the uniquely interdisciplinary nature of data visualisation, this course will prepare you to work with specialists ranging from data scientists and journalists to developers and domain experts. You’ll also build your specialist data design skills through a rich culture of studio practice and technical workshops underpinned by advanced critical and theoretical perspectives.
  • Collaborative and industry-engaged: You’ll work on briefs designed and delivered by practitioners specialising in data visualisation such as Beyond Words Studio, or domain experts tackling data-related challenges such as The British Red Cross.
  • Subject and research expertise: You’ll build a portfolio of data visualisation work alongside your own self-initiated major project, which will be supported by workshops ranging from research to creative applications of technical tools.
  • Experimental and explorative: With access to LCC’s exceptional facilities, you’ll develop your ability to translate data into compelling narratives that challenge the definition and parameters of the discipline. Working with different mediums and modes of delivery, you’ll learn how to create work for a wide range of audiences.

Open Evenings

The next Open Evening for this course will be announced soon.

Course overview

MA Design for Data Visualisation is driven by the intelligent interrogation of data and intensive practice-led research.

On this course 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 to 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 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.

Industry experience and opportunities

A focus on collaborative practice across the course will support your gaining professional skills and experience. Past partnerships have included working with The British Red Cross, Beyond Words Studio and LSE Archive.

The involvement of a range of expert practitioners in the programme delivery ensures we maintain strong links with both with industry and academically-focused partners and collaborators.

Mode of study

MA Design for Data Visualisation is in Full Time mode which runs for 45 weeks over 15 months. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study.

Course units

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.

Term 1

Data visualisation research and practices (20 credits)
Visualisation tools, datasets and data stories (60 credits)

In this term, through a series of workshops, you will develop your specialist information design and data visualisation practice.

Pairing key areas from mapping to complex chart-making with a focus on fundamental design principles such as colour, visual language and typography, you’ll develop your expertise in both explorative, and explanatory data visualisation as well as structure, narrative and story-telling.

Alongside this you’ll engage with key texts, data visualisation practitioners and specialists from related disciplines through a series of lectures and seminars. This will support you engaging with the critical and theoretical context in which you are work and informing your approach to research methods and critical practice.

Term 2 and 3

Final Major Project Proposal and Critical Reflection (20 credits)
Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

During these terms you’ll define your major project focus through research-oriented workshops and group and individual seminars and tutorials. You’ll also work on the Collaborative Unit – responding to a brief defined and delivered with industry-leading practitioners working at the forefront of the discipline of data visualisation.

You’ll continue to participate in workshops designed to support you interrogating your own practice, defining methodologies and identifying interesting ways to integrate technical data visualisation tools and software into your research-led practice.

Through additional external briefs you’ll also work with your peers on group projects responding to provocations defined by domain experts working with data.

Term 4

Final Major Project and Critical Visual Report (60 credits)

In your final term, you will realise your research-led final major project, supported with lectures, seminars and tutorials as well as engagement with the wider community of practice at London College of Communication.

You’ll produce a design outcome for this piece of work as well as critical and reflective report, evidencing your engagement with advanced theoretical and critical positions within the field and related disciplines.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Practice-based workshops
  • Workshop
  • Seminars
  • Lectures
  • Academic tutorials
  • Personal tutorials
  • Self-directed learning
  • Speakers and visits
  • Assessed assignments

Online Open Day

Course Leader, Henrietta Ross, gives an overview of studying MA Data Visualisation at London College of Communication.

Graduate showcase

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Graduate Showcase

  • Data Dance Movement
    Data Dance Movement, Syennie Valeria, 2021 MA Data Visualisation, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Emotional Hardware
    Emotional Hardware, Elena Etter, 2021 MA Data Visualisation, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Self-Portraits.
    Self-Portraits., Tatiana Dunenko, 2021 MA Data Visualisation, London College of Communication, UAL
  • The Synthetic Mediaverse
    The Synthetic Mediaverse, Jana Tauschinski, 2021 MA Data Visualisation, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Information is for everyone
    Information is for everyone, Sam Shannon, 2021 MA Data Visualisation, London College of Communication, UAL
  • The changing face of emojis
    The changing face of emojis, Sicong Qiao, 2021 MA Data Visualisation, London College of Communication, UAL

Student work

  • Amy-Powell,-2019.-MA-Data-Visualisation,-London-College-of-Communication,-UAL..jpg
    Amy Powell, 2019. MA Data Visualisation, London College of Communication, UAL.
  • Chengcen-Wu,-2019.-MA-Data-Visualisation,-London-College-of-Communication,-UAL..jpg
    Chengcen Wu, 2019. MA Data Visualisation, London College of Communication, UAL.
  • Jang-Lee,-2019.-MA-Data-Visualisation,-London-College-of-Communication,-UAL..jpg
    Jang Lee, 2019. MA Data Visualisation, London College of Communication, UAL.
  • Leqi-Zhuang,-2019.-MA-Data-Visualisation,-London-College-of-Communication,-UAL..jpeg
    Leqi Zhuang, 2019. MA Data Visualisation, London College of Communication, UAL.
  • Ting-Dong,-2019.-MA-Data-Visualisation,-London-College-of-Communication,-UAL..jpg
    Ting Dong, 2019. MA Data Visualisation, London College of Communication, UAL.

Student voices

Elena Etter

Eleanor's final project, Emotional Hardware, looks at the impact of smartphones on the planet and our daily lives.

Amy Powell

Amy's final project uses of cans and bags to visualise the effect that a no-deal Brexit could have on supermarket supply chains.

Stories

Facilities

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

    Discover our printing techniques, from Lithographic Printing to Print Finishing and Bookbinding.

  • Student reading a book in between two bookshelves in the Library
    Students in the Digital Space. London College of Communication, UAL. Photograph: Alys Tomlinson
    The Digital Space

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

  • Students using the computers in the Digital Space
    Student in Creative Technology Lab, 2020. London College of Communication, UAL. Photograph: Tim Boddy
    Creative Technology Lab

    A multi-purpose space that supports students with: Creative Coding, Physical Computing, Projection Mapping, Games, and Virtual Reality.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£12,700

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£25,970

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world, who have achieved a honours 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.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

If you do not meet these entry requirements but your application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative relevant experience, you may still be considered. This could include:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • OR a combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit. We cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills.

All classes are taught in English. If English isn’t your first language, you will need to show evidence of your English language ability when you enrol. For further guidance, please check our English language requirements.

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

Apply now

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

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Extra information required for applications to this course

  • Portfolio
  • Study Proposal (for the Major Project)
  • Video task

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not 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.

Apply now

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer.

The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

CV

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.

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.

Application deadline

19 December 2022 and 3 April 2023

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply for 19 December 2022 for Round 1 or by 3 April 2023 for Round 2.

The round 1 deadline has been changed to 19 December to give you more time to make your application.

When you'll hear from us

If this course requires a digital portfolio as part of the application process, we will contact you to invite you to submit this through UAL’s online submission tool, PebblePad. For Round 1 applications, you will need to submit your portfolio by 9 January 2023 at the latest and by 20 April 2023 for Round 2.

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in 2 rounds, after each application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about the outcome of your application until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by (at the latest) end of March and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by end of June 2023.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

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

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Please note: we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

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

Extra information required for applications to this course

  • Portfolio
  • Study Proposal (for the Major Project)

Start your application now

There are 2 ways international students can apply to a postgraduate course:

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not 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.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer.

The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

CV

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.

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.

Application deadline

19 December 2022 and 3 April 2023

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply for 19 December 2022 for Round 1 or by 3 April 2023 for Round 2.

We recommend you submit your application as early as possible before these deadlines to allow the Admissions team to resolve any initial queries about your application as quickly as possible.

When you'll hear from us

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in two rounds. This means that offers won’t be sent to successful applicants until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by 31 March 2022 and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by 30 June 2022.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal. Please add @arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.

Please log into the portal, as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, and you can contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

Portfolio and interview information

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.

Video task

  • We'd like you to submit a 2-3 minute video to help us learn more about you.
  • Please speak clearly in English and face the camera.
  • Your video task is submitted along with your portfolio via PebblePad. Read our guidance for more information about how to submit your video task and the file types we accept.

As part of your video task please respond to the following direction:

We would like you to identify one project from your portfolio which challenged you and your understanding of Data Visualisation. Explain how this experience has inspired you to apply to MA Data Visualisation at London College of Communication.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

Requesting feedback

This course receives a high number of applications. Unfortunately, we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview.

We are only able to provide feedback to you directly, or to someone you have told us in writing can receive it on your behalf. If you would like to request feedback  please contact us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

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

Careers

Upon completion of the 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
  • Self-employment/freelance
  • Integration of design skills into other disciplinary areas