skip to main content

Essential coronavirus info
Your safety is our first priority.

Postgraduate

MA Graphic Communication Design

A pencil illustration of a Coca Cola advertisement
Zhiwen Tang
College
Central Saint Martins
Start date
October 2021
Course length
Two years (60 weeks)
Extended full-time

MA Graphic Communication Design brings critical depth and rigour to an increasingly noisy and disorienting visual landscape.

This course is still open for applications from home and international applicants. We recommend you apply as soon as possible as the equal consideration deadline has passed and places are limited.

The course intervenes meaningfully in a world continuously reconfigured by its modes of communication and knowledge production. It is part of the Graphic Communication Design programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • Open practice: This course provides a structured and open framework for the development of a critical practice in an expanding field of graphic communication design. Our community of designers works across established specialisms such as typography, book design, and illustration, as well as emerging digital and social practices.
  • Enquiry through experimentation: We engage with graphic communication design and writing practice as forms of research. Through rigorous experimentation with visual media and tools of communication we ask questions, interrogate existing knowledge, and propose new forms of knowledge.
  • Contextualized practice: We position graphic design as a relational practice that not only reflects but actively reconfigures its cultural, social, and environmental contexts.
  • Critical exchange: This course gathers together a highly international student and staff community, and the wide variety of their individual experiences provides a foundation for critical examination of historical and contemporary contexts for practice.

Open days

Future open days will be scheduled from December 2021 until May 2022. Please check back here by November 2021 to register

Scholarships, bursaries and awards

Jane Rapley Scholarships
UAL EU Transitional Awards
UAL Home Postgraduate £5,000 Scholarships
UAL International Postgraduate £40,000 Scholarships
UAL International Postgraduate £5,000 Scholarships

Defining graphic communication design: A film by graduate Xiaoying Liang

Student work

  • Felix_Guth.jpeg
    , Felix Guth | Reading Each Other's Diaries
  • Steven_Lang_Digital_Wandering_Image_Credit_Steven_Lang.jpeg
    , Steven Lang
  • Wei-ShaoBlank-City-slider.jpeg
    , Wei Shao | Blank City
  • Yasmina-Aoun-Free-Parti.jpeg
    , Yasmina Aoun | Free Parti
  • FajrurRahmat.jpg
    , Fajrur Rahmat
  • AnaRitaOtsuka.jpg
    , Ana Rita Otsuka

Student work: Dina Bukva

Facilities

  • People using the letterpress at Central Saint Martins
    Credit: Image courtesy of Central Saint Martins Image courtesy of Central Saint Martins,
  • Printmaking at Kings Cross
    Image courtesy of Central Saint Martins,
  • A room with people working at computers
    Image courtesy of Central Saint Martins,

MA Graphic Communication Design stories

  • Class of 2021: Plural

    On the Graduate Showcase you'll find a collection of work by students who place collaboration at the centre of their creative practice. Here, we pause on three projects that rely on connection and codesign.

  • Shortlist for MullenLowe NOVA Awards 2021

    From a kit for washing reusable menstruation pads to ceramics fired by bacteria, the shortlist for this year's MullenLowe NOVA Awards is fittingly bold and brilliant. And with YourNOVA, now it's your turn to vote for your favourite.

  • Nominations for MullenLowe NOVA Awards 2021 announced

    The MullenLowe NOVA Awards highlight some of our best graduating work. This year marks a decade of the partnership and the nominated work is fittingly bold and brilliant.

  • Class of 2020: Digital Lives

    We take a look at the 2020 graduating students thinking through our digital lives.

Course overview

MA Graphic Communication Design explores how the production of knowledge is intertwined with its form, context, and circulation. The course takes an expanded approach to the idea of research, combining studio and writing practice to engage critically with graphic design as both a creative practice and a subject of study. Through iterative and open-ended experimentation with visual media and tools of communication, students develop work that investigates existing knowledge, activates positions, and projects new forms of knowledge—within and beyond the discipline.

Engaging with studio and writing practice as a form of rigorous enquiry, students and staff together explore how graphic design is a situated and relational discipline that both reflects and reconfigures its cultural, social, and environmental conditions. From this position, our community of practitioners critically interrogates the academic and professional contexts for practice as well as the very nature of the discipline itself, continually co-defining and re-defining the expanding field of graphic design.

MA Graphic Communication Design, along with BA Graphic Communication Design and a small group of PhD students, is part of the Graphic Communication Design programme. In addition to sharing an academic team and studio spaces, the programme offers a range of extracurricular events, lectures, live briefs, and other activities.

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.

Course dates

2021/22

Autumn term
Monday 27 September 2021 – Friday 10 December 2021

Spring term
Monday 10 January 2022 – Friday 18 March 2022

Summer term
Tuesday 19 April 2022 – Friday 24 June 2022

Related content

Course units

On MA Graphic Communication Design, coursework and learning build successively across three units. In response to project briefs set by tutors and through independent planning, you will develop a body of studio and written work that explores graphic design as a research practice, articulates your positions, and extends the propositions of your work through attention to form and production.

Presentation, discussion, and critique are essential to the development of your practice and provide the foundation for learning on the course. This will happen in group and individual tutorials as well as through tutor-led, peer-to-peer, and self-reflective assessment. In addition, you will interrogate existing and new contexts of practice through reading groups and seminars, and you will develop a critical engagement with form through short making-led workshops.

A series of course lectures consolidates knowledge across all units and further supports progression through the curriculum by providing broader context for the study and practice of graphic communication design.

A note on unit titles: In the field of logic, the arrow symbol [→] is used to indicate a material implication. For example, Methods → Positions could be read as Methods imply Positions. The double-headed arrow [↔] is used to indicate a material equivalence. Thus, Methods ↔ Positions could be read as either Methods means the same as Positions or Methods if and only if Positions. In the case of unit titles in MA Graphic Communication Design, these symbols are used to indicate that differentiated aspects of practice are, in fact, not only cumulative but co-defining.

Unit 1: Methods

In Unit 1 you will challenge conventional notions of research by exploring how the media, methods, and skills of graphic communication design practice can be used to enquire, to interrogate, or to speculate new forms of knowledge. Guided by studio briefs set by tutors, you will initiate a series of iterative and process-led experiments. These experiments will develop your understanding of, and capacity to engage in, open-ended enquiry through making. In lieu of singular and closed outcomes, each of your projects will grow through systematic engagement in a method. 

Unit 2: Methods ↔ Positions

In Unit 2 you will explore how positions arise through, or are inherent in, experimentation with methods and media. You will situate yourself within the discipline of graphic design, such as in context of a medium, production process, or mode of distribution. You will also explore how graphic design frames your engagement with broader contexts, such as social and environmental conditions, institutions, markets, technologies, other fields of study, etc.

Your coursework will develop through continued iterative and process-led experimentation, and by critically contextualising your practice through reading, writing, and association. This will enable you to explore how a research practice articulates, enacts, and publishes (makes public) new forms of knowledge through and about graphic design.

Unit 3: Methods ↔ Positions ↔ Projections

In Unit 3 you will project your research practice into new territory through a more critical interrogation of the relationship between the form of a message, its medium, and its context. Building on your iterative, experimental, and process-led work from previous units, you will consider how engaging with the details of production opens more possibilities for your work.

You will also consider how projections, as acts of publication, distribution, and/or circulation, are relational and contextual. You will explore how your practice develops though its interaction with networks, publics, and audiences. 

Mode of study

MA Graphic Communication Design is offered in extended full-time mode which runs for 60 weeks over two academic years. You will be expected to commit to 30 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.

The course has been designed in this way to enable you to pursue studies, while also undertaking part-time employment, internships, or care responsibilities.

Credit and award requirements 

The course is credit-rated at 180 credits.

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Arts (MA degree). 

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MA is Level 7. All units must be passed in order to achieve the MA but the classification of the award is derived from the mark for the final unit only. 

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) will normally be offered following the successful completion of 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) following the successful completion of 120 credits.

Learning and teaching methods

During your course you will engage with learning and teaching that includes both online and face-to-face modes. Typically, this will include:

  • Staff-led briefs
  • Negotiated briefs
  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Tutorials
  • Discussions and critiques
  • Tutor-led, peer-to-peer, and self-reflective assessment

Assessment methods

  • Presentations
  • Media-based projects
  • Written work
  • Self-evaluation

Associate Lecturers

Max Colson; Andrew Brash; Houman Momtazian; Abbie Vickress; Jayoon Choi

Visiting Practitioners

Stephen Barrett; Dr. Francisco Laranjo; Billie Muraben

Graduate Teaching Assistants

Oluwatomilola (Tomi) Adefioye; Lucy Wren; Mike Stevens

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 disability@arts.ac.uk 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 standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

  • An honours degree
  • Or an equivalent EU/international qualification.

AP(E)L – Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • 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 but cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

IELTS level 6.5 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas:

  • Creative intelligence and aesthetic sensitivity demonstrated by design portfolio
  • Flexibility, self-awareness and capacity to cultivate a research-driven practice
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Capacity to reflect critically on graphic communication design
  • Independence, sense of purpose and a capacity to commit to coursework
  • Relevant previous experience
  • Alignment of personal aims and objectives to the curriculum.

Making your application

You should apply by clicking on the link to the direct form below. 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.

Deferred entry

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, including how to request a deferral and by when.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units and modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, 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.

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and unit transcripts.

You will need to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Start your application now

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal Statement

Part 1 (200-300 words)

What motivates you to pursue postgraduate study in graphic communication design?

If your undergraduate degree was in an art/design subject, what do you hope to gain from further study? If your undergraduate degree was in another subject, how do you think studying graphic communication design will extend and expand upon your existing experience?

Part 2 (200-300 words)

The field of graphic communication design is always changing. Identify a piece of design that you’ve seen recently that challenges current presumptions about graphic communication design or proposes a new way of understanding it. Describe how it does that and why this is significant.

The example you select could sit clearly within the field of graphic communication design, but you could also apply a more open, fluid, or intuitive definition of the field. You could identify a video or film, a piece of writing, or even a cultural phenomenon (etc.), as long as you can explain how it challenges our discipline.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all the information above.

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Please add csm.ukeu@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.  Also consider altering your spam or junk mail filter to ensure that emails from @arts.ac.uk get through to you.

Application deadline

06 January and 15 May 2021

This course is still open for applications from home and international applicants. We recommend you apply as soon as possible as the equal consideration deadline has passed and places are limited.

There are two ways international students can apply:

If you are applying directly you click on the link to the direct form below. 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.

Deferred entry

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, including how to request a deferral and by when.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units and modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, 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.

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and unit transcripts.

You will need to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Start your application now

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal Statement

Part 1 (200-300 words)

What motivates you to pursue postgraduate study in graphic communication design?

If your undergraduate degree was in an art/design subject, what do you hope to gain from further study? If your undergraduate degree was in another subject, how do you think studying graphic communication design will extend and expand upon your existing experience?

Part 2 (200-300 words)

The field of graphic communication design is always changing. Identify a piece of design that you’ve seen recently that challenges current presumptions about graphic communication design or proposes a new way of understanding it. Describe how it does that and why this is significant.

The example you select could sit clearly within the field of graphic communication design, but you could also apply a more open, fluid, or intuitive definition of the field. You could identify a video or film, a piece of writing, or even a cultural phenomenon (etc.), as long as you can explain how it challenges our discipline.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all the information above.

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Please add csm.international@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL  Also consider altering your spam or junk mail filter to ensure that emails from @arts.ac.uk get through to you.

Application deadline

06 January and 15 May 2021

This course is still open for applications from home and international applicants. We recommend you apply as soon as possible as the equal consideration deadline has passed and places are limited.

After you apply

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  If you do, you will be invited to submit a portfolio through your UAL Portal.

Portfolio Review

The digital portfolio should be a PDF of between 15 and 40 pages:

  • Include images from between 5 and 10 projects that demonstrate your interests and experience
  • Please provide captions or short explanations that put things into context but keep them brief (a sentence or two)
  • If you have worked on a project as part of a group or team, be sure to indicate the specific nature of your role or involvement in the project
  • Please provide a current CV/resume detailing all professional and academic experience. For academic credentials, please include any marks or grades
  • Feel free to include links to websites, videos, or other media on the internet.

Interview

Following the review of your application and portfolio, we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process. These applicants will be invited to interview either online or by telephone.

The interview will be with a member of the course’s academic staff team, and will last approximately twenty minutes. We will ask you some standard questions that we ask of all candidates. There will be a few minutes toward the end for you to ask any questions that you might have. As part of the interview process, you will be asked to discuss the work you have submitted in your PDF portfolio, which we recommend that you have at hand during the discussion.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

Fees and funding

Home fee

£6,455 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 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 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. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

International fee

£16,450 per year

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. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

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. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

It's easier and more affordable to print a newspaper or a book, publish a web page, or shoot and edit a video than it's ever been before. This democratisation of media is energising, but what becomes of the professional designer? By asking important questions such as why we design, what it means to claim identities as graphic communication designers, and where being a designer may take us, graduates of MA Graphic Communication Design are well equipped to take a pro-active and innovative approach to building their futures.

Our interrogative approach to careers is underpinned by a wide range of practical exposure and support. Students attend weekly Graphic Communication Design programme lectures by contemporary practitioners, which explore a variety of professional practices and offer insights into life as a designer. The programme also hosts alumni events where graduates share their experiences and network with students. The university also provides a wide range of practical careers support available to all students at UAL.

Our graduates have gone on to launch their own studios and publishing companies, work for large-scale institutions and corporations around the world, freelance in their chosen areas, or develop their own new models for design practice. An increasing number of our graduates are following the MA with PhD study and choosing to pursue a design research career.