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Central Saint Martins

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MA Graphic Communication Design

College
CSM
Start date
September 2020
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.

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

  • Research-based: The course combines studio and research-based engagement with contemporary culture and media to transform the traditional practices, tools and contexts of graphic design.
  • Experimental practice: We experiment with existing and emerging specialisms­­, such as book design, illustration and virtual reality, without prescription or presumption.
  • Agents of change: We position graphic communication designers as actors within a range of contexts, networks and practices.
  • Diverse community: Our dynamic subject approach is rooted in a highly international and interdisciplinary community which values diversity in all its forms.

Open days

Thursday, 5 December at 6pm
Wednesday, 5 February at 6pm

Scholarships, awards and funding

Alan Fletcher Scholarship
Jane Rapley Scholarships

Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships:
Home/EU | International

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

UAL International Postgraduate £25,000 plus International Student House (ISH) Scholarships

Student work

Dina Bukva
Xiaoying Liang

@CSMGraphics on Instagram

MA Graphic Communication Design stories

Facilities

People using the letterpress at Central Saint Martins

Letterpress

Find out more about our Letterpress workshop.

Printmaking at Kings Cross

Printmaking

Find out more about the printmaking facility.

A room with people working at computers

Digital Media

Find out more about our digital media facility at King's Cross.

Course overview

MA Graphic Communication Design pursues a direct and in-depth connection between the applied arts tradition of graphic design and a critical and creative approach to communication. As a subject of study, graphic communication design cultivates a considered stance towards visual and other media. This stance is activated as an approach to challenging and reconfiguring culture. The goal of this course is to engage the tools of graphic design in experimentation with the basic forms by which knowledge is constituted and mobilised.  

On this course, you will simultaneously develop critical positions, through and about graphic communication design and claim new forms through which they can be enacted and deployed. Rather than presuming narrow definitions of graphic or communication design, the course aims to provide you with the tools to situate and develop your individual practice in active dialogue with an expanded and evolving field. 

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.

Course units

On MA Graphic Communication Design, the curriculum revolves around a series of thematic briefs. These structure the development of your coursework. Thematic briefs are introduced with a lecture and often accompanied by a workshop or event. They will normally correspond to an assigned project or choice of projects. On this course, units build on one another successively. Coursework and learning will form the basis for achievement in the subsequent unit.  

Unit 1: Graphic Communication Design as Research 

The purpose of Unit 1 is to introduce you to graphic communication design as a knowledge practice as well as a subject of study. This course takes the position that the production of knowledge is intertwined closely with its form and circulation. This opens up new ways of working, new kinds of integrity and effectiveness. We also challenge conventional understandings of what knowledge is and how it can be deployed. This unit entails a series of thematic briefs as well as workshops and introductions. Your engagement with these briefs will inform the development of your research paper and studio practice.  

Unit 2: Situated Practice in Graphic Communication Design 

While the intention of Unit 1 is to expose you to a diverse range of perspectives, Unit 2 provides a framework for challenging and strengthening your particular stance as a designer. Individual reflection and authorship are a key part of this process. In situating your practice, you will be expected to critically interrogate the wider frames of reference to which your work is related. You will test and extend your thinking through continuous engagement in practical experimentation and reflection. During this unit, your work will be strengthened through exposure to audiences and publics. For example, you will participate in the course's annual symposium.  

Unit 3: Graphic Communication Design Project 

This final unit synthesises and builds upon your experiences in Units 1 and 2. It explores how interrogation of the details and processes of production can extend the proposition of graphic communication design as research. At this point in the course, you will take individual responsibility for driving your coursework forward with the aim of producing a body of work that itself communicates and enacts its intentions. This process is designed to extend beyond the end of the unit and continue as you move forward in your life as a designer. The unit culminates with the course’s annual degree show. 

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 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

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

Assessment methods

  • Presentations
  • Media-based projects
  • Research papers
  • Self-evaluation

Staff

Rebecca Ross

Acting Programme Director Graphic Communication Design

Rebecca  Wright

Rebecca Wright

Dean of Academic Programmes

Luise  Vormittag

Luise Vormittag

Year Leader, MA Graphic Communication Design

Jaap  de Maat

Jaap de Maat

Programme Lecturer, BA Graphic Communication Design and MA Graphic Communication Design

Year Leader: Matthew Chrislip

Associate Lecturer: Max Colson
Associate Lecturer: Vaibhav Singh

Visiting Practitioner: Stephen Barrett
Visiting Practitioner: Dr. Francisco Laranjo
Visiting Practitioner: Houman Momtazian
Visiting Practitioner: Billie Muraben
Visiting Practitioner: Dr. David Roberts
Visiting Practitioner: Guglielmo Rossi

Graduate Teaching Assistant: Chi Nguyen
Graduate Teaching Assistant: Lucy Wren
Graduate Teaching Assistant: 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 ability to think critically
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Awareness and understanding of the field
  • Personal vision and a sense of purpose
  • Relevant previous experience
  • Alignment of personal aims and objectives to the course.

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

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

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)

This question tests your writing skills as well as your approach to reflecting upon and contextualising contemporary visual culture. Choose any recent film or television show. Write a brief critical response focusing on analysis rather than summary of any aspect. If useful, feel free to cite relevant literature.

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

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 1 May 2020 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

There are two ways international students can apply:

  • One of our official representatives in your country
  • A direct application.

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

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

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)

This question tests your writing skills as well as your approach to reflecting upon and contextualising contemporary visual culture. Choose any recent film or television show. Write a brief critical response focusing on analysis rather than summary of any aspect. If useful, feel free to cite relevant literature.

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 of the information above.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 1 May 2020 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.


After you apply

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 or book an audition, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

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 web-sites, 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 in person or by skype.

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 & Funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for 2020/21: £6,455 per year. Please note that fees for second year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

International fee

Tuition fees for 2020/21: £16,450 per year.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

Additional costs

You will be expected to meet the additional costs which may arise as a result of materials and/or compulsory field trips connected with your course.

Most students on MA Graphic Communication Design have Mac laptops with Adobe software installed. However, this is not required. There are desktop machines and laptops available for loan at the college. Typical materials expenses could include drawing and cutting supplies, specialised small equipment such as cameras as well as paper and printing. The precise spend will depend on the focus of your work but we estimate that these costs could be between £100 and £500 during the first year. These have the potential to rise as high as £1000 during the second year to cover production costs on final projects and degree show displays but can also be kept down through careful planning and individual decision-making.

There are no compulsory overnight field trips on MA Graphic Communication Design. In general, we endeavour to limit costs on field trips to a tube or bus journey by subsidising entry fees where applicable, as budget permits. You may also choose to go on other field trips or research visits and the costs of these could be between £50 and £150 per year.

For more information, please go to UAL's additional costs page.

Accommodation

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

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

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.

Alumni

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