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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.

Re-approval

Please note this course is undergoing re-approval. This is the process by which we ensure the course continues to provide a high quality academic experience. During re-approval there may be some changes to the course content displayed on this page. Please contact us if you have any questions about the course.

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.

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

MA Graphic Communication Design stories

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 progresses through a series of thematic briefs. These structure the development of your coursework. Engagement with thematic briefs will be supported by assigned readings, critical discussions, and/or workshop activities. 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. 

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.

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, critical discussions, and workshop activities. 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.

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
  • 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

Dr Rebecca Ross

Programme Director Graphic Communication Design

Matthew  Chrislip

Matthew Chrislip

Course Leader, MA Graphic Communication Design

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

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

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

When you’ll hear from us

Once you’ve sent in your application, our course teams will review it closely. We’ll be in touch shortly after you apply with information about next steps. Find out more about what happens after you apply.

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.

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

When you’ll hear from us

Once you’ve sent in your application, our course teams will review it closely. We’ll be in touch shortly after you apply with information about next steps. Find out more about what happens after you apply.


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.