Autumn, term one
- Critical Perspectives and Methodologies (60 credits)
This unit functions as an introduction to postgraduate study, critical and reflective practice, and alternative working approaches that blend graphic design practice, history and theory. Within our critical studio model — where theory, history, and practice meet, inform and influence one another — you will learn to approach practice-led enquiry and design writing as visual research tools.
This blended approach is employed to build a confidence in moving past the familiar into the unknown, through close readings of the variables that shape contemporary graphic design practice. A curated lecture series, anchored by key reference material, will support the studio-based delivery.
Spring, term two
- Collaborative Unit (20 credits)
The Collaborative Unit urges you to independently initiate opportunities to socialise your research through building relationships with key stakeholders associated with your research agenda/s i.e. users, commissioners, producers, fellow practitioners/researchers, subject or technical experts, etc.
These activities may take place locally or remotely, through an excellent opportunity for you to establish links with relative industry partners within the thriving design culture here in London.
- Design Enquiry and Definition (40 credits)
Alongside the Collaborative Unit, you will continue establishing a hypothesis for your Major Project by testing your projects currency in varied ways through practice-led design methodologies and processes; readings and writings around your field/area of study; and ongoing critical reflections. The products of this enquiry will feed directly into your Major Project Definition, which you will submit as part of your Design Enquiry and Definition unit submission.
In this period, you will also work with the other students on the course to devise and realise an opportunity to share your work-in-progress and test your propositions with a relative public/s. This may take the form of a publication, exhibition, event, symposium or workshop series negotiated with the course team.
Summer, term three
- Design Enquiry and Definition (continued)
- Major Project (60 credits)
Within this final stage of the course, you will further your knowledge and extend your critical and professional understanding through the consolidation and realisation of the Major Project. You are expected to produce work demonstrating a significant synthesis of research and practice drawing on the skills and knowledge acquired in the first three stages of the course.
Your Major Project will demonstrate, both in content and form, your advanced understanding of graphic design practice, history and theory. You will spend this phase of your study pursuing an argued and distinct line of inquiry working towards a major output (or body of work).
This will be supported by a critical context paper and critical rationale articulating the motivations and objectives of the project acknowledging key theories, contexts, and stakeholders for the research.
Autumn, term four
- Major Project (continued)
Learning and teaching methods
At the core of our learning and teaching methods is a shared Critical Studio made up of you, your peers, course tutors and associated external guests/experts from time to time. We propose a blended approach to theory and practice as central to a sustained, critical and productive practice. The Critical Studio takes various different forms, where you will be able to share your understanding with others and obtain guidance to identify solutions to practical or theoretical problems.
- Workshop: the focus of the workshop sessions will vary dependent on the stage of the course, the requirements of the cohort and the opportunities for engagement with external experts throughout your time on the course. Typically 6 however, these will be group sessions designed to explore a particular skill, concept or subject - practice-led or written.
- Seminar: smaller focused group session led by your course-tutor, your peers or an external guest to deal with the priorities of your development at any given point.
- Lecture: throughout the course you are invited to attend a curated lecture series to underpin and support studio activity; introduce new perspectives; and offer opportunities to open a discussion about the material with the other guests.
- Academic tutorial: one-to-one tutorial where you will receive individual council concerning your understanding and practical application of theory and skills. These sessions are normally hosted by your personal tutor.
- Personal tutorial: you will be assigned a personal tutor throughout the year who you will have a 20 minute minimum tutorial with each term, which can take in academic or pastoral concerns.
- Self directed learning: independent study undertaken by you to research, write, experiment, prototype and prepare assignments and to extend your knowledge and understanding. This can be undertaken at home, using college facilities or elsewhere.
- Speakers and visits: throughout the course you will be introduced to a range of leading thinkers and practitioners to provide you with varied perspectives of contemporary issues and recent events.
- Assessed assignments: you are required to submit relative unit assignments for the course team to measure your attainment of the learning outcomes and help you develop the key skills that will form an important aspect of their learning.
- Reflective Report
- Research Proposal
- Portfolios – practical, written
- Critical Context Paper & Rationale
The information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example, because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course.
Please note: due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year.
In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.
We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact a member of the course team.