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Postgraduate

MA Graphic Media Design


College
London College of Communication
Start date
September 2024
Course length
Full-time: 1 year 3 months full-time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

MA Graphic Media Design explores the use of graphic design as a critical tool to investigate the complexities of contemporary society.

Applying for more than 1 course

You can apply for more than 1 postgraduate course at UAL but we recommend that you apply for no more than 3. Find out more in the Apply Now section.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • Subject expertise: Delivered by accomplished design practitioners, researchers and educators, this award-winning, progressive course champions development and critical debate.
  • Progressive practice: You’ll prepare to enter complex contexts with curiosity and confidence, informed with in-depth subject knowledge, advanced design skills and a resilient attitude.
  • Design discourse and debate: Course guests include leading practitioners, theorists, writers and critical thinkers. Previously, we’ve welcomed the likes of Forensic Architecture, Alice Twemlow, Paul Elliman and Jan van Toom.
  • Community: You'll socialise your practice with key groups, organisations and institutions, engaging with projects such as the ‘In Search Of…’ series, ‘Positioning Practice’ and ‘A Line Which Forms a Volume’.
  • Progression: As a member of our postgraduate community, you’ll have opportunities to engage in research, and graduate with the potential for PhD progression.
  • Excellent resources: You’ll have access to exceptional facilities spanning both traditional and contemporary processes - from letterpress, screen printing, photography, 3D construction and bookbinding to 3D printing, laser-cutting and sound engineering.

Course overview

Our approach is practice-led and research-oriented.

An integrated approach to theory and practice threads through the course delivered by an accomplished course team of awarded design practitioners, published researchers and experienced educators. This approach offers a distinct opportunity to develop a body of work that is relative and progressive.

What to expect

  • Your self-authored, practice-led enquiry will drive the programme of study. You will work in collaboration with the course tutors, fellow course participants and external partners.
  • Your long-term independent enquiry will be punctuated with specialist workshops, course-led briefs, tutor, peer and expert critique forums, site visits, lectures and talks from leading practitioners, thinkers and doers.
  • You will join and participate in a critical studio environment where practice-led, theoretical and historical contexts will be explored, critiqued and contemplated alongside one another. 
  • Outside of core delivery, you will have the opportunity to utilise a range of resources to experiment and continue developing your projects. Your success or failure on the course will depend, to a great extent on how rigorously and responsibly you exercise self-direction and how well you respond to tutorial advice and advice from peers and collaborators. The level of self-management required will increase throughout the course. 
  • We will assume that you are technically proficient and able to research and develop any further skills you require. Technical tuition is restricted to the tutorial support of individual projects. If you need to acquire a significant skill base, then you are advised to do so before you apply for the course.

Industry experience and opportunities

Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to work in partnership with a team of course tutors and guests with specialist knowledge in practice/s of graphic design spanning commissioned work, research practice and teaching. You will also socialise your practice with key institutions, organisations and communities throughout the course.

Mode of Study

MA Graphic Media Design 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

We are committed to ensuring that your skills are set within an ethical framework, and we have worked to embed UAL’s Principles for Climate, Racial and Social Justice Principles into 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.

Autumn, Term 1

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.

This 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 2

Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

The Collaborative Unit urges you to independently initiate opportunities to socialise your research through building relationships with key partners associated with your research agenda/s i.e. institutions, subject experts, users, commissioners, producers, fellow practitioners/researchers, 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 reflection.

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.

Summer, Term 3

Design Enquiry and Definition (continued)
Major Project (60 credits)

Within this 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.

Autumn, Term 4 Major Project (continued) ​

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.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Workshop
  • Seminar
  • Lecture
  • Tutorials
  • Self directed learning
  • Speakers and visits
  • Assessed assignments

Online Open Day

(Recorded February 2023)

Course Leader, Tony Credland, gives an overview of studying MA Graphic Media Design at London College of Communication.

UAL Showcase

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Showcase

  • Woman disappearing in romance
    Woman disappearing in romance, Qiulai Tang, 2023 MA Graphic Media Design, London College of Communication, UAL
  • American Dream with Chinese Characteristics
    American Dream with Chinese Characteristics, Zhan Zhang, 2023 MA Graphic Media Design, London College of Communication, UAL
  • I Met Him in the Summer of 1980
    I Met Him in the Summer of 1980, Sang Bao, 2023 MA Graphic Media Design, London College of Communication, UAL
  • A Play of Mortality
    A Play of Mortality, Chris Kou, 2023 MA Graphic Media Design, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Portraits Illisibles  - Navigating the In-Between
    Portraits Illisibles - Navigating the In-Between, Pauline Hill, 2023 MA Graphic Media Design, London College of Communication, UAL

Student work

  • Micro-resistance-is,-Zifan-Wang.png
    Micro-resistance is, Zifan Wang
  • The-Last-Resort,-Yunjing-Li.png
    The Last Resort, Yunjing Li
  • Si-Jiang-2.jpg
    Image credit: Commodity Offerings - Si Jiang, MA Graphic Media Design.
  • E-URO-BETA,-Ricardo-Goncalves.png
    E-URO BETA, Ricardo Gonçalves
  • Female-Machines,-Jiatai-Tian.png
    Female Machines, Jiatai Tian
  • No-Singular-Narrative,-Margarida-Morias.png
    No Singular Narrative, Margarida Morias
  • Queer-Space-in-China-1969-2019,-Qiming-Ding.png
    Queer Space in China (1969-2019), Qiming Ding
  • Shuting-Wen,-Shuting-Wen.png
    Shuting Wen, Shuting Wen
  • The-Copy-Machine,-Roxy-Zeiher.png
    The Copy Machine, Roxy Zeiher

Student Voices

Qinyi Yang

Qinyi’s project, ‘Metaverse Cult: The Fantasy of Power and Control’, is a 3D animation that uses horror, absurd scenes and a documentary narrative to challenge and question current trends.

Roxy Zeiher

Roxy talks to us about her project The Copy Machine which explores artificial intelligence.

Instagram

Course stories

410 Gone

410 Gone


openresty

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.

  • A tutor in the process of producing a print.
    Image © Lewis Bush

    Printmaking

    This workshop offers a wide-range of expertise in everything from etching to lithography.

  • 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.

Staff

Fees and funding

Home fee

£13,330

This fee is correct for 2024/25 entry and is subject to change for 2025/26 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.

International fee

£28,570

This fee is correct for 2024/25 entry and is subject to change for 2025/26 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 MA Graphic Media Design course team welcomes thoughtful, critical and productive applicants concerned with the effective articulation of design.

The course attracts applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world, from an Honours degree course in a field relevant to graphics and media design or those with other, equivalent qualifications. The course team also welcomes students with relevant experience or those who may have previously worked in the industry, or non-traditional backgrounds, as well as those already within employment.

The course has been designed to accommodate flexibility in educational engagement. Your experience is assessed as a learning process and tutors will evaluate that experience for currency, validity, quality and sufficiency.

Your 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 6.0 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.
  • Your 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

Application deadline

Deadline

Round 1:

13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)

Round 2:

3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)

Digital portfolio and video task deadline

Round 1:

16 January 2024

Round 2:

16 April 2024

Decision outcome

Round 1:

End of March 2024

Round 2:

End of June 2024

Round 1
Round 2
Deadline
13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)
3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)
Digital portfolio and video task deadline
16 January 2024
16 April 2024
Decision outcome
End of March 2024
End of June 2024

All applications received by 3 April will be treated equally. If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Read more about deadlines

Apply now

Application deadline

Deadline

Round 1:

13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)

Round 2:

3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)

Digital portfolio and video task deadline

Round 1:

16 January 2024

Round 2:

16 April 2024

Decision outcome

Round 1:

End of March 2024

Round 2:

End of June 2024

Round 1
Round 2
Deadline
13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)
3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)
Digital portfolio and video task deadline
16 January 2024
16 April 2024
Decision outcome
End of March 2024
End of June 2024

All applications received by 3 April will be treated equally. If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Read more about deadlines

Apply to UAL

Start your application
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Find your representative

How to apply

Follow this step-by-step guide to apply for this course

Step 1: Initial application

You will need to submit an initial application including your personal statement and CV.

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement should be maximum 500 words and include:

  • your reasons for choosing the course
  • your current creative practice and how this course will help you achieve your future plans
  • any relevant education and experience, especially if you do not have any formal academic qualifications.

Visit our personal statement page for more advice.

CV advice

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If you have any web projects or other media that you would like to share, please include links in your CV. If English is not your first language, please also include your most recent English language test score.

Study proposal advice

Please provide a summary of your study proposal (300-500 words).

It should:

  • outline the topic or subject area that you would like to focus on during your studies
  • outline the aims, objectives and methodology of your project
  • describe how your proposal relates to cultural, historical and theoretical frameworks and contexts
  • provide an evaluation of why this subject is important to you and what you hope to gain from your experience studying this MA
  • include any illustrations or images that support your proposal.

Please note, your proposal serves to inform your application and we understand that your ideas will develop and change throughout your studies.

Step 2: Video task and digital portfolio

We will review your initial application. If you have met the standard entry requirements, we will ask you to submit a digital portfolio and video task.

You’ll need to submit these via PebblePad, our online portfolio tool. Please submit your video task on the first page followed by your portfolio.

Video task advice

We’d like you to submit a 2-3 minute video to help us learn more about you. The video must be in English.

What to include in your video task

  • Choose 1 project from your portfolio and explain how it challenged you and your understanding of graphic media design.
  • Tell us how this experience inspired you to apply to MA Graphic Media Design at London College of Communication.

Read our guidance for how to submit your video task and which file types we accept.

Digital portfolio advice

Your portfolio should consist of recent work that reflects your creative strengths.

It should:

  • be maximum 20 pages, including your video task
  • feature work across a maximum of 5 projects
  • demonstrate your aptitude, skill and engagement in the field of graphic design or a related practice
  • feature examples of development work, sketches, tests and process-led experimentation
  • show your thinking and making process, including any supporting research-based inquiry
  • include supporting captions that explain your motivation, development, realisation and impact. If you include any collaborative projects, please also indicate your role and contribution.

For more support, see our Portfolio advice and PebblePad advice.

Step 3: Interview

You may be invited to an interview following our review of your application. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes.

For top tips, see our Interview advice.

You also need to know

Communicating with you

Once you have submitted your initial application, we will email you with your login details for our Applicant portal.

Requests for supplementary documents like qualifications and English language tests will be made through the applicant portal. You can also use it to ask questions regarding your application. Visit our After you apply page for more information.

Applying to more than 1 course

You can apply for more than 1 postgraduate course at UAL but we recommend that you apply for no more than 3 courses. You need to tailor your application, supporting documents and portfolio to each course, so applying for many different courses could risk the overall quality of your application. If you receive offers for multiple courses, you'll only be able to accept 1 offer. UAL doesn't accept repeat applications to the same course in the same academic year.

Visas and immigration history check

All non-UK nationals must complete an immigration history check. Your application may be considered by our course teams before this check takes place. This means that we may request your portfolio and/or video task before we identify any issues arising from your immigration history check. Sometimes your history may mean that we are not able to continue considering your application. Visit our Immigration and visas advice page for more information.

External student transfer policy

UAL accepts transfers from other institutions on a case-by-case basis. Read our Student transfer policy for more information.

Alternative offers

If your application is really strong, but we believe your strengths and skillset are better suited to a different course, we may make you an alternative offer. This means you will be offered a place on a different course or at a different UAL College.

Deferring your place

We do not accept any deferral requests for our postgraduate courses. This means that you must apply in the year that you plan to start your course and you will not be able to defer your place to start at a later date.

Application deadlines

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 equal consideration deadlines to ensure fairness for all our applicants. If you apply ahead of either of these deadlines, your application will be considered on an equal basis with all other applications in that round. If there are places available after the second deadline, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Careers

Our graduates leave the course with curiosity and confidence, informed with in-depth subject knowledge, advanced design skills and a resilient attitude.

Graduates initiate new directions for the practice of graphic design, participate in current and future debates on the practice and secure high-profile careers in key areas of design practice, research and education.