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MA Graphic Media Design

Start date
September 2019
Course length
Full-time: 1 year 3 months full-time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

Course summary

MA Graphic Media Design explores the use of graphic design as a critical tool to probe the complexities of contemporary visual culture.

Through intensive and original practice-led research, you will develop an independent and critical attitude with a view to producing relevant and unexpected perspectives on and for the world.

We invite thoughtful, critical, productive individuals interested in the effective articulation of design.

Reasons to apply

  • Subject Expertise: we engage with national and international visiting lecturers – with notable recent guests including Turner Prize-winners Assemble, design historian and writer Alice Twemlow, and world-renowned design practitioners Paul Elliman and Jan van Toorn.
  • Distinctive Practice: our graduates secure high-profile careers in key areas of design practice, research and education – including Sarah Boris (Associate Art Director, Phaidon Publishing), Tzortzis Rallis (PhD student at LCC; Design Museum Design of the Year Awards 2013 shortlist), Marwan Kaabour (Barnbrook Studio) and Cat Drew (Work & Health Unit, Policy Lab, UK Government).
  • Design Discourse, Research and Debate: our established MA and PhD community offers opportunities for expert academic guidance. Engage in research-oriented workshops and contemplate progression to PhD, as well as interact with a growing number of research hubs at LCC, such as Design Activism Research Hub, Graphic Subcultures, Conscientious Communicators, Typographic Research Unit, and many others across UAL.
  • Excellence in resources: LCC’s exceptional facilities span both the traditional and contemporary processes from letterpress, screen printing, photography, 3D construction and bookbinding to 3D printing, laser-cutting and sound engineering.

Open evenings

The next Open Evening for this course will be on Thursday 6 December.

Book your place

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Course details

MA Graphic Media Design is renowned for its excellence in teaching and learning at postgraduate level, with established links within the field of graphic design, both nationally and internationally.

Your self-authored, practice-led enquiry will drive this 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.

This integrated design-oriented approach opens up new opportunities for you to explore the practice, the writing and the reading as blended visual research tools ripe for critique, invention and application.

MA Graphic Media Design runs alongside a suite of established and newly developed postgraduate courses, spanning the rich and diverse spectrum of the current and emergent practices in the fields of visual communication, illustration, interaction design, service design, branding and identity, advertising, documentary, journalism, photography, publishing, public relations, sound arts and screenwriting. This diversity of individual and collective pursuits promotes a rich discursive arena for all engaged.

Course structure

The course structure appreciates the varied requirements and aspirations of the contemporary practitioner interested in the pursuit of postgraduate study in the subject. This is a particularly distinctive feature as we are one of the few courses in the United Kingdom to offer this option for postgraduate study in the subject.

The course is demanding of time and commitment. A defining aspect of your postgraduate study is the independent, self-directed approach. You are expected to timetable and manage your own learning according to your ambition and intentions.

You will work with the course team in the MA Graphic Media Design studios two days per week dependent on the stage of study, plus you’ll also attend a lecture series scheduled for another day in the week.

Outside of this core delivery, you will have the opportunity to utilise a range of excellent resources available at LCC to produce your experimentation and continue developing your projects. Tailored Academic Support and Language Support sessions are also scheduled to support and inform your developing academic literacies whilst you are with us on the course.

Your success or failure on the course will depend, to a great extent on how rigorously and responsibly you take this 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.

Please note: 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.

Course units

Full-time mode

Autumn, term one

Units summary:

  • 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

Units summary:

  • 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

Units summary:

  • 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

Units summary:

  • 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.

Assessment Methods

  • Projects
  • Reflective Report
  • Research Proposal
  • Portfolios – practical, written
  • Critical Context Paper & Rationale

Course structure

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.

Webpage updates

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.


Paul  Bailey

Paul Bailey

Course Leader, MA Graphic Media Design

Tony  Credland

Tony Credland

Lead Tutor, MA Graphic Media Design

Alistair  McClymont

Alistair McClymont

Lead Tutor, BA (Hons) Graphic Media Design

Sophie  Demay

Sophie Demay

Associate Lecturer, MA Graphic Media Design

Bryony  Quinn

Bryony Quinn

Lecturer, MA Graphic Media Design

Tamar  Shafrir

Tamar Shafrir

Lecturer, MA Graphic Media Design

Charlotte-Maëva  Perret

Charlotte-Maëva Perret

Visting Lecturer, MA Graphic Media Design

Ben  Branagan

Ben Branagan

Associate Lecturer, MA Graphic Media Design

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 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 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.

Language requirements (international/EU)

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score.

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.

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.


Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

Personal statement advice (approximately 150 words)

Please say why you are applying for this course, outlining relevant prior experience and your current knowledge of contemporary graphic design debates, developments and discussions. Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes.

It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future. This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.

Study proposal (300-500 words)

Applicants must submit a study proposal (300-500 words) outlining the intentions of their MA research. Please include a description of the area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of the intended project, and an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project and the methodology.

Portfolio and interview advice

All applicants will be expected to submit an electronic portfolio as part of their application. Your portfolio should evidence the applicant’s aptitude, skill and engagement in the field of graphic design or a relative neighbouring practice.

Please submit an edited selection of work (10-20 images, 4-5 projects maximum) accompanied by a short caption for each project acknowledging the motivation, development, realisation and impact (one-two sentences maximum).

Please indicate your role and contribution to any collaborative projects included. We welcome developmental work, sketches, tests, process-led experimentation in the portfolio. If you have links to web projects or media assets, please note these in your CV.

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.

Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will take place at LCC, or via Skype/telephone.


Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2019/20 but wish to defer to 2020/21, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the deposit in order to defer. In all cases, deferred places will be held for one year.

Making a deferred application (during 2018/19 for entry in 2020/21)

Home/EU applicants are permitted to make a deferred application. International applicants are not permitted to make a deferred application.

After you apply

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this Portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Once we’ve reviewed and assessed your application, we’ll contact you via UCAS Track or the UAL Portal to let you know whether your application has been successful.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£9,500 (2018/19).

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments


Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the Equivalent or Lower Qualifications (ELQ) fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. For enquiries relating to ELQ fees, please complete this register your interest form.

International fee

£19,350 (2018/19).

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. We strongly suggest you read the information on our Additional Costs page.


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

Scholarships and awards

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.

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.

Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:

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