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MA Illustration and Visual Media

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

Course summary

MA Illustration and Visual Media explores the creation and contextualisation of images at a time of unparalleled possibilities for engagement in visual culture.

Through intensive and experimental practice-led research, you will develop an independent and critical relationship to the contemporary image, with the potential to work across a broad range of specialist visual media.

We invite applications from thoughtful, rigorous and prolific individuals interested in developing an expanded visual practice that reflects the complexities and possibilities for the image in the post analogue world.

Reasons to apply

  • Subject expertise: MA IVM is taught by internationally active practitioners and thinkers in art, design and image making. We engage with visiting lecturers within our MA IVM studio programme and embrace opportunities for an expanded discourse by our involvement in lecture series across the LCC postgraduate provision.

  • Outward facing experiences: We regularly work in collaboration with external partners in the creative and cultural industries, recently participating in live projects with V&A Museum, The Museum of London, The Design Council, The Barbican and The Wallace Collection.

  • Discourse, research and debate around contemporary visual culture: LCC’s 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 traditional and contemporary processes from screen printing, photography, letterpress, 3D construction and bookbinding to 3D printing, laser-cutting and specialist digital software.

Open evenings

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

Book your place


Instagram: @ma_ivm

Twitter: @ma_ivm

Student Work

Course details

The course explores both the theory and practice of contemporary image making. A self-authored, practice-led investigation will drive your programme of study over the four terms of the course.

Your enquiries into the expanded nature of the image will be enhanced by specialist workshops, course-led briefs, tutor, peer and expert critique forums, site visits, lectures and talks from leading practitioners and thinkers.

This approach provides you with a unique platform from which to produce innovative and exciting work that has a critical and contextual value to the contemporary image world.

Through the development of an extensive portfolio of work, the course places graduates in a position to operate across areas as diverse as freelance visual practice, the gallery and museum sector, art direction, visual communication, the animation and film industries, photography, interactive and new media.

The course supports progression to research at MPhil/PhD level as well as to advanced self-directed experimental practice. You will join and participate in a critical studio environment; a defining aspect of your postgraduate study will be an independent, self-directed approach.

Outside the core studio delivery, you will have the opportunity to utilise the range of excellent technical resources available at LCC to extend your experimentation and continue developing your projects. Academic and Language Support sessions are also scheduled to extend and support your developing academic proficiency while on the course.

MA Illustration and Visual Media runs alongside a suite of established and newly developed postgraduate courses at LCC, reflecting the rich and diverse spectrum of current and emergent practices in the fields of interaction design, virtual reality, games design, film, graphic design, documentary, journalism, photography, publishing, sound arts and screenwriting.

This diversity of subject areas encourages a rich academic environment for all LCC postgraduate students.

This course is taught within the Design School.

Course units

Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves six units, totalling 180 credits.

Autumn, term one

Unit summary:

  • Illustrative Practice and Visual Media (40 credits)
  • Critical Practice and Research Methods (20 credits)

Term One of the course examines your visual practice and introduces critical theories and research methods to provide a framework for MA study in this discipline. You will produce work that interrogates key critical ideas and be set briefs that require you to extend your practice across time-based, sequential, interactive and narrative situations. You will be introduced to key thinking and making skills in this phase that will be essential for your practice throughout the rest of the course.

Spring, term two

Unit summary:

  • Expanded Practice and Individual Voice (40 credits)
  • Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

Term Two offers you the opportunity to use both the critical and technical skills gained in Term One to produce self-directed projects alongside set briefs that encourage you to develop your visual voice across different mediums. During this phase, you will also develop a project proposal for your Final Major Project and thesis in Term Three.

Summer, term three

Unit summary:

  • Expanded Practice and Individual Voice (continued)
  • Final Major Project and Thesis (60 credits)

Autumn, term four

Unit summary:

  • Final Major Project and Thesis (continued)
    (Weighted 60% Major Practical Project and 40% thesis)

In Term Three and Four you will undertake a Final Major Project and Thesis that relates to the expanded field of illustration and visual media. This will involve a self-directed major practical project and the completion of a related thesis, which demonstrates your critical reflection, analysis and original research.

With your access to broad theoretical models spanning the discipline, you will apply these models to your own specialist area of interest to produce a critically aware major project that will usually be presented at your postgraduate show after assessment.

If you are unable to continue or decide to exit the course, there are two possible exit awards. A Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits.


Charley  Peters

Charley Peters

Course Leader, MA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media

Juliet  Sugg

Juliet Sugg

Associate Lecturer, BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media

Chris  Ratcliffe

Chris Ratcliffe

Associate Lecturer, BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media

Ben  Branagan

Ben Branagan

Associate Lecturer, MA Graphic Media Design


William Luz, Associate Lecturer

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 course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world. The course has a particular aim to appeal to image-led art & design graduates that are interested in exploring these new and emerging areas of illustration practice.

Applicants are expected to have an honours degree in either illustration, visual communication or graphic design or closely related subjects, however, we do accept candidates who have graduated from other less strongly aligned disciplines.

The course team also welcomes students with relevant experience or those who may have previously worked in industry.

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 the ability 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
  • 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 200 words)

You will be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Illustration & Visual Media. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course.

The personal statement is a very important part of your application and should demonstrate to the course team that you are interested in the subject and that you have thought very carefully about why you wish to study on the course.

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 / project proposal advice

Applicants should outline in the project proposal a description of the area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of the intended project. This should include 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. You can upload images or provide web links to any online work or websites. Note, web links should be noted in your CV.

The portfolio should contain a minimum of 5 projects comprising examples of image-led work. This work can be from academic, self-initiated or professional practice. For each project please include a short written reflection and edited visual documentation of your working process.

The portfolio should be conceptual and research-based, you must show your thinking and making process and a curious nature to explore, test and experiment.

If you have links to web projects or other media, please note these in your CV.

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.

Making your application

We ask all applicants to complete an online application and upload additional digital items, via the Apply now link, below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the course Entry Requirements section to learn about the application process and additional items you would need to supply.

All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:

  • First, they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement and portfolio

There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Before submitting your application, you will need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the application form. Once you have submitted the online application, we will send you a confirmation email.

Please note: if you’re an international applicant we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

Extra information required for applications to this course

You will be asked to supply:

  • Portfolio
  • Study proposal/project proposal

After you have submitted your application, the course leader will then review your work and may invite you to interview or interview you via Skype, and will then make a decision on your application.

The admissions team will be in touch soon after that to let you know the outcome and to guide you through the next steps.

Start your application now

Applications are accepted and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Apply now

The online application can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t 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 press submit.

As you progress through the application process we will send you emails with important information, so do check your inbox regularly (and junk folder, just in case).

After you apply

Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU Fee

£10,890 (2019/20)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

International fee

£19,930 (2019/20)

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:

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Graduates of the course will be equipped to work in an increasingly technologically informed and interdisciplinary design world with in-depth skills in the following areas: visual communication, animation, narrative and sequential image making, typography, illustration and time-based design, authorial practice and publishing. A significant proportion of graduates from this course practice as commercial illustrators.

One of your key attributes will be an ability to translate narrative images across media. You will have the facility to deploy narrative illustrative content in books, online, animation and interactive and environmental settings. This will be coupled with an agile critical perspective ensuring you have the creative drive to sustain a career in the creative industries.

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