Redefine and develop your individual personal direction in a rich learning environment
If you have a passion for Graphic Design, Illustration or Animation this course will enable you to extend your knowledge and ambitions to Masters level. You will redefine and develop your individual personal direction in a rich learning environment, using traditional and advanced new technology facilities at the Markeaton Street site.
You will be able to gain high-level professional experience in your field of practice learning alongside like-minded creative individuals. Your lecturers are practicing professionals involved in research and scholarly activity.
This is a studio practice based course that enables you to extend your potential at postgraduate level as an innovative practitioner in graphic design, illustration or animation.
Take a look at highlights from the 2019 MA Degree Show as well as a video from the 2018 show below.
During the course you will explore the exciting and rapidly evolving area of visual communication, which includes the latest developments in graphic design, illustration, publishing, web design, branding, advertising identity, the internet, screen based and moving image and contemporary practice in communication arts.
You will be supported in rethinking, refining and developing your visual thinking to establish new directions.
You will complete an in depth, challenging and original creative project during this course, which will give you an individual and advantageous view of the creative freelance and entrepreneurial world. You will have the freedom to explore a personal direction in your work.
The longer term strategic developments of the professional creative industries and your place within it will also be explored. We encourage and develop emerging creative enterprise in the development of your major practice project.
“Black dog” by Virginia Hussey, “The cul-de-sac” by George Scowby, “This way up” by Matthew Kel, MA Visual Communication graduates 2018.
You will study modules such as:
During this stage you will explore contemporary debates and design experimentation, as well as appraising your practice strengths and potential.
- Personal Practice and Methodologies:
During this double module you will actively explore, critically review, and develop your personal practice and methodologies. You will delve further into your interests, philosophical concerns, and ethical stance as a designer and consider your practice from sociological, philosophical, commercial, professional, ecological, and cultural perspectives.
The module takes as its starting point selected academic texts, which will be used for initiating debate. Through them, you will stimulate and expand your knowledge and understanding of visual culture.
This process of critical scrutiny and debate will provide you with a platform for developing your scholarly understanding of concepts such as ideology, identity, ethics, and aesthetics, and an appreciation of how these might be associated with issues relating to gender, globalisation, sustainability, taste, and consumer culture. This module will encourage you to examine your own practice in relation to the ideas and contrasting theories you have studied.
This stage will see you developing a major in-depth personal project and research for a supporting dissertation.
This double module is the first phase of your masters practice project. It covers a significant period of time in which you will extensively research and explore your personal area of focus in your practice. You will conceive, explore, formulate, and propose a considered masters project plan, which you will carry out during the final Realisation module. You will be assigned a supervisor to support you throughout the module.
You will plan a personal programme of research on a negotiated topic relevant to your personal practice. Your topic will be carefully selected and honed to ensure that it successfully informs your project. The individual methodologies you develop during this module will inform your practice based final project. You will develop a coherent argument, informed by your own research, which will drive the structure and logic of your dissertation.
This final stage involves the completion, testing, and evaluation of your masters practice project through a final practice module called, Realisation:
This triple module is the culmination of your masters practice project. Through it, you will carry out the practice concept that you formulated, researched, and developed during the Concept module, and will create an extensive body of highly developed practice in response to the challenges you set yourself. You will work with independent scholarship and with an enquiring and questioning approach to test, analyse, and critically evaluate your work throughout the process of concluding your masters study.
The programme will culminate in a degree show exhibition to promote and disseminate your work.
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
Real world learning is incorporated into this course, through ‘live’ projects, field trips and working with employers. We also have guest lectures throughout the programme.
Assessment of all modules is by 100% coursework reflecting the practical nature of this creative, practice-based discipline. The coursework will focus on and around the range of projects and assignments you undertake throughout the programme, including studio work, industrial liaison, presentations, written and oral reports, seminar reports and your dissertation.
You'll usually need an undergraduate degree (at least second class), in a related subject, or an equivalent qualification and a portfolio of your practice.
If English is not your first language, you'll also need an IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent.
2021/22 Fees (August 2021 - July 2022)
£6,750 for the full course or £755 per 20 credits*
£755 per 20 credits
£14,700 for the full course
Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.
* UK full-time fees paid within one academic year are rounded down to the nearest £50 if applicable
Additional costs and optional extras
About postgraduate awards
Please note at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the respective awards. If you have any questions please contact us.
|Postgraduate Certificate||60 Credits|
|Postgraduate Diploma||120 Credits|
|MA or MSc||180 Credits|
This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.
Alumni discount for Derby graduates
We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.
Find out about the Alumni discount
When you’ve completed this course you could move on to a career in areas such as design, consultancy, illustration, animation, production, media, web design, publishing or computer games, or work as an exhibiting artist or teacher. Alternatively, you could continue your studies to PhD level.
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us
Additional information about your studies
Download programme specification
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.
Included in your fees
- Additional access to wider University Arts’ facilities including equipment loan store and other facilities, such as digital print workshops or video editing
- Specialist equipment and access to a range of 2D/3D making workshops (printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, wood / metal
- Participation in University Degree Show - including the physical building of the exhibition space
- Here at Derby, we provide excellent learning resources, libraries and specialist laboratories and studios
- The programme benefits from a visiting speaker each semester
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- We recommend students using photography or film/video to have their own camera, however our equipment loan store hold most needed equipment to complete student’s coursework
- Approx. £100 per year for printing research material for journal work
- Additional materials (printing, stationary, portfolio sleeves, folders, USBs/hard drives etc. £100-£300)
- There will be occasions when you will be expected to attend exhibitions, screenings, performances and festivals. You will need to budget for these over each academic year.
- National trips - coach (Approx. £8 -£12 , London £30+)
- International trip (Approx. £500)
- Individual project work - toward the end of each of the three stages - this can range from £100 - £1000 depending on the activity
Optional costs not included in your fees
- Additional course related publications (approx. costs £100)
- Specialist software/hardware (costs up to £1500)
- Final year project costs (costs determined by student £200-£600)
- Travel for work placement opportunities (costs will vary dependant on location)
- We provide full details of all course fees, but extra costs may include field trips (approx. cost £200-£400)
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.