Available for January start

Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 Year, Part-time: 2 Years

UK/EU fee

£735 per 20 credits* (2019/20)

International fee

£14,250 for the full programme (2019/20)

Course level

Postgraduate

Qualification

MA

Start dates

January, September

Location

Markeaton Street, Derby Campus

Course description

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.

University of Derby student talking.

View Masters Show 2018 video transcript

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.

A students work at the M A Degree Show
A close up of a students work
A close up of a students work

“Black dog” by Virginia Hussey, “The cul-de-sac” by George Scowby, “This way up” by Matthew Kel, MA Visual Communication graduates 2018.

What you will study

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.

  • Visual Culture: Debates:

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.

  • Concept:

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. 

  • Dissertation:

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.

How you will learn

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.

Entry requirements

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.

Fees and funding

2019/20 Fees (August 2019 - July 2020)

 Full-timePart-time
UK/EU

£735 per 20 credits*

£735 per 20 credits*

International

£14,250 for the full programme

N/A

*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 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.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Additional costs and optional extras

2020/21 Fees (August 2020 - July 2021)

 Full-timePart-time
UK/EU

£755 per 20 credits*

£755 per 20 credits*

International

£14,700 for the full programme

N/A

*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 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.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Additional costs and optional extras

Students chatting to each other

International student scholarship

We're offering a £2,000 scholarship for all eligible international students studying a full-time postgraduate taught programme (PGT). Terms and conditions apply.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply

Careers

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.

Programme leader

Tracy Tomlinson

Contact us

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 Contact us

Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

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.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

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.