This course is concerned with the advanced exploration and application of principles of graphic design within the contexts of research and professional development. Engagement with digital and making technologies is central to discovering and harnessing new thinking in design.
This course is of particular relevance to those interested in effective visual communication and developing innovative concepts and approaches in publication design, illustration, motion graphics, corporate identity, photography, design for digital media and graphic design for advertising.
Based in the heart of the School of Art, MA/MFA Design: Graphic Design and Art Direction is part of an innovative design network — a community of staff and students exploring design ideas in a discursive, cross-disciplinary studio environment. Critically informed practical designers, the group works experimentally, inspired by new insights and possibilities.
While studying towards a particular qualification at MA/MFA level, students experience their subject in the broader context of contemporary design practice.
Dedicated spaces for the postgraduate community have been developed to enable the postgraduate community to flourish. These spaces, for thinking and practice, are located centrally within the School of Art, allowing easy access to an extensive range of workshops where the combination of traditional and state of the art equipment opens up a world of exciting possibilities.
The MA Design: Graphic Design and Art Direction is made up of four units totalling 180 credits.
The programme is designed to help you acclimatise to the challenges of MA level research and practice, enabling you to identify and describe a clear direction for your postgraduate design study.
You will be encouraged to develop design propositions that encompass key design issues and have complexity and ambition, taking full consideration of the relative contextual drivers.
You will also be encouraged and supported to extend your experience in the professional sphere either through a practical project, research context, exchange, work experience, or other negotiated professional set of interactions with an external partner, groups of students and creative industry.
Towards the end of the programme you will undertake a major project to consolidate your past research and practice into fully realised collections, pieces, proposals, business plans, or exhibitions – whatever means is appropriate to the work. You will also have developed a strategy for the continuation of your practice located and contextualised to the profession or discipline.
If you choose to progress to MFA Design: Graphic Design and Art Direction award you will study a further two units of 60 credits each.
This route is focused on the continuation of your practice aligned to the research and selection of appropriate public or professional venues and platforms to disseminate a significant body of work. You will be required to produce work for a public audience in the most relevant and appropriate form along with any implicit publicity and dissemination material.
The MCGD provides an opportunity for you to plan, develop and carry out a large scale design research project. This will enable you to collaborate with other students and academics, and to work with members of the professional design industry. The MCGD research is represented by both a written thesis and an exhibited design realisation.
Research topics are tailored to suit your interests, providing an opportunity for you to hone a particular aspect of graphic design further, which could be a pathway to your chosen career. You will also have the full support, guidance and expertise of your supervisor during your research project.
For students with an undergraduate degree, the MCGD requires a total of 180 points at 500 level. Students with an honours degree or a postgraduate diploma are required to take 120 points at 500 level.
Students will normally complete a 90 or 120 points research-focused Thesis and Realisation that requires both original research and design exhibition. It is also possible for students to alternatively complete a 30 point or 60 point Dissertation and Exhibition.
Students work closely with a supervisor to select a research topic.
Students enrolled in a 180 point MCGD will include CGRD581 – Report of an Investigation to prepare them for Thesis and Realisation or Dissertation and Exhibition. The remaining points for the degree will be made up of relevant taught papers.
The University of Waikato offers students 24-hour computer lab access with all the latest computer software, and several labs fully equipped with Mac computers, commonly used in professional design environments. Graduate students have a dedicated lab space and access to all undergraduate facilities.