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Full time & Part time October MA 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

About the course

This Masters is built around your personal design interests and aspirations. It allows you to push the boundaries of creativity, within a framework of academic rigour and contextual research. You can choose to study any of the following areas: advertising, animation, design thinking, innovation and entrepreneurship, fashion and promotion, graphic communication, graphic design, illustration, interactive media, motion graphics and typographic design. Other specialised design disciplines will also be considered.

You'll follow a chosen pathway for the duration of your MA study, with the option to be awarded with one of the following:

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Entry Requirements

We usually require applicants to hold a good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a design-related discipline such as graphics, illustration, animation or digital media. We may also consider applicants who have relevant experience and who can demonstrate their suitability for the course.

Please prepare a portfolio of creative work which shows what you have done so far and what interests you. We are not looking for perfection as we appreciate you are still developing work.

 Course Content

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Student Profile(s)

Adam McDade

Adam McDade studied both foundation and BA (Hons) Illustration and Design at the University of Sunderland. He was so impressed with the standards of tuition he chose to continue his studies here, studying both MA Design and a PhD.

"Having previously completed foundation and then BA (Hons) Art and Design at the University of Sunderland, I was impressed with the standards of tuition I had received and felt like I could gain a significant amount by continuing my studies.

MA Design allows you complete freedom to explore the discipline fully, cultivating originality and authenticity. The guidance and relationship I had with tutors felt both professional and sincere, allowing me to begin to understand my role as an independent illustrator.

The advice I would give to prospective students would be to study because you have a desire for knowledge, rather than because a degree looks good on a CV. Drop any attachment to being better or worse than others in your field – the right work ethics, skill and mindset will help you realise your potential independently.

I'm currently employed at the University as an academic tutor for BA (Hons) Illustration and Design and work as a freelance illustrator in addition. I am also undergoing a journalism internship for a health and wellbeing platform and have recently been employed as a tattoo apprentice.

If I could sum up my experience of studying at the University of Sunderland, it would be an opportunity to study under kind hearted, authentic guidance."

*Adam is currently in his second year of his six year PhD, which has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF).


We are offering 20% off (for Overseas students) OR a 20% bursary payment (for Home and EU students) of the full course fee for University of Sunderland alumni (graduates) who return to study with the University of Sunderland and enrol on a postgraduate Masters or Doctoral programme. Please note for doctoral students the discount is not applicable to additional fees (bench fees).

When applying for an MA, MSc, LLM, MBA, MPhil or PhD, Professional Doctorate, DBA, EdD the application form will ask you for your previous student number if known. Alternatively, applicants can produce evidence of their University of Sunderland graduate status at enrolment.

Value of Scholarship(s)

20% off the course fee


Alumni who enrol on a postgraduate Masters/Doctoral course; MA, MSc, LLM, MBA, MPhil and PhD or Professional Doctorate, DBA, EdD starting in July and September, October November 2018 and 2019 and Jan/Feb/May 2019 and 2020. PGCE students are not eligible for this Scheme.

The scheme is open to ALL Level 5 -8 graduates (Alumni) of the University of Sunderland, including students who studied at a Partner College (Bishop Auckland College, East Durham College, Gateshead College, Tyne Coast College-South Tyneside College site, Sunderland College & Tyne Coast College -Tyne Metropolitan College site)

Application Procedure

You don’t need to apply for this Scheme; if you are eligible then you will automatically receive it.

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£1,000 tuition fee reduction for international postgraduate students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1,000 tuition fee reduction


All international students studying on-campus undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Application Procedure

Contact: / 0191 515 3000

Find out more

Up to four scholarships of £1,000 are available; the purpose of each to provide financial assistance to Masters Students in one of the above disciplines.

Potential students from the above cohort are welcome to apply and must have received a firm offer from a Visual Arts MA (evidence and proof of enrolment required pre funding).

Applicants must complete the scholarship application form outlining how the award would benefit them and discuss their future aspirations/how they propose to make best use of their Masters study.

Applications will be assessed by the awarding committee and selection will be based upon the following criteria:
• Clarity of proposal and benefit to the student.
• Coherent plan for use of Masters study.

Candidates will be expected to produce an illustrated report upon successful completion of their
course for publicity and stewardship purposes.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Up to four scholarships of £1,000 are available


The University is the recipient of a generous donation to support four awards for students undertaking Masters level study in the disciplines of:
• MA Glass & Ceramics
• MA Design
• MA Photography
• MA Fine Art

Application Procedure

For information on the application process, please contact the University’s Development team on or call 0191 515 3664

For further information or for an informal discussion please contact the relevant Programme Leader for the subject you are applying for:
• MA Glass & Ceramics – Dr Cate Watkinson (
• MA Design – Dr Manny Ling (
• MA Photography – Dr Alexandra Moschovi (
• MA Fine Art – James Hutchinson (

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1. Care Leaver status - (on 1 September of your year of entry)
You must be aged under 25, a home student studying full time, undergraduate course or full-time taught Post Graduate programme and at least one of the following: spent 13 weeks or more in the Care of the Local Authority between your 14th and 16th birthday, were privately fostered until the age of 16, were 'looked after' until you were subject to a Special Guardianship Order.

2. You must be a (i) full-time undergraduate student or full-time postgraduate student on a taught programme.
You must be anyone who is aged 25 or over by 1 September 2019 and applying for, or currently studying, full-time at the University of Sunderland. You must be either studying for an undergraduate degree (includes Foundation degrees, Extended degree programmes and Top-Up degrees) which will start in 2019, applying for, or currently studying, a full-time University of Sunderland postgraduate degree.


1. Estranged students - (on 1 September on your year of entry)
Studying a full-time, undergraduate or taught postgraduate course, UK (Home) student, you are irreconcilably estranged from both parents/carers.

This means that either: You have had no contact at all with your parents/carers for at least 12 months and this is unlikely to change OR
You can demonstrate on other grounds that you are irreconcilably estranged from your parents (e.g. in exceptional circumstances, or assessed as independent by Student Finance England or by a local authority because you are estranged from both parents/carers).

2. You must be a full-time undergraduate or full-time postgraduate taught programme student.
You must be aged 25 or under by 1 September 2019. And either:
a) Applying for, or currently studying, a full-time University of Sunderland undergraduate degree (includes Foundation degrees, Extended degree programmes and Top-Up degrees) which will start in 2019.
b)Applying for, or currently studying, a full-time University of Sunderland postgraduate degree.

*You must be a 'Home' student
If you are classed as an ‘EU’ or ‘International’ student, you are not eligible for this scholarship.

*If you are applying for or studying one of the following courses then you are not eligible for this scholarship:
• Continuous Professional Development (CPD) course.
• English for Academic Purposes (EAP) language course.
• PHD students

Value of Scholarship(s)

£2,000 cash scholarship for each year of study (including placement year) for care experienced or family estranged students.


For full-time home undergraduate and postgraduate students under the age of 25 on 1 September 2019 for care experienced or family estranged students.

Application Procedure

If you indicate that you are a Care Leaver on your UCAS application form you will automatically be sent a letter and an application form, once you have an unconditional offer with us. This is usually at the end of August. Alternatively, if you inform us that you are an Estranged Student via online enrolment you will also automatically be sent a letter and an application form.

For students who apply directly/via clearing, if they inform us during online enrolment that they are care experienced or estranged we will send them an email outlining how to apply.

We will request confirmation from local authorities or Student Finance England of your eligibility for this Scholarship. If you choose not to disclose your care experienced or estranged status at enrolment stage you can inform the Access to Higher Education team directly by emailing

You may apply for this Scholarship at any point throughout your course; however, payments will not be backdated for previous years’ study. If you are eligible for the We Care Scholarship you may also qualify for an additional support package.

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