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MA Visual Communication

Course Description


Do you have an eye for design? Would you like to help influence the future of visual communications? Southampton Solent University’s MA Visual Communication programme is ideally suited to students who wish to better understand the academic theory that underpins a range of visual mediums.

- Students study the essential academic theories that seek to explain how we understand visual messages.
- The teaching team maintain strong links with industry, providing students with the chance to participate in live briefs, networking events, and guest lectures.
- The course includes time to develop hands-on creative skills. Students are encouraged to create work for their professional portfolio.
- Visual communication at Southampton Solent is taught by a team of professional designers with strong ties to industry.
- Students will have access to a range of specialist facilities throughout their studies. These include Mac computers, professional creative software, digital printing facilities and traditional printing presses.
- Students are invited to pitch for freelance work at Solent Creatives, our on-campus creative agency. These projects involve real businesses and are perfect for portfolio development.
- Tutors encourage students to work in groups with those from other creative disciplines, mirroring industry practices.
- Students will work on competition briefs for organisations such as the Design & Art Directors Association (D&AD) and the Young Creative Network (YCN).

The industry -

Figures released in 2015 by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport suggest that the UK’s creative industries are now worth more than £76.9 billion per year to the UK economy – that’s more than £8.8m per hour. Businesses of all types and sizes make use of creative individuals to take corporate message and translate them into creative outputs that the public can enjoy and understand.

The programme -

This intensive master’s degree helps students to improve their creative skills and build a solid understanding of visual communications theory. The curriculum covers the latest innovations in visual practice, examining the way technological and cultural changes contributed to contemporary academic thinking.

Topics of study include editorial design; art direction; interactive multimedia; information design; image creation; illustration; typographic design; print-making and photographic technique. Students may have workshop sessions with the letterpress, screen-printing, etching and relief printing facilities, as well as the wet darkroom and photo studio. Depending on their creative background, graduates will be well prepared for a range of careers in the creative industries.

Critical research papers and final master’s projects are supported by the University’s expanding research base, encouraging students to make an innovative contribution to visual communication academia.

To help with creative projects and portfolio documentation, Southampton Solent provides a comprehensive media loans scheme. This scheme gives students free access to high-end photographic equipment and accessories.

Visual communication students have the chance to enter major industry awards schemes including those from D&AD and the Royal Society of the Arts. Work-orientated assignments will be offered alongside appropriate live projects from local and national organisations. There will also be opportunities to visit museums, galleries and design studios both nationally and internationally (at additional expense).

Course Content

Units include:

- Visual Communication Practice: Visual communication practice and specialisms such as editorial design, interactive multimedia, information design, image creation, book design and typographic design. Print-making and photographic techniques including letterpress, screen-printing, etching and relief printing, wet darkroom and photo studio practice.
- Web Design: The advantages and limitations of web design and its delivery across a range of devices, from desktop to mobile.
- Project Development: Developing the appropriate graphic design language to apply to your research findings.
- Research Methods:A précis of an article, a critical commentary of two book reviews, your own book review and a proposal for your critical research paper, with an annotated bibliography.
- Critical Research Paper: You’ll research and present an individual seminar, supported by a critical research paper which demonstrates an in-depth, comprehensive and detailed knowledge of your chosen area.
vMaster’s Project: On this final project you’ll bring all your skills together to design, execute and present an individually demanding piece of work that demonstrates systematic and in-depth understanding of your particular discipline of study.

Programme specification document - http://mycourse.solent.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=6152

Teaching, learning and assessment -

The course draws on a variety of teaching methods, including group critiques, individual tutorials, seminars and lectures, peer-learning, live projects and competitions, self-directed study and the use of reflective journals or log-books to express personal and professional development.

Work experience:

You’ll be able to engage directly with employers by organising your own work placement or work-based project, supported and encouraged by the course team as required.


You’ll have access to a full range of print-making facilities, including letterpress, screen-printing, etching and relief printing, alongside digital resources

Our facilities -

You’ll have access to a full range of print-making facilities including letterpress, screen-printing equipment, etching and relief printing, and digital resources.

Web-based learning -

Solent’s virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

Why Solent?

What do we offer?

From a vibrant city centre campus to our first class facilities, this is where you can find out why you should choose Solent.

Facilities - http://www.solent.ac.uk/about/facilities/facilities.aspx

City living - http://www.solent.ac.uk/studying/southampton/living-in-southampton.aspx

Accommodation - http://www.solent.ac.uk/studying/accommodation/accommodation.aspx

Career Potential

This master’s degree delivers the skills you’ll need for a wide range of visual design fields including animation, art direction, web design, publishing, branding and typography.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

- Design consultancy
- Publishing industry
- Advertising – agency side
- Multidisciplinary design
- Web design
- Television
- Film and multimedia
- Freelance practice
- App design.

Links with industry -

Through this course you’ll develop valuable and appropriate skillsets through engagement with the wider profession, design community and industry.

You’ll have the chance to enter major industry awards schemes, including those from D&AD and the Royal Society of the Arts. Work-orientated assignments will be offered alongside appropriate ‘live’ projects from local and national organisations. There will be opportunities to visit museums, galleries and design studios, both nationally and internationally, as part of the course.

Transferable skills -

Decision-making under pressure; visual, written and verbal communication skills; critical thinking; and presentation to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Further study -

There’s a chance of progression to further study, including a PhD, on successful completion of the course.

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2016/2017 academic year are:

UK and EU full-time fees: £6,695 per year

International full-time fees: £11,260 per year

UK and EU part-time fees: £3,350 per year

International part-time fees: £5,630 per year

Graduation costs -

Graduation is the ceremony to celebrate the achievements of your studies. For graduates in 2015, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £42 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost.
For more details, please visit: http://www.solent.ac.uk/studying/graduation/home.aspx

Next steps

Think a career as a visual communicator might be for you? With expert teaching teams, regularly revised curriculums and strong links to industry, Southampton Solent University’s MA Visual Communications programme is the ideal next step towards a broad range of creative careers.

Visit the MA Visual Communication page on the Southampton Solent University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

An honours degree at 2:2 or higher in a relevant discipline. More Information: View Website

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