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Graphic Design (MA)

Course Description

UCA Epsom

Our MA Graphic Design course has been structured to promote the role of designers as skilled professional communicators, and firmly embed a culture of research and problem solving into creative practice.

Our course aims to promote specialism and mastery in your own unique area of graphic design - which you'll identify and develop with us on this MA. Enabling you to produce meaningful outcomes from informed research is a top priority.

Have a question? Just ask us - http://www.uca.ac.uk/ask-uca/

Student work


Course overview

Using the extensive industry links brought by our course staff, you'll be encouraged to foster connections with industry partners within your area of specialism. With the help of visiting lecturers, industry experts and live briefs, you'll gain real-life experience of the design industry. And emphasis will be placed on how to present both yourself and your design work in a professional arena.

The industry orientation of this course is concerned with exploring graphic design languages in all their facets. You'll enhance your understanding of the aesthetic and commercial value of your work, and accrue professional experience which will add innovation to your practice.

On this course you'll taught through a range of lectures, workshops, tutorials, live pitches and presentations. We also place a strong emphasis on independent research.

Course content

Stage 1 -

You'll be introduced to the University and the technical workshops and facilities available to you. The first stage includes a range of lectures and seminars and you’ll start to explore your creative practice;

Research and Method: This unit offers a shared, common starting point for postgraduate level study through two distinct components:

1) Method: this unit focuses on practice. In response to a brief (or a series of briefs), you'll explore research and practice appropriate to graphic design and communication at postgraduate level. Through this brief, you'll also be inducted into the use of workshops and facilities relevant to your practice.

2) Research: this unit is designed to support and advance the project work produced during the rest of your MA study, through a developed investigation of research methods. You'll define, articulate and critically reflect upon the research concerns of your own practice during this unit, thereby underpinning and enhancing your knowledge and understanding of the chosen field of study, as well as developing your ability to communicate this in a variety of ways.

Exploratory Practice: This unit will focus upon self-directed practice, in which you'll define and develop individual rationales and methods of working. Research and practice will be directed and guided by a project proposal in which you negotiate and review your practice with your tutor.

Stage 2 -

During stage two you begin developing your MA project, evaluating and testing out the aims of your proposal over a sustained period of self-directed study;

Reflection and Development: The work undertaken in this unit should build on the research questions you initiated and explored in the exploratory practice unit. Although you won't have concluded your research project, the work completed for this unit should be considerably more resolved and establish a clear line of inquiry - through materials, concept or context. Within this unit, you may decide to undertake a number of separate 'tasks' with a coherent set of aims or a single project spread across the unit, and your work may be practical or theoretical in nature. Throughout the unit, you'll be encouraged to critically reflect on the development of your project.

Professional Practice and Creative project Management: This unit comprises of two distinct components. These components help you to evaluate and understand your practice from both professional and theoretical perspectives:

1) Professional practice: to enable and empower you to operate within the field of graphic design and communication, you're expected to undertake some form of professional practice during this semester, establishing external links appropriate to your subject area as agreed with your tutor.

2) Creative project management: this provides you with a framework to facilitate your progression towards the Final project, by practising project management skills delivered in the unit.

Stage 3 -

In the third stage of the course, you'll apply the knowledge gained through your research to create a final body of work;

Final Project: This is the culmination of your studies, and will form an exposition of the central ideas and concepts developed throughout your MA. As such, it should achieve a resolution to previous project units and demonstrate evidence of advanced conceptual, theoretical and technical capability over an extended period of self-directed study.


Studios and study areas - Dedicated graphics studios, as well as computer studios with Macs and PCs loaded with the latest industry-standard design software, including Fontographer

Printmaking studios - Dedicated screenprinting, letterpress, intaglio and book-binding workshop facilities in addition to the campus open access printmaking studio

Photography studios - Photographic studios with darkrooms and digital processing equipment

International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Studying in the UK - http://www.uca.ac.uk/international-study/

Studying abroad - http://www.uca.ac.uk/study/study-abroad/

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

::Industry partners::

You'll benefit from well-established industry links with corporate, media, cultural and creative organisations.

Our course has links with:

- Design Bridge
- Pearlfisher (design group)
- FutureBrand
- The Brewery
- The BBC
- Imagine
- Bloom
- Interbrand.

We also have regular guest lecturers and recent guests have included:

- Richard Williams - Founder of Williams Murray Hamm
- Tim Perkins - Group Director of Design Bridge
- Philip Carter - Founder of Carter Wong Tomlin
- Helen Healy - Picture Editor for the Guardian newspaper.


MA Graphic Design alumni go on to work in a diverse variety of exciting careers. Employment opportunities include:

- Graphic design
- Museum design
- Web or interactive design
- Picture editing
- Freelance design or illustration
- Brand design
- Packaging design
- Retail design
- Art direction
- Design management.

::Further study::

You may want to undertake further study or research to specialise even more.

Your portfolio

For this course, we'll require you to attend an Applicant Day and bring your portfolio for assessment. Further information on how to compile a portfolio and the specific requirements for examples of work to be included will be provided on the Applicant Portal after you've applied.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations - http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/student-regulations

Visit the Graphic Design (MA) page on the University for the Creative Arts website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Richard Nash

"UCA offered the perfect environment to discover exciting new creative paths and the fantastic facilities allowed me to experiment with both traditional and pioneering technologies within my area of interest."


Entry Requirements

A good honours degree (normally 2.1 or above) or equivalent qualification in your chosen subject or a related discipline and/or Relevant work experience, demonstrating your ability to study at postgraduate level.

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