Graphic Design MA

Study level: Postgraduate
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This course is for you if you want to enhance your existing professional portfolio and expand and deepen your understanding of graphic design practice.

Year of entry

2024-25

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Part-time

Duration

1 year full-time
2 years part-time
16-24 months (with professional experience)

Course code

AHT040 (full-time)
ADT082 (part-time)

Start date

September 2024
January 2025
May 2025


Course overview

You will have the chance to explore graphic design practice through practical design work shaped by design principles, and design processes that can include a wide range of disciplines.

  • You can expect to improve your creative and technical skills set against design briefs that encourage original approaches and solutions to current visual communication design issues.
  • You’ll be encouraged to develop a personal practitioner voice recognising your personal, professional and intellectual motivations.
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Joint Top Modern University for Career Prospects

Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

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5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

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Top 10 UK Student City (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2024

Why you should study this course

The Coventry University School of Art and Design is home to a vibrant and long-established postgraduate teaching and learning community.

  • Our postgraduate portfolio embraces design thinking, making, creative processes and the critical and enterprising production of innovative making, artefacts and user experience solutions.
  • Access to specialist workshops4 on topics such as printmaking, sublimation, laser-cutting to help you realise your practice to the fullest extent.
  • Access to dedicated design studios and new technologies (AR/VR/motion graphics)4. You will have access to the latest industry-standard software such as: Adobe Creative Suite, 3D software and animation software.
  • Facilities include fully equipped digital production, sound recording and editing, film, photography, video, ceramics and print facilities, including a printmaking workroom, screen printing studio and a digital print bureau4.

Collaborations

The course aims to offer the benefit of working with international cohorts and Collaborative Online International Learning Projects (COIL) which provide an international perspective from the associated peer learning opportunities2.

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What you'll study

This course is centred around generating ideas and producing practical outcomes, underpinned by research-led processes and current discourse. This is achieved through intensive and challenging creative briefs, underpinned by sound academic research, self-critical reflection and contextually relevant practice. You can expect to participate in projects that range across many topical and current themes in design.

You will have the chance to engage and explore graphic design through practical design work experimenting with a wide range of digital and analogue media4.

The course is suitable for applicants who have already undertaken a sustained period of creative practice in education or industry, and who wish to enhance their career as designers.

You will undertake three cross-course modules, which focus on collaborative learning experiences and provide a theoretical and practical introduction to academic standards of research and ethics which are core to level 7 study.

Core graphic design modules explore visual communication, design principles, the currency of graphic design practice and contemporary design issues through authentic and practical briefs. During semester three you will work on a Final Major Project, a research-led brief that is underpinned by a written investigation.

Modules

  • This module explores the nature and definitions of research in art, architecture and design-based disciplines. You will also have the opportunity to work with other students across the postgraduate disciplines within the School of Art and Design and internationally to enable you to develop a broader understanding of the context for your practice, encouraging you to dynamically engage with external collaborators and apply your ideas in ‘real world contexts'.

    Compulsory

  • This module asks you to consider the professional contexts of the discipline. It explores the ways in which creativity, innovation, problem-solving and entrepreneurship intersect in creative practice. It employs real-world examples to enable you to think about professional practice, employability, portfolio development and approaches to communication.

    Compulsory

  • The module introduces you to different areas of graphic design communication. The module focuses on the importance of research in defining a content-led approach to graphic design communication (concept, text, message/call to action and data/information).

    Compulsory

  • The aim of this practice-based module is for you to investigate and respond to current developments, recent debates and criticism, and changing trends in the practice of a chosen area of graphic design. This module emphasises the importance of adopting a flexible and responsive approach to practice that enables designers to: stay relevant, maintain an understanding of key developments and trends, understand the changing interpretations of good practice and respond positively to criticisms of the field.

    Compulsory

  • This module explores the changing world of work which Arts and Humanities students enter after study. New technology and the changing global economy mean that jobs and skills are changing and evolving quickly and will continue to do so. This is an exciting and new world, and this module is designed to empoweryou to realise your potential in it.

    This module provides tools for you to develop into changemakers, thrive in a changing world of work and participate in creating a better future for society. You’ll be guided through a process of reflection that explores four possible futures for the world of work and how to situate your own professional identity asthe future of work changes through your careers. This module is designed in collaboration with The RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), and upon successful completion students will receive RSA digital badging.

    Compulsory

  • This module requires the management and implementation of an appropriate critical investigation. It will be based on a project plan developed over previous semesters. This module will help you gain specialist insight or a new knowledge base to support your Final Major Project. The outcome will be a personal project brief or initial creative directions inspired by the data, discourse or analysis. This is the most substantial theoretical assignment on the course and needs to be managed effectively.

    Compulsory

  • The module requires you to take responsibility for the development and management of an independent project from conception, through research and organisation, to the delivery of a substantial body of practical work. Through this process, you are expected to develop and demonstrate specialist skills in the delivery of outcomes that reveal the individual practitioner’s particular style and depth of engagement and understanding within the chosen area of study.

    Compulsory

With professional experience option

The professional experience opportunity2 enables you to apply for an optional professional experience in semester 1, which, upon successfully securing an opportunity, will extend the duration of your master’s to either 16, 20 or 24 months. The professional experience provides an opportunity for you to develop expertise and experience in your chosen field with the aim of enhancing your employability.

Please note that the optional professional experience modules incur an additional tuition fee3, which for 1 semester of professional experience is £1,333.33, for 2 semesters of professional experience is £2,666.67, and for 3 semesters of professional experience is £4,000.

Professional experience may also be subject to additional costs, visa requirements being met, subject to availability and/or competitive application. Professional experience opportunities are not guaranteed but you will benefit from the support of our Talent Team in trying to find and secure an opportunity. Find out more about the professional experience option.

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.


How you'll learn

In a typical teaching week, teaching methods include a combination of:

  • Large lectures; group workshops, seminars
  • Online learning, synchronous and asynchronous sessions, use of online resources/tools
  • Mixed-size group teaching: workshops, seminars and lectures
  • Mixed-size group teaching: critiques and tutorials
  • Studio practice and bookable workshop access

The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online activities.

The School of Art and Design often provides opportunities to engage in external or collaborative activities such as competition/industry briefs and speakers beyond your course studies2. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to support your learning journey.

Part-time students typically undertake one module or 30 credits worth of learning per semester.

This course can be offered on a part-time basis. While we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Request further information about part-time study.


Teaching contact hours

The number of full-time contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around eight contact hours per week in the first year. The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 24 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules. In these hours you will be applying that knowledge to your ongoing assignments. Every student is different and manages workloads differently so this can vary across students and times of the year.

Part of university life is undertaking self-directed learning (SDL). Across the course of the week, you will have non ‘taught’ time that allows you to work independently to apply the skills you have learnt in taught or facilitated sessions to your projects or assignment briefs. This is particularly important in the School of Art and Design as it allows you to put into practice making in workshop and studio spaces.

This self-directed learning allows you to monitor and self-evaluate your development and how best to manage this time to best impact your creative work. SDL is key to designing and making as it is a process that takes discipline and repetition. This mode of learning underpins our community of practice approach.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment

This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which could vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods include:

  • Group work
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Projects
  • Coursework
  • Individual assignments

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.


International experience opportunities

Coventry School of Art and Design has a multinational population and you will have the opportunity2 to work alongside students from all over the globe. We see this as a particular strength of the course as it enables you to work alongside students from differing cultural backgrounds and design perspectives. The capacity to work across cultural and disciplinary boundaries is becoming an essential skill in our ever-more interconnected world.

Collaborative learning may include exchange lectures by international academics and visiting tutors from our link universities in the UK and abroad2.


Entry requirements

You will need to be ambitious and highly motivated with either a degree in a relevant subject or a body of professional work.

Applicants should ideally hold an honours degree 2:2 or above in a Graphics/Design discipline.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Portfolio

No portfolio will be required if the academic qualifications in the subject area as defined above are met.

If a portfolio is required it should feature a maximum of approximately 10-15 examples of work or three to four projects undertaken within the past two years, three or four of which should be major, substantial, in-depth projects which demonstrate the ability to conceptualise solutions to creative problems, and to assimilate and combine written language or content with the visual. This will clearly demonstrate the level of creative, craft and production skills achieved, either in a previous course of study or in a professional design studio, as a freelance designer or during an internship.

Projects should ideally be accompanied by a brief summary of the work or projects, notes on the software used, and dated. As a graphic designer a genuine, demonstrable interest in typography and good typographic skills is required beyond the basic level.

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

Portfolio

A portfolio is required and it should feature a maximum of approximately 10-15 examples of work or three to four projects undertaken within the past two years, three or four of which should be major, substantial, in-depth projects which demonstrate the ability to conceptualise solutions to creative problems, and to assimilate and combine written language or content with the visual. This will clearly demonstrate the level of creative, craft and production skills achieved, either in a previous course of study or in a professional design studio, as a freelance designer or during an internship.

Projects should ideally be accompanied by a brief summary of the work or projects, notes on the software used, and dated. As a graphic designer a genuine, demonstrable interest in typography and good typographic skills is required beyond the basic level.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall (with at least 5.5 in each component area)

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience)   Request fee information
EU £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience) per year with EU support bursary**
£18,600 | £22,600 (with prof. experience) per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £18,600 | £22,600 (with prof. experience)   Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.

We offer a range of international scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees3 cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU Support Bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.


Facilities

Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities in a dedicated environment4. The Delia Derbyshire complex includes a hyper studio designed for cross-disciplinary projects and immersive studios with cutting-edge virtual reality and mixed-reality technologies.

Student using the facilities in the digital design workshop

Design workshops

Our digital and printing workshops bring your ideas to life through different media4. You’ll find a high-powered laser cutter, 3D printers, scanners and traditional print-making and making workshops for etching, silk-screen printing, relief printing and woodwork, as well as a generously stocked letterpress room.

Student in a Mac studio

PC and Mac suites

Maximise your learning in our cutting-edge computer suites4You'll have access to PCs and Macs running the latest industry-standard software needed for your course, including graphic design packages such as Adobe Creative Suite.


 

A student using recording equipment

Studio-centric working environment

In the School of Art and Design, we shape our teaching and assessment methods to replicate the creative industry’s ways of working. This includes working in a studio-centric working environment.

 


Careers and opportunities

Upon successful completion, you will be able to:

  • undertake research and evaluative reflection in order to synthesize and articulate an advanced knowledge of the theoretical and thematic concerns within their chosen area of graphic design practice
  • deploy skills, techniques and technologies with originality and imagination in relation to graphic design for continued practice at an advanced level
  • realise complex and ambitious artefacts/projects for identified and diverse audiences and contexts
  • contribute to the shaping of global contemporary discourse by engaging with innovative, experimental, hybrid and creative approaches to graphic design practice
  • deploy advanced personal skills, judgement and critical awareness enabling problem-solving and innovation applicable to a wide range of creative, professional, social and collaborative contexts
  • innovate and apply creative depth during graphic design practice with respect to market requirements, professional clients and user contexts.

You will be expected to graduate with relevant industry experience, having worked with a variety of design professionals (subject to availability). Depending on your individual study, you may also benefit from a range of transferrable skills highly sought after by future employers, including team working, working independently, critical thinking, report writing, project management, ideas generation, presentation and finance.

National and international graduate career prospects are many and varied and in the past have included: education, curating, film, television, special effects, print and publishing, multimedia, advertising, animation, moving image, web and interactive design, video games, music, marketing and public relations.

Where our graduates work

Recent graduates have gone on to undertake PhDs, to lecture, to set up their own businesses, to freelance and to work as graphic designers for: DCA Design International, Deeply Digital, Nexus, and Senior Designer at Experimental Productions.


How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the University) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.

    1Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or international opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be unpaid and/or subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.

    4Facilities

    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the current 2024/2025 contract is available on the website. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.