MA Graphic Design explores the ever-changing landscape of graphic design to build critical understanding, individual design thinking processes, practical experience and insightful design solutions. The course offers areas of specialism in typography, branding, editorial and book design, social enterprise and digital interactive experiences.
We take a problem-solving approach to graphic design to explore contemporary practice through design thinking, insight and co-design processes, prototyping ideas, and building expert collaborative networks with external partners.
We are a diverse collective, working across project areas of typography & information, brand identity & campaigns, new technology & digital experiences, design writing & insight analysis, sustainability & environmental issues, structural packaging and book design.
Based in the Grove, our £80 million Arts and Creative Industries building, and taught by some of the UK's leading practitioners from a range of disciplines, our course features world-class facilities and specialist workshops fitted with both new and traditional equipment, and these will be part of our blended learning approach available where possible. With opportunities to build industry contacts and exhibit your work externally, you'll also gain the employability skills, exposure and experiences you need to navigate a successful career path in today's competitive creative industries.
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The majority of the programme will be centred upon developing and fully completing a substantial body of graphic design work towards an external public exhibition. This will be supported by research reports and regular presentations on the progress of the project. You will also address postgraduate research and critical debates in graphic design, working with students and staff from across the art and design postgraduate community.
You will gain the skills and experience to produce professional graphic design work in any industry. The course will also give you the skills to independently plan, design, implement and evaluate graphic design projects from start to finish.
This module challenges you to define your advanced design aspirations, explore design perspectives, use strategic design processes and visually research and expand your interests, in line with your professional goals.
Focus will be placed on visual and other research findings to identify new ways of shaping conceptual thinking in order to create work within a range of ‘mini topics’ through physical engagement, evaluation and experience-based design. The aim is to initiate processes that interrogate the relationship between subject, context, audience and user, through modes of visual communication that constitute and also align with Graphic Design. The focus of study will be centred around multi-cultural viewpoints, traditional cultures in design, social and environmental impact, and the effect on place and region, to reflect the global perspective of the international student cohort.
This module provides you with the knowledge and skills required to undertake independent academic research in Visual Arts and Design at postgraduate level. By introducing you to contemporary and emergent research resources in the discipline; essential frameworks and tools for navigating research ethics in creative fields, linking to Middlesex University’s Research Ethics guidelines; and consolidating advanced knowledge of referencing conventions for academic integrity, you will be able to propose and structure a relevant research proposal for independent enquiry and investigation at Master’s level.
This module helps develop your knowledge and skills in the research methods and materials pertinent to the contexts of your creative practice. Designed as a set of specialist elective seminar courses, led by a variety of researchers within the university, this module allows you to experiment and learn first-hand about the methods and materials used by the researcher and to gain and apply insights into knowledge at the cutting edge of Visual Arts and Design, and relate this to your own emerging research interests.
You will be encouraged to evolve a distinct design language and negotiate a design specialism central to your professional practice, to identify appropriate design approaches. You will build a focused line of enquiry, centred around current debates and topical issues such as, community, health, environment and sustainable issues within the context of professional and creative practice, to consider specific audiences and design placement. You are encouraged to establish specialist networks, collaborate with cross faculty groups and build outside working partnerships, to foster interdisciplinary practice and specialist knowledge, to further enhance practice, to consider career pathways, employment opportunities and academic progression.
This module aims to deepen the student’s knowledge and skills in the critical review of influential research pertinent to the contexts of their creative practice. Designed as a set of specialist elective seminar courses led by a variety of researchers within the university, this module allows the student to experiment with new areas of knowledge and deepen their critical understanding of the wider contexts for their creative practice.
This module aims to develop you as a confident researcher and communicator and to provide a showcase opportunity for the student to engage in peer review and public debate as a means for professional development and consolidation of the research scope, methods, context, and practice of your Master’s project.
The final module of the programme enables you to reflect on your subject knowledge, critical evaluation, contextual awareness, and design discoveries made in the previous modules to present a rigorously investigated and detailed final design collection. The final outcomes will identify and utilise research and design methodologies to promote interrelationships between design theory, subject specialism, and practice in the realisation of a final collection and the process of making it public. Each sequential module to date has provided a platform to visually investigate, contextualise subject references, critically reflect, propose new design strategies, and consider appropriate design responses that question contemporary graphic design practice. Emphasis is placed throughout the study on the importance of social, environmental, cultural and community contexts, audience engagement and positioning of the work to create maximum impact where communication is central. A final design collection will conclude the year and a design project research publication represents the journey taken, to identify design methodologies, collaborative partnerships, and specialist design skills. The final work will be presented and made public to reflect the professional context of the project.
See the course specification for more information:
Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.
We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we have learnt during the pandemic and enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.
We aim to model a wide range of teaching strategies and approaches on the course which you can adapt to your own setting.
This course is flexibly designed to put you at the centre of your learning by using a range of teaching and assessment approaches that take into account your individual interests, abilities and ambitions as a graphic designer.
The MA Graphic Design can be studied in person, by distance learning or through a flexible mix of both modes. If you intend to study through the distance learning mode this should be indicated on your application form. This means you can also tailor not just what you learn but also how you learn. Please complete the same application form and we’ll contact you in September to understand your preference. Please note that if you intend to apply for a student route visa to study this course, you will only be able to undertake the in person on campus option
Each module is designed to build on from each other or feed into each other, enabling you to build on specific interests, identify areas of graphic design you wish to work within, and develop collaborative partnerships, to build opportunities to embed work within an industry setting or network for future industry opportunities.
As part of your learning, you'll be required to actively participate in activities and engage with your fellow students, both individually and collaboratively, working and learning as part of a small group and as an individual designer.
The course promotes curiosity and encourages you to actively take risks to discover new opportunities, to tackle ambitious, innovative and contemporary design themes that meet the needs of tomorrow's designers to take a lead role in the creative industries.
Your skills, knowledge and understanding will be entirely assessed by coursework including practical projects, oral presentations and supporting written work. There are no exams. Your major project will require you to develop a design project of your choice.
Your timetable will be built around on campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.
The table below gives you an idea of what learning looks like across a typical week. Some weeks are different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.
You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.
Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown in 2023/24
Contact time per week, per level:
Self-paced learning time
Average hours per week, per level:
Independent study: minimum 9 hours
Critical debates/advanced research: 18 hours
On demand resources
Average hours per week, per level:
As and when necessary
Outside of these hours, you’ll be expected to do independent study where you read, listen and reflect on other learning activities. This can include preparation for future classes. In a year, you’ll typically be expected to commit 1200 hours to your course across all styles of learning. If you are taking a placement, you might have some additional hours.
Definitions of terms
You have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.
Our support services will be delivered online and on campus and you have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.
You have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.
This course will prepare you for a diverse range of design careers within the creative industries such as graphic designer, picture editor, packaging designer, web designer, freelance designer and illustrator, brand designer, retail designer, art director and similar managerial positions. This course is also well suited to those looking to pursue careers in further research and teaching about Graphic Design. With strong links to art and design employers across the UK and internationally we’ll assist you in finding and securing professional opportunities while you study with us and after your graduate.
We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.
Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.
Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.
At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.
Start: September 2023
Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start: September 2023
Duration: 1 year full-time, Usually 2 years part-time