MA Visual Communication: Graphic Design is an intensive studio-based programme that combines creative and professional development. Offering opportunities for internships with industry partners including Hearst Magazines UK, the course is focused on developing the industry-ready skills, digital confidence and creative expertise for careers in graphic communication design and related fields today.
During the intensive 12-month programme based in our central Cambridge studios, you will advance a specialist knowledge of your chosen area of communication design, and be encouraged to explore new methods, digital platforms, and technologies that help develop an original approach and take your work in exciting new directions. As well as refining your knowledge of fundamental principles and the traditional print and screen-based skills necessary for future careers in commercial work, you will be supported to explore the expanded field of contemporary graphic design, including motion graphics, digital and interactive design, UX/UI, information design, and user-centered approaches.
This programme offers outstanding specialist tuition combined with extensive academic contact and studio access. As a Master’s student you benefit from:
- Exclusive access to media and industry expertise, workshops, and internships through our partners including our design partner Hearst Magazines UK, publisher of titles including Digital Spy, Esquire, and Elle Decoration.
- Expert tuition from industry-active professional graphic designers, branding experts, animators and illustrators with a passion for teaching.
- Intensive learning experience tailored to your needs and ambitions, with a high level of personalized support and 1:1 tutorial time.
- Opportunities for work placements or industry mentoring as part of the course.
- A postgraduate qualification you need to stand out and get ahead.
- Collaborating with a creative, interdisciplinary and global postgraduate community.
- Your own iMac and studio workspace, open every day of the week.
- Access to regular Life Drawing in our dedicated drawing studio.
- A small, supportive and specialist creative arts college in a beautiful, historic and cultural city—a creative hotspot and home to one of the UK’s most dynamic and international student communities.
What to Expect
From the start, a combination of set and self-initiated projects will refine essential design skills including typography, editorial, and publishing (print and web), web design, campaigns, advertising and art direction, corporate branding and packaging. As well as developing your confidence with the traditional print and screen-based skills necessary for future careers in professional work, you will be supported to expand your knowledge of contemporary creative and commercial practice by exploring motion graphics, digital, interactive and experience design, UX/UI, and information design.
The course offers opportunities for work experience or mentoring that helps you make industry contacts, build your CV and prepare you for work in a creative agency or studio, as well as freelance design. Our collaboration with industry partners including Hearst Magazines UK sets our programme apart. You can apply for an internship with one of their design-led brands to experience editorial design in print and online and gain an understanding of the importance of visual communication and illustrated and animated digital content production in reaching audiences worldwide.
Previous students have worked as design interns at Esquire and ELLE, as well as other graphic design and photography agencies in London and Beijing. These placements have helped previous students develop lasting professional contacts —and even their first magazine design job at Hearst.
Industry projects & live briefs
In addition, you will gain insight into the industry through competitions, projects, and live briefs. These have included a speculative futures design project set by award-winning creative agency The District, a fashion editorial story set by ELLE, live branding brief set by new fashion launch Sosandar, and a digital content/social media project from Digital Spy. Our programme of Visiting Lecturers has included innovative professionals working across the contemporary design industry, including Elana Jeeaoo, Senior Visual Designer at ustwo, Buzzfeed illustrator Rebecca Hendin, David Tang, lead motion graphics designer at NBC Universal, as well as leading Creative Directors Suzanne Sykes (Sunday Times) and Tom Meredith (ELLE).
The course provides students with the experience and expert skills for careers in the expanding creative industries in the UK and worldwide across the field of graphics and communication design, including editorial and publishing, UX/UI design, advertising and art direction, digital media and interactive design, branding, motion graphics and animation, experience design, visual marketing and digital content production. Previous graduates have gone on to careers in freelance graphic design; branding and marketing; graphic designer at Esquire.
Resources & Facilities
All students on our MA programmes have access to a wide range of resources to support their studies and the hybrid nature of contemporary practice across art and design including:
- Industry-standard software including Adobe Creative Cloud, Maxon Cinema 4D.
- Photography studios and access to a wet darkroom.
- Digital Media Suite and technical support.
- Wood, Metal and Ceramics 3D workshops and technical support.
- Prototype Lab (including 3D printer and laser-cutter).
- Drawing studio.
- Industrial sewing machines and technical support from garment technician.
- Gerber technology.
- Academic Skills Advisor (available for group and 1:1 tutorials).
In addition to facilities and expertise offered at CSVPA, students have been supported to collaborate with technology experts in Cambridge including engineers at University of Cambridge, Cambridge Makespace, as well as local digital printing industries.
20 years +
Successfully completed an Undergraduate Degree in graphic design, graphics, and illustration, communication design or closely related subject.
CSVPA recognizes a wide variety of qualifications and/or relevant experience and encourages applications from all people, with a demonstrable interest and experience in their subject. Applications without the qualifications or disciplinary background identified above but who demonstrate relevant experience, necessary skills and intellectual achievement needed to succeed on the course will be considered. Equivalent experience must be evidenced through the additional submission of a professional CV.
In some cases, students may be required to complete a Graduate Diploma.
IELTS 6.5+ (no element under 5.5)
Portfolio & Personal Statement
A portfolio demonstrating appropriate skills, research and prior experience of the subject.
A Personal Statement that tells us about you, your approach to practice, and your ambitions and aspirations for the future.
September to September
Up to 15 hours per week
Up to 5 hours per week if required
Please submit a short statement (300-400 words), telling us about yourself, your previous experience and your approach to creative practice. Please include:
- Reasons for applying to our MA course.
- Experience and skills. What were you doing before?
- Your approach to art/design practice. What inspires, informs and influences what you do—and why?
- Your goals. What do you hope to get out of the MA?
- Your long-term ambitions. How do you think the postgraduate study will help you develop a career in the creative industries?
Program taught in: