MA in Visual Communication


Program Description

MAVisual communicationA practical course for specialist photographers, graphic designers and illustrators.

Join our international cohort – we welcome students from many countries, including the UK, Italy, China, Taiwan, Mexico, Columbia and Bulgaria.

Make use of workshops in photography, etching, letterpress, screen print, plastics, woodwork, paint preparation and casting.

Apply for a wide range of academic workshops, competitions and professional awards.

This is a practical MA Visual Communication course for photographers, illustrators and graphic designers. We encourage you to work independently and collaboratively while learning a shared visual language.

Working alongside other students and in consultation with your tutors, you'll build a professional and critical context for your practice, in the process of developing each of your projects.

Your growing confidence and increased ability will be clearly evident in the portfolios you present when you enter the industry or continue your studies.


You’ll develop your visual communication practice, concentrating on practical, conceptual, historical and contemporary concerns. You’ll enter a critical dialogue with other students in related fields and we’ll help you place your practice in an appropriate context. Our view is that by integrating your methods with those in related fields, you’ll become a more effective specialist photographer, graphic designer or illustrator. At a time when boundaries between these disciplines are changing – and in some cases dissolving – this is particularly important.

You’ll become adept at working individually and collaboratively. Through developing an individual specialist project, you’ll conceptualise, critique and contextualise your approach, while fine-tuning your aesthetic sensibilities. You’ll also collaborate to produce joint projects, negotiating the final outcomes with your team members.

You’ll graduate with:

  • A broad, informed outlook
  • Genuine confidence in your abilities
  • The skills necessary to succeed in your chosen specialism.

Course structure

Trimester one

You’ll examine practical and conceptual approaches to your work through academic workshops and presentations, identify your strengths and weaknesses and progressively improve and develop your practice.

Trimester two

You’ll develop exciting collaborative new works, focused first on a geographical location and then toward a niche global audience.

Trimester three

You’ll decide on the structure of your Master’s project and develop a collaborative or individual work that reflects your particular approach and specialist interests.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the course handbook or definitive programme document for full details on which modules are core, required or optional.

  • Research Methodologies
  • Developing Practice
  • Practice in Context
  • Practice in a Global Context
  • Master's Project.

How will I be assessed?

You’ll be assessed through practical projects backed up by integrated research work in sketchbooks, related materials, and presentations. Your final project will appear in a public exhibition.

How will I be taught?

You’ll be taught through practical workshops, seminars, talks and presentations. You’ll work with a largely self-directed focus. We’ll encourage you to collaborate across disciplines; however, in close consultation with your tutor, you’ll decide the best route for your practice.

You’ll be taught by specialist lecturers and visiting speakers from a wide range of backgrounds from graphic design, photography, illustration and the arts. Teaching sessions will include critiques, discussions, workshops, gallery visits, theoretical discussion and hands-on technical direction.

We’ll challenge you to expand your working practices technically and conceptually, through thinking, looking, talking and making new work.


Field trips

There will be field trips to London and other national locations during the academic year. In addition, we usually run a field trip to a foreign city. In previous years, courses from the department have visited Berlin, Reykjavík, Paris and San Francisco, among others.

Work placements, industry links and internships

We do not arrange industry placements but will help you to take advantage of local and national opportunities and to seek the support of the Careers and Business Engagement team.


Graduates from this department have become graphic designers, illustrators, photographers and photo editors for design agencies, architectural and engineering practices, the MOD and other specialist areas. Many also work on research projects in conjunction with fine artists, or scientists, or have gone on to become teachers.

Cost & Fees

  • UK/EU students full time - 2019/20 entry £7,995
  • UK/EU students part-time - 2019/20 entry £4,000
  • International students full time - 2019/20 entry £14,900
Last updated May 2019

About the School

Bath Spa University is about more than studying. It’s about getting stuck in: thinking, making and doing. About bumping into friends on campus, embracing challenges and genuinely caring. We push bound ... Read More

Bath Spa University is about more than studying. It’s about getting stuck in: thinking, making and doing. About bumping into friends on campus, embracing challenges and genuinely caring. We push boundaries and ourselves. If that sounds good to you, you’ll fit in well. Read less