Graphic Design and Typography MA

Postgraduate ( full-time, part-time)

Cambridge

September 2016

Intermediate awards: PG Cert, PG Dip

Course duration: 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time.
Teaching times: Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9am-5pm (full-time); Part-time: Wednesdays 10am-5pm  in trimesters 1 and 2, Tuesdays 9am-1pm in trimester 4, tutorials by arrangement on Tuesdays in trimesters 5 and 6 (part-time).

Overview

Further your professional practice in graphic communication. Learn to challenge preconceived ideas and develop a truly innovative approach to your work. You'll be supported by practising designers and work on self-directed and industry-driven projects, while also honing your research skills.

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Full description

Careers

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Our Master's course will equip you for professional employment or self-employment in graphic design and design consultancy, as well as related fields like brand development, art-editorial design, publishing, typography/typesetting, advertising, and media design.

It will also give you a basis for a teaching career in higher education. You might decide to move on to a research degree, like our PhD Graphic Design and Typography.

You’ll also benefit from our links with industry, including Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Sony, and a number of independent design practices and consultants.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Process and Practice as Research
    You will engage with the relationship between research and production. In particular you will explore the process of designing a research project for Art and Design students at Masters level. Lectures and seminars will introduce you to methodology, ethics and exemplars of research methods from a broad range of art and design disciplines. The specifics of designing a research project, such as dealing with failure and evaluating success, will be considered as fundamental aspects of research design. Lectures and seminars will be delivered on a cross-school platform and you will begin to consider alternative paradigms of practice and engage with ideas from outside your own discipline. Using the initial lectures as a starting point, you will be asked to design and undertake a practice-based, self-contained pilot project which tests the scope and limits of a specific research method or methods. Through the research design process you will write a proposal, identify milestones, deliver an outcome and evaluate your pilot project. In group critiques and tutorials within a specialist subject area, you will discuss and support the ongoing progress of each other’s pilot projects.
  • Interpretation and Origination: Modes of Graphic Authorship
    On this module you'll explore the role of self-initiated work in the development and positioning of careers within the graphic design profession and its client industries. In seminars and workshops you will consider the role of 'pro-bono' projects in the public and cultural sectors, and the creative use of designer-driven and self-published outputs in defining and building professional profile. While exploring the wide range of variation in current working relationships between designer and client, you'll interrogate the notion of graphic design as a 'service industry' in relation to the concept of the designer as content provider and strategic consultant. You will also undertake an independent socially pro-active graphic project as a means to exploring these issues in relation to your emerging practice as designers.
  • Master's Dissertation Art and Design
    This module forms the major written element of the MA programme. On it, you will be invited to choose a topic related to your area of study, as the basis for a research essay of up to 6,000 words. The essay should demonstrate an awareness of current critical debate in the subject, through appropriate reference to relevant examples both from visual practice and critical writing. Your subjects may be thematic and issue-based, or may focus upon the critical analysis of a particular body of work. It is expected that you will use the module to investigate the use of critical writing as an aspect of your own creative development, by investigating issues and preoccupations for which you feel a particular affinity or concern, and that you will use the dissertation as an instrument of enquiry into the debates, conventions and values which define your own field of practice. In group tutorials you will explore the use of different modes of critical method and conventions of art and design research, and the production of critical writing as an aspect of an individual's creative and professional practice.
  • Typographic Enquiry
    You will study typography as a fundamental element of graphic design, and consider current developments in type use and typeface design in relation to a range of professional and speculative contexts. You will explore these through detailed investigation of type on the page and the screen, and through the experimental design of custom typefaces. The module will take a content-driven approach which will allow you to address the topic from a semantic and interpretative viewpoint. In seminars and lectures you will consider the relationship between written content and its typographic expression from different perspectives across a range of contexts, from the established disciplines of information design to the innovative use of typographic structure and typographic form in managing issues of complexity and ambiguity.
  • Master's Project: Art and Design
    The Masters Project represents the culmination of your learning on the programme, and giving you the opportunity to develop and resolve a major area of enquiry. This is a self-directed visual project negotiated with the staff team and peers. You'll need to negotiate, manage, co-ordinate and bring to successful conclusion a complex, practice-based project within your field of art, media or design. You'll start by formally presenting your research proposal to staff and peers, and will be expected to build on your previous modules to identify a complex area for investigation and enquiry, as well as research methods appropriate to the project. Following negotiation with staff, peers and, where appropriate, outside agencies, you'll then submit a written research proposal. Your project may involve external engagement alongside a personal exploration of themes and concepts in your specialist field. You'll need to show your ability to innovate, think strategically and be sensitive to changing cultural and social climates. You'll be assessed by portfolio (a body of work comprising a written project proposal, and developmental and final visual work) and a 1200-word reflective commentary. This commentary will specifically outline the methodological and ethical considerations relevant to your portfolio work, and evaluate your final visual work.

Assessment

You’ll show your progress through a combination of portfolio work, evaluative commentaries, blog participation, group critiques, one-to-one tutorials, presentations, log books and analytical reports, and a 6,000-word research essay.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

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Cambridge School of Art has been inspiring creativity since 1858 when it was opened by John Ruskin.

Engaging with current debates surrounding contemporary practice and with the state-of-the-art facilities, Cambridge School of Art houses light, bright studios, industry-standard film and photographic facilities, and 150-year-old printing presses alongside dedicated Apple Mac suites. Our digital art gallery, the Ruskin Gallery, exhibits both traditional shows and multimedia presentations, from national and international touring exhibitions and our own students.

We are the only university in Cambridge offering art and design courses at higher education level. A tight-knit community of artists, academics and over 900 students, we collaborate across our University, the creative industries, and other sectors. Cambridge is a centre for employment in the creative industries and there are rich opportunities for collaboration with the city’s entertainment, technological, scientific, arts and heritage industries.

Our graduates have a history of winning national and international awards and an excellent employment record. They include Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett and Dave Gilmour, Spitting Image creators Peter Fluck and Roger Law, and illustrator Ronald Searle, the creator of St Trinian's.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)

£6,100

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year part time)

£3,050

International students, 2016/17 (per year)

£11,700

UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)

£7,100

International students, 2017/18 (per year)

£12,400

UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year part time)

£3,550

Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you're studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period. All fees are for guidance purposes only.

Additional costs

Optional field trip to Antwerp - 2 nights
Cost £160

How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

You won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to attend, but you must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter/financial guarantee. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

There's no statutory funding for postgraduate study. However, we offer a number of scholarships and we've put together guidance on where to start researching funding options.

Students taking up a place on this course are eligible to apply for the Mark Wood Art and Design Scholarship. This is a financial award to recognise and encourage excellence. For more details and the application form, please visit our Making a Difference website.

Additional costs

Optional field trip to Antwerp - 2 nights
Cost £160

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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Your portfolio should show that you have graduate-level competence in graphic design or a related subject, and evidence of enquiry and experimentation that will show you can develop through postgraduate study. The precise content of your portfolio is up to you.

If you’re an international applicant, please host your portfolio online if possible and let us know the URL, or email it to us as a PDF. We’ll also accept CDs or hardcopy sent by post to our International Admissions Office, but please note that these will not be returned to you.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online