Graphic Design and Typography MA

Postgraduate (12 months full-time, part-time)



Intermediate awards: PG Cert, PG Dip

Course duration: 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time.


Develop an innovative approach to typographic communication on this practise-based MA. Collaborate with other students and professional designers to challenge preconceived ideas and further your professional practice.

Full description


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, or to continue on to a research degree, such as our PhD Graphic Design and Typography.

As well as attending industry events and employability workshops, you may also get the chance to work on a live brief set by a local company. Our past students have created work for Cambridge Junction, The David Parr House and Marshall Aerospace.

As an ARU student, you can compete for funding to establish your own projects through The Big Pitch and the Andy Wilson bursary.

Find out more about working with the creative industries

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Making Methods
    How do we overcome institutionalised and tired paradigms of valid and purposeful enquiry? How can we examine our modes of seeing as constitutive of the world they allegedly mirror objectively? If approach determines outcome, can we identify and unlearn our silent ideologies of vision? What if originality has nothing to do with origins? How do we overcome learned ‘correct’ ways of achievement? Making Methods provides a space to consider the ways in which we have been taught how to ask questions; a space for seeking ruptures of the ‘successful’ way to ask creative questions. Our sessions will probe methods of making through slow and divergent rhythms of querying/queering the creative process. We will visit (and try to break) key contemporary debates on methods and methodologies as constitutive, ubiquitous and transversal components of creative practice. Concrete examples of creative practices from painting, music, interactive media, installation, activism, tactical interventions, book arts, wreading, etc., will ground discussions and explorations in empirical matter. These will be conducted with reference to contemporary and cutting-edge debates on the ‘world-making nature’ of enquiry, and the theory/practice divide as an untenable construction. Making Methods aims to provide you with tools and approaches to question existing frameworks of creative engagement with the world, and provide strategies to see creativity as disruptive, as it is by definition. You will be asked to write a 3000 word piece on a creative methodological approach (this could be your own, or not), its underpinnings, process and consequences.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Master's Project: Art and Design
    The Masters Project represents the culmination of your learning on the programme, 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.
  • Visual Research Practises
    This module is designed to provide the foundation for the further development of your practice in your Masters Project, and to inform your Masters Project Proposal, which you will submit upon completion of this module. During the course of the module you will explore and document the ways in which practice informs the development of method, and the manner in which experimentation within your practice is used to test propositions, verify findings, and demonstrate these through your outcomes. These ideas form the main precepts of practice-based research, and will be explored through a preliminary project designed to test the basis of your Masters Project proposal. The module provides a context within which to explore the ways in which the processes associated with your practice serve as tools of investigation and analysis. In the course of the module you will identify the key research questions implicit your Masters Project proposal, develop strategies and experimental methods for addressing these questions, and contextualise these methods in relation to precedent within your discipline. This will also enable you to locate your method within the wider context of research methodology addressed in the companion module Making Methods. During the development of your project you will investigate and critique your method to ensure that it is appropriate to the investigation of your question and to the expression of your findings. You will review the ways in which practice shapes and refines experimental method, and the analysis of experimental findings informs successive phases of the practical outcome. According to the context of the projects and the nature of your practice, this may involve different considerations of audience, purpose and impact, as well as reference to a variety of sources and precedents. You will be assessed through the body of visual coursework, a research logbook kept during the development process, and an evaluative commentary of 500 words reflecting on the work after completion. You will also submit a finalised proposal for the Masters Project.


You will demonstrate 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 6000-word research essay.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

At Cambridge School of Art, we combine the traditions of our past with the possibilities afforded by the latest technologies.

Using our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond, we nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking to empower the makers and creators of the future.

Our academics excel at both practice and theory, making a real impact in their chosen fields, whether they are curating exhibitions, designing book covers or photographing communities in Africa. They are also regularly published in catalogues, books, journals and conference papers, their research classed as being of ‘international standing’, with some elements ‘world-leading’, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.

Where can I study?

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

Specialist facilities

As a Cambridge School of Art student, you will receive access and training to all of our on-campus facilities - not just those for your own course. These include traditional letterpress and screenprinting workshops as well as digital facilities such as animation and design studios (using industry-standard Adobe design software on Macintosh technology), photographic studios, laser cutting and large-format digital printing.

Find out more about Cambridge School of Art's facilities

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year, part-time)


International students, 2018/19 (per year)


International students, 2018/19 (per year, part-time)


UK & EU students, 2019/20 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2019/20 (part-time, per year)


International students starting 2019/20 (per year)


International students starting 2019/20 (part-time, per year)


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 - 3 nights
3 nights accommodation, travel and estimated daily expenses:
Approximately £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

Funding for UK & EU students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you're at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Students taking up a place on this course are eligible to apply for the Mark Wood Art and Design Scholarship, which recognises and encourages excellence. Download the application form here.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Interview and portfolio

You will be required to attend an interview of around 20 minutes, during which you will evidence your discussion with a portfolio or, if you are resident outside of the UK, an e-portfolio.

For more information on how to prepare and submit your portfolio please visit our portfolios and interviews page, or go straight to the detailed guidance for MA Graphic Design and Typography portfolios.

International students

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

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.

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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January, April 2019, September

Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online