Data Visualisation Design
Learn how to create rich and meaningful stories with data
Why take this course?
As a Data Visualisation Designer you can contribute innovative solutions with the potential to transform societal challenges, by designing the human interface to increasingly complex problems.
On this course, you will learn how to create rich and meaningful stories with data. We will study digital content in any mode, whether it is in alphanumeric form, binary, vector, pixel, video, or others. The designer provides an important interface, that allows us to explore data and generates meaningful communication. This communication is predominantly visual, but with developments in Wearables and the Internet of Things, is also becoming increasingly physical, affective, networked and interactive. Data Visualisation Design spans traditional graphic and information design, interaction design, information architecture, computational design, design thinking and user-centred and user experience design.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Learn the theory and practice of data visualisation, data, interface/interaction design and user experience, and apply this to your own design
- Critically question the role of data related to the social, political, economic and cultural through contextual research
- Explore live data sets from real world scenarios, such as industry or charities like the digital humanitarian network
- Develop independent research and project ideas to create innovative, forward thinking design solutions and experiences for a digital and data driven world
What opportunities might it lead to?
The course will prepare you to work in the design disciplines of the creative industries, with a focus on data visualisation, information design, computational design, digital content, interactivity and user experience. Data Visualisation designers are in demand in sectors including business, research, health, education, government/public service, the arts.
The skills gained on this course can also be applied to employment in UI (user interface) design, or focus on interaction as a UX (User experience) designer. The critical and contextual outlook allows you to position yourself as a strategist and operate in a consultative manner. The research aspect of the course would also suit a career in compulsory, further and higher education.
- Data Visualisation Design
- Information Design
- Digital Graphic Design
- UI (user interface) / UX (user experience) design
- Interaction design
or apply now
- 1 year full time or 2 years part time
- 2018 entry requirements
- A good honours degree in a related subject including design, media, communications, illustration, information technology and cultural and theoretical studies, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. An interview or online portfolio submission may be required as part of the selection process. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2017/18 entry: Full-time: £5,200, part time: Yr 1 £1,730, Yr 2 £3,470*
2017/18 entry: Full-time: £12,600, part time: Yr 1 £4,200, Yr 2 £8,400*
*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
- School of Art and Design
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
The course is offered over one year (full-time) or two years (part-time).
You will study five units, one of which is shared with other MA courses in the School of Art and Design. There will be preparatory units delivering a grounding in practical skills, theoretical context and academic research (competencies and skills). You will also study units that allow more thematic engagement with interactive and data driven design in terms of theory such as critical design, affordances, experience and complexity. It will also provide a unit oriented towards employability, and incorporate live briefs and group work. These units work to catalyse your own ideas and research direction for the Major Project unit.
Core units currently comprise:
- A Question of Research
- Fundamentals of Data and Interaction Design
- Digital Futures – Themes and Issues in Practice
- Design Solutions for Enterprise, Society and Culture
- Major Project
Teaching and Assessment
The teaching combines interactive lectures and group seminar discussions with support through one-to-one tutorials. You also receive feedback on your work through friendly but critical peer review in group sessions with other students, members of faculty and other experts as appropriate. One of the units includes working as a team. Your project work emphasises self-initiated learning which gives you the freedom to explore the specialist area of your interest, while being helpfully guided by your supervisor. The curriculum is very closely related to the research areas in the department, so the staff have cutting edge knowledge of the field and its potential for innovation.
How are you assessed?
Your learning is mostly assessed through the submission of practical course work, such as digital prototypes, and the documentation of the learning journey in sketchbooks, diaries, blogs or journals.
This will be documenting contextual research as well as stages in practical experimentation and annotation of reflection. There are some written elements to be submitted as well, mostly accompanying proposals/reports to contextualise your practice. The assessment also includes individual and group presentations, this mode is also used to give you formative feedback on your work throughout.
Here's how we assess your work:
- Digital artefacts / prototypes
- Learning journals
- Oral presentation
Dr Simone Gumtau
If you are fascinated by the potential of transforming information (data) into knowledge and creating stimulating, meaningful and enriching experiences through design, then this is the course for you. Whether your strength is more in the creative exploration, or the technical know-how, it is your direction that drives your project.
Facilities & Features
As well as our purpose-built studios for our material workshops, we also have a variety of digital print studios. From letterpress and screen printing equipment, a digital darkroom, a lightbox room and computer suites with Macs and PCs running industry-standard software, our design facilities can cater to whatever project you are working on.
We have dedicated computer suites equipped with the latest software to enable you to produce digital media and design interactive content through manipulating images, editing videos and sound. You will also have access to a virtual reality and motion capture suite to be able to create the finished products for your projects.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Budgeting for your studies
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Other costs to consider
There are costs relating to the purchase of materials and / or reprographic requirements for work. This may be in the region of £100 - £1000. These costs will depend on the nature of the work and the media used.
For optional study trips, you will be expected to pay full costs. Optional study trips will cost in the region of £200 - £800. UK trips, where offered, will be in the region of £50 - £150.
Careers & Opportunities
This course is an opportunity to focus your creative design practice on the interactive, data driven, user centred and culturally contextualised. It also enhances your design career by upgrading your skills and widening your knowledge and thinking in the digital arena, allowing you to stay one step ahead of the rest. The independent research aspect of the course prepares you for further education in terms of a research degree and employment in R&D and/or education.
Here at our Creative Careers Centre we are committed to improving your employability. Whether it’s placements, self-employed placements, internships, short-term work experiences, freelancing opportunities and volunteering, we will help you find valuable and relevant work experience to complement your degree. The experienced team is always on hand to offer advice on everything from producing high-quality applications through to preparation for a company assessment day.
To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.
Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.
Apply now or visit us
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
We will confirm the dates of events related to 2018 entry soon. Visit the link below to get a reminder when booking opens.
Other opportunities to visit
Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm.
We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.
Can't get to Portsmouth?
If you can’t make it to Portsmouth, come and speak with us about the courses we offer and life and study in Portsmouth at one of the events we attend around the UK.
Staff from our International Office also regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.
If you would like to speak with a member of staff about any courses you are interested in, please email email@example.com and we will arrange this for you.
Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.