Professionalise your approach to graphic design
Why take this course?
Take your design and visual communication skills further by producing your own research-driven project.
Explore a range of different design methodologies such as typography or publication design, and apply them to ‘real-world’ situations and scenarios. Your aim will be to channel design engagement while creating links with industry and the professional design community.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Extend the view of accepted practice by producing cutting-edge and intellectually and stimulating graphic design using the latest software and equipment
- Develop your understanding of graphic design through in-depth research based study
- Develop a strong critical discourse in relation to your work
- Visit our course blog to find out more
What opportunities might it lead to?
You are encouraged to firmly ground your developments within a professional context by testing and applying your work in real world settings. This will often open future possibilities for employment and entrepreneurship on graduating from the course.
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
- graphic design
- typographic design
- type design
- website design
- new media design
- magazine design publishing
- work in the television and film industries
- art direction
- design management
The tutor and technician support at the University is fantastic and there was always someone available to assist me.
Joy Moore, art and design student 2012
- 1 year full time, 2 years part time
- A minimum of a second-class honours degree in graphic design or a related subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. An 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
2016/17 full time: £5,200, part time: £1,730 in year 1 and £3,470* in year 2.
2015/16 full time: £12,000, part time: £4,000 in year 1 and £8,000* in year 2.
* Fees are subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 2421
- School of Art and Design
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
This course aims to help you learn independently through research-based study, culminating in a critically reflective report which will document the iterative development of your research, whilst outlining the various relationships to theory and historical and contemporary contexts for your chosen research area. You will also position your work in relation to what is happening at the forefront of the subject area.
Here are the units you will study:
- A Question of Research: This unit provides an introduction to debates and research methods relevant for creative practitioners and their application to a pertinent research question. It also encourages self reflection on the research process.
- Contextual Report: This unit provides the opportunity for you to utilise and apply advanced research and written communication skills to a critically evaluated report that documents and describes the origination, and development through to conclusion of a designed artefact(s) as a response to a sustained programme of independent research.
- Proposal: This unit is about writing a project proposal for the Masters research project.
- Resolution: You will draw together the various threads of their research-informed practice and practice-informed research undertaken during their project and produce a resolved body of work.
Teaching and Assessment
You will receive guidance and supervision throughout the programme that encourages independent learning. There will be regular contact teaching time but we also aim for you to engage in the wider studio culture that develops within the subject area alongside the undergraduate students in graphic design.
How are you assessed?
You will be assessed after the submission of your work for each unit. We also present structured feedback to ensure your research is on the right track.
You will have the opportunity to produce work that develops your professionalism within the context of Graphic Design. We will work closely with you to help you develop a critical discourse in relation to their proposed and defined major area of study. You will graduate as a critical thinking, independent designer.
Facilities & Features
Take advantage of our many workshops, which include excellent facilities with specific areas for – screen printing, letterpress, laser cutting, dye sublimation printing and digital fabric printing.
We also have a variety of digital studios with Macs and PCs running industry-standard software, our design facilities can cater to whatever project you are working on. In addition you will have access to our range of digital printing facilities, including large format, photographic and sheet fed printers.
As well as offering a dynamic and creative studio space with excellent access to the Eldon campus facilities, we foster a friendly and welcoming environment where you are encouraged to interact with both tutors and your peers.
We organise a lively programme of visiting speakers from the design world and encourage a vibrant culture of debate and industry contact. Many of our successful alumni also return on a regular basis to teach as guest lecturers on the course.
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 in the production of project work. This may be in the region of £100 - £600.
If you choose to complete a project not supported by existing University resources, you may wish to purchase extra materials or software. These costs will depend on the nature of the project.
For optional study trips Any study trips, you will be expected to pay full costs. Optional study trips abroad will cost in the region of £200 - £800. UK alternatives where offered will be £50 - £150.
Careers & Opportunities
We anticipate that once you have completed this degree the scope of your opportunities within the graphic design profession will have widened. You will have a deeper knowledge and the skills to set up your own design studio or step into a more senior role in a graphic design agency. Alternatively, for those who wish to continue studying, there is always the option of progressing to doctoral level in your specialised area of graphic design.
Roles our graduates have taken on include:
- graphic designer
- digital marketing executive
- web designer
- production manager
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degrees students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service – Purple Door – can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University's Admissions Team before being transferred to individual departments for consideration and processing.
Postgraduate Information Days
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2016 entry have now finished.
If you would like to visit the campus you can download our free walking tour for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday - Friday between 8.30am and 4.00pm. We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look into our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus. Find out more information about our self-guided walking tours.
If you are unable to visit us, why not contact the admissions team for your course of interest via our course pages.
If you have any further enquiries about postgraduate study at Portsmouth, including advice on the Postgraduate Loan for 2016 entry plus scholarships and bursaries available visit our postgraduate pages.
Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.
Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.