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
- 2017 entry requirements
- 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
2017/18 entry: Full time: £5,200, part time: £1,730 in year 1 and £3,470* in year 2.
2017/18: Full time: £12,600, part time: £4,200 in year 1 and £8,400* in year 2.
* Fees are subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
- 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.
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.
The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:
- Year one students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 77% studying independently and 0% on work placement
- Year two students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 77% studying independently and 0% on work placement
- Year three students: 12% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 88% studying independently and 0% on work placement
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.
The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:
- Year one students: 0% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 100% by coursework
- Year two students: 0% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 100% by coursework
- Year three students: 0% by written exams, 17% by practical exams and 83% by coursework
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 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
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 Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service 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 Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2017 entry have now finished. If you would like to meet or 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.
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.
If you are unable to visit us, contact the admissions team – see the 'Key Facts' section above for contact details.
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.