Data Visualisation Design work example
Mode of Study
Part-time, Full-time
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start Date
September 2020


Can you create rich and meaningful stories with data? Can you design data visualisation in a way that communicates clearly and engages the audience? Are you interested in designing innovative solutions that could address challenges facing society?

This MA Data Visualisation Design Master's degree course gives you the creative and critical abilities you need for a rewarding career designing visual communication of data. You'll study and experiment with digital content in all forms including alphanumeric, binary, vector, pixel and video, and learn how to explore and make sense of data to generate meaningful interactive, dynamic or even affective communications.

When you graduate, you'll be skilled in information and interaction design, design thinking and user-centred design. You’ll be able to pursue a career communicating data visually in fields such as design and journalism in areas such as business, research, health, education, government and the arts public organisations where the engaging visual communication of data is becoming crucial.

What you'll experience

On this Data Visualisation Design degree course you'll:

  • Learn the theory and practice of data visualisation, interface/interaction design and user experience, and apply this to your own designs
  • Critically question the role of data in relation to social, political, economic and cultural factors, through contextual research
  • Examine data sets from real scenarios such as industry and charities, including the digital humanitarian network
  • Complete your own independent research project, which incorporates innovative design solutions and experiences for a digital, data-driven world
  • Learn from experienced and enthusiastic staff in interactive lectures, group seminars and one-to-one tutorials
  • Use our extensive facilities to complete your personal project – these include material workshops, digital print studios (featuring letterpress and screen printing equipment), a digital darkroom, lightbox room, a VR and motion capture suite, and computer suites with Macs, PCs, digital media and design interactive software

Careers and opportunities

Thanks to developments in wearables and the Internet of Things, data visualisation designers are in high demand across many sectors, including business, research, health, education, government/public service, and the arts.

What can you do with a Data Visualisation Design degree?

When you graduate, you'll be qualified to pursue a career in fields such as:

  • information design
  • journalism
  • digital graphic design
  • computational design
  • digital content
  • UI (user interface)/UX (user experience) design
  • interactivity

You'll also have the transferable skills to work as a strategist in a consultative position and the research experience to start a career in education.

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

What you'll study on this MA Data Visualisation Design degree course

You'll study modules worth a total of 180 credits over 1 year (full time) or 2 years (part time).


Core modules
  • A question of research
  • Design solutions for enterprise in society and culture
  • Digital futures - themes and issues in practice
  • Fundamentals of data and interaction design
  • Major project: research and resolution

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry.

Work experience and career planning

We can help you to identify internships, voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies.

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry. You'll also be able to take advantage of our industrial contacts, careers events and recruitment fairs and do units that focus on career planning and employability.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques


Teaching on this course includes:

  • group tutorials
  • one-to-one tutorials
  • seminars
  • lectures
  • practical classes and workshops
  • presentations

The curriculum is closely related to the research areas in the department, so staff have up-to-date knowledge of the field and its potential for innovation.

You'll also get feedback on your work through friendly but critical peer review in group sessions with other students, members of faculty and other experts as appropriate. Project work emphasises self-directed learning, which gives you the freedom to explore a specialist area of your interest, with guidance from your supervisor.

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • practical course work, such as digital prototypes and the documentation of your learning journey in sketchbooks, diaries, blogs or journals
  • a portfolio
  • presentations
  • reports

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Entry requirements​

MA Data Visualisation Design Master's degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • A minimum of a second-class 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. 
English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
Selection process
  • An interview or online portfolio submission may be required as part of the selection process.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2020 start)

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students

  • Full time: £7,800
  • Part time: £2,600 in year 1 and £5,200 in year 2 (may be subject to annual increase)

International students

  • Full time: £14,300
  • Part time: £4,770 in year 1 and £9,530 in year 2 (may be subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. 

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You'll need to cover the costs relating to the purchase of materials and/or reprographic requirements for work. These costs are normally in the region of £100–£1000, and will depend on the nature of the work and the media used.

You'll need to cover all of the costs for optional study trips. Trips abroad normally cost in the region of £200–£800. Trips around the UK will cost in the region of £50–£150.


Start your application by following the link below:

International students

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us (above) or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study with us, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply. 

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