Printed letterpress sample text in blue and red ink

Graphic Design MA

Sharpen your skills and apply them to 'real world' situations on this MA in Graphic Design. Graduates have worked in-house for agencies, and as freelancers.

Key information

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This MA Graphic Design course will deepen your understanding of graphic design and its associated disciplines and skills.

You'll explore different design methodologies – such as typography and publication design – and apply them to ‘real-world’ situations. You'll channel your design skills while creating professional links in various creative industries and communities.

This Master’s in Graphic Design will provide you with the expertise and support you need to develop your practice, sharpen your skills and grow your career in graphic design and other creative industries: opening up possibilities for future employment and entrepreneurship when you graduate.

If you’re an ambitious, intellectually curious creative looking to develop your work to meet the ever-changing demands of the creative industries, then our Graphic Design Master’s course is for you.

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This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

Course highlights

  • Produce inspiring graphic design, utilising our specialist workshops – including facilities for screen printing, etching and letterpress, laser cutting, dye sublimation printing and digital fabric printing, and the latest professional software and equipment employed by professionals in the industry
  • Engage in strong critical dialogue with peers and academic staff in relation to your work
  • Strengthen your understanding of graphic design through an in-depth, research-focused approach, which will help you to develop your confidence and bring creativity to your practical work
  • Hear from inspirational guest speakers from the world of design
  • Plan and produce a personal project to showcase your skills
Ring fenced for Postgrad Prospectus / PG Recruitment

MA Graphic Design student, H Plane

"The University of Portsmouth has helped me to get where I am now by offering a wide range of facilities that enable me to work in a variety of ways and develop my working processes further."

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements


This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

September 2024 start

  • A minimum of a second-class honours degree in graphic design or a related subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, view the equivalent entry requirements we accept for your country

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

All applicants will be invited to attend an interview or be asked to submit a online portfolio in support of their application.

For more information on how to put together a portfolio, read our MA Graphic Design portfolio guide.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2024 start)

  • Full time: £8,900
  • Part time: £2,970 in year 1 (60 credits) and £5,930 in year 2 (120 credits)

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £8,900
  • Part-time: £2,970 in year 1 (60 credits) and £5,930 in year 2 (120 credits)

  • Full time: £17,200
  • Part time: £5,840 in year 1 (60 credits) and £11,360 in year 2 (120 credits)

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

Female Master's student
Explore funding

Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

international business students
Discover your options

Fees and funding for Master's courses

Explore Master's funding options, including loans, scholarships, bursaries and more.

Explore funding

Additional 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 could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages.
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: Such as photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.


What you'll study (full-time)

Core modules

We'll help you navigate discussions on different research methods and selecting the right one, be it qualitative or quantitative. Dive into a topic that matters to you, following ethical rules. You’ll get to share what you find using presentations and reflective writing, which will help you figure out who you are as a researcher. By the end, you’ll be familiar with the best research strategies—from practical projects to working with other fields—to support your Master’s study.

Become an agile and thoughtful researcher, prepared to explore exciting questions.

In this module, you’ll take your initial research findings and use them to set a clear, exciting path that fits what you’re passionate about. We’ll guide you to pose interesting research questions and show deep understanding of your subject. You’ll choose research methods that can lead to new insights in your area. We’ll teach you to plan your project carefully, laying out your ideas, resources, and steps in a detailed plan. Finish this module prepared to start meaningful research or creative work, feeling sure about your skills as an independent thinker.

This is your opportunity to shape and refine the unique mark you will leave with your Master’s study.

Write a detailed reflective report that shows how your own research guided your project from start to finish. Our tutors will help you explain your methods and track your journey with academic precision. You’ll explore the connection between your ideas and your approach, showing your ability to think critically and put your knowledge into practice. Finish your course with an in-depth piece of writing that connects your work to big ideas and conversations in your field.

This module is your chance to sharpen your writing skills and stand out as a thoughtful designer-researcher ready to contribute significantly to your area.

You’ll combine your original ideas and method to execute your project proposal professionally. We’ll help you use your technical expertise and think deeply about your work. Your final creations will show off your intellect, experimentation, and knowledge of your subject. You’ll get to exhibit work that makes an original impact, proving your skills as both an artist and a researcher ready to make a difference.

Fulfil your potential and graduate with a portfolio that proudly displays your unique perspective.

What you'll study (part-time)

Core modules

You’ll explore different strategies and methods for impactful arts, design, and media research. Our lecturers will help you form an engaging research question. You’ll then choose and use the right critical methods to answer it. By doing hands-on projects, you'll get better at analysing, taking notes, gathering information from different sources, and sharing your findings.

By the end, you’ll know how to research on your own and have the critical thinking skills and confidence to do it well.

Follow your curiosity to new discoveries that will change the creative world.

You’ll take your exploratory research and turn it into a focused proposal for your major Master’s project. With help from experts, you will clearly explain your theoretical approach, methods, and goals so you can create new knowledge and make important discoveries. Analyse your field in historical and modern contexts to build a strong foundation for your research. Develop project management strategies to create a realistic and ambitious research plan.

When you finish this module, you’ll have the skills and knowledge to take on research problems on your own and shape the future of your field.

Let your curiosity and imagination lead you to ground-breaking discoveries.

Core modules

You’ll use advanced research and writing to explain the background and creative process of your Master’s project. With expert help, learn how to detail your methods, express your own perspective, and assess your work within your discipline. Your report will show your intellect, critical thinking, and specialised knowledge as an independent scholar. Seize this chance to create an engaging record of your project’s development from proposal to completion.

Your contextual report will enhance your academic portfolio, displaying your unique thinking and skills.

Combine your research, experimentation, and specialist skills from your Master's journey to tackle a project that represents your unique viewpoint. Enhance your critical thinking and creative abilities to challenge boundaries in your field, guided by experts.

You’ll finish with a body of work that shows your identity as an innovator, ready to make a lasting impact.

Let this module be a springboard for your continued exploration, experimentation, and inspiration.

Changes to course content

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Facilities and specialist equipment

Printmaking and Letterpress

Use our traditional lino-printing, wood-cutting and monoprinting equipment for all your design and print needs.

CCI Facilities; June 2019
Explore facility

Print Workshops

Use our screen printing and screen coating rooms for your graphic materials, artwork, and fabric printing, with a host of traditional and digital equipment.

CCI Facilities; June 2019
Explore Workshops

Eldon Art Shop

Whether you're studying a creative degree or want to pick up some supplies, our Eldon Art Shop has the materials you'll need for your coursework or project.

Helen Yates - B roll Day 3
Explore Shop

3D Printing Workshop

Explore our 3D Printing Workshop, and find out more about the range of equipment and technical support available during the 3D printing and finishing processes.

Student using a 3D printer at Engineering Project Day
Explore workshop

CCI Open Access Suite

Our open-plan space includes PCs and Macs equipped with Adobe Creative Suite and other professional software.

CCI Facilities; June 2019
Explore Suite

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

Course structure

This Master's degree will take:

  • 1 year (full-time study)
  • 2 years (part-time study)

You can expect:

  • 1 day of teaching per week (pro rata for part time students). At the moment, teaching takes place on Tuesdays, leaving you the rest of the week for self-guided study
  • around 30–35 hours of independent study and use of facilities each week (pro rata for part-time students)


Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

You'll get guidance and supervision that encourages your independent learning. You'll get regular teaching in workshops, and you'll engage in the wider studio culture that you'll develop alongside undergraduate students in graphic design.


You'll be assessed through:

  • written coursework
  • practical coursework

You'll get plenty of feedback throughout your study to ensure your research is on the right track.

Meet your course leader

Daniel McCabe Portrait

Mr Dan McCabe

Senior Lecturer

School of Art, Design, and Performance

Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

Read more

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project/dissertation.

See key dates

Graduation Class of 2021

Joining us as an international student

You'll feel at home in our international community and our diverse city. You'll be joining over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries who are studying with us.

Learn more about international student life and how we can help you with visas, applications, arrival and settling in. 

Information for international students

Career development

Careers this Master's in Graphic Design prepares you for

As a successful graduate of this course, you will have been encouraged to push your knowledge and skills in graphic design further than ever before.

Through seminars, project work and training, this Graphic Design Master's course will help you to engage in greater depth with the creative industries, pushing boundaries and challenging conventional thinking.

When you graduate, you'll have the necessary skills for a successful career in the graphic design profession. You might choose to set up your own design studio, step into a more senior role in a graphic design agency, or go on to further study.

Graduates of this course have gone onto roles in:

  • Graphic design
  • Typographic design
  • Type design
  • Website design
  • Digital media design
  • Magazine/book design and publishing
  • Television and film industries
  • Art direction
  • Design management
  • Research

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert careers advice from our Careers and Employability Centre, your tutors and our Student Placements and Employability Centre. You can access support from our Careers and Employability Centre for up to 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • Applied projects with companies such as IBM, Boeing and Hampshire County Council
  • 1-to-1 appointments  
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

Supporting you

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

You'll have regular contact with your personal tutor in learning activities or scheduled meetings. You can also make an appointment with them if you need extra support.

In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you’ll also have access to a Faculty student support advisor. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing and refer you to specialist support services.

If you need support with software and equipment or you want to learn additional skills (including skills not covered on your course), our creative skills tutors provide free workshops, activities and one-on-one tutorials. Skills you can learn include life drawing, film camera operation and video production.

You'll have help from a team of faculty academic skills tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

Computing support staff are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5.00pm to midnight at busy times of the year.

As well as support from faculty 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

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full.

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Extra information for international students

If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

You could also 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.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Ready to apply?

Start this course in September 2024

Apply now (Full-time)

Apply now (Part-time)

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2023, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.