Illustration of an assortment of bright flowers

Mode of Study

Full-time, Part-time

Duration

1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date

September 2023

Overview

On this MA Illustration degree course, you'll build upon your already impressive illustration skills and develop your creative and technical abilities to postgraduate level.

Whether you’re an arts graduate or a professional returning to creative studies, you'll be able to explore, question, and develop your practice through traditional and innovative techniques.

Our academic team is made up of experienced practitioners in the field of artists' books and zines, practice-based PhDs, and printmaking. They'll provide the expertise and support you need to push your creative boundaries and find your individual artistic voice.

This practice-led Master’s in illustration will culminate in production of your own personal project, where you'll be able to define your role as a creative practitioner within a social, political, and historical context.

With opportunities to network and publicise and market your work, you'll be better prepared to take your creative career to the next level once you graduate – whether by pursuing a career as an illustrator or in related fields such as art direction, design, and publishing.

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

Course highlights

  • Complete a major body of work which showcases your development and skills
  • Explore themes such as narrative and sequential illustration, humour and satire, ethical and social positioning of the artist, literary sources for inspiration, limited edition publications, small presses, and artists’ books
  • Consider the question “what is illustration?” and examine the social responsibility of the illustrator as a cultural producer
  • Discover your specialisms and position your individual practice within the creative industries
  • Engage with high profile visiting lecturers, freelance illustrators and other industry connections such as external speakers from Egmont Books
  • Take part in field trips – both to local galleries and London-based museums
  • Access our extensive collection of artists’ books and zines, located within the illustration studios
  • Develop your existing skills through specialist workshops such as laser cutting and 3D printing, photography, etching and letterpress, drawing and print workshops
  • Showcase your Adobe expertise to industry peers by gaining Adobe Certified Professional (ACP) qualifications

Memberships

This course is a member of the Association of Illustrators (AOI).

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

What you'll study on this MA Illustration degree course

Full-time

All modules on this MA Illustration Master's are core.

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Articulate key issues related to the debates about research methods for Art, Design and Media and practice­ led research.
  • Critically evaluate and select appropriate research methods from a range of disciplinary and cross disciplinary models evidencing ethical awareness in research design.
  • Demonstrate individual research skills and techniques for developing, recording and analysing research enquiry through their application to a research question.
  • Demonstrate a high level of critical engagement with theoretical/historical/contemporary sources.
  • Make effective use of appropriate presentation tools for the communication of their research findings and offer personal reflection of the research journey.

Explore this module

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Systematically synthesise exploratory research into a clearly focused project proposal for illustration.
  • Demonstrate the relevance of, and critically evaluate, research sources at an advanced level.
  • Provide evidence of the theoretical, critical and historical contexts and knowledge frameworks, which inform the proposed research programme and identifies key questions in relation to the proposed research.
  • Demonstrate how selected methodologies will facilitate the exploration of the research concept.
  • Independently develop a project management strategy, that articulates in a systematic way the proposed research programme and its sources, contextual framework, methodologies and the basis upon which it may be innovative, challenging and extending knowledge.
Additional content

Explore this module

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Evidence a deep and systematic understanding within a specialised field of study and critically evaluate its interrelationship with other relevant disciplines, at an advanced level.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of and reflect upon current theoretical and methodological debates within the identified specialism and evaluate divergent points of view, form new insights and communicate their effectiveness.
  • Critically reflect upon and enhance their illustration practice by exploring advanced techniques, which may be at the forefront of the discipline.
  • Make informed judgements on complex situations, initiative and ability to plan appropriate independent work schedules in order to meet project deadlines.
  • Autonomously implement and evaluate improvements to their identified specialism. Disseminate the `position' of their practice through the creation of an artist's statement, relevant to illustration contexts.
Additional content

Explore this module

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Reflect upon and provide evidence, through developmental work, of the inter-relationship of concept and method at an advanced level in the achievement of an innovative illustrative resolution.
  • Resolve the self-identified project, to a professional standard of practical skills, reflection, critical engagement and challenges, which may be at the forefront of the discipline.
  • Develop and produce a body of work that includes the final artefact(s) developed through sustained independent research, iterative testing and development in response to a project proposal demonstrating advanced specialist knowledge and skills within an illustration context.
  • Evidence a deep and systematic understanding of how a social, ethical and political framework informs the illustrative practice and the associated responsibility of the illustrator and justify how these issues are resolved in the artwork.
Additional content

Explore this module


Part-time

All modules on this MA Illustration Master's are core.

What you'll learn

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Articulate key issues related to the debates about research methods for Art, Design and Media and practice­ led research
  • Critically evaluate and select appropriate research methods from a range of disciplinary and cross disciplinary models evidencing ethical awareness in research design
  • Demonstrate individual research skills and techniques for developing, recording and analysing research enquiry through their application to a research question
  • Demonstrate a high level of critical engagement with theoretical/historical/contemporary sources
  • Make effective use of appropriate presentation tools for the communication of their research findings and offer personal reflection of the research journey

Explore this module

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Systematically synthesise exploratory research into a clearly focused project proposal for illustration.
  • Demonstrate the relevance of, and critically evaluate, research sources at an advanced level.
  • Provide evidence of the theoretical, critical and historical contexts and knowledge frameworks, which inform the proposed research programme and identifies key questions in relation to the proposed research.
  • Demonstrate how selected methodologies will facilitate the exploration of the research concept.
  • Independently develop a project management strategy, that articulates in a systematic way the proposed research programme and its sources, contextual framework, methodologies and the basis upon which it may be innovative, challenging and extending knowledge.
Additional content

Explore this module

All modules on this MA Illustration Master's are core.

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Evidence a deep and systematic understanding within a specialised field of study and critically evaluate its interrelationship with other relevant disciplines, at an advanced level.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of and reflect upon current theoretical and methodological debates within the identified specialism and evaluate divergent points of view, form new insights and communicate their effectiveness.
  • Critically reflect upon and enhance their illustration practice by exploring advanced techniques, which may be at the forefront of the discipline.
  • Make informed judgements on complex situations, initiative and ability to plan appropriate independent work schedules in order to meet project deadlines.
  • Autonomously implement and evaluate improvements to their identified specialism. Disseminate the `position' of their practice through the creation of an artist's statement, relevant to illustration contexts.
  • Disseminate the `position' of their practice through the creation of an artist's statement, relevant to illustration contexts
Additional content

Explore this module

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Reflect upon and provide evidence, through developmental work, of the inter-relationship of concept and method at an advanced level in the achievement of an innovative illustrative resolution.
  • Resolve the self-identified project, to a professional standard of practical skills, reflection, critical engagement and challenges, which may be at the forefront of the discipline.
  • Develop and produce a body of work that includes the final artefact(s) developed through sustained independent research, iterative testing and development in response to a project proposal demonstrating advanced specialist knowledge and skills within an illustration context.
  • Evidence a deep and systematic understanding of how a social, ethical and political framework informs the illustrative practice and the associated responsibility of the illustrator and justify how these issues are resolved in the artwork.
Additional content

Explore this module


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.

MA Illustration student, Linda Kemoli

"The facilities here at the University are something else. There’s everything I could ever need to create my work and the students all support one another too. It’s a wonderful atmosphere."

Read Linda's story

Your facilities

A person with gloves using a letterpress

Etching and Letterpress facilities

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

Explore facilities

A person using a screen coating unit

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.

Explore workshops

A woman using a 3D printer

Eldon Production Centre

Our centre is ideal for modelmaking, with high-grade kit for crafting wood, metal, plastics, polyurethane, concrete and plaster works.

Explore Centre

Rows of paint tubes in different colours

Eldon Art Shop

In our non-profit art materials shop, you'll find all you need at affordable prices. Open to students, staff, alumni and University affiliates.

Explore Shop

A group of students on computers in a room

Open Access Suite

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

Explore Suite

Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master’s in Illustration prepares you for

As a successful graduate of this course, you'll have the practical skills necessary to compete in a commercial arena, and the rhetorical skills to promote your own work. You'll be able to position yourself as a creative individual, giving you a competitive edge as an illustrator or artist.

Graduates of this course have found jobs such as:

  • Animator, storyboard artist and digital illustrator
  • Graphic/editorial designer
  • Art director
  • Toy and character designer
  • Comic book or graphic novelist
  • Printmaker and small press publisher
  • Zinester
  • Creative developer
  • Art Teacher/Lecturer

You'll also have the option of progressing to doctoral level in your specialised area of illustration. We're on hand to give you help, support and advice, whatever you decide to do next.

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

Career support

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • 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

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.

It is our expectation that all international students will join us here on campus in Portsmouth.

Course structure

This Master's degree will take:

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

At the moment, teaching takes place on Tuesdays (between 10.00am and 5.00pm), leaving you the rest of the week for self-guided study.

You can expect:

  • 1 day of teaching per week (pro rata for part time students)
  • Between 20–30 hours of dedicated independent study each week (pro rata for part time students)

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • Independent learning
  • Group tutorials
  • 1-to-1 tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Peer-to-peer learning

    Assessment

    You’ll be assessed through:

    • Illustration project (major body of work)
    • 2 pieces of written coursework
    • Presentation (around 10 minutes)

    Meet your course leader

    Jacqueline Batey Portrait

    Dr Jac Batey

    Reader in Illustration

    Jackie.Batey@port.ac.uk

    PhD Supervisor

    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

    Supporting your learning

    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.

    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
    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.
    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 have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

    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.

    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

    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.

    Course costs and funding

    Tuition fees (September 2023 start)

    • Full time: £8,500
    • Part time: £2,830 in year 1 (60 credits) and £5,670 in year 2 (120 credits)

    (including Transition Scholarship)

    • Full-time: £8,500
    • Part-time: £2,830 in year 1 (60 credits) and £5,670 in year 2 (120 credits)
    • Full time: £17,200
    • Part time: £5,730 in year 1 (60 credits) and £11,470 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.

    If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.

    Loans, scholarships and bursaries

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

    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 postgraduate taught courses

    Discover how you can fund your postgraduate studies at Portsmouth – including loans, scholarships and bursaries – and read our guidance on topics like how to budget, and how to get support if you're disabled or have dependents.

    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.

    Entry requirements

    Eligibility

    This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

    September 2022 start

    • A minimum of a second-class honours degree in 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.

    An interview or online portfolio submission will be required as part of the selection process.

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

    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?

    Standard applications

    Start this course in September 2023

    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 2021, 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.