• CollegeChelsea
  • Start dateOctober 2018
  • Course length1 year (full time)

MA Graphic Design Communication

Places available 2018/19
This course has places available for UK and EU applicants only. Applications have now closed for international students. You can apply for this course via the ‘How to apply’ section on this page. For a full list of UAL courses open for 2018/19 entry, visit the clearing page.

MA Graphic Design Communication at Chelsea College of Arts encourages a broad and diverse approach to thinking and practice that helps students shape engaging and imaginative design solutions through material, media, technologies and systems of public engagement.

The course aims to align current social and cultural issues alongside emerging design practices. It will give you a solid introduction to the debates and methodologies that are at the forefront of contemporary design. You will learn how to challenge and expand this knowledge within your personal design practice.

The course will enable you to become an advanced thinker and versatile practitioner with the ability to respond to both familiar and unfamiliar challenges.

Student video work

Assembley Line 3.0 - Ellis van der Does

Look in the Mirror - Yanenxi Hu

Everyone Carries A Room Inside Him - Ayuko Tanaka

Chenghao Lee

Course detail

Content: what students can expect

  • A practice led course underpinned by critical design thinking and exploration
  • To be taught by a team of highly experienced postgraduate tutors each with their own personal specialist design / art practice and research
  • A creative campus environment with a range of workshops, library and special collection resources, shared studio spaces, and professional exhibition spaces. View the Chelsea facilities section
  • A themed introduction to stimulate knowledge of contemporary design practice and discourse 
  • To develop a rigorous design process, providing the means to employ critical thinking, shape materials and forms, generate and communicate content, develop prototypes and engage with audience testing
  • To seek inspiration and knowledge from course tutors, college wide professional lectures, UAL postgraduate community events and London’s cultural industries  

Find out more about some of the projects students are involved with on designinteractions.org 


Phase 1: Exploring Emergent Design Contexts and Practices

In the first phase of the course you will address emergent design practices and issues by selecting one of the following three themes:

  • Proximities and Encounters - The focus of this theme is on users, spaces of experience and interaction. You will look at how people's behaviour is evolving as a result of their changing relationships to community, environment and policy
  • Mobilising the Studio - This theme will explore discourses and practices around co-created knowledge as a consequence of designers becoming mobile. Both, physically through activities for shared knowledge and skills, and intellectually through the renewed definition of interdisciplinary practice. You will consider how co-creation with audiences and other professionals changes concepts and practices within graphic design communication
  • Materiality and the Post Real - This theme will explore a wide range of interpretations of materiality and the ways in which its' meaning is formed through practices of graphic design communication

Once you have selected one of the themes you will organise yourselves into groups. Within these groups you will be asked to share knowledge, test responses, and grow creative ideas and practices in response to set briefs and tasks.

You will learn how to use methods of analysis and experimentation to assemble your own findings and responses in relation to the issues raised. This will lead to a defined position for a personal project.

This introduction to the course is designed to bring into focus different components of a design framework - critical context, conceptual enquiry and advanced practice.

Phase 2: Initiating a Framework for Design Enquiry and Practice

At this stage you will start to build your individual major project proposal.

You will apply your knowledge and creative thinking through different modes of studio practice, reflective writing, prototyping, display and demonstration.

This will enable you to synthesize your own intellectual and creative experiences using the knowledge and experience of other experts. This includes occupying and performing within spaces beyond the college.

This phase of the course includes a short external studio residency at various cultural centres across London.

The studio residency is an additional creative opportunity designed to inspire intellectual and physical interaction with existing and emerging bodies of knowledge and sites of practice. 

This initiative aims to create a relevant and engaging mode of professional practice activity for Masters students and encourage excellence in practice-based research.

Phase 3: Innovating Modes of Communication and Dissemination

You will use the final stage of the course to learn how to refine your project outcomes in relation to a specific audience.

You will learn how to differentiate between the terms - communication, engagement, interaction and participation. You will find inventive ways to involve these in the final form and behaviour of your work.

Building upon the international context of the subject area you will also experiment with remote and local platforms for publishing, distribution and intervention. 

Live projects:

Past collaborative projects and workshops have included partnerships with The Design Museum, E4, The Mill, Gravity Sketch VR, Milan Expo and UAL wide projects with Professor Nick Bell, Professor Fred Deakin and Professor David Toop.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Exhibition tutorials
  • General theory forum lectures
  • Independent research
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Research methodology workshops
  • Technical support and courses

Assessment methods

  • Essays, reports and dissertation
  • Final show examination
  • Peer assessment
  • Student self-evaluation
  • Tutorials and mid-year interim reviews



How to apply

2018/19 entry

All applicants can apply for this course using our online application form.


Application deadline

The home / EU deadline is midday, Tuesday 31 July 2018.

There is no deadline for international applications. Students should apply as early as possible.

Further information about the application process

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Personal statement
  • CV (curriculum vitae)

Once you have submitted the form you will be emailed a link to upload your portfolio (30 images).

The course leader will review your work, may invite you to interview, and will then make a decision on your application.

Entry requirements

  • BA (Hons) degree or equivalent academic qualifications
  • Alternative qualifications and experience will also be taken into consideration
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio of work

English language requirements

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Personal statement

This should be about 500 words long and include:

  • Your reasons for choosing the course
  • Your current creative practice and how this will help with your future plans
  • If you do not have any formal academic qualifications please describe your relevant education and experience

Portfolio Advice

Portfolios should show the following:

  • A range of practical project work which demonstrates conceptual thinking, design iteration and effective outcomes
  • Aspects of development work which explore experimentation beyond obvious conventions of graphic design communication practice. This can include inventive and engaging responses in relation to a brief / commercial environment
  • Clarity of communications
  • A willingness to engage with emergent practices of graphic design communication or to approach it as inter disciplinary practice

At interview and portfolio review

We look for:

  • Evidence of creative, expressive and analytical responses to projects 
  • A willingness to explore graphic design communication beyond traditional  thinking and practice
  • An eagerness to exploit the university MA community as part of personal creative and professional development 
  • Sufficiently strong verbal and written skills in order to fully participate in the course 
  • An understanding of how context informs practice in a variety of ways, and a willingness to progress this knowledge and associated skillset  

Applicants may be offered a place on an alternative MA or Graduate Diploma course within Camberwell, Chelsea or Wimbledon. This decision will be based on our assessment of an applicants' creative potential and interests.

Deferred entry

This course will give consideration to deferred entry application.

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£9,500 (2018/19 fees).

International fee

£19,350 (2018/19 fees).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) fee - Home / EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 ELQ fee. Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

Many graduates are employed in interdisciplinary design studios and as senior designers in graphic and communication design companies. Graduates have also founded their own design studios working across digital environments and physical spaces as well as specialist publishing and new forms of graphic content.


  • André Arruda - Partner, Papanapa, São Paulo, Brazil
  • Ana-Maria Grigoriu - Co-founder LOOT studio, Bucharest, Romania 
  • Mayuko Hari - Art Director, Grey Advertising, New York, United States of America
  • Alistair Owen - Senior Designer, Forth, London