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About the course

Do you have an eye for design? Would you like to help influence the future of visual communications? Solent University’s MA Visual Communication programme is ideally suited to students who wish to better understand the academic theory that underpins a range of visual mediums.

This intensive master’s degree helps students to improve their creative skills and build a solid understanding of visual communications theory. The curriculum covers the latest innovations in visual practice, examining the way technological and cultural changes contributed to contemporary academic thinking. 

Topics of study include editorial design; art direction; interactive multimedia; information design; image creation; illustration; typographic design; print-making and photographic technique. Students may have workshop sessions with the letterpress, screen-printing, etching and relief printing facilities, as well as the wet darkroom and photo studio. Depending on their creative background, graduates will be well prepared for a range of careers in the creative industries.

Critical research papers and final master’s projects are supported by the University’s expanding research base, encouraging students to make an innovative contribution to visual communication academia.

As part of your studies you will have the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement.
Built in work experience placement
This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
You can apply direct to Solent University for this course.
Apply direct
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies
You can study this course part-time.
Part time option

Students study the essential academic theories that seek to explain how we understand visual messages. Tutors encourage students to work in groups with those from other creative disciplines, mirroring industry practices.

What does this course lead to?

This master’s degree delivers the skills you’ll need for a wide range of visual design fields including animation, art direction, web design, publishing, branding and typography. The course includes time to develop hands-on creative skills. Students are encouraged to create work for their professional portfolio.

Who is this course for?

Aimed at those with a relevant honours degree, or with extensive experience in marketing, design or digital fields, this master’s degree is well-suited to those who are looking to develop their career into art direction, web design, publishing or branding.

Facts and figures

Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year are:
UK, EU and Channel Island full-time fees: £7,600
International full-time fees: £13,700
UK and Channel Island part-time fees: £3,800 per year
International and EU part-time fees: Students from outside the UK are usually unable to obtain a visa for part-time study. Please visit our visas and immigration page for more information.

Students in receipt of a postgraduate loan from the Student Loan Company are typically able to pay their tuition fees via instalments.

Following the UK government's confirmation that EU students will no longer be eligible for home fee status benefits, we've made the decision to keep EU full-time tuition fees the same as UK full-time tuition fees for 2021 entry.

For further information, please see our tuition fees page.

Other costs

While most course costs are covered by your tuition fees, some essential resources and optional extras may need to be paid for separately. These additional costs are listed below. For advice on budgeting and managing your money, please contact student.funding@solent.ac.uk.

The 2021/22 other costs are not yet available. For guidance, previous other costs have been:

Optional costs:
Study trip, printing, binding, mounting, competition entry, equipment, hand tools and research travel costs: £800

Bursaries and scholarships

Solent University offers a range of bursaries and scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each bursary or scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our bursaries and scholarships pages to find out more.

Graduation costs

For graduates in 2020, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £45 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost. Extra guest tickets will go on sale after results publication and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis. The cost per ticket was £15 in 2019, but this fee is subject to change for future years. Please note, we do not guarantee there will be any extra tickets available to purchase.
Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

An honours degree at 2:2 or higher.

  • Alternatively, applicants may be considered with industry experience in one or more areas of the advertising, marketing, design or a related field.
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.
  • For further information about UK, EU and international qualifications, please refer to our course entry requirement statement.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.5 overall with minimum of 6.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in reading, listening and speaking
  • TOEFL IBT 92 with minimum of 22 in writing and a minimum of 19 in reading, listening and speaking
  • Duolingo English Language Test - 110 overall with minimum 90 in each component
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

Pre-Sessional English programme

The University also offers a Pre-Sessional English Language Course for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.


50%

Solent alumni save up to 50% on their tuition fees

Study location

East Park Terrace

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Solent team:

If you are a UK, EU or EEA applicant please contact admissions@solent.ac.uk 023 8201 5066 If you are an international applicant please contact admissions.international@solent.ac.uk 023 8201 5066

How to apply

Applications for postgraduate courses can be made at any time prior to the start of the course. However, we strongly recommend you apply at your earliest convenience.

Please ensure you upload the following mandatory documents with your application.

  • Two academic references
  • Certified transcripts of qualifications, including English language proficiency if non-UK student
  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of current visa (if applicable)
  • A personal statement
  • Employer sponsor form where appropriate

Please use the link below to apply online:

Full-time 

Part-time:

Starts on 27 September 2021 Starts on 27 September 2021
Apply Apply

Distance learning entry

Distance learning:

Starts on 23 September 2021
Apply

Alumni discount

Solent alumni could be eligible for up to a 50% reduction of tuition fees if returning to study a postgraduate course. The discount applied will be dependent on your undergraduate degree classification as follows:

Solent Alumni with a:

  • First (1.1) will be offered a 50% discount to study at PG level
  • 2.1 or 2.2 will be offered a 20% discount to study at PG level

The discount applied will be based on the most recently completed course.

If you are currently a student at Solent University and are continuing on without a break in your studies, your discount will be automatically applied on your return.

If are not following directly on from a course at Solent University, but have studied with us in previous years, you will need to register for the alumni discount.

Click here to register or to find out more

What you'll study

Modules include:

  • Visual Communication Practice
    In this module workshops will be offered to students to expand their range of practical skills and enable experimentation with a variety of illustration, printmaking and photographic activities.
  • Digital Media
    This module will introduce the student to the concept of the conveying of information through digital media, and that which is delivered via digital devices; it will confront them with the advantages and limitations of design within a digital based environment.
  • Professional Practice
    This module will explore and critically analyse the creative industries in the UK and around the world.
  • Master’s Project
    The Master’s Project is where students will design, execute and present an individually demanding piece of work that deploys a systematic and in-depth understanding of the skills and debates relevant to their particular discipline of study.
  • Masters Project Development and Proposal
    The Master Project Development and Proposal module prepares students for their Masters project by equipping them with the skills and knowledge necessary to define a research project, select an appropriate methodological approach and investigate a key research topic utilising secondary and/or primary research.

Support

Web-based learning

Solent's virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Students' work

Meet the course team

Julie Beattie academic profile Julie Beattie Course Leader View profile
Jessica Holtaway academic profile Jessica Holtaway Lecturer View profile

The university cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.

Facilities

To help with creative projects and portfolio documentation, Solent provides a comprehensive media loans scheme. This scheme gives students free access to high-end photographic equipment and accessories. 

Students will have access to a range of specialist facilities throughout their studies. These include Mac computers, professional creative software, digital printing facilities and traditional printing presses.

You’ll have access to a full range of print-making facilities including letterpress, screen-printing equipment, etching and relief printing, and digital resources.

Students are invited to pitch for freelance work at Solent Creatives, our on-campus creative agency. These projects involve real businesses and are perfect for portfolio development. The course includes time to develop hands-on creative skills. Students are encouraged to create work for their professional portfolio.

Your future

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Design consultancy
  • Publishing industry
  • Advertising – agency side
  • Multidisciplinary design  
  • Web design
  • Television
  • Film and multimedia
  • Freelance practice
  • App design. 

There’s a chance of progression to further study, including a PhD, on successful completion of the course.

Industry links

Students will work on competition briefs for organisations such as the Design & Art Directors Association (D&AD) and the Young Creative Network (YCN).  Through this course you’ll develop valuable and appropriate skillsets through engagement with the wider profession, design community and industry.

Work-orientated assignments will be offered alongside appropriate ‘live’ projects from local and national organisations. There will be opportunities to visit museums, galleries and design studios, both nationally and internationally, as part of the course.

The teaching team maintain strong links with industry, providing students with the chance to participate in live briefs, networking events, and guest lectures.

Placements

You’ll be able to engage directly with employers by organising your own work placement or work-based project, supported and encouraged by the course team as required and students will work on competition briefs for organisations such as the Design & Art Directors Association (D&AD) and the Young Creative Network (YCN).

Get ready to find your place

You can still experience life at Solent at a virtual open day! Hear from course tutors, take virtual campus and accommodation tours, and chat to us live.

Register for a virtual open day