School of Art, Design and Architecture

MA Communication Design

Programme code 7652
Duration 1 year
Course type Full-time, Part-time route available
Location Plymouth

This unique postgraduate degree enables the study of three connected and key creative industries: illustration, graphic design and publishing. Working in a mixed studio environment, supported by tutorials, lectures and workshops delivered by experienced staff and visiting professionals, you will enhance your practice, boosting your career prospects and employability.

Communication Design
Careers with this subject

Our graduates will develop the business skills and portfolio required to start their own businesses or enter the workforce with a wealth of experience. Graduates will also be prepared to move on to PhD study.

Key features

  • Personalise your masters. Choose an exit award to reflect your interest in a specific area of expertise.
  • Collaborate and grow your skills. Through multidisciplinary sessions and a shared studio space, the programme will nurture a more open and collaborative environment, reflecting current practices in graphic design, illustration and publishing, where traditional skill boundaries have become increasingly blurred.
  • Personal studio space. Project based learning and informal dialogue alongside colleagues in the studio is a central feature of the programme and an important part of the learning process.
  • Expand your professional network. Engage in knowledge exchange with a number of partners that span book, magazine and journal publishers to design studios and charities.
  • Learn by doing. Through a process of learning-by-doing, students develop the skills required to produce creative outputs and research-oriented studies, gain an understanding of the application of technical knowledge to creative situations, and explore how theory and action inform each other.
  • State-of-the-art facilities. Benefit from the use of our exciting Digital Fabrication and Immersive Media Laboratories and work with a highly skilled team of technicians who deliver specific practical workshops (as available) in printmaking, letterpress, book binding, photography, ceramics, textiles, wood and metal as well as digital software.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • Benefit from our cutting-edge Digital Fabrication and Immersive Media Labs to grow your expertise in digital fabrication and making, immersive/spatial media and external engagement with the digital creative industries. The common research project module offers a series of alternatives for assessment aligned with your discipline, employment expectations and research interests. The module gives you the option of including a traditional text-based dissertation, an exhibition of creative practice, a start-up plan/placement report, and doctoral research proposals. The common knowledge exchange module will boost your employability prospects as you engage with partners across the city and expose yourself to real-world situated contexts of creative practice. Through a combination of practical coursework and lectures, you deliver your own project and develop an external engagement plan critically addressing the industrial, economic and social extensions of your own practice.


    • MACC710 Communication Practice 1 (30 credits)
      In this module you will work on practical projects, that enable you to explore discipline-specific concerns.

    • MACC720 Communication Practice 2 (30 credits)
      Building upon prior experiences, you will work on practical projects and further develop discipline-specific concerns.

    • ADA720 Situated practice and knowledge exchange (30 credits)
      Supporting your employability and career prospects by engaging with local communities, industrial partners and your broader professional field.

    • ADA730 Research project (60 credits)
      Supporting your delivery of a research project through combinations of group and individual work.

    Optional modules
    Personalise your degree by selecting one of the following modules.

    • MACC715 Innovations in Printmaking (30 credits)
      Through a negotiated selective process, you will be able to explore and develop responses using the printmaking facilities available to you within the School of Art, Design and Architecture, including screenprinting, letterpress, relief printing, intaglio, risograph and digital printing methods.

    • ADAE711 Digital fabrication (30 credits)
      This module provides you with the advanced technical knowledge to develop your skills based on experimentation with novel materials, and cutting edge digital fabrication processes.

    • ADAE712 Immersive media and XR (30 credits)
      This module will provide you with the creative and technical skills to develop their projects based on experimentation with immersive media and extended reality (XR) technologies.

    • ADAE713 Spatial storytelling (30 credits)
      You will explore using narrative space to create emotionally engaging audience experiences by experimenting with a range of spatial storytelling methods and technologies.

    • ADAE716 Interaction design (30 credits)
      This module will provide you with the creative and technical skills to apply interaction design strategies to develop and support your practice across a range of disciplines.

    • ADAE715 Post-human Environmental Futures (30 credits)
      Critically consider forms of creative and professional practices that engage with eco-critical debates around the environment.

Design your degree
MA Communication Design allows you to create a personalised program of study that focuses on topics that are relevant and important to you. 
Tailor your degree to suit your career goals and interests by graduating with one of the exit awards below.
  • MA Communication Design (Illustration)
  • MA Communication Design (Graphic Design)
  • MA Communication Design (Publishing)
Entry requirements

An upper second degree in a related discipline such as Illustration, Publishing or Graphic Design (or similar design-related discipline such as Art, Creative Writing, Digital Media, among others), or a lower second, combined with evidence of the potential to achieve at Level 7, through the presentation of a strong portfolio of creative work.

Suitable references from previous academic institutions and/or employers.

English Language Requirement equivalent to 6.5 IELTS with a minimum 5.5 in all four components. Please check the University of Plymouth English language requirements webpage for additional information and equivalent recognised qualifications.

It is recommended, but not essential, that applicants can demonstrate work experience in a related professional sector

For applicants with previous postgraduate studies in related subjects, the Programme Lead will assess the applicability of the Recognition of Prior Learning policy on a case-by-case basis.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home N/A £9,500
International N/A £16,500
Part time (Home) N/A £530
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

Alumnus loyalty reward for postgraduate study

The University applies a discretionary alumnus reward where alumni meet certain criteria on particular postgraduate taught courses.

  • A 10 per cent discount on home tuition fees.
  • Or a £2,000 discount on international tuition fees.

For further details, programme exclusions and contact information, please see our fees policy

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Studio life

The School of Art, Design and Architecture prides itself on its working spaces, with most students having individual desk spaces to work in studios. working alongside colleagues from other disciplines in the studio is a central feature of education in art, design and architecture; it allows for a good deal of informal dialogue which can support your work and is an important part of the learning process.
Through multidisciplinary sessions and a shared studio environment, the programme will nurture a more open and collaborative environment, reflecting current practices in graphic design, illustration and publishing, where traditional skill boundaries have become increasingly blurred.
<p>BA (Hons) Illustration.&nbsp; illustration. desk image</p>

Experiment with our state-of-the-art facilities

From printing workshops to dedicated photography darkrooms, you’ll have access to all the professional tools you need.


<b>Letterpress</b><br>The University has one of the few remaining movable-type printing workshops in the UK.<br>workshop run by Paul Collier<br>2nd year graphic coms students at work in the <b>Letterpress</b>&nbsp;studio


Printing and press studios
Access a wide variety of screen, traditional print and letterpress studios.

<p>Immersive media lab<br></p>

Digital Fabrication and Immersive Media Laboratories
Experiment with cutting-edge technology such as, 3D printing, motion-capture, augmented and extended reality.

<p>Media Hub</p>

Media Hub
Take advantage of multimedia equipment that can be loaned and facilities that can be booked in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business.

Boost your employability by engaging with our partners

  • 8 Book, magazine and journal publishers
  • 8 Design studios and agencies
  • 8 Charities, academic groups, not-for-profit organisations
  • 8 The Diversity Business Incubator
  • 8 Association of Illustrators
  • 8 The Publishers Association
  • 8 The Independent Publishers Guild
  • 8 International Society of Typographic Designers

Learn from experienced professionals

  • Associate Head of School - Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions
    Graphic and digital designer who has exhibited in London, Bilbao and Copenhagen
  • Associate Head of School - Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
    Her publishing career spans a breadth of book and magazine publishers
  • Lecturer in Illustration
    Research focuses the importance and potential of illustration in communication
<p>International students at a welecome event at the University of Plymouth</p>