School of Art, Design and Architecture

MA Illustration

We offer the opportunity to work in a shared entrepreneurial, enterprising, outward looking, creative community of practice in the midst of the University and benefit from all of the facilities, networking, collaboration and opportunities on offer. Personal practice and exploration, critical evaluation, UN Sustainability Goals, and the business of Illustration are at the core of the curriculum.

Resources cover traditional drawing, printmaking and fabrication workshops to virtual reality drawing, 3D printing and other emerging technologies.This new MA is a 2 year part-time course, but with full time access to the Illustration studios and facilities.

A top 5 UK young university for subjects of art, design and architecture

Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2022

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £11,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan


Careers with this subject

We focus on the development of your career as an illustrator with modules based around the UN Sustainability Goals, enterprise, a negotiated final major project that consolidates your chosen direction and opportunities to start your own independent brand or collective within the studio environment.

Key features

  • Engage with award winning tutors, sharing and discussing ideas as you develop your practice.
  • Use the studios as professional incubation units allowing you to identify yourself as a professional brand or collective whilst studying for your MA.
  • Enjoy full time access to the facilities and resources, whilst on a part-time mode of study.
  • 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.
  • Collaborate with other University of Plymouth departments and academics as well as external businesses on practical and/or research projects and initiatives.
  • MILL701PD may be taken as a stand-alone Continuing Professional Development (CPD) module as an introduction to the MA course.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • Our two-year part-time programme gives you full access to all our resources and facilities including extensive workshops where you can continue to develop your own practice and carry out live briefs.

    Optional modules

    MILL701PD: Process
    This module allows you to continue your professional development by sampling the MA Illustration course without enrolling onto the full programme. The content is the same as MILL701.

    Core modules

    • Process (MILL701)

      This module allows you to question your knowledge base and skills for the creative exploration of practical, creative and research methodologies and the relationship between them. Through a negotiated selective process, you will be able to explore the resources available to you within the School of Art, Design & Architecture. You critically evaluate and reflect upon the success or failure of various approaches as appropriate to your practice and ambitions, forming a positive plan of action for the future.

    • Practice (MILL702)

      This module requires you to analyse and reflect upon and share knowledge of your practice and develop identified aspects with the aim to further understand your own working practices and potential place within Illustration and associated disciplines. You produce a reflective report summarising your learning in this module. You start to identify yourself within the studio community.

    • Content & Context (MILL703)

      This module offers the opportunity to focus upon sustainability within your practice. In the context of a research question and/or in liaison with external agencies you will consider societal, environmental and ethical issues from cultural and professional perspectives. There is the opportunity to work in collaboration and work experience may be undertaken. A report charts the development and conclusion of the project. This may be seen as an antecedent to module MILL705A/B

  • Final year

  • Core modules

    • Publication & Dissemination (MILL704)

      This module will focus on the practical and theoretical factors influencing the manufacture, viability, sustainability and distribution of an original body of illustration work, directed towards a specified audience. You may work as an individual, or within a team or collective. Critical reflective research and writing reflects and informs practical work. Study trips to events / industries concerned with manufacture / distribution may be undertaken.

    Optional modules

    • Consolidation / Synthesis: Project & Report (MILL705A)

      This module provides the opportunity to produce a consolidated body of work. It will culminate in a substantial body of practical work, a reflective report and a range of high quality outputs suitable for promoting yourself as a professional 'brand', either as an autonomous practitioner or as part of a collective. This option consists of a negotiated project in response to a research question and/or external brief, is developed through appropriate methodological and critical frameworks, and presented in a format suitable for the professional marketplace and/or further study.

    • Consolidation / Synthesis: Dissertation (MILL705B)

      This module provides the opportunity to produce a consolidated body of research focused work, consisting of a dissertation in response to a research question, plus appropriate presentation that reflects and supports the argument. The dissertation must communicate clearly in an appropriate written style and format, using scholarly referencing methods. The presentation of the essay must be suitable for the professional marketplace and/or further study. You produce a range of high quality outputs suitable for promoting yourself as a professional 'brand', either as an autonomous practitioner or as part of a collective.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MA Illustration Programme Specification 2021 22 6565

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements

Normally a 2:1 degree from a UK University or equivalent plus supporting portfolio of work and a 200 - 500 word draft statement of intent. But we will consider students below 2:1 if they can demonstrate a strong academic portfolio or a record of professional experience.

Candidates are interviewed before an offer is made.

IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent required for overseas students.

English language requirements.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

The University also has substantial experience in supporting mature students and welcomes applicants in this category. Applicants with APL will be considered on an individual basis according to the University Regulations Framework. Students interested in transferring postgraduate credits will be considered on merit and current University regulations regarding transfer of credits from other institutions will apply.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home N/A N/A
International N/A N/A
Part time (Home) £500 £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.

Tuition fee discount for University of Plymouth graduates

If you studied your undergraduate degree at Plymouth, you may be eligible for a fee discount if you complete your postgraduate studies here as well.

  • 20% discount on tuition fees for home students
  • £2,000 discount on tuition fees for international students
Read our fees policy

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

Fee shown is per 10 credits. Two years part-time totals 180 credits.

This programme is eligible for a postgraduate loan.

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

Student (formerly Tier 4) visa holders are not able to study this course as it is delivered part-time project based.

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.

Monster! The Plymouth Illustration Event 2019

A collaborative symposium featured talks from a renowned panel of comic book and graphic novel artists and publishers | 22 November 2019

The speakers reflected on the theme of ‘Monster’ and how ideas relating to this manifest and take shape within their practice. Alongside the artists talks there was an exhibition of student work, artist led workshops and a group of illustrators working round the clock attempting to master a monstrous 24-hour comic challenge! The event was sponsored by Writers & Artists, Origin Coffee and Blackwater Studios.

<p>Monster! The Plymouth Illustration Event 2019 zoom in<br></p>

Any questions?

Please contact John Kilburn, Programme Lead for MA Illustration: