About this course
MA Communication Design is the study of information and interface design. This course is research driven and combines creativity, critical analysis of contemporary media, with knowledge of the latest methodologies and tools.
Applications for 2020 entry to this course are now closed. We have a range of other related courses that may interest you.
A focus on digital media practice and theory sets this course apart from traditional communication design courses, preparing you for an exciting career in a range of design roles. We’ll encourage you to explore systems for the making and communication of text and image while you redefine your own practice through various media formats of experimental publishing and interaction design.
This course is for recent graduates or those with professional experience who wish to extend their creative skills and design knowledge into hybrid publishing, user experience design, and design research.
The core curriculum is practice based, supported by workshops, lectures and both individual and group tutorials. In our modern, well-equipped studios you’ll learn how to develop effective concepts and prototypes for current and emergent platforms, informed by graphic design and user experience design principles.
Throughout this master’s you’ll have opportunities to:
- build your own tools through creative coding and modular design experimentation
- take field trips to London and across Europe
- use excellent facilities like the Interaction and Prototyping Laboratory, 3D printing and laser cutting as well as traditional design and print equipment
- learn from academics with industry experience in graphic design, interaction design and design for experimental media
- create a portfolio of high-quality design work
Towards the end of the course you'll carry out a practice-led research project, which is an exciting opportunity for you to engage with key debates shaping the communication design field.
The course lead for our Communication Design master’s course is Danny Aldred. Danny is a visual artist and experienced commercial graphic designer. His current practice centres on publishing as creative practice with a focus on the artist book. His own publishing projects have been chosen for numerous international exhibitions, events and collections including the V&A Museum, Whitechapel Gallery, Freies Museum in Berlin and Printed Matter in New York. He is a passionate educator who believes in the transformative ability of education.
This course is based at Winchester.
This qualification is awarded by the University of Southampton.
Download the programme specification
The programme specification sets out the learning outcomes of this course and details how the course is taught and assessed.
You’ll need a minimum of a 2:2 degree in a design, communication, or media subject. Or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the university.
You will also have to submit a portfolio of your work which should include:
- evidence of exploring how design responds to developments in media and digital culture
- examples of work that shows an innovative and experimental approach to tackling a design challenge
- examples of work that demonstrates an engagement with the full range of contemporary communication design not just graphics design
Recognition of professional experience
If you don't have the exact entry requirements, but you have significant work experience in this sector we’ll assess your relevant professional experience, your subject knowledge and your aptitude for learning.
Your application will be considered on individual merit and you may be asked to attend an interview.
Got a question?
If you're not sure that you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course please contact our enquiries team; we're very happy to help.Email: email@example.com
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
This is a 1-year master’s degree running from September to the following September. Modules are taught in semesters 1and 2, and you’ll complete the course with a supervised independent final project over the summer.
In semester 1, you’ll study modules that everyone on the course studies. This includes a Professional and Academic Skills module, giving you the chance to develop your professional competencies through activities such as CV workshops, portfolio feedback and sessions with our industry-experienced academics on how to position yourself as a practitioner.
In semester 2, you’ll use your learning to apply your skills and prepare for your final project. You’ll also be able to choose a module from different options, that complements your communication design studies.
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
For entry in Academic Year 2020-21
You must study the following modules in year 1:
You must also choose from the following modules in year 1:
Learning and assessment
You’ll be mainly studio-based for the core modules and you’ll work on a series of themed briefs while exploring related techniques, tutorials and workshops. Alongside this you’ll learn essential transferable skills for the workplace.
As well as lectures and seminars, you’ll learn through:
- guest lectures
- studio visits
- problem-solving exercises
- reflective writing and blogging
- critically assessing your own work
We’ll assess you on your design process and outcomes, as well as a variety of individual written assignments.
You'll complete a supervised independent final project as part of this course. You'll create a portfolio with a supporting report which will be assessed.
The final project is your chance to build a body of work that reflects the professional or academic context you wish to go into after graduation.
You'll be able to choose from a range of subject areas.
You'll be allocated a personal academic tutor who can offer advice and support on academic and other matters. You’ll also have access to a wide range of University of Southampton support services should you need them. Weekly English language support sessions are currently available for international students.
For practical support, our skilled technicians can help you to get the most from our facilities and equipment – from photography or screen printing through to building a website or video editing.
Throughout the course you’ll generate a portfolio of work based on your areas of interest and build on professional skills needed for employment, starting your own businesses, or carrying out further research.
Our Excel Southampton placement programme can also give you potential opportunities to collaborate on external projects and undertake work placement positions.
You can use this master’s to build or further a career in digital and media design roles including:
- digital or graphic designer
- web designer,
- user experience designer
- mobile designer
- digital product developer
- brand/content manager
- visual or digital publisher
- project manager
- interaction or front end designer
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a vibrant entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK/EU students pay £9,250.
- International students pay £18,812.
When you accept your offer to study on this course you’ll be asked to pay a deposit. This is non-refundable. The deposit amount is:
- UK/EU students: £250
- International students: £1,000
Full terms and conditions and details of how to pay this deposit will be sent to you in your offer letter.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and all examinations.
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK and EU nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
International Postgraduate Taught Merit Scholarship
You are eligible for this scholarship if you:
are an international student who hasn’t taken a master's with us before
are enrolling to start a master's in September 2020
gained a 1st class honours degree at undergraduate level
If you meet these criteria you’ll be awarded an automatic £3,000 scholarship. This will mean a £3,000 reduction in your tuition fees. We’ll confirm your scholarship in your offer letter.
Unfortunately this offer isn’t open to UK / EU students.
Other postgraduate funding options
A variety of additional scholarships, grants and bursaries may be available to help you fund your master’s study, both from the University and from other organisations.
How to apply
You can apply directly through our online form by using the apply button on this page.
Applications must be received no later than 4 weeks before the start of the course. You must supply all supporting documentation at least two weeks before starting your course.
We recommend you apply at least 6 weeks before the start of the course to ensure you're able to meet our requirements and apply for a visa in time.
We cannot guarantee students who do not meet these deadlines will be able to begin their course.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
You may also be asked to provide:
- a degree transcript
- a degree certificate
- an English language qualification
- a personal statement
- an art portfolio
- evidence of professional qualifications
Learn more about how to apply with our postgraduate application guide.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We will assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We'll get back to you within 6 weeks with a decision about your application.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000