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This MA in Communication Design is a timely response to the changing role and increasing worth of communication design. This masters will prepare you for an innovative and exciting career in an ever-changing industry.

The course features a multidisciplinary approach to expose you to the various areas of communication design. You will work on live collaboration briefs to help make a positive impact on social, environmental and economic issues.

This full-time programme has a focus on issue-based design research and contemporary design practice. You will explore complex challenges by drawing on expertise learnt throughout the various modules. Your awareness and knowledge of how to approach design challenges will gradually improve during the programme. You will cover topics such as typography, interaction design, branding and user experience.

You will learn through studio-based projects, working collaboratively with your fellow students and external partners. Your final project will be based on a theme of your choice. This will provide the opportunity to make a positive impact on a topic you are passionate about.

We regularly work with a diverse mix of creative agencies, business start-ups and public sector and charitable organisations on a range of live collaborative briefs. Recently we have worked with agencies Kin + Carta and hedgehoglab, digital start-ups Hive and Gliff, and on health and wellbeing projects with international sports brand Gymshark and the NHS.

Our Communication Design MA will prepare you for employment, entrepreneurship or doctoral research. You will be able to choose from a range of diverse areas including; interaction design, branding, UX, service and information design.

For guidance on structuring your application portfolio and personal statement, click here.

 

Course Information

Level of Study
Postgraduate

Mode of Study
1 year Full Time

Department
Northumbria School of Design

Location
City Campus, Northumbria University

City
Newcastle

Start
September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

Discover NU World / A virtual journey through everything Northumbria has to offer.

Explore our immersive 360 tours, informative subject videos, inspirational student profiles, ground-breaking research, and a range of life at university blogs videos and articles.

Discover more / Communication Design

Watch Programme Leader Dr Joyce Yee talk about the Communication Design Masters in a Minute (or so), and explore the wider department.

WE’RE 11TH IN THE UK FOR DESIGN & CRAFTS. Top 50 University 2022

Funding and Scholarships

Discover the funding options available to you.

Entry Requirements 2023/24

Standard Entry

Applicants should normally have:

A minimum of a 2:2 honours degree in a relevant design discipline such as graphic design, interaction design, illustration, photography, film, fashion communication, advertising, animation or similar studio-based disciplines. Applicants with appropriate work experience and/or a relevant professional qualification will be considered.

Applicants are required to submit an online portfolio with their application.

International qualifications:

If you have studied a non UK qualification, you can see how your qualifications compare to the standard entry criteria, by selecting the country that you received the qualification in, from our country pages. Visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/yourcountry

English language requirements:

International applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

 *The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS.  You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/englishqualifications

For further admissions guidance and requirements, please visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/admissionsguidance Please review this information before submitting your application.

Fees and Funding 2023/24 Entry

Full UK Fee: £9,250

Full EU Fee: £17,500

Full International Fee: £17,500



Scholarships and Discounts

Click here for UK, EU and International scholarship, fees, and funding information.

ADDITIONAL COSTS

Materials - This is a studio-based programme and we expect students to require additional art materials to support their project work. The department will be able to provide some generic art materials such as card, paper and cutting mats, but there will be instances where specialist materials are needed based on individual requirements. In those instances, students will have to bear the additional costs. We anticipate the cost to be approximately £120 on average. We would also recommend that students have their own laptops – Mac or PC with ideally 16 GB RAM (8 GB minimum) and a graphics card with 4 GB VRAM, 15"" screen minimum (or 13"" with a second larger additional monitor) (cost varies depending upon type of machine, between £750 - £2600). Optional but very useful to have is a drawing tablet such as a Wacom Intuos A5/Small that costs about £70.

If you’d like to receive the latest updates from Northumbria about our courses, events, finance & funding then enter your details below.

* At Northumbria we are strongly committed to protecting the privacy of personal data. To view the University’s Privacy Notice please click here

Modules

Module information is indicative and is reviewed annually therefore may be subject to change. Applicants will be informed if there are any changes.

CD7001 -

Situating Practice (Core,60 Credits)

This module is designed to help you develop a critical understanding of communication design in the context of contemporary studio practice. You will learn how to situate your practice in current theoretical, critical and working practices of communication design and consider new direction for your practice. The module is exploratory. Emphasis, therefore, is placed on transforming your view of practice with knowledge and insights drawn from the acquisition of new critical/reflective skills, professional practices and methods of inquiry. It will help you position your approach to the subject relative to the current theoretical ideas and working practices of contemporary communication design practice.

The module consists of three strands which underpins the activities across your masters journey: Context, Methods and Practice. In the Methods strand, you will learn how design thinking and skills can be combined with traditional and emerging methods of inquiry to conduct design research, studies and experiments. By way of informing and advancing your professional practice or academic pursuits, here too, you will learn about some of the latest approaches and techniques that are forging new ground in communication design. In the Context strand, you will learn how to think critically about your chosen project by viewing it in the context of historical, contemporary and emerging issues and debates in the broad field of disciplines that constitute communication design. In the Practice strand, you will explore your practice through a series of design briefs located in real-world context and informed by research themes. You will learn to work productively with your tutors and peers, respond creatively to difficult challenges, and start defining an area of interest that will inform your self-initiated project.

More information

CD7002 -

Challenging Boundaries (Core,60 Credits)

This module gives you the opportunity to continue your development and advancement of your practice through a combination of collaborative and self-directed briefs. You will learn how to challenge existing practices and explores ways to push the boundaries of the discipline.

The module is underpinned by the same three strands of Context, Methods and Practice which is a continuation from Semester 1. Each strand builds on the topics introduced in Semester 1 with an emphasis on enabling you to challenge your chosen subject area by exploring innovative, critical and ethical responses. You will learn how to build and evidence a critical understanding of your chosen subject area through advanced research design. You will learn how to use this critical understanding to explore and defend conceptual, innovative and ethical responses to your identified topic of inquiry. And you will learn how to use this deepen understanding to develop more advanced professional practices and expand your work into new areas such as design strategy, product innovation and new technologies.

You will work on 3 set briefs. The first two will be collaborative briefs involving external partners to provide you with opportunities to pursue more in-depth design projects related to particular human needs and contexts. You will work in teams and support each other in your learning. For the final brief you will define and develop your Final Major Project proposal, informed by the writing of a literature review on your chosen subject. Your proposal should be informed and inspired by your critical reflection presented at the end of Semester 1 and your more learning from the first two ‘challenge’ briefs in this module.

More information

CD7003 -

Changing Direction (Core,60 Credits)

This module aims to change practice (yours and potentially others) and set new direction by consolidating your knowledge gained in earlier modules. It offers you the opportunity to engage in a self-initiated research-led project that evidence a critical, innovative and impactful approach to communication design. You will learn to draw on skills, knowledge and experience developed in the previous modules to turn your concepts into a compelling and thought-provoking communication design pieces. You will learn how to articulate, frame, ethically evaluate and communicate your proposition in a clear, relevant and compelling way for the appropriate audience. You will learn to draw on your collaborative skills to engage with and work with your chosen stakeholders in close collaboration to realise your self-initiated project. You will also produce a research paper or equivalent that underpins your practice and demonstrates a mastery of your chosen subject area.

More information

EF0126 -

Academic Language Skills in FADSS Level 7 (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

The purpose of this module is to develop the participant’s ability in study skills and English language skills for academic purposes.

The module is designed to develop the participants as independent learners. The module is supported by a teaching and learning plan which outlines the formal sessions, together with the tutor-directed study and independent reading. An interactive approach to seminars will draw upon the directed learning undertaken and participants’ own experience of study skills. Directed learning will centre upon a range of activities including pre-reading, preparation for interactive activities and use of the discussion board on the e-learning platform.
Independent learning will focus upon the participants identifying those skills which they need to develop and understand through a range of learning activities that might include extended reading, and reflection. The sessions will attempt to follow the principles set out by the CEM model (Sloan and Porter, 2008)

More information

Modules

Module information is indicative and is reviewed annually therefore may be subject to change. Applicants will be informed if there are any changes.

CD7001 -

Situating Practice (Core,60 Credits)

This module is designed to help you develop a critical understanding of communication design in the context of contemporary studio practice. You will learn how to situate your practice in current theoretical, critical and working practices of communication design and consider new direction for your practice. The module is exploratory. Emphasis, therefore, is placed on transforming your view of practice with knowledge and insights drawn from the acquisition of new critical/reflective skills, professional practices and methods of inquiry. It will help you position your approach to the subject relative to the current theoretical ideas and working practices of contemporary communication design practice.

The module consists of three strands which underpins the activities across your masters journey: Context, Methods and Practice. In the Methods strand, you will learn how design thinking and skills can be combined with traditional and emerging methods of inquiry to conduct design research, studies and experiments. By way of informing and advancing your professional practice or academic pursuits, here too, you will learn about some of the latest approaches and techniques that are forging new ground in communication design. In the Context strand, you will learn how to think critically about your chosen project by viewing it in the context of historical, contemporary and emerging issues and debates in the broad field of disciplines that constitute communication design. In the Practice strand, you will explore your practice through a series of design briefs located in real-world context and informed by research themes. You will learn to work productively with your tutors and peers, respond creatively to difficult challenges, and start defining an area of interest that will inform your self-initiated project.

More information

CD7002 -

Challenging Boundaries (Core,60 Credits)

This module gives you the opportunity to continue your development and advancement of your practice through a combination of collaborative and self-directed briefs. You will learn how to challenge existing practices and explores ways to push the boundaries of the discipline.

The module is underpinned by the same three strands of Context, Methods and Practice which is a continuation from Semester 1. Each strand builds on the topics introduced in Semester 1 with an emphasis on enabling you to challenge your chosen subject area by exploring innovative, critical and ethical responses. You will learn how to build and evidence a critical understanding of your chosen subject area through advanced research design. You will learn how to use this critical understanding to explore and defend conceptual, innovative and ethical responses to your identified topic of inquiry. And you will learn how to use this deepen understanding to develop more advanced professional practices and expand your work into new areas such as design strategy, product innovation and new technologies.

You will work on 3 set briefs. The first two will be collaborative briefs involving external partners to provide you with opportunities to pursue more in-depth design projects related to particular human needs and contexts. You will work in teams and support each other in your learning. For the final brief you will define and develop your Final Major Project proposal, informed by the writing of a literature review on your chosen subject. Your proposal should be informed and inspired by your critical reflection presented at the end of Semester 1 and your more learning from the first two ‘challenge’ briefs in this module.

More information

CD7003 -

Changing Direction (Core,60 Credits)

This module aims to change practice (yours and potentially others) and set new direction by consolidating your knowledge gained in earlier modules. It offers you the opportunity to engage in a self-initiated research-led project that evidence a critical, innovative and impactful approach to communication design. You will learn to draw on skills, knowledge and experience developed in the previous modules to turn your concepts into a compelling and thought-provoking communication design pieces. You will learn how to articulate, frame, ethically evaluate and communicate your proposition in a clear, relevant and compelling way for the appropriate audience. You will learn to draw on your collaborative skills to engage with and work with your chosen stakeholders in close collaboration to realise your self-initiated project. You will also produce a research paper or equivalent that underpins your practice and demonstrates a mastery of your chosen subject area.

More information

EF0126 -

Academic Language Skills in FADSS Level 7 (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

The purpose of this module is to develop the participant’s ability in study skills and English language skills for academic purposes.

The module is designed to develop the participants as independent learners. The module is supported by a teaching and learning plan which outlines the formal sessions, together with the tutor-directed study and independent reading. An interactive approach to seminars will draw upon the directed learning undertaken and participants’ own experience of study skills. Directed learning will centre upon a range of activities including pre-reading, preparation for interactive activities and use of the discussion board on the e-learning platform.
Independent learning will focus upon the participants identifying those skills which they need to develop and understand through a range of learning activities that might include extended reading, and reflection. The sessions will attempt to follow the principles set out by the CEM model (Sloan and Porter, 2008)

More information

Any Questions?

Our admissions team will be happy to help. They can be contacted on 0191 406 0901.

Contact Details for Applicants:

bc.applicantservices@northumbria.ac.uk

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.

 

Current, Relevant and Inspiring

We continuously review and improve course content in consultation with our students and employers. To make sure we can inform you of any changes to your course register for updates on the course page.


Your Learning Experience

Find out about our distinctive approach at 
www.northumbria.ac.uk/exp

Admissions Terms and Conditions
northumbria.ac.uk/terms

Fees and Funding
northumbria.ac.uk/fees

Admissions Policy
northumbria.ac.uk/adpolicy

Admissions Complaints Policy
northumbria.ac.uk/complaints

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* At Northumbria we are strongly committed to protecting the privacy of personal data. To view the University’s Privacy Notice please click here

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