Skip navigation

Enter your details to receive an email with a link to a downloadable PDF of this course and to receive the latest news and information from Northumbria University

* By submitting your information you are consenting to your data being processed by Northumbria University (as Data Controller) and Campus Management Corp. (acting as Data Processor). To see the University's privacy policy please click here

CLOSE

As we have moved into a world of positions and services rather than slogans and artefacts, this Masters is a timely response to the changing role and increasing worth of communication design. Its distinctive repertoire of research themes and live collaborative briefs provides you with the opportunity to challenge, change and make a positive impact on social, environmental and economic issues.

The programme’s focus on issue-based design research and cutting-edge practice acknowledges the increasing complexity and convergent nature of contemporary design practice. You will explore and address complex challenges by drawing on skills and expertise honed by an increasing awareness and knowledge of approaches and methods used in a range of related disciplines,such as graphic design, interaction design, branding, information design,typography, image-making, user experience design (UX) and human computer interface (HCI). 

You will learn through studio-based projects, working collaboratively with your fellow students, with our research-active staff and with a diverse range of external partners. For your final project you can choose a theme and a collaborator that inspires you, giving you a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on a social or environmental area you're truly passionate about.

You will graduate with firm grounding in advanced theory,practice and professionalism that underpin modern day communication design. In the process you will develop a critical awareness of how communication design both shapes and is shaped by the forces of social, technological and economical change. On successful completion of the programme, you will be ready for advanced practice in the creative industries or for further practice-based design research.

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

As we have moved into a world of positions and services rather than slogans and artefacts, this Masters is a timely response to the changing role and increasing worth of communication design. Its distinctive repertoire of research themes and live collaborative briefs provides you with the opportunity to challenge, change and make a positive impact on social, environmental and economic issues.

The programme’s focus on issue-based design research and cutting-edge practice acknowledges the increasing complexity and convergent nature of contemporary design practice. You will explore and address complex challenges by drawing on skills and expertise honed by an increasing awareness and knowledge of approaches and methods used in a range of related disciplines,such as graphic design, interaction design, branding, information design,typography, image-making, user experience design (UX) and human computer interface (HCI). 

You will learn through studio-based projects, working collaboratively with your fellow students, with our research-active staff and with a diverse range of external partners. For your final project you can choose a theme and a collaborator that inspires you, giving you a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on a social or environmental area you're truly passionate about.

You will graduate with firm grounding in advanced theory,practice and professionalism that underpin modern day communication design. In the process you will develop a critical awareness of how communication design both shapes and is shaped by the forces of social, technological and economical change. On successful completion of the programme, you will be ready for advanced practice in the creative industries or for further practice-based design research.

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 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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.

Book an Open Day / Experience Communication Design

Experience an Open Day event to get an inside view of what it's really like to study Communication Design at Northumbria. Hear from staff and students from the course and discover your funding options.

Communications Design at Northumbria employs a studio-based learning by doing approach, drawing on your existing design skills. It champions an interdisciplinary approach drawing on expertise, methods and experience of staff from a range of areas such as co-design, user experience, brand innovation, data-driven visualisations, service design, AI, information design and visual storytelling.

Reflecting the integrated nature of communications design as a discipline, the course consists of three broad modules which offer a flexible and transformative learning experience:

Stage 1 ‘Situate’ During this exploratory phase you will work on set briefs to explore various themes and practices. The emphasis is on experimentation within a context of narrative, identity, promotion experience and service.

Stage 2 ‘Challenge’ The visionary phase will expose you to inspirational pioneers of change. Through live collaborative projects and the development of your self-directed brief, you will seek to challenge the status quo and set a new direction for your practice. 

Stage 3 ‘Change’ Working with increasing independence, you will realise your final self-directed project and demonstrate how you have achieved your intended impact. Your final project should be engaged with the real world and have a collaborative element, and can be international in scope.

In Stages 2 and 3, you can choose the briefs and themes that inspire you, giving you a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on a social, environmental or economic area you’re truly passionate about. These could be as diverse as sustainability, new technology, ageing, social inequality or access to education.

Student work

Check out some of the project work from our undergraduate Communication Design students.

Book an Open Day / Experience Communication Design

Visit an Open Day to get an inside view of what it's really like to study Communication Design at Northumbria. Speak to staff and students from the course and discover your funding options.

The teaching staff at Northumbria School of Design have a remarkable international reputation. They are carrying out cutting-edge research in established and emerging areas of design, and many are respected practitioners as well as theorists. 

You will interact with staff in various ways – some will lead thematic sessions and supervise projects within those themes, others will offer skills workshops in their areas of expertise. For your final project you’ll be supported by your own dedicated advisor, whose area of expertise will be matched to your chosen area of inquiry. Staff are available to support you throughout the year, as part of our engaged and collaborative design community.

This course offers a unique opportunity to learn from the best across a wide range of areas, and you can explore some of the staff who may be teaching you below.

Inspirational Staff / Communication Design

Here are just a few of Northumbria's academic staff with expertise in Communication Design. Click through to 'Tutor profiles' to explore further.

Book an Open Day / Experience Communication Design

Visit an Open Day to get an inside view of what it's really like to study Communication Design at Northumbria. Speak to staff and students from the course and discover your funding options.

Northumbria School of Design provides first-class teaching in a world-class environment. You will have a dedicated studio space, located near our undergraduate communication design programmes. You will have access to a range of workshops including letterpress, screen printing,virtual reality suite and prototyping lab.

The vast majority of your work will be undertaken in a collaborative studio environment, but we have the facilities to support whatever type of creative expression you choose for your final project. The fact that everything you need is situated within close proximity to the technical facilities offers a practical advantage over other universities, as well as a strong sense of community and source of constant inspiration.

The University has invested heavily in technology and you will have access to industry-standard creative software within labs and across multiple open access study areas. Our course uses Technology Enhanced Learning(TEL) to give you the flexibility to choose the pace, place and mode of learning that suits your style of thinking, learning, doing and making. You'll have access to an elearning portal which offers discussion groups, access to video recorded tutorials and lectures, and interactive training programs.

You’ll also have 24/7 access to the University Library,which achieves some of the highest levels of student satisfaction in the UK. It has held the Cabinet Office accreditation for Customer Service Excellence since 2010.

Facilities / Communication Design

Here's a snapshot of the facilities available to you as part of the course.

Book an Open Day / Experience Communication Design

Visit an Open Day to get an inside view of what it's really like to study Communication Design at Northumbria. Speak to staff and students from the course and discover your funding options.

You will be immersed in research-rich learning from the outset of your studies. 

The course champions an interdisciplinary approach drawing on staff research in areas such as co-design, user experience, brand innovation, data-driven visualisations, service design, AI, information design and visual storytelling. You will have the opportunity to work on live briefs as part of the University’s Ideate research theme, collaborating with academics at the forefront of their discipline.

You will develop your own skills as a researcher, learning to critically reflect on your own and others work, challenge your own thinking, and justify your own work in the context of wider theories and practice.

Books / Staff research

A selection of books published by your tutors in areas related to communication design.

Research

Discover more about the research currently taking place within Design, and across the University within our multidisciplinary research themes. Feeling inspired? Join us to make a remarkable impact on tomorrow.

Book an Open Day / Experience Communication Design

Visit an Open Day to get an inside view of what it's really like to study Communication Design at Northumbria. Speak to staff and students from the course and discover your funding options.

You will graduate from this course with independence of thought, maturity of thought articulation and an aptitude for collaboration – traits highly valued by every employer in the creative marketplace.

Northumbria is based in the heart of Newcastle – a thriving creative capital, with a vibrant and growing digital industries sector. It is an ideal city in which to study and launch your creative career, with a much cheaper cost of living than London.

The course has been developed in consultation with industry,and you will engage with practitioners throughout your studies, through live briefs, guest masterclasses and networking opportunities. As such it provides you with the experience, portfolio and contacts which form an ideal basis for advanced professional employment.

We have in the past run collaborative briefs with creative agencies such as Wieden and Kennedy, R/GA and Us Two, multinationals such as Virgin Money, Sage and Microsoft and voluntary sector organisations such as The Cyrenians, Newcastle Vision Support and Fulfilling Lives.

Upon graduation you’ll be ready for employment,entrepreneurship or doctoral research within areas as diverse as graphic design, interaction design, UX design, service design, product innovation, art direction, branding, publishing and information design.

Collaborative projects

Our live briefs, guest masterclasses and networking opportunities will give you the experience that creative employers are looking for. Below are examples of previous projects with our undergraduate graphic and interaction design programmes.

Book an Open Day / Experience Communication Design

Visit an Open Day to get an inside view of what it's really like to study Communication Design at Northumbria. Speak to staff and students from the course, get a tour of the facilities and discover your funding options.

Entry Requirements 2020/21

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

Fees and Funding 2020/21 Entry

Full UK Fee: £7,170

Full EU Fee: £7,170

Full International Fee: £15,500

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 £100 on average. PRINTING Students are likely to be producing printed work and as such, will incur additional printing costs. Again this very much depends on an individual basis based on the type of project chosen by the student but we approximate the additional printing cost to be £150.

If you'd like to receive news and information from us in the future about the course or finance then please complete the below form

* By submitting your information you are consenting to your data being processed by Northumbria University (as Data Controller) and Campus Management Corp. (acting as Data Processor). To see the University's privacy policy 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-initatied 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 be involved in a series of 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. Building on these projects you will start to formulate, define and develop your own personal response to a project of your own devising. You will build on your critical reflection presented at the end of Semester 1 and use this module to explore and develop challenging responses to your identified subject of study.

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 to 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 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 portfolio of critical and contextual writing that underpins your practice and demonstrating 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-initatied 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 be involved in a series of 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. Building on these projects you will start to formulate, define and develop your own personal response to a project of your own devising. You will build on your critical reflection presented at the end of Semester 1 and use this module to explore and develop challenging responses to your identified subject of study.

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 to 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 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 portfolio of critical and contextual writing that underpins your practice and demonstrating 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

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

Order your prospectus

If you're a UK/EU student and would like to know more about our courses, you can order a copy of our prospectus here.

Get a downloadable PDF of this course and updates from Northumbria School of Design

Enter your details to receive an email with a link to a downloadable PDF of this course and to receive the latest news and information from Northumbria University

* By submitting your information you are consenting to your data being processed by Northumbria University (as Data Controller) and Campus Management Corp. (acting as Data Processor). To see the University's privacy policy please click here

+

Northumbria Open Days

Open Days are a great way for you to get a feel of the University, the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the course(s) you are interested in.

+
+

Virtual Tour

Get an insight into life at Northumbria at the click of a button! Come and explore our videos and 360 panoramas to immerse yourself in our campuses and get a feel for what it is like studying here using our interactive virtual tour.

Back to top