MA/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate
Graphic Arts

Students' artwork

About this course

  • Entry year: 2014/15
  • Course code: W21D12
  • Applications: University
  • Level: Postgraduate
  • Department: Creative Industries
  • Campus: Bower Ashton
  • Duration: MA 18 months full-time, 36 months part-time. Postgraduate diploma 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
  • Delivery: Part-time, Full-time
  • Programme leader: Stephen Monger


MA Graphic Arts is designed to be a meeting place for people who are hungry to engage with communication design practice at a deeper level: to research, investigate and debate the nature and dynamics of communication, and explore how they can produce meaningful outcomes using conventional and unconventional forms.

The course offers students the chance to extend their practice and explore new areas. There is particular emphasis on communication, which may be located in digital or traditional print (books, magazines, poster), screen (motion graphics, video, web), illustration, photography, design for environment and 3D outcomes or a combination of all of these. Editorial control and responsibility to content and intention are at the core of developing themes. Narrative form, structure, the relationship of type and image and an advanced understanding of commercial print, multiples, electronic and broadcast media and other means of dissemination are considered both intellectually and practically.

The course is delivered through a mix of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical workshops. Lectures and seminars consider: approaches to research and practice in visual communication; the changing role of graphic designers in contemporary society; and the location of your own work in relation to this.

You will develop your design process: from creative strategies for generating ideas; gathering and analysing information; producing text; collecting and analysing information; to producing final outcomes to industry standards. We look at approaches to research, and ways that you can use your design process as research. Lectures and seminars provide the tools to analyse both your own work and that of others. The course also provides: support in terms of a structured developmental process with deadlines to work to; tutorial and seminar group advice and feedback.

There are opportunities for collaboration with students from other courses like MA Animation. You may also attend lectures from other parts of the department's postgraduate programme and there is a range of visiting speakers within the Graphic Design department offering professional knowledge and experience throughout the year.

For examples of work by current and previous postgraduate students please visit the course blog at:

This video requires javascript to be enabled and flash installed to view.View this video on the youtube website



The course is made up of five modules, which are taken across three semesters (full time) or six semesters (part time). Each module carries a credit weighting, and to qualify for an MA (Master of Arts) you must successfully complete each module to gain 180 credits.

The modules are as follows:

1. Introduction to Graphic Arts (30 credits)
This module introduces the subject through practical work and debate. It forms a basis for you to consider your initial perception of graphic arts as an area of creative practice and your own motivations for investigation, study, and practice within the broad scope that it offers. It allows you to become familiar with the resources available to you and begin to negotiate a programme of independent study.

2. Research Practices (30 credits)
This module introduces you to a variety of research strategies related to the practice and theory of art, media and design. There is a choice of assignments including Research Methodologies for Visual Culture, Enterprise in the Creative Industries and Research for Practitioners.

3. Analysing Practice in Graphic Arts (30 credits)
This module enables you to consider the different forms available to visual communicators, including print, screen and 3D/environmental outcomes. Through individual proposals you develop your work responding to a given text. You are encouraged to interrogate your design process and working method(s), taking into account how a designer transforms and adapts their choice of medium, style and design method based on an editorial concept, to meet new circumstances and opportunities. Relevant technical skills are delivered through workshops that enable students to explore the subject further and experiment with their ideas.

4. Developing Practice in Graphic Arts (30 credits)
This module builds upon your skills as a practitioner and seeks to develop concepts and ideas through an understanding of the self. At the beginning of this module you research and submit a proposal for the development and realisation of a body of practical work. The work involved in the preparation and presentation of the project proposal forms the basis of the syllabus during this module. It culminates in an illustrated presentation concerned with your work and its context. Critical reflection on this module prepares the ground for the final module's work. There is also a collaborative project with MA Animation.

5. Extended Practice in Graphic Arts (60 credits)
Building on the experience gained from the previous modules, you undertake to produce a self directed body of work that shows your ability as an innovative and creative visual communicator, capable of creating meaningful and interesting content for an identified audience. The choice of media is entirely open but should be appropriate to the nature of your research and the intention of your work. The body of practical work is complemented by a substantial evaluation report which contextualises your particular approach to Graphic Arts.

The full masters programme comprises 180 credits divided into three 60 credits stages: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, and Masters. Students work incrementally through the three stages and must pass all modules at each stage in order to progress to the next.

Learning and Teaching

You are taught through a series of lectures, seminars, practical workshops and projects.

For more details see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

You are based in the department's postgraduate facilities at Bower Ashton and the Graphic Design studios. They are equipped with high-end Apple Macintosh computers with industry standard software. You also have access to the department's EPI Centre, Print Centre, other workshop areas and library. You will have the opportunity to:

  • research, explore and produce graphic arts outcomes appropriate to your personal direction within the subject;
  • increase your knowledge of the range and scope of graphic arts/visual communication practice;
  • increase your range of technical skills and improve presentation, management and organisation skills;
  • be part of a critical mass of students from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines;
  • benefit from the opportunities generated by the University's links to the creative and media industries e.g. networking, exhibitions, screenings and gaining professional contacts.

Study time

Students may join the programme either full-time or part-time. Full-time students typically study for three semesters over 18 months, part-time students study for six semesters over three years. A semester is a period of study and generally runs September to January and February to May/June.


You will be assessed by a combination of practical and written work at the end of each term.

For more detail see our full glossary of assessment terms.

Special Features

Study facilities

We have extensive workshop facilities and highly skilled dedicated technical staff. The students on MA Graphic Arts increasingly access these workshop areas as they tailor their programme of study to their own individual needs.

As well as computer and digital media laboratories, the facilities include: comprehensive video and animation resources; print incorporating letterpress, screen and digital wide format; photographic workshops and studios; and the fabrication area for traditional contemporary materials, including laser cutting, electronics and robotics.

Please see our Flickr Gallery for some photographs from our technical workshops.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.

Careers/further study


FeeCost (£) / per year
Full-time home / EU5,150
Part-time home / EU (per 15 credits)429
Full-time offshore10,750
Part-time offshore (per 15 credits)896
Full-time International10,750
Part-time International (per 15 credits)896
Full-time International (per 15 credits)896

Supplementary fee information

For information about fees and funding for courses please see our fees and funding pages.

For funding options, please see our funding and scholarships information.


Joining instructions

For students starting this course in September 2014, view your joining instructions. For more information about joining the University, please see our New Students pages.

Entry requirements

We are looking for highly motivated students with skills and experience in graphic design, illustration or related subjects. Candidates will normally be expected to have attained an honours degree, but applicants with other qualifications or professional experience are also encouraged to apply.

All applications are carefully considered and prospective candidates invited for interview. Interviewees should be able to show a portfolio of their current practical work that includes evidence of developmental stages and process, as well as final outcomes. We look for an awareness of current debates within design and a commitment to developing original content for the production of new work. Examples of written work are also important.

There is no official closing date for postgraduate programmes and we accept applications throughout the year. If you are applying to organisations for funding they may have application deadlines by which time you will need to know if you have a place on a course. You should build this deadline into your application process and if you are working to a funding deadline then please let us know.

Overseas Applicants
A representative from the University makes regular visits to Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan and is able to view portfolios and interview students.

The University also has representatives in a number of other countries. Please contact Admissions and International Recruitment for further details: or +44 (0)117 328 4716.

If you are unable to meet up with a UWE Bristol visiting representative then please send us your application in the normal way. We will then contact you and advise you where and how to send us your professional digital portfolio.

How to apply

There is no official closing date and we accept applications throughout the year.

Applications for this course can be made by using the "Apply for this course link"within the "Next steps?" box.

For further information

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