Postgraduate MA

Visual Communication

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Attendance

Full-time

Part-time

Course

One year

Two year

Next enrolment

September 2022

Introduction

In a nutshell

Do you have a passion for relaying complex concepts in a way that people can easily understand? Are you interested in creating and applying your own graphical language across subject areas as diverse as type design, illustration, design for print and web, service design, and design for social impact? If so, our MA Visual Communication degree is for you.

In an age of information overload, visual communication professionals have never been more in demand. Designed to equip you with the skills you need for a professional career in the creative industries or digital marketing sector, this master’s in visual communication is focused on industry experience, interdisciplinary collaboration and self-initiated research.

What’s more, You will be studying at the heart of the campus in New Adelphi building, home to all Art, Design and Creative Technology subjects, one of the North West’s largest creative hubs, with easy access to creative networking opportunities. You’ll also be involved in working on live projects throughout your course, working with key cultural organisations across the cities of Salford and Greater Manchester, which include, amongst others, The Center for Chinese Contemporary Art, Hotbed Press, Islington Mill, Castlefield Gallery, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Artworks, Mark Devereux Projects, Textbook Studios & Salford Art Collection Dr Me and Magma Books.

You will:
  • Develop your professional skills in visual communication by combining theory with practical experience
  • Take advantage of opportunities to gain real-world experience through industry placements, interdisciplinary collaborative practice and freelance projects with a range of cultural organisations
  • Build a strong portfolio of applied practical and theoretical work that can be used to evidence your skills and establish your reputation in the industry

 

Do you want to find out more about our master’s in Visual Communication? Come along to our Open Day or contact our MA in Contemporary Fine Art programme leader, Tim Isherwood.

Our supportive course enquiries team can help you with any general questions you may have. You can also explore all of our Art and Design courses.

Placement

options available

International

students accepted

This is for you if...

1.

You want to develop a range of transferable skillsets that can be used in a variety of visual communication roles.

2.

You want to launch a professional career in the arts, media or marketing sector.

3.

You want to graduate with a strong portfolio of work that can be used to demonstrate your skills and experience to future employers.

Course details

All about the course

This MA Visual Communication degree is designed to give you the support and inspiration you need to develop your creative ideas in a safe space. You’ll collaborate with talented creatives across a variety of arts organisations and subject areas, tackling issues that are central to contemporary design practice, whether they relate to design authorship, social engagement or visual language.

As part of your course, you’ll be encouraged to work on projects that will help to improve your ability to think independently, creatively and professionally, mirroring the professional practice of visual communicators artists. With modules focused on applied practice, you’ll examine how your work can be applied to external contexts such as live projects, collaborative projects, commissions and external sites.

What’s more, in your final semester throughout the programme you’ll have the chance to design, develop and realise your own project in the an area of visual communication that interests you most, building a strong portfolio of work that can be used to enhance your future employability.

Want to find out more? Read about what each module involves in our course breakdown below.

Full-time: semester one

Creative Research Methods

This module focuses on the understanding of and the application of a range of practice based research methods. You are initially encouraged to develop an individual line of inquiry that will be explored through a variety of creative research methods of which you are supported through lectures, seminars and tutorials. This module has two assessment points at week seven and 12 and submissions will generally be project based (70%) with an underpinning written component (30%).

Exploring Theory and Practice

This module deals with the theoretical and practical issues faced by practitioners in the context of art and the creative and cultural industries. The module supports you in developing new ideas through research and practice and through an appraisal of the context in which they operate. Particular emphasis is placed on contexts that emerge from international perspectives and from contemporary debates around creativity.

Full-time: semester two

Real World Context

Through the Real World Context module you will undertake a placement in a relevant work place to gain new experiences and test out developing ideas and activities. The creative and cultural industries embrace a range of professional subjects. Given the transversality of these industries, it is important for you to have sufficient knowledge about the sector and its wider contexts, enabling you to identify and acquire professional skills within and across relevant sub-sectors. It is also important to enable you to understand and have experience of working in a multidisciplinary environment and an international context.

Applied Practice

Within the module you will examine how your design practice can be applied to external contexts such as notions of live projects, commissions and external sites. You will be expected to commitment to a establishing a mature design practice and evidence your research focus through this.

Semester three

Definitive Practice

The aims of the major project are to offer you the opportunity to critically engage in a major project in which the emphasis will be on defining and analysing through action research, and developing a constructive practical response to a line of inquiry or research question while formulating your own resolutions or conclusions from your body of work. The culmination of this module is an exhibition or other form of public exposition.

During the 'major project’ you are provided with a supporting supervisor, in developing concerns and practice-drivers accrued throughout the chosen programme of study, via a programmed series of tutorials. Individual tutorials and peer interaction/group discussions are integral to the development of the major project.

Part-time: Year one, semester one and two

Creative Research Methods

This module focuses on the understanding of and the application of a range of practice-based research methods. You are initially encouraged to develop an individual line of inquiry that will be explored through a variety of creative research methods of which you are supported through lectures, seminars and tutorials. This module has two assessment points at weeks 4 and 12 and submissions will generally be project-based (70%) with an underpinning written component (30%).

Applied Practice

Within the module you will examine how your design practice can be applied to external contexts such as notions of live projects, commissions and external sites. You will be expected to commitment to a establishing a mature design practice and evidence your research focus through this.

Real World Context

Through the Real-World Context module, you will undertake a placement or residency in a relevant workplace to gain new experiences and test out developing ideas and activities. The creative and cultural industries embrace a range of professional subjects. Given the transversality of these industries, it is important for you to have sufficient knowledge about the sector and its wider contexts, enabling you to identify and acquire professional skills within and across relevant sub-sectors. It is also important to enable you to understand and have experience of working in a multidisciplinary environment and an international context.

Part-time: Year two, semester one, two and three

Exploring Theory and Practice

This module deals with the theoretical and practical issues faced by practitioners in the context of art and the creative and cultural industries. The module supports you in developing new ideas through research and practice and through an appraisal of the context in which they operate. Particular emphasis is placed on contexts that emerge from international perspectives and from contemporary debates around creativity.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?

60%

Practical projects

30%

Reflective writing and essays

10%

Group presentations/exhibitions

TEACHING

Before beginning your MA Visual Communication, you’ll be provided with a timetable of your scheduled lessons allowing timeslots for you to explore your independent research interests.
Based at the home of art and design on campus: New Adelphi,
you’ll experience a range of teaching and learning settings including lectures, seminars/workshops, tutorials, situated learning (e.g. ‘live’ projects) and independent learning. The combination of these teaching methods aims to develop an environment that allows you to progressively take ownership and direction of your learning so that you may develop as independent, life-long learners.

You’ll also take part in exercises; team and peer-based learning, studio practice and critical seminar-events, site visits, visiting professionals, work placements, online activities and critical debates.

You will take five core modules and will study one day a week. Full-time students will have concentrated module delivery in both the morning and afternoon. If studying part-time, you will have concentrated module delivery in the mornings alongside full-time students.

ASSESSMENT

The process of master's level study, relating to an individual and independent arts practice, is one of dense critical self-reflection; this is achieved by including self-directed projects where you have the opportunity to negotiate your learning and assessment requirements.

You will be assessed throughout the course on:

  • Body of work and contextual research: e.g action research/publication/exhibition etc.
  • Reflective journals: log or sketch-book/statement/critical writing/seminar or other presentation*

All submissions are comprised of a body of practice plus a contextual and critical research portfolio, and reflective logs/journals and case studies. As the ‘thesis’ is embedded in the action research there is no requirement for a separate, written dissertation - although you may elect to do so, alongside a written supportive statement of 3000 words per module,if appropriate, by negotiation with final award Course Team.

*You can negotiate the format of your submissions, in response to the needs and priorities within your practice, and in line with contemporary professional practice habits.

BE A PART OF A CREATIVE, SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY

All our Art and Design courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.

Each year - through the Create Student Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.

Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it.

ART AND DESIGN FACILITIES

This MA in Socially Engaged Arts Practice is based at our £55 million New Adelphi building, the home of design and creativity on campus.

When you study with us, you’ll learn from our experienced tutors and demonstrators, who’ll teach you how to use our art and design facilities. These include:

Studio space – dedicated areas for each course, giving you room to think and create.

MarkerSpace workshop - create digital rapid prototypes using 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters and more.

Photography studios - industry-standard photographic studios, which you can use in conjunction with darkrooms and digital printing facilities.

Workshops – from print to textiles, wood to metal, our range of workshops allow you to take your ideas from page to reality and work in a variety of media.

Mac suites - equipped with the industry-standard software you’ll need during your studies and in the world of work.

Explore our Art and Design facilities at New Adelphi or take a 360 tour of our New Adelphi building.

Teacher profile

Tim Isherwood

Tim Isherwood has taught in both further and higher education for 15 years over a number of art and design courses, predominantly teaching graphic and communication design at University of Salford from levels 4- 7.

As a specialist in typography, Isherwood has created Salford Type Foundry, a web based repository for the typefaces his students create, giving them platform to showcase their work to a wider community, as well as his own research interests, which include using digital and satellite technologies (GPS) to create letterforms and alphabets, working collaboratively with creative writers to produce responses that question the roles of typographic form within language.

Working as a visual artist, Isherwood’s interests predominantly concern typographic form in printmaking, but also produces paintings, animation and film. Isherwood has exhibited his nationally over the last 15 years, showcasing his paintings, posters and typefaces, the latest of which showcases responses to a residency at the Portico Library in Manchester.

Find out more about Tim Isherwood or explore the Art and Design faculty at the University of Salford.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

EMPLOYMENT

As a postgraduate student at Salford, you’ll be studying for one of the only visual communication masters in the UK that focuses on equipping you with the hands-on experience you need to take your career to the next level. Throughout your course you’ll have established professional links with art and design networks across the region, meaning you’ll already have a place in the creative community.

Many of our recent graduates have gone on to secure professional roles in animating, graphic designing and advertising. Others have pursued careers in teaching, art directing, web programming and photography. So as a master of arts in visual communication design, the possibilities really are endless.

FURTHER STUDY

Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further academic research path through our doctoral (PhD) programmes on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal.

Career Links

We work with key cultural organisations within the north-west. These include The Center for Chinese Contemporary Art, Hotbed Press, Islington Mill, Castlefield Gallery, International 3, Salford Museum & Art Gallery, Artworks, Mark Devereux Projects, Textbook Studios, Dr Me, Magma Books and HOME. Opportunities for student collaboration range from exhibition opportunities to volunteering at the organization, live projects and mentoring.

Members of staff from the organisations visit to provide careers advise and guidance as well as inviting our students to events and talks with professional artists at their venues.

Requirements

What you need to know

APPLICANT PROFILE

To gain a place on this MA Visual Communication course, you’ll have to submit a personal statement and meet our entry requirements when you apply.

Within your MA Visual Communication personal statement (up to 4000 characters), we’ll want to understand:

• what motivates you and what current experiences do you have in terms of art and design, illustration/animation, graphic design and visual communication?

• how have you been involved and what did you do?

• do you have any knowledge of the creative sector; are there any projects that inspire you?

• What are your future goals; is it to work in the creative sector, for example?

and why the University of Salford and this postgraduate degree is the right choice for your future goals.

For some applicants, you’ll be asked to provide us with a portfolio of work and potentially take part in an informal group seminar discussion or interview– either live or on camera – to demonstrate your skills.

Normally we'd invite you to attend a face-to-face interview. At the moment though, we’re reducing the number of people we have on our campus. Once you’ve made your application to study with us, we’ll contact you and let you know the next steps.

 

Want to know more about our master’s in Visual Communication? Come along to our Open Day or contact our programme leader, Tim Isherwood.

Our supportive course enquiries team can help you with any general questions you may have. You can also explore all of our Art and Design courses.

Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

To join this MA you should have a second class honours degree, 2:2 or above, and a supporting portfolio of practice.

 

 

For international students

If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need IELTS 6.5, with no element below 5.5.  We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

For international students

If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need IELTS 6.5, with no element below 5.5.  We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2021/22 £8,100per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £15,030per year
Part-time 2021/22 £1,350 for home and £2,505 for international per 30 credits
Full-time home 2022/23 £8,280per year
Full-time international 2022/23 £15345per year
Part-time 2022/23 £1,380 for home and £2,557.5 for international per 30 credits
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
 
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.

We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.

See the full range of our International Scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2022