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This MA in Communication Design is a timely response to the changing role and increasing worth of communication design. As we move further into a world of positions and services rather than slogans and artefacts, this master's will prepare you for an innovative and exciting career.

Our distinctive repertoire of research themes and live collaborative briefs will provide 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. We will cover ground 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 which you are truly passionate about.

You will graduate with a firm grounding in the 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.

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.

You will 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.

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 2021

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 a Virtual Open Day / Experience Communication Design

Visit an Open Day to find out about life in Newcastle, tour our facilities, discover your funding options and chat to staff and students.

Entry Requirements 2021/22

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

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Fees and Funding 2021/22 Entry

Full UK Fee: £7,350

Full EU Fee: £16,000

Full International Fee: £16,000



Scholarships and Discounts

Click here for UK, EU and International Scholarships 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 £100 on average. We would also recommend that students have their own laptops – Mac or PC with 8 GB RAM and a graphics card with 2 GB VRAM, 15" screen minimum (or 13" with a second larger additional monitor) (cost varies depending upon type of machine, between £700 - £2400) and access to your own copy of Adobe Creative Cloud (currently £16 per month).

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

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Courses starting in 2021 are offered as a mix of online and face to face teaching due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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.

Students will be required to attend campus as far as restrictions allow. Contact time will increase as restrictions ease, or decrease, potentially to a full online offer, should restrictions increase.

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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