MA Design (Visual Communication) – Bath Spa University

Design (Visual Communication)


Postgraduate degree

    Key facts

    MA Visual Communication
    Bath School of Design
    Campus or location
    Locksbrook Campus and Newton Park
    Course length
    One year full-time.

    Entry requirements

    Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We're generally looking for a good honours degree or equivalent.

    Some courses also require an interview or the submission of a portfolio of work.

    Please contact our admissions team for more information:

    A practical MA in Visual Communication for specialist photographers, designers and illustrators.

    • Reach your creative potential through exciting professional visual communication projects.
    • Learn from accomplished design professionals and receive excellent academic and technical support.
    • Work in dedicated studio spaces and benefit from excellent workshop and fabrication facilities.

    This is a practical Master of Arts in Visual Communication Design, grounded in individual research, in which you'll work alongside other postgraduate students from the Schools of Art and Design. Our view is that by integrating your methods with those in related fields, you’ll become a more effective specialist photographer, graphic designer or illustrator. At a time when boundaries between these disciplines are changing – and in some cases dissolving – this is particularly important.

    We encourage you to work independently and collaboratively, developing a strong contextualised approach to visual language, whilst building a strong professional and critical context for your practice.

    On successful completion of the course, your increased confidence and abilities will be clearly evident in the portfolios you've developed. Through contact with sector leaders, you'll be ready to move into industry, perhaps in a design agency or as a freelancer.

    What you'll learn


    Working alongside other postgraduate students from Textiles, Illustration, Graphics and Fine Art, you’ll develop your own projects while undertaking practice-led research, theory and professional practice modules.

    Specialist tutors and technicians will guide your progress, supporting you to create your own approach and make your visual communication outcomes more successful.

    You'll use subject-specific studios and workshops and have access to specialist software and computers. Our excellent art and design library provides access to books, ebooks, magazines and periodicals and is supported by a dedicated team.

    Your year-long Design Master’s culminates in a public exhibition. Our aim is for you to graduate with a broad, informed outlook, a genuine confidence in your abilities and the professional skills necessary to succeed in your chosen specialism.

    Course structure

    This Design Master’s runs over one year and is divided into three trimesters.

    Trimester one
    We encourage playfulness and risk-taking, and ask you to respond to a range of instructions in ways that will allow you to interrogate how you work – without threatening your approach. Right from the start, you'll begin to gather primary and secondary research that will feed into your assessments. We introduce a range of key issues in design and communication practice and allow you to explore how your specialist approach relates to the wider field. You’ll also begin to develop your professional practice skills such as marketing, social media, IT, collaborative working and exhibition installation.

    Trimester two
    Maintaining an experimental approach, you'll begin to narrow your focus. Academic staff will help you evaluate your development and refine your work to support the project outcome. You’ll be encouraged to pay greater attention to the way in which your project functions and engages its audience. Technical staff will support you to bring your project to a level appropriate for the assessment submission.

    Trimester three
    A self-directed, double practice module leads to your final Degree Show. You’ll establish a line of enquiry, working to a proposal of your devising, which positions your work within your specialist discipline. You’ll work in the studio with increasing independence to produce a body of work that demonstrates your now advanced knowledge and understanding of your professional practice.

    Course Modules

    • Research Methods
    • Theory and Professional Context
    • Practice 1 (Design)
    • Research Practice
    • Theory and Professional Practices
    • Practice 2 (Design)
    • Master's Project (Visual Communication)

    How will I be assessed?

    Your progress is evaluated by formative assessment (throughout the duration of the course) and summative assessment (at the end of each trimester), through a mixture of exhibitions, verbal/visual presentations, research folders/blogs and written assignments.

    How will I be taught?

    You’ll learn through lectures, talks, taught sessions, individual and group tutorials, and studio critiques and seminars.

    Visiting lecturers, and seminars with external professionals and internationally renowned designers and artists, will help you determine where your current practice sits within the industry.

    Our collaborative structure also means that you’ll learn from each other – for instance, Visual Communication or Illustration students might engage in debates with Fine Art students.

    Technical Demonstrators, who manage our workshop facilities, provide teaching and support across a wide range of subject specialisms. Your learning is also supported by specialist librarians.



    When permitted, Bath School of Design offers fieldwork opportunities throughout the academic year.


    Graduates from this department have become designers, illustrators, photographers and photo editors for design agencies, architectural and engineering practices, the MOD and other specialist areas. Many work in conjunction with fine artists.

    The research elements of the course also lay the foundations for a teaching career or further study.

    Facilities and resources

    Where the subject is taught

    You’ll benefit from access to comprehensive digital workshops and specialist art and design facilities, including:

    • Our student service point at Locksbrook where you can purchase subsidised art and design materials, hire out equipment for free and collect Library resources
    • Access to our well-stocked Library at Newton Park
    • Specialist technical workshops across all of art and design
    • Access to studio space where you can work on projects and refine your practice

    Locksbrook campus

    Locksbrook Campus is a Grade II listed building designed by Nicholas Grimshaw in 1976. It has now been transformed into an innovative, open plan space, redesigned to meet 21st century environmental standards, with technical workshops surrounded by flexible studio spaces and large social areas.

    Locksbrook has received both a RIBA South West Award 2021 and RIBA National Award 2021, recognising and celebrating what an amazingly inspirational space it is to come together to design, make, do, create and learn in.


    Please note: Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are not generally eligible for the UK (Home) fee status. Please refer to the international student rate. Irish citizens and those granted Settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme are eligible for UK (Home) fee status. There are also other circumstances where this may apply: See UKCISA for more information.

    UK students full time

    Course fees
    2021/22 entry £8,405
    2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
    2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

    International students full time

    Course fees
    2021/22 entry £15,685
    2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
    2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

    Interested in applying?

    What we look for in potential students

    We're looking for energetic and self-motivated individuals who can work on their own but also see the value in working in collaboration with others. They should enjoy asking questions and solving creative problems.

    Typical offers and subject-specific requirement

    You’ll need a good undergraduate degree in a design, visual communication or art specialism, or its equivalent in terms of learning or experience, and a good working knowledge of design, visual communication or art contexts.

    Fundamentally, you’ll be selected on your ability to thrive on this course, as demonstrated by your portfolio and interview.

    How do I apply?

    Ready to apply? Click the "apply now" button in the centre of this page.

    Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

    Interview and portfolio guidance

    Interviews can be conducted onsite or online with a digital portfolio.

    Want to apply for this year? 

    Many of our postgraduate courses have a limited number of student spaces. To avoid the disappointment of the course being full, we recommend that you apply now.

    Late applications (generally those made after 31 July) will only be considered if places remain on the course.

    Need more information or still have questions? Contact us to discuss your situation.

    Postgraduate Coordinator: Andrew Southall

    Locksbrook Campus image credits: Chris Wakefield, Crescent Photography

    Masthead image: Simon Taylor, MA Visual Communication

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