MA Visual Communication - Bath Spa University

Key facts

MA Visual Communication
Bath School of Design
Campus or location
Sion Hill and Locksbrook
Course length
One year full time or two years part time.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We are 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 course for specialist photographers, graphic designers and illustrators.

  • Join our international cohort – we welcome students from many countries, including the UK, Italy, China, Taiwan, Mexico, Columbia and Bulgaria.
  • Make use of workshops in photography, etching, letterpress, screen print, plastics, woodwork, paint preparation and casting.
  • Apply for a wide range of academic workshops, competitions and professional awards.

This is a practical MA Visual Communication course for photographers, illustrators and graphic designers. We encourage you to work independently and collaboratively, while learning a shared visual language.

Working alongside other students and in consultation with your tutors, you'll build a professional and critical context for your practice, in the process of developing each of your projects.

Your growing confidence and increased ability will be clearly evident in the portfolios you present when you enter the industry or continue your studies.

What you'll learn


You’ll develop your visual communication practice, concentrating on practical, conceptual, historical and contemporary concerns. You’ll enter critical dialogue with other students in related fields and we’ll help you place your practice in an appropriate context. 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.

You’ll become adept at working individually and collaboratively. Through developing an individual specialist project, you’ll conceptualise, critique and contextualise your approach, while fine-tuning your aesthetic sensibilities. You’ll also collaborate to produce joint projects, negotiating the final outcomes with your team members.

You’ll graduate with:

  • A broad, informed outlook
  • A genuine confidence in your abilities
  • The skills necessary to succeed in your chosen specialism.

Course structure

Trimester one
You’ll examine practical and conceptual approaches to your work through academic workshops and presentations, identify your strengths and weaknesses and progressively improve and develop your practice.

Trimester two
You’ll develop exciting collaborative new works, focused first on a geographical location and then toward a niche global audience.

Trimester three
You’ll decide on the structure of your Master’s project and develop a collaborative or individual work that reflects your particular approach and specialist interests.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the course handbook or definitive programme document for full details on which modules are core, required or optional.

  • Research Methodologies
  • Developing Practice
  • Practice in Context
  • Practice in a Global Context
  • Master's Project.

How will I be assessed?

You’ll be assessed through practical projects backed up by integrated research work in sketchbooks, related materials, and presentations. Your final project will appear in a public exhibition.

How will I be taught?

You’ll be taught through practical workshops, seminars, talks and presentations. You’ll work with a largely self-directed focus. We’ll encourage you to collaborate across disciplines; however, in close consultation with your tutor, you’ll decide the best route for your practice.

You’ll be taught by specialist lecturers and visiting speakers from a wide range of backgrounds from graphic design, photography, illustration and the arts. Teaching sessions will include critiques, discussions, workshops, gallery visits, theoretical discussion and hands-on technical direction.

We’ll challenge you to expand your working practices technically and conceptually, through thinking, looking, talking and making new work.


Field trips

There will be field trips to London and other national locations during the academic year. In addition, we usually run a field trip to a foreign city. In previous years, courses from the department have visited Berlin, Reykjavík, Paris and San Francisco, among others.

Work placements, industry links and internships

We do not arrange industry placements but will help you to take advantage of local and national opportunities and to seek the support of the Careers and Business Engagement team.


Graduates from this department have become graphic designers, illustrators, photographers and photo editors for design agencies, architectural and engineering practices, the MOD and other specialist areas. Many also work on research projects in conjunction with fine artists, or scientists, or have gone on to become teachers.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

Our Art and Design courses are based at our Locksbrook Road (2019) and Sion Hill campuses.

You’ll benefit from access to:

Your new campus

Our new Locksbrook Campus is truly a unique and inspirational space, providing a state-of-the-art learning environment for you to flourish. Located next to the River Avon in Bath city centre, the open-plan building has technical workshops surrounded by open, flexible studio spaces, as well as large, open social areas.


Please note: Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are no longer eligible for the UK (Home) fee status. Please refer to the international student rate.

UK students full time

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

UK students part time

Fees shown below are for part time study over two years, although some courses may be available over longer periods.

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £4,203
Year 2 Published Jan 2022

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023

2023/24 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2023
Year 2 Published Jan 2024

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 bright, open and enthusiastic individuals. You’ll be looking to expand your outlook and collaborate with fellow students to produce exciting new work. While you’ll usually have experience in your chosen discipline, you’ll want to learn more about it and expand your understanding and skills.

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 pages.

Interview and portfolio guidance

Interviews can be onsite, online, or by telephone. You’ll need to present a portfolio of work, either in person, or by giving access to a website where we can view your work.

Your portfolio should show a range of work that gives an indication of your skills, experience and interests. Typically, this might be around six projects, however, this depends on the nature of your work and may be less if you have a large body of work in one area.

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.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Course leader: Andrew Southall

Locksbrook Campus image credits: Chris Wakefield, Crescent Photography

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