Taught course

Visual Communication (illustration)

University of Derby · College of Arts

Entry requirements

At most UK universities you will be asked to produce a portfolio to discuss at your interview. What we look for in a portfolio for any of our Art & Design programmes are examples of your work. This can include work you are currently producing for any of your courses of study, or materials that you are developing outside of your studies. We look for a broad range of skills, ideas and thinking processes. Our key aim is to look at your portfolio to see your potential as a student of Art & Design here at the University of Derby. Portfolio: We would like to see your sketchbooks, notebooks and work in progress. Much of the content will depend on your interests and we will review the work and listen to your ideas in light of what you present. Think of your portfolio as an indication of you and a snapshot of your creativity. We want to see what motivates you and what inspires you. Most of all make sure you are proud of what you are showing us and use it to talk through the interview and ask us questions about your chosen field. Your aim with your portfolio is to demonstrate a high level of engagement with art and design subjects. Some examples of what could be in your portfolio are: drawing, painting, images of sculptures, mixed media, installations, fashion design, costume, fashion accessories, surface and textiles design, examples of printmaking, photography, illustration techniques, a storyboard, scriptwriting, animation, logo design, packaging design, or publicity and branding material that you have created. You may want to show us animations, films, digital design and CAD examples, furniture design, theatre design, jewellery and product design. Your portfolio can be shown either digitally in Powerpoint, an online blog, Tumblr or Flickr or another website of your choice, or as a folder of work, or a journal, whatever is the most appropriate way for you to show us your work, your visual creativity and expression. Our top tips are:  Put your most recent work first  If showing a sketchbook, be able to talk through the processes you have been exploring  Include your best work  Quality over quantity  Photograph any difficult to transport, heavy or 3D work We would also like to see an example of your written work, which may also be a work in progress.


Months of entry


Course content

If you have a passion for Graphic Design, Illustration or Animation this course will enable you to extend your knowledge and ambitions to Masters level.

You will be able to gain high-level professional experience in your field of practice learning alongside like-minded creative individuals. Your lecturers are practicing professionals involved in research and scholarly activity.

Postgraduate Certificate

During this stage you will explore contemporary debates and design experimentation, as well as appraising your practice strengths and potential.

You will study modules such as:

Personal Practice and Methodologies:

During this double module you will actively explore, critically review, and develop your personal practice and methodologies. You will delve further into your interests, philosophical concerns, and ethical stance as a designer and consider your practice from sociological, philosophical, commercial, professional, ecological, and cultural perspectives.

Visual Culture: Debates:

The module takes as its starting point selected academic texts, which will be used for initiating debate. Through them, you will stimulate and expand your knowledge and understanding of visual culture.

This process of critical scrutiny and debate will provide you with a platform for developing your scholarly understanding of concepts such as ideology, identity, ethics, and aesthetics, and an appreciation of how these might be associated with issues relating to gender, globalisation, sustainability, taste, and consumer culture. This module will encourage you to examine your own practice in relation to the ideas and contrasting theories you have studied.

Postgraduate Diploma

This stage will see you developing a major in-depth personal project and research for a supporting dissertation.

You will study modules such as:


This double module is the first phase of your masters practice project. It covers a significant period of time in which you will extensively research and explore your personal area of focus in your practice. You will conceive, explore, formulate, and propose a considered masters project plan, which you will carry out during the final Realisation module. You will be assigned a supervisor to support you throughout the module.


You will plan a personal programme of research on a negotiated topic relevant to your personal practice. Your topic will be carefully selected and honed to ensure that it successfully informs your project. The individual methodologies you develop during this module will inform your practice based final project. You will develop a coherent argument, informed by your own research, which will drive the structure and logic of your dissertation.


This final stage involves the completion, testing, and evaluation of your masters practice project through a final practice module called, Realisation:

This triple module is the culmination of your masters practice project. Through it, you will carry out the practice concept that you formulated, researched, and developed during the Concept module, and will create an extensive body of highly developed practice in response to the challenges you set yourself. You will work with independent scholarship and with an enquiring and questioning approach to test, analyse, and critically evaluate your work throughout the process of concluding your masters study.

The programme will culminate in a degree show exhibition to promote and disseminate your work.

Qualification and course duration


part time
36 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Tracy Tomlinson
+44 (0)1332 593302