Taught course

Visual Communication

University of Derby · College of Arts, Humanities and Education

Visit the institution website for COVID‑19 updates

Entry requirements

You'll usually need an undergraduate degree (at least second class), in a related subject, or an equivalent qualification and a portfolio of your practice.

Months of entry

January, September

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:

  • Concept:

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.

  • Dissertation:

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.

Fees and funding

UK students
£580 per 20 credits
International students
£12,000 for the full programme

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MDes
    part time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Tracy Tomlinson
+44 (0)1332 590500