Taught course

Graphic Design

University of Gloucestershire · School of Arts

Entry requirements

  • At least a 2.2 honours degree or equivalent in a design related subject.
  • We usually interview and will want to see a portfolio of work.
  • EU and international students need IELTS 6.0 overall (no less than 5.5 in any band) or equivalent.

Months of entry


Course content

Explore conceptual and theoretical issues in a stimulating and creative environment. This MDes Graphic Design course gives you the opportunity to extend your portfolio and move your creative work into new spaces and career directions.

You’ll be challenged to build upon your communication and design research skills and apply these to successful problem-solving at a master’s level. You’ll explore contemporary issues in graphic design whilst gaining insights into global trends and dialogues in design by crossing genres and disciplines.

We have recently developed a partnership with Cheltenham Borough Council’s climate emergency team, student work on live briefs that support the research and communication of the projects. Past students work, including animated film ‘Whale Carbon’, have been showcased at Planted’s Green Grads exhibition during the 2021 London Design Festival.

Study style

Learn through practical experience, with staff and industry professionals, work with design thinking theory in supporting lectures and workshops. Explore design management scenarios, global trends, ethics, gender and sustainability. You will be working through a range of project and research-based assignments with a professional focus on your future career aspirations

The MDes course has developed a collaborative partnership with Cheltenham Borough Council’s climate emergency team, who are delivering wide-ranging initiatives to achieve carbon-neutrality. Students will work on a live brief that supports the research and communication of the projects. This year’s work for CheltZero, and an animated film Whale Carbon by one of our students are both being showcased at Planted’s Green Grads exhibition at Kings Cross, during the London Design Festival . https://www.planted-cities.co.uk/green-grads-read-more

Design Process

This module allows students to gain a holistic appreciation of the strategic dimensions of design. Built on relevant theoretical perspectives, the module focuses on contemporary design process models and frameworks that take into consideration not only the designer, and the client, but also the target audience, and the wider socio-cultural context. Knowledge acquired is integrated in the development of an effective plan of action, and the compilation of the creative brief. The module encourages a methodical research-informed approach to design practice, bridging academic literature and professional practice, and aiming to equip students with a comprehensive appreciation of the process of design.

Design Citizenship

This module encourages students to develop a critical view to current socio-cultural and political debates relevant to design practice. The module consists of a series of pre-recorded or live presentations, followed by active learning sessions. The topics will be decided on a yearly basis and in accordance with contemporary developments within design research and practice. The schedule will be tailored based on the research interests of staff and students. This module aims to assist students in:

  • Developing an interdisciplinary outward-looking understanding of design research and practice;
  • Reflecting on current social, cultural, economic, and political themes and their relationship to design research and practice;
  • Analysing real life problems and producing critical responses.
Design Studio

This module draws together the work completed so far on the Masters providing students with the opportunity to apply what they have learned within the context of real world design agencies and their clients. The unit will commence with a taught element comprising preparation and master class opportunities, students look to work with clients and design briefs for up to two weeks, they will then have the opportunity to reflect on and present their view on their employability and future in the global design sector in the form of a career plan. By the end of the module, students will be able to draw on real world experience, case studies, to start to develop their professional careers, capitalise on networking opportunities and evaluate and plan their own career trajectories.

Design Management

The design industry in the UK alone is worth over £3bn a year and forms one part of an increasingly important part of the economy ‘the creative industries’. The design industry is changing rapidly and this has led to it facing some common strategic issues. This module is set within this ‘big picture’ context.

The module seeks to explore central issues concerning the management of a design agency in a contemporary, therefore global setting. It looks at how agencies as ‘manufacturers of creativity’ are currently managed and why this is so. It seeks to uncover and explore the inherent tensions of managing both creative processes and organisations primarily concerned with relationships (clients and consumers). Finally, it considers strategic leadership in terms of potential future ways of enacting design management, in a changing and highly competitive marketplace.

Masters Thesis or Major Research Project

This module allows students to combine the knowledge acquired during Semester 1 and 2 in order to produce an independent design research thesis that demonstrates their capacity as critical design researchers and practitioners. During the length of the module, specialist staff (allocated Masters supervisors) will guide and support each student with their project through one-to-one tutorials. Aims of this module:

  • Produce a substantial body of work that demonstrates self-initiative, self-direction, self-management and design research and practice innovation;
  • Investigate a specific design theme and produce research that provides new insights;
  • Demonstrate an advanced sophisticated and authoritative understanding of contemporary design research and practice;
  • Demonstrate a capacity to effectively and appropriately communicate design research and practice to audiences within and/or outside the design sector.

(The research undertaken during the Masters Thesis module could later be used as the basis for an MPhil or PhD proposal).

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details

03330 141414