Cardiff School of Art & Design>Courses>MA Visual Communication Design

Visual Communication Design - MA/PgD/PgC

The MA Visual Communication Design course at Cardiff Met responds to the increasing urgency to overhaul social structures and systems to address the complex issues of our time.

This Masters degree in Visual Communication Design encourages you to critically position yourself in relation to human-centred and post-human-centred approaches to design research and practice. You will explore both speculative and solutionist approaches to design, working collaboratively and in an interdisciplinary context.

Alongside your own research projects, you will have opportunities to take part in shorter design challenges that approach ways to shape sustainable and collective futures.

Our Visual Communication Design Master’s Degree promotes material-oriented approaches to design. You will develop tools, methods and processes that enable new ways of envisioning, inhabiting, communicating, and disrupting complex issues, places, and futures.

You will be supported to focus in on a particular context, understand the correct methodological approach and apply the necessary tools to explore the complexities within your area of research.

You will develop your awareness of how and where your project and approaches might be applied, looking beyond existing euro-centric models.

You will take part in a range of workshops, lectures, testbeds, short projects, and exhibitions, and challenge the distinctions between theory and practice. As well as taking traditional approaches to research dissemination, you will explore varied types of academic knowledge production, such as experimental, open-source and multi-modal research publication practices.

Course Content

Our Masters in Visual Communication Design is driven by the student's self-defined project. To support this, each student is allocated a Personal Tutor and additional subject-specialist members of staff from within the School. Together they form the Supervisory Team.

The nature of the discipline is such that the course will rely on skilled practitioners as the key facilitators of learning, and, reflecting this, a variety of delivery mechanisms will be deployed. However, they will all have a common focus in that they will seek to develop the skills of students as proactive and reflective independent learners.

As a part of this programme students will study the following modules:

Semester 1

In Semester 1 you will undertake two integrated parallel modules:

  • ART7776 Vision (40 credits)

  • ART7771 Context and Methodologies Part 1 (20 credits)

Tailored to the MA Visual Communication Design programme, these modules are designed to cultivate your ability to position your ideas within a critical framework that highlights issues arising within contemporary Visual Communication Design and beyond, whilst advancing your scholarship in your chosen area of research.

Semester 2

In Semester 2 you will undertake two integrated parallel common modules: Idea and Contexts.

  • ART7773 Idea (40 credits)

  • ART7772 Context and Methodologies Part 2 (20 credits)

These modules are designed to support continued advanced scholarship to contextualise and put into action the research proposal you developed in Semester 1 in relation to global, ethical, social and political concerns.

Ideas and speculative prototyping achieved in semester one are explored further in semester two, with an emphasis on incorporating specific specialisms such as material futures or digital concepts. These will support the development of your Masters project, cultivating advanced skills in the utilisation of relevant technologies and materials.

Semester 3

In Semester 3 you will undertake one module:

  • ART7774 Output (60 credits)

This module is comprised of two integrated activities equivalent to 60 credits.

The Output module consolidates the research findings through the realisation of your major project to form an exhibition (June/July) and a written paper or article (September).

The MA Visual Communication Design exhibition will showcase your practical design work, including product and materials specification.

Exit points

  • On completing 60 credits in total students may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate.

  • On completing 120 credits in total students may be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma.

  • On completing 180 credits in total students will be awarded a Master's Degree

Learning & Teaching

Methods of delivery will include studio-based assignments, lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, student-led presentations and discussion, experimental and live briefs, study trips, and reflective analysis. All projects start with a live briefing, and a briefing document available via our virtual learning environment (VLE), Moodle.

PDP (Personal Development Plan): You will maintain reflective journals which will be submitted as part of assessed bodies of work; academic tutorials and the termly pastoral tutorials will monitor and respond to concerns arising across your learning experience and will focus on helping you refine your overall personal development objectives and learning style.

Lectures: Lectures deliver a coherent programme of study and general inspiration. They are supported by visual material and/or texts. The content may be historical, theoretical, contextual or practical. Where appropriate, lectures are structured to involve you in discussion.

Tutorials: Tutorials are meetings of a student or groups of students with a lecturer or lecturers, and are used in two ways within the programme:

  • Expanding upon material covered in lectures through an enquiry-driven problem solving approach

  • Remedial work to overcome any deficiencies in background knowledge.

Seminars: Seminars are designed to encourage articulate and analytical presentation and, through group discussions, to develop an understanding of the subject and its context. This is a central teaching and learning method particularly when relating the learning gained to your personal research and back into the subject of Visual Communication Design.

Seminars can take three forms:

  • Those guided by staff where texts, images, or artefacts are provided for you to present an analysis to your group.

  • Those where you select texts, images, or artefacts for discussion within your group.

  • Those where you present your own work or research findings.

This strategy is used to extend specific theoretical or practical concepts as well as introducing problem solving exercises.

Seminars provide you with valuable experience in presentation skills, blogs, wikis or podcasts, as well as providing staff with a method or assessing student-centred learning.

Practical workshops: Practical workshops enable you to practice and refine your skills in a supportive environment where you receive feedback from members of staff. Practical workshops represent a valuable transition between theory and practice.

Practical studio sessions: Practical studio sessions, emphasising the application of fundamental principles of Visual Communication Design, focus on problem solving and development of creative and technical solutions to design problems. Simulation exercises and live projects provide a stimulating challenge for you working both independently and in groups to experience real business challenges.

You are encouraged to articulate your proposals in an objective and critical manner and to develop interpersonal communication skills that are vital to an entrepreneur or innovator.

E-Learning: The virtual learning environment (VLE) is extensively used on the programme to enhance the student learning experience. Apart from its widespread use as a repository for learning material and resources, the VLE is used to engage you in your own learning. It is also valuable as a means of communicating, offering feedback and additional learning materials. Electronic feedback is issued through the VLE.

Critiques: Discussions involving staff and students are a central feature of the critiques in assignments and project work organised within the studio programme. Critiques are held at each assessment stage (interim or final) of an assignment or project in the studio-based modules where you present your work to your year group and tutor for feedback and debate. This event is a cornerstone of the learning process. Assignments are designed to ensure that you tackle a wide range of case studies or precedent that illustrates a variety of situations or solutions. The critique process ensures you learn from work being done by others as well as through your own efforts.


The learning outcomes are assessed within the modules through a variety of methods including written essays, verbal presentations and project work etc, as outlined in individual module descriptors.

Assessment takes place at strategic points in the academic year to enable and support your continued development. Group critiques and tutorials offer continuous feedback opportunities. Peer and self-assessment is used extensively.

Employability & Careers

The MA Visual Communication Design programme enables students to enhance their careers as, or to become, established designers leading towards a career, a PhD, or to a Professional Doctorate in either art or design. Cardiff School of Art and Design offers Professional Doctoral programs in both Art and Design.

The MA Visual Communication Design programme is designed to enable students to achieve the attributes of greater flexibility, adaptability, and individual responsibility and autonomy as professional designers or researchers. The course aims to develop individuality, creativity, self-reliance, initiative, and the ability to perform in rapidly changing environments as well as increasing competence with research skills and methods which will make graduates highly employable as academics and/or researchers, or enable them to develop an active and sustained practice as designers.

The MA Visual Communication Design enables graduates, as well as mid-career and professional practitioners, from within and outside of the discipline of Visual Communication Design to negotiate and examine strategies of design in the built environment.

All students receive individual PDP tutorials to support employability and life-long learning. Students will be expected to maintain learning journals evidencing continuous visual documentation that integrates opportunities for self-reflection in order to help them develop as effective and confident learners.

At the conclusion of the programme, a very high percentage of MA graduates establish or continue their professional practice, enabled by the links they have made with design studios or organisations associated with the visual arts and design. Some elect to continue with their Visual Communication Design studies at CSAD by undertaking a PhD.

Entry Requirements & How to Apply

You will normally have achieved a first class or second class upper division first degree (1st or 2.1 degree classification) in an appropriate subject, and/or equivalent professional standing or experience in a design, design crafts, or creative industries discipline, based upon assessed Accredited Prior Learning (RPL) or assessed Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL), or a discipline associated with their programme of study. Further information about RPL and RPEL routes can be found here.

International Applicants

Students whose first language is not English will need to provide evidence of fluency to at least an IELTS 6.0 standard or equivalent. For full details about how to apply and English Language qualifications please visit the International pages on our website.

Before making an application, EU/International students are asked to contact Dr Fiaz Hussain to discuss the necessary procedures in relation to studying with us.

How to Apply

Applications for this course should be made direct to the university via our self-service facility. For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at

All students are interviewed for this course. Where a face-to-face interview is not possible, these will be conducted on Microsoft Teams.

Additional Information

Tuition Fees and Financial Support
For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available. Please refer to

Part-time fees
Charges are per Single Module unless specified: Undergraduate = 10 Credits; Postgraduate = 20 Credits Generally we find most students will complete 60 credits per year for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate study; to obtain a true costing please clarify this by contacting the admissions tutor directly.

You will receive access to materials used as part of timetabled workshop inductions. You will also have access to and use of recycled materials within workshop areas where available. In general you will need to purchase materials for individual projects used in studio and workshops as appropriate.

Please note that costs will vary depending upon the scale and individual requirements of your work. In addition one-off purchases of personal tools and equipment will need to be budgeted for. Other costs such as printing, the purchase of textbooks; and cost of optional placements will also need to be accounted for by you.

In the main, no charges are made for the use of equipment. Access to Cardiff FabLab is subject to negotiation; it offers reduced fees for student use.

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For general information about CSAD Postgraduate courses, please contact the Admission Tutor, Amelia Huw-Morgan on  

For course specific enquiries, please contact the Programme Director, Carol Breen on

We endeavour to deliver courses as described and will not normally make changes to courses, such as course title, content, delivery, and teaching provision. However, it may be necessary for the university to make changes in the course provision before or after enrolment. It reserves the right to make variations to content or delivery methods, including discontinuation or merging courses if such action is considered necessary. Please read our Terms and Conditions for the full information.

Key Course Information

Place of Study: 
Llandaff Campus

Cardiff School of Art & Design

Course Length:
One year full-time or two years part-time.

Course Disclaimer
We endeavour to deliver courses as described and will not normally make changes to courses, such as course title, content, delivery, and teaching provision. However, it may be necessary for the university to make changes in the course provision before or after enrolment. It reserves the right to make variations to content or delivery methods, including discontinuation or merging courses if such action is considered necessary.

Please read our Terms and Conditions for the full information.