• Overview
  • Why Study
  • Modules
  • Start Dates
  • Entry and Portfolio Requirements
  • Fees and Discounts
  • Careers
  • Student Discounts and Offers
  • Tutors
  • Course Duration


On the MA Graphic Communication award, you will develop a broad and in-depth understanding of the graphic design industry, studying a wide range of topics, from theoretical ideas to commercial application. You will also learn about the role of contemporary graphic design practice within historical, cultural, aesthetic and technological contexts.

In your practical work, you will be encouraged to be open and curious, and to experiment with your own visual voice by engaging intellectually with the design process. You will expand your portfolio and explore a varied range of media applicable to your individual practice.

You will also develop various methods of representation and presentation in order to produce an ambitious, cohesive body of work.

Download the Programme Specification for detailed information about the course.

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Why Study an MA in Graphic Communication

Building on your existing qualifications and experience, studying for a master's degree can give you an edge over other designers in a highly competitive market. Our tutors will support you in developing your existing practice towards gaining advanced knowledge of the graphic design industry, and offer valuable feedback, as you build an outstanding portfolio that will stand out from the crowd when seeking employment.

As an IDI student, you will be enrolled on the online Postgraduate Programme in Art and Design, specialising in graphic communication. You will develop a project proposal through a series of practical modules, which are supported by modules covering research, critical thinking and the creative industries. This award leads to an internationally recognised MA degree certificate in Graphic Communication from the University of Hertfordshire.


ma gc modules

On all of the MA courses at IDI, you will study core modules alongside students from other disciplines. However, you are encouraged to approach them from the point of view of your own practice.

The core modules are:

  • Postgraduate Study in Context
  • Research and Practice
  • Creative Industries: Global Perspectives
  • Critical Studies
  • Creative Industries: Business Perspectives
  • Creative Industries: Professional Presentations

Click here for more information about these modules.

Throughout the course, you will build a foundation for your Major Study. You will also complete an outline or proposal and will develop the knowledge and skills required to implement your plans.

You will also undertake three modules centred on your discipline:

ma gc modules 1

Practice 1: Art and Design

Your approach in Practice 1 should reflect your individual interests within the evolving contemporary discipline of graphic communication, and may include self-initiated design briefs and emerging design practice within: editorial design, branding and visual identity, packaging design, signage and wayfinding, social design and campaigns, information design, graphic design for exhibitions and environments, graphic arts, and graphic design for screen, web and moving image. In the Practice 1 module, you will develop a first exploratory portfolio of design work, identifying new directions for your creative practice that you will take forward into the Practice 2 and Major Study modules.

ma gc modules 2

Practice 2: Art and Design

Building on the Practice 1 module, you will continue to develop your graphic communication project. Typically, you will work on a more in-depth body of graphic design work in negotiation and discussion with your tutor. As in the Practice 1 module, your focus will be within an appropriate sector of contemporary graphic design. Taking this further, you will be encouraged to consider interdisciplinary contexts, wider contemporary debates and your professional audiences, in order to expand your practice.

Major Study

Building on your exploratory development work in the earlier practice modules, the Major Study provides an opportunity to consolidate your knowledge through realising an ambitious project. By bringing together various practical, theoretical, commercial, and other contextual concerns to complete a sustained body of original and innovative practice in graphic design, you will demonstrate the communication, professional, conceptual, and creative skills that you have acquired throughout the course.

The realisation of this body of work is supported by online discussions involving students studying all disciplines of the Postgraduate Programme in Art and Design, as well as individual feedback from your tutor.

MA Graphic Communication projects are expected to reflect development and realisation of your personal interests within the contemporary discipline of graphic design. This might include projects suitable for public and professional audiences in an appropriate sector of contemporary graphic design, including emerging interdisciplinary practices.

Submissions typically include material artefacts, designed responses and web-based or other digitised work that demonstrates competence to an advanced level. The artefacts will be supported by a written reflective statement of around 3,000 words in which you will contextualise your own work and demonstrate your knowledge of theories of visual communication.

As in the Practice 1 and 2 Art and Design modules, you will work with a specialist subject tutor from your own discipline.

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Start Dates

Most of our applicants are keen to start their studies as soon as possible, so we have intakes in February, June and October. Depending on the course you choose, you may be able to start in any intake, but there could be some restrictions. You can apply directly on our website at any time for any future intake and your Admissions Advisor will be able to confirm when the next start date for your chosen course will be.

Even if you are unsure about when you would like to start, or which course is best for you, contact us and a member of our Student Recruitment Team will be able to advise you.

start dates

Entry and Portfolio Requirements

ma gc entry

We consider all applications on an individual basis and welcome applications from those with non-standard qualifications and from a variety of backgrounds.

To be eligible to study on our Postgraduate Programme in Art and Design, you would normally have an honours degree (2:2 or above) in a relevant field to the award you want to study. If you do not have a degree, you will need to show that you have appropriate professional experience and skills to benefit from the course.

We might also be able to take into account Accredited Prior Learning (APL). If your degree is in a field that is not art and design related, you will need appropriate knowledge, skills or experience in the field you wish to study, or be able to show that you are prepared for intensive new learning.

In all cases you will need to demonstrate, through a portfolio of creative work and personal statement, your preparedness for study at postgraduate level. Once you apply, you will have access to our online Admissions Area, where a member of the Admissions team will advise and guide you through the application process. Applying is free of charge and, after applying, you are not committed to enrolling on the Postgraduate Programme or paying any fees.

International Applicants

For those whose first language is not English, an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.5 or equivalent is required. Contact us for further details.

This programme is subject to the University of Hertfordshire's principles, policies, regulations and procedures for the admission of students to undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes and will take account of university policy and guidelines for assessing the two types of APL - Accredited Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) and Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

Portfolio Guidelines

In your portfolio of creative work, it is particularly important that you demonstrate that your work and experience is at the appropriate level to undertake your chosen course. Please ensure that you submit:

  • High quality and well-presented project work which demonstrates a successful outcome
  • Details of the research and development processes you used to complete the work

If your application is centred on a previous qualification earned at another institution, select previous project work that exhibits your strengths. If it is based on professional experience, choose work that displays an imaginative, creative and innovative approach.

Here is an overview of what should be included in your portfolio:

  • 'About me' section
    • Previous qualifications
    • Recent, relevant experience
    • Key skills
    • Future aspirations
    • Creative process
    • Practice development
    • Additional information
  • Evidence of visual research and research processes
  • Evidence of your working methods and development processes
  • Evidence of critical analysis and evaluation
  • Examples of work from previous studies and/or professional experience

Your portfolio should be delivered in one of the following formats:

  • As a PDF document – comprised of images or pages.
  • As a web portfolio link – preferably as a portfolio page or set of pages with carefully selected recent work.

For more detailed information on what your portfolio should include click here.

Reading and Materials Requirements

During your studies with IDI you will need access to specific pieces of equipment, which will enable you to complete your coursework. Sourcing these will be your responsibility and any costs incurred are not included in your fees. For further information about the equipment requirements, please refer to the programme Reading and Materials List.

The requirement is to have access to the materials, not necessarily to own them. For example, they may be accessed in an open access studio, media resource centre, library, StudyNet or community centre. Equipment and materials can be acquired as you work through the course materials, they do not necessarily have to be purchased at the start of your course and what you require may vary in quantity and range depending on the work you carry out.

If you have any problems gaining access to the equipment required, you can contact our Admissions Advisors who will be able to give you more information and answer any queries.

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Fees and Discounts


  • Our standard fees for postgraduate level courses are £6,000



From £510 per month
  • Three instalments of £2,020
    Total payment of £6,060*
  • 12 instalments of £510
    Total payment of £6,120*


From £255 per month
  • Six instalments of £1,010
    Total payment of £6,060*
  • 24 instalments of £255
    Total payment of £6,120*

*Please note these figures include a small administration fee.

Employers and self-employed student discounts

We offer a discount to employers who are supporting their employees to study with IDI. Students who are self-employed can also benefit from this discount.

We can also arrange a group price for employers who want to support a number of employees.

For details of payment options and to find out how this could benefit you and your business please contact Danielle Gray on 0131 777 9321 or Freephone 0800 917 1118 or by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Future Finance student loans

IDI are partnered with Future Finance to offer current and prospective students on the following courses the opportunity to apply for loans:

  • All MA courses
  • All BA (Hons) courses

To find out more about fees, funding and Future Finance student loans, please click here.


Should our fees be subject to an increase at any time during your studies, your fees will be fixed at the level you paid at the start of your course, as long as you follow your original pattern of study.

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ma gc careers

The MA Graphic Communication award will prepare you for a career as a graphic designer and also for design-related roles in digital graphics, online media, communications and marketing, publishing, advertising and various other related fields.

If you think you might be more suited to an undergraduate degree, you might want to consider our BA (Hons) Graphic Design programme.

You will have lots of opportunities to generate a strong portfolio of graphic design projects that will help you to secure a job or develop your career further in this rewarding, vibrant and growing industry.

Potential Careers:

  • Creative Director
  • Environmental Graphic Designer
  • Art Director
  • Graphic Design Consultant
  • Graphic Artist
  • Promotional Designer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Print Layout Designer
  • Teacher/Lecturer
  • Wayfinding and Signage Designer
  • Production Designer
  • Exhibit Designer
  • Digital Printing Specialist
  • Integrated Marketing Designer
  • Package Designer
  • Graphic Designer for Film/Television
  • Illustrator
  • Graphic Design Teacher/Lecturer
  • Freelance/Independent Designer
  • Motion Graphic Designer
  • Web Designer
  • Animator
  • Multimedia Designer
  • Editorial Designer


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Student Discounts and Offers

Through partnerships and initiatives, we are able to offer our students institutional discounts on various products and services to help you gain access to quality materials at an affordable fee.

Adobe Creative Cloud

As an IDI student, you would be eligible for a discount of up to 65% off Adobe Creative Cloud* on production of an approved 'Proof of Student Status' letter.

*Adobe Creative Cloud is only available in selected countries. Find out if you can gain access from where you live by clicking here.

Graphics Direct

IDI students can also receive additional discounts. Enter ‘IDI’ at the Graphics Direct checkout and you will receive an extra 10% off, even on discounted and sale items.


All of our tutors are professionals with first class educational experience. We guarantee our students a consistently high standard of tuition, guidance and support across all of the online art and design courses that we deliver.

Click on the images below to find out more about their practice and experience:

  • Dr Alessandra Campoli

  • Joanna Kane

  • Tim Bones

Course Duration

The MA Graphic Communication award is currently available for part-time study. Subject to minimum cohort numbers, the course can also run full-time. Please contact one of our Student Recruitment Advisors to register your interest in full-time study.

  • Part-time - Completed in six semesters (two years)
  • Full-time - Completed in three semesters (one year)

Expected minimum studying time commitment per study mode:

  • Part-time - 15 to 20 hours per week
  • Full-time - 30 hours per week

The hours per week indicate time spent on directed activities. However, you will also need to consider the additional time needed to read support materials and other resources, upload your work to the IDI-Study site, communicate with your tutors and interact with your peers within the forums.