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Master’s in Illustration

The online Master’s in Illustration from IDI will prepare you for a successful career as an illustrator, and for related roles in digital graphics, online media, communications and marketing, publishing, advertising and many other fields.

Enhance your career by earning the same MA qualification as on-campus students at the University of Hertfordshire, 100% online.

Image: IDI Graduate Carlos Villarreal Kwasek

What You'll Learn

Design A Unique Creative Project

Create and carry out an entirely personal creative illustration project, exploring your own creative and commercial interests.

Develop Your Individual Vision

Set out your personal ‘manifesto for change’ and define your future contribution to the illustration discipline.

Pitch and Present Professionally

Learn how to present yourself and your work to a range of potential clients, employers and audiences relevant to your practice.

Become a Creative Entrepreneur

Pitch new ideas, exploit emerging technologies and devise original, innovative visual work that responds to contemporary visual narratives.

Embrace Global Collaboration

Engage with a global cohort of your peers, expanding networks and growing your awareness of the impact of international illustration practice.

Advance Your Professional Practice

Build on your established knowledge, vision and visual skills to reach a new, progressive level of confidence and success as an illustrator.

Why Choose IDI?

IDI was founded in 2004 with the aim of giving everyone the opportunity to get their degree in a design subject, without having to attend college or university.

We became a partner of the University of Hertfordshire in 2008, and have since grown to become the UK’s leading provider of online degree courses in art and design.

73% of our students gain a 2:1 or above
1000+ students from over 70 countries
100% completing postgraduate students pass-rate

*All percentage figures come from our performance in the most recent academic year, 2016/17.

Why Choose our MA in Illustration?

100% Online Master's Education

Gain your Master’s degree entirely online from anywhere in the world, with no face-to-face classes to attend.

Learn From Industry Practitioners

Benefit from the experience of dedicated, qualified tutors throughout your MA studies, all of whom are subject specialists.

Flexible Learning Experience

There are no set lectures or exams. All assessments are coursework-based so you can fit study into your own weekly schedule.

Save Money on Tuition Expenses

With lower fees and no travel or living costs, online study with IDI is much more affordable than attendance-based options.

One-to-One Feedback and Support

Get unlimited one-to-one guidance from your expert tutors, and help from your dedicated student support team.

Same MA Degree as On-Campus

Graduate with exactly the same Master’s qualification as on-campus students at the University of Hertfordshire.

Additional Benefits

There are also some extra benefits of our MA Illustration programme that you should know about.

Earn Your MA in Just 2 Years

Studying part-time around your other commitments, you’ll complete the programme and gain your Master’s in two years.

A Manageable Schedule

We advise 15-20 hours per week to complete your course activities, letting you fit study into your own timetable.

100% Responsive Platform

Our online study site is 100% compatible with your laptop, mobile or tablet, making access as simple as possible.

How Does It Work?

As an IDI student, you’ll have access to our easy-to-use online study site, where you can:

  • Log in at any time, from any device
  • Benefit from unlimited tuition, guidance and support
  • Communicate with your peers in secure forums
  • Receive ongoing feedback and course grades
  • Message your support teams at any time

Play the video for an overview of how you’ll study, or click below for a closer look at the study site.

Course Overview

  • Specialising in illustration, you’ll study several inter-disciplinary modules with students from related subjects.

    Click the modules to find out what you’ll learn in each, or read the programme specification for more information about the MA.

Student Work

The most rewarding thing is to look back at the work I produced at the start of the course, and see how far I have developed as a designer since then.
Matthew Wood
IDI Graduate

Once you’ve developed your knowledge and skills in illustration, you’ll have a final opportunity to showcase your creative portfolio (if you choose to do so) in our Graduate Degree Show.

Click below to see the exceptional design work some of our graduates have created over the course of their studies.

Start Dates & Schedules

The two-year online Master’s Illustration programme is taught across six semesters.

Each semester consists of 12 weeks of study, followed by four weeks of assessment processes.

While you’re studying, we recommend you set aside a minimum of 15-20 hours per week for activities, as well as additional time to read supporting materials and for discussion with your tutors and peers in the forums.

Click the image to see the schedules for each start date in 2018.

Are You Eligible?

We consider all applications for the MA Illustration (Visual Communication) on an individual basis.

To be eligible you’ll normally meet certain academic or professional requirements, but we also welcome applications from those with non-standard qualifications.

Read up on our entry requirements below, or see our handy admissions guide to see what’s required for your application:

Image: IDI Graduate Carlos Villarreal Kwasek

Fees and Payment Options

Studying online means you’ll avoid the extra costs (like travel and accommodation) that come with on-campus study.

The total tuition fee for the Illustration MA is £6,000 – there are a number of payment options available:

Payment in Full Payment Plan 1 Payment Plan 2
Total payment



per semester

6 instalments of £1,010
(Total payment of £6,060*)


per month

24 instalments of £255
(Total payment of £6,120*)


Read on below for ways you could save on your fees, or you can speak with an Admissions Advisor if you have any questions about fees or funding options.

Ways to Save

At IDI, we know that investing in your future is a big commitment. To help make that investment easier, here are some ways you may be able to fund, or save on, your Illustration Master’s fees.

Future Finance Loans

If you’re based in the UK, you may be able to apply for student loan funding.

Learn more »

Employers Discount

We offer discounts to self-employed students or employers supporting employees to study.

Learn more »

Student Discounts

As an IDI student, you’ll benefit from discounts on tools such as Adobe Creative Cloud.

Learn more »

Graduating with IDI

Graduation is a huge day for any student, and at IDI this is no different.

While you’ll study 100% online, when you complete your MA you’ll have the option of attending a graduation ceremony in the heart of Edinburgh.

Every year we welcome our latest graduates from all over the world to Scotland’s capital to celebrate their achievements.

Watch the video to hear from some of our recent Master’s graduates.

Tuition & Support

We believe that students studying online should get more support, not less. When you study with IDI online, you’ll be helped every step of the way by our faculty and support teams.

Application Help

Ready to start? An Admissions Advisor will walk you through your application in our easy-to-use admissions site.

One-to-One Teaching

You’ll benefit from continuous guidance and feedback from industry-experienced tutors, who you can message at any time.

Student Support

Your dedicated student support team will be there to offer any admin or technical assistance you may need.

Ewan Connor,
Programme Coordinator


Meet Your Programme Coordinator

As the Programme Coordinator for the MA Illustration programme, Ewan will be your first point of contact for any non-tutorial enquiries.

Ewan has oversight of all aspects of the programme, and will therefore be able to provide you with the best guidance and advice throughout the entire course of your studies.

He began working within the university sector in 2015, and is passionate about continually improving the online learning experience for students, working closely with our Academic Leaders to do so.

Further Your Career

Gaining your Master’s in Illustration can present you with a wide variety of career paths to explore.


Possible Areas to Specialise In

  • Publishing and Print
  • Advertising/Marketing
  • Digital Design/Animation
  • Teaching/Education
  • Fashion
  • Theatre, Film & TV
  • Arts and Cultural Heritage
  • Web Design
  • Freelance Illustration
  • Architectural Illustration
  • Medical/Technical Illustration
  • Signage Illustration

Some Potential Job Titles for Graduates

  • Illustrator
  • Animator
  • Graphic designer
  • Teacher/lecturer
  • Multimedia programmer
  • Production designer
  • Printmaker
  • Fashion designer
  • Arts administrator
  • Fine artist
  • Textile designer
  • Advertising accounts executive


These are just a few of many career options open to you – the creative industries offer many opportunities for qualified designers, and illustration graduates often go on to advance their careers in a great variety of roles.

You May Also Be Interested In

If you’re not ready for Master’s study, you may be interested in our undergraduate Illustration programme.

Or if illustration doesn’t seem right for you, you can click below to browse similar subjects that better suit your goals.

Illustration Master's start date reminder


Next start date:

18th February


Future start dates: June, October

Ready to Get Started?

To take the next step, get in touch or click ‘Start an Application’ below to access the Admissions Portal.

Our Admissions Advisors will then guide you through
the whole process and answer any questions you might have.

Applying is free, and there’s no obligation to enrol. Your progress will be saved and you can resume it at any time.

+44 (0)1317 779321

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