Browser does not support script.

Postgraduate Course

Graphic Design MA

Explore the rich forms of communication we encounter in every day life, from street signs to computer games, and newspapers to packaging.

Designing new products in 3D

Our Graphic Design MA will help you develop your creative, imaginative and technical expertise as a professional communicator. We will equip you with the skills to express your ideas in a creative and professional way. You will gain the technical tools, the academic curiosity, and the business confidence you need to pursue a successful and rewarding career in this field.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum entry requirements

    2:2 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview including portfolio

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Course overview

On this course we will introduce you to bespoke methods for designing digital experiences, with the support of our industry partners. You will also build analytical and practical skills to help you develop, test and deliver exciting design solutions for a range of communication challenges.

You will explore a range of media in the fields of graphic design, branding, illustration, moving imagery, and virtual and augmented reality. We will support you to create an exciting and contemporary personal portfolio of work informed by your research and practice.

Studying on this course will also ensure you are familiar with both virtual reality and augmented reality. You will have the chance to apply your creative talent and transferable skills through a diverse range of digital sectors so that you will be ready to work in industry.

This degree is part of a suite of courses. Not sure which one to choose? Take a look at the other masters degrees we offer:

Virtual and Augmented Reality MA

Product Design MSc

Interior Design MA

Course structure

How you will study

This course will take 1 year to complete and must be studied full time. You will study:

  • 5 compulsory modules
  • A Major Project

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

World leading brands such as Apple, Google, SONY and many others have adopted design thinking as part of their own culture for creating original solutions. It is an approach that helps you to question problems, assumptions and outcomes, developing empathy for any user group. On this module you will use a variety of research processes to examine, teach, learn and apply human-centred techniques to tackle design problems in innovative ways.

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

When working in creative industries, it is important to understand the significance of design processes within a business. By investigating a selection of design companies, you will gain an understanding of design strategies and how they relate to brand, product and service. To do this you will conduct primary and secondary research, and explore themes including:

  • Brand identity
  • Marketing communications
  • Target audiences
  • Unique selling points
  • Procedures for setting up a start-up company

You will also hear from industry professionals who will share their own experiences of how design has benefited their businesses. 

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

Gain a greater understanding of how design is reshaping the future. On this module we will consider how technology is shaping the world of business, and how designers are challenging established businesses to think differently. You will explore the concept of a circular economy, and learn how employing this way of thinking can benefit businesses. You will also look at disruptive technologies and the challenges they present. Some of the technologies you will learn about include: 

  • Augmented and virtual reality
  • Renewable and clean energies
  • Smart products and wearable technologies
  • Artificial intelligence and automation
  • Intelligent apps

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

Investigate communication platforms and media within an interdisciplinary field. On this module will investigate aspects of graphic design, editorial, photography, typography, wayfinding systems, and user interaction to support your creative practice. Engagement with industry professionals and the development of an in-depth knowledge of processes will enable you to make informed decisions in your final design proposal.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module we will challenge you to combine creativity with technical skill to develop something innovative. You will be encouraged to experiment and take risks in the development of your own personal voice. You will be making a real or virtual prototype in your chosen area, which will be tested and evaluated. This is an opportunity for you to develop a prototype that acts as a catalyst and foundation for your final major design project.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

During your final module you will complete a major design project, in which you will demonstrate your skills as an autonomous design practitioner and researcher. You will pursue your own direction, and either create a personal imprint characterised by practical outcomes, or document a comprehensive body of research.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

Teaching will consist of a mixture of group seminars and individual tutorials. This includes sessions with staff from across the university.

As a graduate student independent learning will be central to your study. We place a significant emphasis on independent learning, encouraging you to take responsibility for managing your own learning and its outcomes. Our Academic Support team can help with written English, study, research, and technology skills if needed.

We keep our group sizes small so we can get to know your creative personality and support your aspirations. We deliver your modules through:

  • Workshops
  • Visiting speakers
  • Field visits
  • Work related learning
  • Seminar discussions
  • Supervised projects

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


There are no formal examinations on this course. You will be assessed through live events and coursework, which will include:

  • Portfolio work
  • Creating artefacts
  • Presentation of visual works
  • Research reports
  • Case studies

You will receive continuous informal feedback on works in progress through a combination of showings, discussions and written proposals.

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    2:2 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview including portfolio

International students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Interview and portfolio

Entry onto this postgraduate course is subject to attending an interview.

At interview you will need to demonstrate examples of your own practice.

You will also be asked to complete a portfolio. This portfolio should show examples of previous and current media production practice.

We are happy to arrange interviews via Microsoft Teams for international students.

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

If you do not have traditional qualifications, you might be able to provide evidence of professional experience in the subject as an alternative way to meet the entry requirements. This is called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Appropriate references and records of employment would need to be presented to support your case for admission. 

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

UK 2023 - 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2023 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £8,000 for full time study

These costs apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

Funding opportunities

International 2023 - 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2023 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £11,300 for full time study

These costs apply to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

International Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for alumni

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Career outcomes

Where could Graphic Design take you?

This degree could lead you to a career directly related to Graphic Design, or it could take you in a completely different direction, using the many transferable skills you will develop. These include problem solving, developing arguments, analysing and evaluating information, collaboration, independent working, communication and more.

This will give you an advantage in careers such as:

  • Graphic design
  • Advertising
  • Photojournalism
  • User experience design
  • Concept art
  • Animation

Stand out from the crowd with postgraduate study.

Far fewer people have postgraduate degrees than undergraduate qualifications. This gives you something extra to set yourself apart in a competitive graduate job market. Those with a postgraduate qualification will earn an average of £6,500 a year more than those with only an undergraduate degree. (Department For Education Graduate Labour Market Report 2022)

Our careers service, LaunchPad, provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support does not end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain the experience and confidence you need to succeed.

Apply for this course

For postgraduate degrees you must apply directly to York St John University using the links below. This will take you to the application form you need to fill out for this specific course. 

To complete the online application form you will need to create login details. 

Please contact 2 referees before submitting your application. An automated request for a reference will be emailed to them as soon as you submit. Your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Fees and key information

Apply now

Course highlights

More to explore

students looking at map on a desk

Discover postgraduate study

Campus buildings and gardens on Lord Mayors Walk

Why choose York St John?

Get in touch