MA Visual Communication

A practical course for specialist photographers, graphic designers and illustrators.

•  Join our international cohort – We welcome students from many countries including the UK, Italy, China, Taiwan, Mexico, Columbia and Bulgaria.

• Make use of workshops in photography, etching, letterpress, screen print, plastics, woodwork, paint preparation and casting.

• Apply for a wide range of academic workshops competitions and professional awards.


Why study Visual Communication?

This is a practical Master’s course for photographers, illustrators and graphic designers. We encourage you to work independently and collaboratively, while learning a shared visual language.

Working alongside other students and in consultation with your tutors, you will build a professional and critical context for your practice, in the process of developing each of your projects. Your growing confidence and increased ability, will be clearly evident in the portfolio’s you present when joining the profession, or continuing to study.

Visit Bath Spa University website page for application details

Course Structure and Modules

You’ll develop your visual communication practice, concentrating on practical, conceptual, historical and contemporary concerns. You’ll enter critical dialogue with other students in related fields and we’ll help you place your practice in an appropriate context; Our view is that by integrating your methods with those in related fields, you’ll become a more effective specialist photographer, graphic designer or illustrator. At a time when boundaries between these disciplines are changing – and in some cases dissolving – this is particularly important.

You’ll become adept at working individually and collaboratively. Through developing an individual specialist project, you’ll conceptualise, critique and contextualise your approach, whilst fine tuning your aesthetic sensibilities. You’ll also collaborate to produce joint projects, negotiating the final outcomes with your team members.

You’ll graduate with:

  • A broad informed outlook
  • A genuine confidence in your abilities
  • The skills necessary to succeed in your chosen specialism

Modules Module 1 & 2

You’ll examine practical and conceptual approaches to your work through academic workshops and presentations, identify your strengths and weaknesses and progressively improve and develop your practice.

Third and fourth modules

You’ll develop exciting collaborative new works, focused first on a geographical location and then toward a niche global audience.

Module 2 & 3

You’ll decide on the structure of your masters project and develop a collaborative or individual work that reflects your particular approach and specialist interests.

Teaching Methods and Resources

Field trips

There will be field trips to London and other national locations during the academic year. In addition we usually run a field trip to a foreign city. In previous years, the department has visited international cities including Berlin, Reykjavík, Paris and San Francisco.

Work placements, industry links and internships We do not arrange industry placements but will help you to take advantage of local and national opportunities and to seek the support of the Careers and Business Engagement team.

Teaching methods

You’ll be taught through practical workshops, seminars, talks and presentations. You’ll work with a largely self-directed focus. We’ll encourage you to collaborate across disciplines; however, in close consultation with your tutor, you’ll decide the best route for your practice. You’ll be taught by specialist lecturers and visiting speakers from a wide range of backgrounds from graphic design, photography, illustration and the arts. Teaching sessions will include critiques, discussions, workshops, gallery visits, theoretical discussion and hands-on technical direction. We’ll challenge you to expand your working practices technically and conceptually, through thinking, looking, talking and making new work.

Career Opportunities

The purpose of this course is to enable each student to question, re-establish and define their own professional practice. Individuals will control their career trajectory with a view to working in the creative industries internationally. Graduates from this course and our related courses have become graphic designers, illustrators, photographers and photo editors for design agencies, architectural and engineering practices, the M.O.D. and other specialist employers. Many also work on research projects in conjunction with fine artists, or scientists, or have gone on to become teachers.

Assessment Methods

You’ll be assessed through practical projects backed up by integrated research work in sketchbooks, related materials, and presentations. Your final project will appear in a public exhibition.

Entry Requirements

The usual requirement is a good first degree (2:1 and above, or the international equivalent) in a related subject area, in addition to a portfolio that demonstrates your visual ability. You may be selected based upon your particular work background, and your aptitude to the course. If your work experience is in a parallel field that is appropriate to the course, we will consider your application.

Application forms are available online and should be completed and returned to us either electronically or through the post. If you have any queries please contact the admissions department: Telephone: (01225) 875624. admissions@bathspa.ac.uk


How Do I Apply? (UK Students)

How Do I Apply? (EU/International Students)

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries For all enquiries about the course, please contact the MAVC Course Leader: Andrew Southall

Telephone: (01225) 876110.



Staff Profiles

Frequently asked questions

Who should apply?

We are looking for a range of students including new college graduates and mid career practitioners looking to shift the direction of their practice. We aim for a cohort of international students, each of whom bring a range of experiences to the course.

What is the dissertation requirement?

A dissertation is optional and can be discussed on an individual basis. It can form a part of the final exhibition. You will still need to attend all the residential workshops and contribute to group activities.

How many days a week is the course?

Attendance of at least one day per week is essential for all students full or part-time. Students have access to departmental studios and all school workshops. They also have access to a range or equipment that can be loaned on an individual basis

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