Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Graphic Design MA

Awards: MA

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Graphic Design

This programme’s curriculum is student-led with an emphasis on independent learning. With tutorial guidance, you will negotiate and develop a programme of study based on personal areas of research and practice, beside set projects particularly in the first 2 semesters to support and inform your line of enquiry. You will initially focus on the research and development of a study proposal.

What will I learn?

With support from our team of experienced tutors (all industry practitioners or researchers) you will be encouraged to expand on your preconceived ideas and let your findings dictate future development. We expect you to engage in sophisticated design dialogue to push your ideas to their full potential. There will be a lot of debate and prototyping before any designs are taken into production.

Assessment and progression

The written component of the programme helps amplify and contextualise your understanding of process and this wider awareness of design feeds back into your practice-based work. You will produce written contextual assignments alongside studio-based work.

We are committed to providing you with enhanced career prospects and the ability to achieve at the highest level.

Our graduates are professionally vital and well-informed, and are able to enter the design industry with a freshness of approach and the flexibility and adaptability to respond to change.

A contributory factor in this is the programme’s Design Agency project, which won the employability initiative category in the Guardian University Awards 2013.

This flagship initiative enables our graphic design students to form their own design agencies, creating their own brand and working collectively towards a common objective based on ability, regardless of age or experience.

Edinburgh-based design agencies act as mentor partners to these student agencies, developing long-term relationships that allow our students to show, over an extended period rather than just a few weeks on placement, what they can contribute to potential employers.

Our graduates work in a wide range of creative career paths. The variety of projects, approaches and opportunities we offer enable you to apply your knowledge and experience of the design process and your considerable skills to many disciplines. Typically, our graduates leave to become members of a graphic design agency.

Our extensive links with industry, built through industry-led projects and staff research, and our range of visiting speakers, ensures you will be aware of the full range of career possibilities and have a strong footing from which to develop your career.

Previous career paths have included:

  • experiential design
  • packaging
  • advertising
  • digital design
  • interaction design
  • exhibition design
  • design research
  • marketing
  • retail design
  • multimedia
  • design management
  • education

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in graphic design or a relevant subject.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. Your portfolio should show your creativity and particularly your ideas: focus on the thinking behind your work rather than technique and show development as well as finished pieces. You should include a short description of the idea and context of the work you are presenting.

Your portfolio should:

  • display a high standard of conceptual awareness and development

  • reflect a clear ability to think laterally

  • clearly present your research methods and routes, and show the development of ideas

  • include evidence of your working process, from project inception to resolution, demonstrating experiments and explorations

  • demonstrate original and professionally resolved work

  • include high-quality images of completed work across appropriate and varied platforms

If you do not meet the academic entry requirements, we may still consider your application on the basis of your portfolio and relevant professional experience.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Please be aware that applications must be submitted and be complete, i.e. all required documents uploaded, by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered in that round. Your application will still be considered if you have not yet met the English language requirement for the programme.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2024/25:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 06 November 2023 14 December 2023
2 08 January 2024 29 February 2024
3 20 March 2024 10 May 2024
4 14 June 2024 24 July 2024

(Revised 18 October 2023 to add in the staged admissions deadlines for the 2024/25 academic year)

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. You won't be able to submit your portfolio immediately, but you'll receive an email prompt within a few days of submitting your application that will explain how to upload your portfolio.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU