Courses in Communication Design at The Glasgow School of Art

BA(Hons)  Communication Design ( 4 Years )
Masters  / M.Des Communication Design ( 2 Years )
Masters / M.Des in Graphics, Illustration, Photography ( 1 Year )

Communication Design

A 4 Year BA(Hons) course in Visual Communication allowing students to specialise in graphic design, illustration and photography or develop interdisciplinary skills in traditional and digital media. Staff are practising designers, illustrators, printmakers, photographers, and typographers working internationally. Our graduates often progress to employment with leading design groups including Browns, Graphic Thought FacilityMoving Brands, LustMade Thought, and Dreamworks.

We place a lot of importance on the course being project led and studio based. Students have dedicated studio space, access to workshops and facilities across the GSA as well as high end graphic and photographic facilities within the department.

‘ The Visual Communication Design course at GSA is a place where individuals can truly flourish. With access to excellent facilities and the support of first class technicians and broad minded tutors, I have been not only educated in the solid principles of successful design, but encouraged to push myself to question and transcend established boundaries in search of my own unique voice. The modest number of students in the school, coupled with the vibrancy of Glasgow as a cultural centre, offered a rich learning environment quite unlike anywhere else I have experienced.’

– Alida Sayer, Illustration graduate 2009

Several of our graduates have been featured in Creative Review as ‘ones to watch’ including recently Sisi Lu, (September 2011 issue) who was also awarded a Gold Medal Award from the New York Festivals Television & Film Professional Awards while still an undergraduate. Graduates of the department have repeatedly won best of show awards at Design & Art Direction’s ‘New Blood’ exhibition in London ( 25% of the awards in 2006 and 20% of the awards in 2004 ). Design Week listed the School of Design at the GSA as “leaders in design education” and one of its HOT 50. The Glasgow School of Art is also a Partner by Design with Adobe ( a partnership with internationally recognised centres of design excellence), with several of the staff also participate as Adobe Education Leaders. This ensures students have access to the latest software and that staff are in dialogue with Adobe to shape future versions of design software.

Graduates of the Department include John Hamilton (Art Director, Penguin UK), David McKendrick ( Art Director, Esquire ), Mike Montgomery (Senior Designer, Graphic Though Facility) and Sharon Colman (Dreamworks), Oscar nominated in 2006 for best animated short film.

How to Apply to BA(Hons) Communication Design

For the latest information on how to apply and full entry requirements please check;

For details of what is assessed in a portfolio, advice on portfolio preparation and examples of previously successful submissions please visit;

For further information and up to the date fees information contact the registry at;

Telephone: +44 (0)141 353 4512.

Postgraduate Courses /

M.Des in Communication Design

The Master of Design (M.Des) in Visual Communication is a two year programme delivered by the Department of Visual Communication at Glasgow School of Art. The programme is practice-led and process-oriented in relation to definitions of broad design practices. It is also committed to the acquisition of principles within design theory relating to educational and commercial contexts. The programme provides rigorous methods for the interrogation of visual and textual research, positing questions relating to the role of the designer in society, and fundamental questions regarding personal and social responsibility.

The programme aims to:

  • Offer each individual student the opportunity to critically develop his or her own work in the context of a rigorous but supportive intellectual climate;
  • Encourage students to identify and explore key contextual issues relevant to their practice as contemporary designers;
  • Develop students’ awareness and knowledge base in communication design philosophy, theory, practice and research in the context of innovative forms of communication design;
  • Enable Communication Design graduates to critically evaluate their work and that of their peers in the context of contemporary design practices;
  • Enable students to achieve the highest possible standards in their work, so that graduates have the confidence, maturity and intellectual and interpersonal skills necessary to function successfully in the communication design field;
  • Equip students with the highly developed intellectual, practical and interpersonal skills deemed necessary for careers in design.

M.Des in Graphics / Ilustration / Photography
The M.Des in Graphics / Illustration / Photography is run alongside the two year M.Des in Communication Design. It is a one year, 180 credit masters programme, with three subject specific pathways. The M.Des in Graphics / Illustration / Photography is designed specifically for students wishing to explore, at postgraduate level, subject specialisms in one of these areas. Applications to the programme should make clear which pathway of study the student is interested in studying. The M.Des in Graphics / Illustration / Photography aims to furnish students with the research skills and methods for stimulating innovative design practices within a variety of social, economic and technological contexts and services. The programme is delivered via a series of taught workshops, tutorials, set and elective projects, lecture and seminar based sessions and self-directed learning. The emphasis of the programme rationale is on contemporary practices of Visual Communication, underpinned by theoretical research, and the social, technological and economic contexts of contemporary design practice. Students on the programme are expected to engage in a high level of self-directed learning, research and independent critical reflection as well as participating in taught elements.

Programme Structure
Term 1 (15 Weeks, Sept – Jan);
Core Research Skills for Postgarduates (15 credits)
Design Theory (15 Credits)
Studio Practice (30 credits)Term 2 (15 Weeks, Feb – May);
Elective (15 credits), chosen from the broad menu available at GSA.
Studio Practice (45 credits)Term 3 (15 Weeks, June – Sept);
Studio Practice (45 credits)
Critical Reflective Journal (15 Credits)

How to Apply

From October 2011, all applicants for graduate study at GSA will be made through UKPASS. Details regarding this service can be found on both links below:

Further Information

Applications for taught postgraduate programmes may be submitted at any time during the academic cycle. However, interviews are held, and places offered, from the beginning of the academic year (September); early application to ensure consideration for a place is therefore encouraged. An application for the M.Des in Communication Design should include the application form, personal statement, two references, proof of IELTS 6.0 (if appropriate), and a portfolio on CD of visual material.

For further information about the masters programmes, please contact;
Paul Stickley, Programme Leader, Communication Design.
Email: / Telephone: +44 (0) 141 566 1417



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