Design and carry out your own visual projects, exploring the relationships between word and image, as you prepare for a career as a visual artist in a growing creative industry.
Find out more about teaching options and studying during COVID-19 in the Entry requirements section, below.
Whatever your artistic background, our Master's course will develop your visual practice in areas that are important for illustrators, such as visual sequencing and visual text. It will challenge you to cross the divide between fine art and applied art found on many undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, making it a unique course for the UK.
Studying in our purpose-built studios at Cambridge School of Art, much of your work will be practice-based. You’ll propose and undertake self-directed projects, attending group critiques and tutorials that will help you develop your creative skills.
You'll also attend a series of integrated lectures and seminars. These serve two purposes. You’ll explore different aspects of illustration such as the relationships between word and image, narratology and visual language, and receive guidance on research methods and critical writing, which you'll put to immediate use on the course as well as in your future career.
Throughout the course, you’ll collaborate and discuss your work with staff, visiting professionals and fellow students, giving you an invaluable opportunity to see how others respond to it. All of our teaching team are practising artists, so you’ll hear about the latest news and issues in the industry, and have access to sound careers advice.
Course Leader: Nanette Hoogslag.
Our course will prepare you for a career as a freelance illustrator. In recent years these roles have been increasingly in demand thanks to the growth of interest in artists' books, graphic novels, self-publishing, e-books and an awareness of small, batch publishing. You’ll also gain skills that will be useful in many other fields, such as bookbinding or teaching. You might even find a way to combine it with your current career, as Dr Katy Shorttle did, whose artwork on health issues was featured by The Guardian.
Or you might decide to move on to a research degree, like our PhD Fine Art.
Modules are subject to change and availability.
You’ll show your progress through your self-directed visual projects, which will include written project proposals, developmental and final visual work, and a reflective commentary. On the Masters Dissertation module, you’ll submit a 6,000-word essay. Finally, the Masters Project will allow you to build on all previous modules to design a visual project which shows mastery of your subject.
At Cambridge School of Art, we combine the traditions of our past with the possibilities afforded by the latest technologies.
Using our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond, we nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking to empower the makers and creators of the future.
Our academics excel at both practice and theory, making a real impact in their chosen fields, whether they are curating exhibitions, designing book covers or photographing communities in Africa. They are also regularly published in catalogues, books, journals and conference papers, their research classed as being of ‘international standing’, with some elements ‘world-leading’, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.
You’ll work in purpose-built art and design studios, with open access to our printmaking, bookbinding, letterpress and laser cutting facilities, and training from dedicated technicians. We have many digital imaging resources that you can use, including Macs, scanners and A3/large-format printers, as well as photography darkrooms, animation and moving image studios and 3D workshops. You can also borrow photographic and recording equipment from our University’s Media Services Unit.
As a Cambridge School of Art student you can also receive access and full training in all of our industry-standard facilities.
Optional field trip to Antwerp - 2 nights
You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments – though you won't need to pay until you've accepted an offer to study with us.How to pay your fees directly
You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.Paying your fees
It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.
We also offer a range of ARU scholarships, which can provide extra financial support while you're at university.
Students taking up a place on this course are eligible to apply for the Mark Wood CBE Art and Design Scholarship, which recognises and encourages excellence. Read more and download the application form.
You will be required to attend an interview of around 20 minutes, during which you will evidence your discussion with a portfolio or, if you are resident outside of the UK, an e-portfolio.
Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning in September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.
Due to the national lockdown all universities in England, including ARU, are only able to provide face to face teaching on campus for a limited number of courses. Visit our restrictions page for details.
In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic all our students can choose to either study face to face on campus or online only, and students are able to change their mode of delivery at given dates throughout the trimester.
For on campus teaching, we offer at least 4 hours face to face teaching related contact time per week for our undergraduate full time programmes supported by online learning using our established online learning systems. The number of contact hours vary course by course, and you can contact us for further information. The provision offered is subject to change due to the possibility of further Government restrictions, however the University remains committed to delivering face to face teaching and ensuring a COVID-19 secure environment.
In the event that there are further changes to the current restrictions that are in place within the UK due to the pandemic, we may need to move some courses online only at short notice to remain in line with Government guidelines and ensure the continued safety of our students and staff.
We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.
Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.
If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.
Check the standard entry requirements for IELTS requirements for this course.
If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.
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