Does your passion combine visual communication, design principles and management? Are you looking for a way to bring your design and business skills together as a modern industry professional? Our MA Visual Communication Design (Management), which is available as a fully online course, has been crafted to meet the demands of 21st century design thinking, business and beyond. This newly devised degree is unique in its focus and prepares you for emerging careers across sector.
The course gives you the opportunity to bring your creative talent to the foreground, while learning vital modern disciplines of business aspects both within and beyond the industry. Accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), this MA is for future managers who will use design leadership techniques and apply design management strategies to drive innovation design and successful outcomes in their organisations. You’ll become an exceptional problem solver, with highly transferrable business skills that are of real value to a broad range of companies across diverse sectors.
As you study with us, you’ll focus on four key themes: communication design, design thinking and practice, design management and business management. Throughout the course you’ll also benefit from non-traditional insights and approaches that will help you acquire niche skills not found on other degree programmes. You’ll acquire a broad understanding of what is at stake in the successful development of businesses, products, services, communications, environments, and brands, and you’ll graduate with the confidence and attributes needed to transform business culture and lives through visual communication.
Arden University’s expertise as an established provider of online degree education means we have the technology and experience to deliver this course to you fully online, without compromising the quality of your learning journey.
The unique and non-traditional quality of this master’s course is reflected in the structure of your syllabus. Course modules in design thinking and practice skills, paired with communication design, will help you better understand and demonstrate the unique aspects of physical, digital, or conceptual design practice. Throughout your studies you’ll be encouraged to consider sustainability and how to reduce environment impact through design, emphasising the concept of ‘social good’ and how this can be promoted through visual design communication. Additionally, the course gives you the opportunity to formulate, plan, and creatively explore a self-initiated industry-linked project in a specific area of visual communication design management with which you personally identify.
A unique feature of the course is that, unlike traditional design degrees, your dissertation or ‘Research Report’ module precedes the final Creative Situated Practice module. This means you’ll apply the content, learning, and assessment outcomes from your Research Report directly to your Creative Situated Practice module. This will help you achieve cohesion of learning throughout the all-important final stages of your degree, and gives you the opportunity to research and demonstrate the value that design can bring to a business and apply your findings to your career.
The MA Visual Communication Design (Management) is accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), with CMI best practice integrated into each module of the curriculum. In particular, the Design Professional Practice and Creative Situated Practice modules each have recognised CMI best practice embedded into their learning outcomes. Having completed these two modules, you’ll be awarded a Strategic Management and Leadership CMI certificate in addition to your master’s degree qualification.
Creative Situated Practice
Throughout the course you’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate your progress through a variety of innovative assessment methods which have been designed to help you showcase your flair and talent for design thinking and management.
The assessments will help you develop your skills in critical analysis and the evaluation of visual design communication, including its impact on organisations. You will develop a series of portfolios throughout the course, demonstrating your acquired skills and knowledge in areas such as collaborative and independent working and understanding the balance between business and visual communication design skills. You’ll also create Design and Personal Development reports where you will reflect on your own position as a contemporary practitioner and leader.
The final two modules of your degree, the Research Report and Creative Situated Practice module, have been designed to inform each other and will culminate with a final portfolio assessment.
At Arden University we consider applications on a case by case basis. If you have significant work experience, have qualifications you have gained elsewhere, or a degree or qualification that isn't a clear pathway to this degree - we are more than happy to discuss your application.
Standard entry onto the course takes place through a combination of portfolio assessment and evidence of a completed bachelor’s (undergraduate) degree at level 2:2 in a relevant discipline, such as: graphic design, multimedia and interactive design, visual communication, advertising and marketing, marketing and design, or IT. This list is not exhaustive, and previous academic qualifications are considered on a case by case basis.
Candidates who lack formal qualifications but possess significant, relevant experience will be considered on the basis of at least five years relevant work experience and a portfolio of work. The portfolio must consist of a minimum of 5-10 complete design projects that display design process and use of the full design cycle, with evidence of planning and research.
Students who wish to apply and who have not previously studies a related discipline will be considered if they undertake one of the pre-requisite modules from Arden’s BA (Hons) Graphic Design course. A minimum of 20 credits must be obtained in order to join the MA Visual Communication Design (Management) course.
We also offer an internal English test for applicants who are unable to provide the above evidence of English proficiency. More information can be found here.
Whilst you can read your study materials on your smart phone or tablet, to make the most of your learning experience, you will need access to a laptop or computer (we recommend one running the latest version of Windows), and a good stable internet connection.
Design thinking has proven itself as a route to solving difficult problems, because no matter how large the challenge, it keeps people and their needs at its core. When you study with us here at Arden University, you’ll learn that when designing for large systems, whether they are commercial organisations, healthcare providers, or private or educational institutions, the desires and needs of the individuals within these systems are what determines the outcome of the solutions you’ll create.
The MA Visual Communication Design (Management) gives you the opportunity to bring your creative talent to the foreground, while learning vital modern disciplines in the business side of the industry. The course will help you fully appreciate the contemporary design landscape from the perspective of visual communication, user experience (UX), and design studio management. Key learning outcomes embedded into the course include:
Successful graduates of this course will possess the skills and knowledge required to explore career opportunities in the following areas and more:
You’ll also have the opportunity to take the skills you’ve learned in design thinking and business management into a broad range of other sectors outside the creative industry such as, but not limited to:
The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) promotes excellence in UK management and leadership. The institute aims to boost career development across the management sector and connect you with likeminded professionals across diverse sectors.
As the CMI possesses a Royal Charter, they are the only organisation in the UK that can award Chartered Manager status to their members – the gold standard in management. They are also active in business policy making across the globe, and ensure that their more than 140,000 members are represented in policy decision making.
As an Arden student, you’ll have free CMI Membership throughout your studies, giving you access to a range of additional resources including a mentoring service and invitations to networking events both online and offline.
Once you’ve enrolled with Arden, our careers centre is easily accessible directly from inside our online platform, ilearn. The careers centre is here to help you discover the areas of your academic and professional life that you find most meaningful and rewarding, and then apply this to your career pathway.
Just a few of the career tools you’ll find in the careers centre include: