MA Visual Communication Design (Management)

Visual Communication Design (Management)



Study level
Part time
1 year+
School of Computing

Course Overview

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.

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You'll have online access to a huge range of career development tools from the day you start studying.
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Professional accreditation
This course is accredited by the Chartered Management Institute, supporting your career and connecting you with likeminded professionals. 

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Course details and modules

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.


Module structure

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.


  • Design Thinking and Practice       
  • Design Management Practice        
  • Emerging Communication Design   
  • Collaborative Design I           
  • Collaborative Design II         
  • Design Professional Practice
  • Research Report 

Creative Situated Practice  

How do we assess you?

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. 

Study options

This course is currently available to students as a fully online programme, which gives you the convenience of being able to study from anywhere worldwide. 

Bettina Finna

Arden is for winners. Nobody will beg you to sit down and start working on your career, if you don’t do it yourself! At Arden, if you have an honest interest for what you learn and you want to reach out for more, you will be welcomed, helped, and advised. But to do that, you must be determined.

Bettina Finna
BSc (Hons) Psychology

Online learning

How does it work?

Studying the MA Visual Communication Design (Management) with Arden gives you the ultimate in convenience. You can enrol with Arden from anywhere in the world and study your degree from the comfort of home, without the requirement to attend classes on campus. 

Even though this course is offered exclusively online, you’ll be provided with access to all of the resources you need to complete your course through ilearn, Arden’s university campus in the cloud. This includes remote access to a 3D printer, which means you’ll be able to prototype models you create which we’ll then ship to your location, anywhere in the world, providing the flexibility of online learning without limiting the physical resources you have access to. We’ll also support you with getting access to the design resources you need, wherever you study from, including assistance with obtaining any design software you need to successfully complete the course.

Studying online with Arden University doesn’t mean studying alone. As well as receiving regular feedback and guidance from your course tutor, you’ll be studying with likeminded students who you can meet with through our Unitu community, and you’ll have access to community message boards to discuss your course and the topics being raised within it. 

Learn more about online learning

Entry requirements

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

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. 

Non-standard entry

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. 

English proficiency

  • IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element); or TOEFL iBT 90; or equivalent
  • Alternatively, evidence you have previously studied in English, such as a letter to show that the Medium of Instruction was in English, can be accepted

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.

Before you start studying

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.

Course fees and funding

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Meet the faculty

Cavell Ord-Shrimpton

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.

Cavell Ord-Shrimpton
Graphic Design Programme Team Leader 

Career prospects

What will I gain from this degree?

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:

  • Developing an appreciation of the management of projects in an evolving digital environment, including an evaluation of digital technologies relevant for design practice management. 
  • Critically analysing managerial responsibilities such as decision making, controlling processes, containing cost, maximising profit, and other key management functions. 
  • Examining your role within the society you serve as a design practitioner. 
  • Understanding how to work collaboratively within interdisciplinary teams and the design thinking framework to complete multiple projects on relevant global topics. 
  • Understanding how to develop as a strategic leader through strategic personal and professional development and the ability to provide world-class solutions to real problems in design strategy and leadership.

What can I do after Arden University?

Career Prospects:

Successful graduates of this course will possess the skills and knowledge required to explore career opportunities in the following areas and more: 

  • Design manager (with particular skills in developing human-centred approaches and processes and applying design thinking methodologies) 
  • Senior designer 
  • Strategic design manager
  • Innovation designer 
  • Design and brand consultancy 
  • Design communication management
  • In-house design and marketing roles
  • UX/UI Lead Designer or Human Centred Design Specialist

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:

  • Research and Development
  • Customer Experience Researcher 
  • Innovation Consultant
  • Experience Lead
  • Change Transformation Designer 
  • Service and Experience Design Lead

Industry skills

Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

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. 

Career Development Resources

Career development resources

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:

  • CV360, which analyses your CV and provides instant feedback for improvement
  • Interview360, helping you practise your interview technique in a stress-free environment and tackle some of the most common interview questions - as many times as you need to
  • Aptitude tests to help your improve your critical thinking, numeric, and logical reasoning skills
  • 100s of interactive courses focused on giving you the skills and confidence you need to excel in your professional life. 
  • My Jobs, where you can search employment vacancies, browse employer profiles by location and, or connect with other employees on LinkedIn.