MA Communication Design - AD432

Communication design is a critical tool that probes the complexities of contemporary culture — in, through and for society — while always striving to incite change. This research-led taught programme develops acute awareness with respect to heritage and a boldness to shape futures. Communication Design uses a variety of media to creatively communicate ideas and concepts that can inform, challenge, educate and transform lives.

Applications will open in 2023 for the next intake of students in January 2024


Please note, the next intake for the programme will be January 2024. 

The field of communication continues to evolve rapidly. Our students are encouraged to discover new possibilities and creative practices while developing the critical, creative and technical excellence needed to succeed within the fields of contemporary graphic design, illustration and moving image design. The MA Communication Design is aimed at building on knowledge and practice acquired at undergraduate level and within professional practice, with applicants proposing a research agenda that will provide a focus for their study. The programme is designed, timetabled and delivered in such a way as to enable design practitioners to undertake their study alongside maintaining their professional career.

What to Expect

The MA Communication Design operates across a range of communication design disciplines and methodological approaches and contexts. It combines core taught elements in research and critical studies, with students proposing a specific creative subject for advanced studio practice. The aim of the MA is to create a design culture that thrives on new ideas, new ways of doing things and new areas of exploration. We encourage our students to experiment and take risks in order to carve new understandings of Design and make technical innovations within, and across communication design. In challenging the purpose, methods and ambitions of contemporary communication design practice and research, students will identify opportunities and develop their own creative careers. The MA provides the opportunity for students to engage in an interdisciplinary educational experience, working alongside postgraduate students from across the School of Design. We encourage our students to explore contemporary themes that connect all the design disciplines. Building on the knowledge and skills developed at undergraduate level and professional practice, students encounter new contexts in which to develop their skill-sets and deepen their knowledge of design through a range of projects, before undertaking a major self-directed project.

Opportunities to Engage

The programme will reflect the changing field of Communication Design and continue to develop industry links offering relevant career pathways. This will be supported by a visiting lecture programme of leading industry and creative practitioners. The programme has the option of a further 30 credits of study in Design Internships or Design Incubation and Enterprise. Additional modules enable students to undertake industry placements, working in a real-world design environment; or pursue further research to support the commercialisation of their design work, providing an incubation support system for students.

Educational Standard

All applicants are expected to present an approved Bachelor degree at minimum level of 2nd class honours (2.2)

Applicants who do not meet the minimum academic entry requirements may be considered on the basis of prior work or learning experience (RPEL). Candidates may be required to pass a qualifying examination set by the relevant department before being accepted to a Masters degree programme. Attendance at selected undergraduate lecture courses at NCAD, together with related written work may be prescribed. 

You may apply for the programme if you are currently completing your Undergraduate Degree. NCAD will review the rest of your application If necessary, we can make you a Conditional Offer. When your degree is completed and you send us final transcripts we will upgrade this to a Full Offer

Essential Supporting Documents 

  • A recent CV

  • Certified transcripts of previous programmes followed

  • Certified copies of degree/ certificates and/or other appropriate third level qualifications bearing the official stamp of the institution.

  • Reference 1 (Academic - Head of School/Department preferred)**

  • Reference 2 (Tutor or Current/Recent Employer)

    • Some referees prefer to submit the reference directly to the college. If this is the case, please instruct your referee to email a standard reference to Please make sure all references contain the letterhead and the institution contact email address for the referee.

Research Proposal & Digital Portfolio 

Download Guidance Notes on submitting both the research Proposal & Digital Portfolio

After Your Degree

The taught masters programme provides an in-depth, professionally informed pro-gramme of study and studio practice. As a consequence of the range of skills acquired MA Communication Design graduates have access to a wide range of local and global opportunities in industry, services, and design consultancy or as creative entrepreneurs, designer-makers and educators. The School of Design actively participates in the EU-funded Erasmus+ programme, which offers recent graduates the opportunity to avail of internships in high profile design companies within the European Union.

Step 1: Click on the link below | Step 2: Fill in your details

Step 3: Upload your Supporting Documents

  • You can also submit your application even before you upload the necessary documents. 

  • You can not add new documents after you have submitted. 

  • Additional documents can be sent to and we will upload them on your behalf. 

Step 4: Pay the application fee & submit your application to NCAD

  • If you are applying for multiple Postgraduate Programmes then you are only obliged to pay the application fee once.

    • Complete your application as far as the fee payment page

    • Click save + exit

    • Email and let us know you are ready to submit and we will submit the application on your behalf. 

  • NCAD Graduates are not required to pay the application fee. 

    • Complete your application as far as the fee payment page

    • Click save + exit 

    • Email and let us know you are ready to submit and we will submit the application on your behalf. 

Applications will open in 2023 for the next intake of students in January 2024 

Notes on Making Your Application

The priority deadline for receipt of applications to postgraduate programmes starting in Sept. 2023 is Friday 31st March 2023. Applications made by 31st March are guaranteed to be reviewed by NCAD. If you apply after this date, we may not be in a position to review your application. 

Programme Team:

John Paul Dowling, MA – Head of Communication Design

John Paul holds a degree in Graphic Design and an MA in Interactive Media. He is heavily involved in typography, both in his own practice and in education. His work in typographic research, education and as a practitioner has been recognised in various capacities by AtypI, ISTD and SOTA. He has lectured internationally and featured in many leading design publications. He is currently Education Director, Board Member and Fellow of the International Society of Typographic Designers.

Admissions Team: