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Illustration and Book Arts MA

Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Book Design Illustration Artwork: Publications

Course type


Course Summary

This course will develop your visual practice in areas that are important for illustrators and book artists, 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 aspects of illustration and book art, such as the relationships between word and image, narratology and visual language. And you'll 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 is practicing artists, so you’ll hear about the latest news and issues in the industry, and have access to sound careers advice. 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. Our course will prepare you for a career as a freelance illustrator or freelance book artist. 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.

Different course options

Full time | Cambridge Campus | 1 year | SEP

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date



A large proportion of the teaching and learning activities will be focused around the development and resolution of individual student research projects, with group critiques and tutorials centred on developing visual practice. You will also be expected to take part in self-directed study and the ongoing development of visual work on a weekly basis outside of taught sessions. You will be assessed by a portfolio comprising a written project proposal, developmental and final visual work, with a 500-word reflective commentary.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

Students should have a good honours degree (or equivalent), normally in a related subject. Students with professional experience are also encouraged to apply.