Graduate Diploma Creative Practice

Why choose this course?

This is a stand-alone, credit-bearing, one-year pre-masters course to prepare you for further study on one of our practice-based masters courses. It is ideal if you already have a BA degree in a related discipline and are intending to apply for one of our MA courses, but would like first to consolidate your practical skills and immediately benefit from the design education offered at Kingston University.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 2 days per week and self-directed study September 2020
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • This stand-alone, credit-bearing course will prepare you for postgraduate study. Content is tailored to the subject you wish to pursue.
  • Kingston University was ranked No 1 in the UK for design and crafts in The Guardian University League Tables 2020.
  • You will work on live projects, developing creative and flexible thinking, sound technical skills, and considering a variety of approaches to any subject or brief. Students have recently worked with Jeans for Genes and D&AD.

Course pathways

This course offers five pathways to choose from. Each will prepare you for further study in the relevant discipline.

  • Fashion
  • Graphic Design
  • 3D Design
  • Illustration

What you will study

The learning experience of this course will be tailored to your subject area (which you should indicate when you apply) by the relevant postgraduate course teams. You can choose pathways from Fashion, Graphic Design, Illustration Animation and 3D Design.

You will work within your subject-specific course peer group and alongside other postgraduate students, building up a strong portfolio of relevant project work that clearly demonstrates your creative strengths. Projects are designed to help you develop creative and flexible thinking, sound technical skills, and an understanding of the need for a variety of approaches to any given subject or brief.

You'll be expected to complete two 60 credit modules, totalling 120 credits altogether. These two modules run sequentially in teaching blocks 1 and 2 and are underpinned by a learning agreement specific to your course subject area.


This course provides the opportunity to develop your creative practice within the supportive context of a peer group and throughout your studies, you'll develop your own reflective practice and confident creativity. Once you've completed the year, you'll be qualified to progress to your chosen practice-based MA (via an application).

Core modules

Creative Practice 1

60 credits

This module is delivered in teaching block 1 and offers a bespoke and immersive learning experience for you in Kingston School of Art. Whilst working toward a generic set of aims and learning outcomes, the content of this module will be partly determined by your subject discipline, and defined in a Learning Agreement. Through academic guidance and tutoring, you will experience a range of teaching and learning activities appropriate to the development of your creative experience, practice and skills.

This module seeks to identify, develop and enhance relevant intellectual, creative and practical skills, and aims to offer a supported learning environment for the development of individual and collective creative practice and project-based work.

Formative assessment takes place throughout the module and you are provided with ongoing feedback on your work. The module is then summatively assessed through a portfolio of work comprising all the work undertaken throughout the module. This may include practical visual and material work, pieces of reflective writing, presentations, and visual and material studies

Creative Practice 2

60 credits

This module is delivered in teaching block 2 and follows Creative Practice 1 in building upon your creative experience, practice and skills. Whilst again working toward a generic set of aims and learning outcomes, the content of this module will be to a large extent determined by your own interests and ambitions, and in response to the learning and work undertaken in teaching block 1.

Through academic guidance and tutoring, you will join in a range of teaching and learning activities best suited to your own creative experience, practice and skills, but will be expected to establish your own individual mode of creative practice.

The module seeks to develop and hone your specific areas of intellectual, creative and practical skills in explicit preparation for further specialist study at masters level (Level 7). Once again, formative assessment takes place throughout the module and you are provided with ongoing feedback on your work.

The module is again summatively assessed through a portfolio of work undertaken throughout the module, and it is through this body of work that you will be required to critically reflect upon your own practice and to situate this within disciplinary and/or subject specialist approaches. This module therefore supports a more synthetic approach to developing your own creative practice, when compared to Creative Practice 1, and constitutes a 'capstone' outcome of your work on the course.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

  • A good BA (Hons) degree or equivalent qualification in a creative arts discipline.
  • Applicants with relevant experience but not necessarily the qualifications or disciplinary background identified above, and who demonstrate the necessary skills and intellectual achievement needed to undertake the course will also be considered.
  • All applicants invited for an interview are required to present a portfolio of work.

Portfolio guidance

For help in preparing your portfolio see our short courses:

Teaching and assessment

You'll work on practical creative projects, individual presentations, a research project folder, written assignments or reports, project outcomes and visual summaries.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy document and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

Year 1: 25% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 300 hours
  • Guided independent study: 900 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). There are no exams or practicals.

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 15–20 students on each pathway. However, this can vary by academic year.

Who teaches this course?

You'll be taught by a team of expert designers, creatives and artists, many of whom are active practitioners. Postgraduate students may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2019/20

  • Full time £8,000

Overseas (not EU) 2019/20

  • Full time £15,300

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • Full time £8,400

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • Full time £15,700

Additional costs

For this course you will be using a diverse range of media and materials. You may need to buy your own books, participate in study visits and/or field trips and produce physical artefacts for assessment. There may also be additional costs which it helps to be aware of.

To help you budget, the information below indicates what activities and materials are not covered by your tuition fees:

  • personal laptops
  • personal copies of books
  • optional study visits and field trips
  • printing costs
  • your own chosen art materials, such as fabrics
  • costs of participating at external shows and exhibitions

We estimate that over the year these costs could be:

  • materials: £200
  • field trips including entry to shows: £150


Knights Park campus is situated on the Hogsmill River, with a restaurant and bar opening on to the waterside. The relatively small campus has a friendly, creative feel and includes a reception area with a gallery, art shop and the light and airy open-plan library.

Workshops and studios

The workshops and studios are open for creative exploration and offer you plenty of opportunities to collaborate on projects and share ideas, whether you are studying or researching. Building on this open approach, there are many adaptable architecture studio and workshop spaces, designed by Stirling Prize-winning Haworth Tompkins, alongside active breakout spaces.

At the heart of the building are state-of-the-art workshop facilities, which include:

  • 3D workshops, with ceramics, concrete, resin-casting, plastics, metalwork, woodwork and a bronze-casting foundry, as well as a Big Build space for Architecture, set design and large scale model making
  • animation and post production studios
  • digital media workshop
  • knitting and sewing workshops with digital and analogue facilities, plus a working dress archive which includes pieces from 1750 to the present day
  • HackSpace (for collaborative, creative, solutions-focused projects)
  • letterpress and printmaking workshop, with digital and analogue facilities, to experiment creatively
  • moving Image workshop, with studios, editing suite, and industry-standard equipment
  • photography workshop, including studios, colour, and black and white darkrooms, processing facilities

All our facilities are open access, meaning you can use them whenever you want, and irrespective of what degree you're studying.

The University's museum and galleries

The University has its own on-site galleries, including:

  • Dorich House – the former studio home of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband the Hon. Richard Hare, a scholar of Russian art and literature. Now Grade II listed, the building was completed in 1936, to Gordine's design, and is an exceptional example of a modern studio house created by and for a female artist.
  • Stanley Picker Gallery – one of the leading examples of a university gallery in the UK. Its public activities are dedicated to the research, commissioning and presentation of innovative new practice across the fields of art, design and architecture for general, academic and specialist audiences.
  • project spaces at Knights Park campus, which you can book for the exhibition of large-scale work.

Resources in London

Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access world-famous museums and galleries.

After you graduate

After completing this course, graduates have gone on to work in design offices, publishing houses, interactive media, film and television companies, fashion houses and advertising agencies worldwide.

What our students say

It was a fantastic year, learning and creating artworks with talented peers in such an inspiring environment.

The most charming thing about the course, and what makes it different from others, is that because we all came from different backgrounds (fashion, illustration, graphic design. etc), our work always comes out surprisingly different creatively, even though we are working from the same brief. I was always inspired by my peers from different background and cultures.

Additionally, it's good practice before enrolling on an MA course. During this course, I figured out more about what I can do and what I can improve on in my masters degree. Throughout the year, I also developed my understanding of how to answer the brief of each project more precisely. It's a helpful course for getting on track for an MA.

Nai-ting Huang

I decided to study in the UK as studying abroad has always been a dream of mine, and having a good level of English is highly sought after by many employers in Austria, where I'm originally from. Kingston's Design School is also highly regarded in Austria, so I decided to apply. I was working in a design job at the time, but wanted to further develop my creative approach and design skills.

Since studying the course, my whole perception of what graphic design is and especially what is 'good' graphic design has really changed. I see the environment around me differently now. I also approach design projects in a different way, using conceptual designs to strengthen my approach. I've also learned to really enjoy my design work through using different methods such as drawing, scribbling and writing to enhance my creativity. I feel as though my personal style has developed more, and I now work as a freelancer to use these developed skills. I gained a lot of confidence as a designer through this course.

Magdalena Huber

The Graduate Diploma Creative Practice course gave me the opportunity to examine my practice, explore my creative voice and get to grips with key skills necessary for a career as an illustrator. My background is in textiles so illustration was a new discipline for me. I got to know a great bunch of home and international students in an open, nurturing environment, with the support of friendly course tutors and knowledgeable technical staff in the workshops.

The course focuses on individual growth; we were encouraged to be experimental, to push boundaries and develop new skills, on projects that respond to real life problems through visual communication. Access to state-of-the-art facilities in a fantastic location close to the River Thames, with charming bird life, the campus buzzing with creative activity and a well-stocked library all made my experience very rewarding.

The programme was challenging but allowed me to be highly productive through project work. The second module gave me the opportunity to pull new skills and ideas together in a final project. Ultimately the Graduate Diploma prepared me for the MA Communication Design: Illustration course at Kingston School of Art, where I continue to build my creative practice on exciting projects.

Sarah Ee

Links with business and industry

Kingston School of Art has excellent industrial links, both in the UK, and abroad and graduates are employed across the whole spectrum of the creative industries.

Each year, most of our students progress directly to study their chosen MA programmes at Kingston, or at other respected national and international institutions. The majority of those who progress to courses at Kingston successfully complete their degrees and go on to work in design offices, publishing houses, interactive media, film and television companies, fashion houses and advertising agencies worldwide.

Many of our students have established their own successful companies. Kingston School of Art has a strong presence in the global design community, and our students have an enviable record of employment.