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 in one of four pathways: Fashion, Illustration, Graphic Design and 3D (including Interior Design). 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 2022
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

2021/22 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2021/22 (i.e. between August 2021 and July 2022), please view the information about changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2021/22 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2021/22. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

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 four pathways to choose from. Each will prepare you for further study in the relevant discipline.

  • Fashion
  • Graphic Design
  • 3D Design (including Interior 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 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 30-credit modules and one 60-credit module, totalling 120 credits. These modules run sequentially in teaching blocks 1 and 2 and are underpinned by a learning agreement specific to your course subject area.

Modules

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 have passed all the modules and have the necessary language qualifications, you'll be ready to progress to your chosen practice-based MA (via an application).

Core modules

Global Context

30 credits

This module supports students who may be transitioning from non-creative subjects or enhancing their portfolios in preparation for progression onto the MA programme, with an emphasis on global practices, and the principles of diversity and inclusivity. It encourages students to explore and experiment taking inspiration from the world of art and design.

It is delivered across Graduate Diploma Creative Practice's various subject pathways in Teaching Block 1 and offers a contemporary discipline-focused learning experience for students in The Design School. Whilst generic aims and definitive learning outcomes are shared across the Design School, the curriculum content of this module is determined by the Departments and formally agreed through Learning Agreements between the individual student, the Course Leader and the Head of School.

Through academic guidance and tutoring, students will participate in specific teaching and learning activities aligned to their creative ambitions. The module seeks to identify, enhance and realise cognitive skills, creativity, and discipline-centric knowledge, bringing their own insights and interests to projects creating a more diverse community of practice. This module offers a supportive learning environment for the individual's creative growth alongside the potential for collaborative project-based work that fosters interdisciplinary relationships with students from other subject pathways.

Formative assessment takes place throughout the module and students are provided with continuous feedback regarding their design practice. For summative assessment students submit a portfolio of collected works built up over the duration of the module, reflecting the taught and self-directed activities undertaken. This would include, but is not limited to research, conceptual and iterative development, practical visual and physical work, presentations, visual and material studies.

Discipline and Autonomy

30 credits

Discipline and Autonomy provides a discipline-focused learning experience for students in The Design School. It serves to equip students with the discipline-based techniques, skills and knowledge they require, fostering the autonomy so essential for postgraduate study. This module supports design students in their preparation for progression to Level 7.

The module is delivered across the Graduate Diploma Creative Practice's various subject pathways in Teaching Block 1. Whilst generic aims and definitive learning outcomes are shared across the Design School, the curriculum content of this module is determined by the Departments and formally agreed through Learning Agreements between the individual student, the Course Leader and the Head of School. With the support, guidance and training from the pathway team the students will gain practical skills and an introduction to research skills, critical thinking and ethical awareness. The module will foster a sense of autonomy, empowering students with a sense of responsibility for their transition to masters-level study.

Formative assessment takes place throughout the module and students are provided with continuous feedback from staff and peers regarding their academic progress. The module is summatively assessed through a portfolio built up over the duration of the module. The portfolio is used to enable Level 6 Design students to show evidence of knowledge and understanding of the broad critical and contextual dimensions of their discipline.

Creative Practice 2

60 credits

This module is delivered in Teaching Block 2 and builds upon your creative experience, practice and skills. Whilst 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 synthetic approach to developing your own creative practice 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.

Graphic design and illustration student work

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 documents 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

2021/22 fees for this course

Home 2021/22

  • Full time £8,600

International 2021/22

  • Full time £16,100

2020/21 fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • Full time £8,400

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • Full time £15,700

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet you can use around campus and in halls of residence. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses.

Printing

In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.

Travel

Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Travel

Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.

Fashion and 3D design student work

Facilities

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.

Changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19

Course information (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Composition of the course

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. number of modules or credits in a year, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Unless government advice instructs otherwise, Study Abroad programmes will take place in 2021/22. The safety of all our students is paramount, therefore, as per normal practice, all Study Abroad activities must also be approved by the University's insurers to ensure that students are adequately protected during their period abroad. We will provide updates as the pandemic situation stabilises and/or further government advice is released.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback from students and other key stakeholders. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Modules

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules in response to issues arising from the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles, module summaries and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed in 2021/22, e.g. moving those modules which can be delivered more effectively to the first teaching block and moving back those – such as practical modules and placements – which may be more difficult to deliver due to some ongoing restrictions.

In some cases, it may be necessary to delay placement modules which may then impact the length of the course. In these circumstances the University will guide students through the appropriate options available to ensure students are able to make informed choices.

Entry requirements (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a direct result of the pandemic.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a direct result of the pandemic.

Teaching (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to steadily increase the proportion of on-campus teaching. We will continue to provide a proportion of online learning, as experience has shown that this enriches and supports the student learning experience.

If the pandemic affects teaching and learning activities in 2021/22 more than we currently anticipate, the proportion of online learning will increase. However, unless a lockdown is enforced, we will ensure that all courses provide a reasonable percentage of their teaching and learning activities on campus.

Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you should still be able to engage with your course remotely in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, for example on courses with high practical content, your course team will be able to advise you on the options available to you.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced in 2021/22 the University will aim to deliver the course fully online once more. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled learning and teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours were not and will not be made as a direct result of the pandemic.

‘Scheduled learning and teaching' includes teaching delivered online, either live or recorded/on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. up to December 2021) should be available by the end of August. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2022) will not be available until the autumn. We make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible.

In 2020/21 it was agreed that scheduled learning and teaching could take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm, to maximise the time available for teaching in order to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing. This meant we sometimes had to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. If we need to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing in 2021/22 we expect to adopt a similar approach. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Assessment (changes for 2021/22 entry)

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. to the overall methods of assessments, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Changes are made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback received from students and other key stakeholders. Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for Year 1 of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

If social distancing or lockdown restrictions are in place in 2021/22, online alternative options to formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be made available to students where possible.

Staff (changes for 2021/22 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

Staff are engaged in Continuous Professional Development activities to develop their teaching expertise, as part of the normal enhancement processes, to ensure that course teams have the required breadth of expertise.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2021/22.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to be able to increase student access to on-campus facilities. Students will therefore have access to University computers and library facilities.

If, due to an increase in social distancing requirements or the enforcing of a lockdown, it becomes necessary to significantly increase the proportion of teaching delivered online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities might be restricted if social distancing requirements are enforced.

The University is committed to supporting students who are unable to access suitable technology to ensure equity of access in a blended delivery mode.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2021/22. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2021/22.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We are anticipating that placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead in 2021/22. However, to ensure students gain maximum value from placement activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year, when any impacts from the pandemic restrictions are minimised.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through the University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered.

In the interests of the health and wellbeing of our students, all placement arrangements must be approved by the University's insurers and the appropriate risk assessments made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. BSc (Hons), MSc, etc., as a direct result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Accreditation

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and in accordance with any professional body requirements. We do not anticipate making any further changes to courses in response to any issues arising from the pandemic and which would put at risk any professional body accreditation status.

Additional (changes for 2021/22 entry)

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government's advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.