Graduate Diploma Creative Practice

Why choose this course?

This course is ideal if you already have a bachelors degree and wish to progress onto one of Kingston School of Art's practice-based MA courses.

The outcome is to build a strong portfolio of relevant project work which will demonstrate your developing intellectual and practical 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.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 2 days per week and self-directed study September 2023
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 in the top 10 in the UK for design and crafts in The Guardian University Guide league table 2022.

  • You will work on live projects, develop creative and flexible thinking, sound technical skills and consider a variety of approaches to any subject or brief.

The Art School Experience

As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.

Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines – enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.

Two students collaborate on a design project.

Course pathways

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

  • Fashion
  • Graphic Design
  • Interior & Product 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 Interior & Product 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. 

You will be guaranteed to progress from the Graduate Diploma to the MA identified in your Learning Agreement on the condition that you pass the programme with a merit or distinction. All other students who pass the Graduate Diploma programme will be considered for the MA programme of their choice.

It is a condition of entry to all our MA courses that students meet the necessary language qualifications.

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.

Please note

Optional modules only run if there is enough demand. If we have an insufficient number of students interested in an optional module, that module will not be offered for this course.

Graphic design and illustration student work

Entry requirements

Typical offer

  • A 2:2 or above honours degree or equivalent qualification in a creative arts or non-related 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:

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.0 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from recognised majority English-speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

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 (self-managed time)

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 learning and teaching activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of learning and teaching

Type of learning and teaching
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 300 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 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

2023/24 fees for this course

Home 2023/24

  • Graduate full time £9,000

International 2023/24

  • Graduate full time £17,000

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • Graduate full time £8,800

International 2022/23

  • Graduate full time £16,600

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 Wi-Fi 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 Interiors & Product 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, 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.

Course changes and regulations

The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.

Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.

Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.