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University of Gloucestershire
Postgraduate taught



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Study type
Full Time
Course length
1 Years
Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham

Course overview

The MA in Illustration gives you the opportunity to navigate your practice within a supportive creative community, build confidence in your work, develop visual storytelling skills and succeed with a sustainable creative profession.

You’ll have access to excellent creative facilities and your own studio space to question, challenge and explore your image-making skills.

Underpinning the course is visual storytelling, as well as practice-as-research. Students are encouraged to take their work in their own idiosyncratic directions. There is no predetermined outcome – it is part of the course to develop your own themes and creative inquiries. The drawing and practical experimentation is framed as practice-as-research to provide structure and a theoretical rigour to your work.

We are home to the Cheltenham Illustration Awards (CIA), an international illustration competition that leads to a touring exhibition of highly commended entries, presenting an opportunity to exhibit your work nationally. Alumni have begun successful businesses such as The Potthouse Collective, have worked at Meri Meri, Jelly Armchair, and Inky Little Fingers, become freelancers, or moved into doctoral study.

Follow our current postgrad students and alumni news on Instagram.

Study style

Teaching is primarily workshop based and practical. There are also lectures as part of the Research and Context module, as well as guest speakers. The course runs across 2 days a week if full-time and 2 half days if part-time. Definitive information on the timetable can be requested from the Academic Course Lead (see staff section for email address).

Illustrators are encouraged to collaborate across courses and take part in illustrating the Creative Writing Anthology organised annually by MA Creative Writers. You will be supported to show your final work in a degree show to celebrate your work and present it to potential clients and employers. We have a careers week called Your Future Plan which supports professional practice in various ways from exploring your working preferences, to CV writing and interview preparation, to mentorship and business expertise.

Day trips are often run to Gloucester, Bristol and London and there are also biannual opportunities to go on international trips. We have connections with Cheltenham Literature Festival and work with the illustration department’s Pittville Press to create publications which are sold at print, zine and illustration fairs. There are also opportunities to sell your work at illustration and print festivals such as Fine Lines, which is run at UoG’s Park Campus.

Students explore a diverse and exciting range of ideas, skills and technologies on the course, and we can’t wait to see what you create.

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Entry requirements

    • You should hold at least a  2.2 Bachelors degree with honours.

    • You will be required to attend an interview. Please refer to our interview guide for further information.

    • A portfolio of work is essential

    • EU and international students need IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in any other component) or equivalent.

Course modules


Fees and costs

You're viewing fees for the course option. Choose a different course option to see corresponding course fees.

See the further details of fees and potential extra costs when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.

Students usually support themselves through a postgraduate loan, private savings, family support or sponsorship from an employer. For advice and guidance on your funding options, contact the Money Advice team at or call 01242 714535.

UoG graduates receive 15% off postgraduate tuition fees. Terms apply.

Start date Location Course code Fee (UK)
Total fee
Fee (international)
Total fee
Sep 2024 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham £5,380 £11,400
Sep 2025 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham TBC TBC
Sep 2026 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham TBC TBC

Ready to apply?

UoG Career promise

At UoG we create a climate for bravery and growth. We instil confidence in all our students, so you can graduate career-ready and meet your ambitions.

96% of our graduates are in work or further study*, but if you’re not in a job 6 months after graduating we’ll guarantee you 6 months of free support, followed by the offer of a paid internship to kickstart your career – plus we’ll commit to lifetime career coaching. Eligibility conditions apply.

*Graduate Outcomes Survey published 2024 and based on 2021/22 leavers

Discover our promises


Graduate career-ready and discover a range of exciting roles in illustration. Work independently as a freelance illustrator, design for graphic novels, games art, animation, storyboarding and visualisation for production design.

Make the most of personal Support

The development of each student’s creative practice in intensively supervised by professional artists.

Students looking at their printed advertisement design

Print and publish your work

You’ll have opportunities to print, publish and disseminate your work in collaborative and personal publications for our imprint, ‘The Pittville Press,’ which is actively promoted at book fairs and publishing events in the UK and internationally. You can also publish work through our Cheltenham Illustration Awards.

A woman hanging a picture in a gallery

Push your possible with a master’s degree

Increase your pay potential, specialise in a subject you love, or pursue your passion and switch careers.

UoG alumni can benefit from a postgraduate scholarship discount of 15% off tuition fees.

Discover the benefits of studying a master’s degree.

Female student in lab coat looking at lab sample.

"I liked the atmosphere, the campus and the tutors so much that I decided to stay for my MA."

“This course really helps you find your voice when it comes to illustration. I currently work freelance for the Bright Children’s Illustration Agency and I have a book coming out later this year called ‘The Lost Diary of Sami Star’. The course has been key in helping me to develop my portfolio and secure clients.”

Katie Kear, Illustration MA student

photo of student in illustration studio

"I was born in Tokyo and grew up with the Manga and Anime cultures of the 1970s and 80s. I moved to the UK in 1991."

After working as an animator with the likes of Duran Duran and Channel 4, I joined Redkite Animations and worked on a number of projects with DC Thompson.

In 2008, I undertook a residency at La Cité Internationale de la Bande Dessinée et de l’image in Angoulême, France. Since then I have chosen graphic novels and comic books as my main creative outlets and my current project is reflection on natural disasters in Japan, including the aftermath of 2011’s tsunami.

Teaching is a great passion of mine, especially supporting young talents to develop their own, unique artistic voices in various contexts, such as animation, graphic novels and children’s books.”

Fumio Obata, Comic Book Author, Visual Artist, and Course Lecturer of Illustration

Lecturer in illustration studio

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