Visual Communication Design, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
  • English (schedule IELTS)
University rank #137 (QS) ,
Visual Communication is changing rapidly. Design thinking now includes new forms such as story-telling, experiences, and data visualization. The Visual Communication Design programmes at Aalto University represent an expanded trans-media discipline of communication and expression.


Learning outcomes
Upon earning the master’s degree, students will be able to:
  • apply design knowledge and skills in multidisciplinary productions in the field of visual communication. These productions might take the form of information visualisation, concept design, visual narrative or design that is investigative and critical in nature;
  • use visual analysis, design research methodologies and academic writing to investigate design-related research questions;
  • engage other disciplines and industries using design thinking and methods, authoring both content and form in order to respond with targeted design narratives;
  • situate design responses within cultural, social, conceptual, and ecological contexts using ethnographic research to create an awareness of users and audiences, both local and global, with a sensitivity to cultural perspectives and an empathetic feedback loop.

Students with a Concentration in Information Design at Aalto University will also be able to:

  • create compelling and insightful data visualizations, infographics and maps, based on a variety of different data;
  • effectively deploy a wide range of different information and research from a variety of fields, including scientific, technical and economic data;
  • design and program interactive data visualizations that demonstrate awareness of current professional standards in user interface and new media design.

Students with a Concentration in Visual Narrative will also be able to:

  • express the frameworks and theory of visual and verbal literacy by analysing and interpreting designed narratives;
  • solve problems and publish projects with visual vocabularies using publishing, new media and emergent technologies and entrepreneurial strategies;
  • demonstrate mastery of visual narrative, employing skills such as writing, story architecture, typography, visual concepting, interactivity, storyboarding, world building, and aesthetics.

Education content

The Master’s Programme in Visual Communication Design allows students to execute demanding design assignments which develop their conceptual and aesthetic design skills. Students acquire methodological skills in design research and develop a responsible view of the effects of visual communication while deepening and broadening their competencies.

The master’s programme is intended to be completed in two years. Students make a personal study plan that builds on their interests and special skills, and supports their master’s theses. The degree structure provides students with an opportunity to pursue studies towards a minor in the other schools of Aalto University or at other national or international universities.

Career opportunities

Graduates of the programme will have skills and knowledge to work as design professionals in visual communication design.

Concentration in Information Design are qualified to work as an information designers, either independently or within a design agency or other organization. Other possible job titles include visual journalist, data journalist and data analyst. The skills learned in the Major can be combined with other studies to qualify the student for a job in a related field, such as cartography, interaction design or service design.

Concentration in Visual Narrative are original content creators, directors and authors, with all the tools of visual design. The focus on digital publishing for new devices means students will be able to publish eBooks and narrative apps. With courses from New Media they might become a Narrative Designer for a video game or interactive company. Combined with courses in film or animation they might become a screenwriter, storyboard artist or content creator. They will be attractive candidates for production or publishing companies. Each student will emerge from the major with a polished portfolio, innovative narratives, and a unique, self-initiated body of work, preparing them to be the story-tellers of tomorrow.

Visual Communication Design graduates can also work as design directors, graphics editors, or in another managerial role. In addition, the Master of Arts degree enables students to apply for doctoral studies in art and design.

Programme Structure

Courses Included:

  • Understanding Media, Art and Design
  • Research Skills
  • Academic Writing (in English)
  • Discourse in Design
  • Project Studies
  • Master´s Thesis Seminar
  • Master´s Thesis
For more information, please visit programme website.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 24 months
  • Credits
    120 ECTS
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

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English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS
  • Minimum required score (Grade C):


    The CAE test – or the Cambridge Advanced English – is an exam for applicants who wish to get a Certificate in Advanced English. To receive the Advanced certificate, test-takers must score between 142 and 210 on the Cambridge English: Advanced test.

    Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test OF English as a Foreign Language – offers a paper-based test (PBT). The final, overall PBT score ranges between 310 and 677, and is based on an average taken from the three test components (listening, structure, and reading). The writing part of this test is scored separately on a scale of 0-6. Read more about TOEFL (PBT).

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

Admission procedure

Prospective students of the Master’s Programme in Visual Communication Design apply to the programme in the master’s degree admissions process for the field of art and design. Please indicate which major you are most interested in.

The admission is based on a two-stage entrance examination, where qualified students are selected to continue after each stage. The admission is based on the application documents, a portfolio, a short assignment, a letter of intent (in which applicants reflect on their areas of interest and propose the topic of their master’s theses), a CV and an interview.

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    15000 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 15000 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 0 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.
Tuition in bachelor's and master's programmes taught in English are subjected to annual fees for non-EU/EEA citizens. 

Living costs for Helsinki

  • 975 - 1590 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Prospective students subject to tuition fees are eligible to apply for Aalto University Scholarship.

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