Anglia Ruskin University: Illustration and Book Arts (MA)

InstitutionAnglia Ruskin University View institution profile
Department Cambridge School of Art
Telephone 01245 68 68 68
Study type Taught


Whatever your artistic background, our Master's course will develop your visual practice in areas that are important for illustrators and book artists, such as visual sequencing and visual text. It will challenge you to cross the divide between fine art and applied art found on many undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, making it a unique course for the UK.

Studying in our purpose-built studios at Cambridge School of Art, much of your work will be practice-based. You’ll propose and undertake self-directed projects, attending group critiques and tutorials that will help you develop your creative skills.

You'll also attend a series of integrated lectures and seminars. These serve two purposes. You’ll explore aspects of illustration and book art, such as the relationships between word and image, narratology and visual language. And you'll receive guidance on research methods and critical writing - which you'll put to immediate use on the course, as well as in your future career.

Throughout the course, you’ll collaborate and discuss your work with staff, visiting professionals and fellow students, giving you an invaluable opportunity to see how others respond to it. All of our teaching team are practising artists, so you’ll hear about the latest news and issues in the industry, and have access to sound careers advice.

Course Leader: Jim Butler

Other teaching staff: Sergio Fava, Chris Draper

2 course options

Qualification MA
Level RQF Level 7
Entry requirements

•A good honours degree (or equivalent), normally in a related subject. Applicants with professional experience are also encouraged to apply.
•If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.5 ( Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University.
•Applicants to this course will be required to attend interview and display a portfolio of work for assessment. Applicants resident outside of mainland UK only may submit a portfolio electronically.

Portfolio requirements
Your portfolio should:
•show examples of your recent visual practice including, where possible, work that gives an idea of the themes and areas you’d like to develop on the course
•include preparatory work like sketchbooks or contact sheets to show how you develop and resolve visual ideas
•include projects where the experimental approaches and developmental work is evident, regardless of how successful the final outcomes are. These can be more valuable points of insight than a series of highly finished pieces.

If you’re an international applicant, please host your portfolio online if possible and let us know the URL, or email it to us as a PDF. We’ll also accept CDs or hardcopy sent by post to our International Admissions Office, but please note that these will not be returned to you.


You’ll show your progress through your self-directed visual projects, which will include written project proposals, developmental and final visual work, and a reflective commentary. On the Master's Dissertation module, you’ll submit a 6,000-word essay. Finally, the Master's Project will allow you to build on all previous modules to design a visual project which shows mastery of your subject.


Process and Practice as Research
Visual Text
Sequence and Series
Master's Dissertation Art and Design
Master's Project: Art and Design

Location Cambridge Campus
East Road


EU 7100 GBP for Year 1
England 7100 GBP for Year 1
Northern Ireland 7100 GBP for Year 1
Scotland 7100 GBP for Year 1
Wales 7100 GBP for Year 1

Anglia Ruskin University


While our roots date back to 1858, when John Ruskin opened our Cambridge School of Art, we’re more interested in your future. At ARU we’ll help you achieve your ambitions, support you throughout your studies and help prepare you for life after university. You’ve worked hard to get here, and we’ll help you get a good degree and makes friends and networks for life.

Come to global university where careers begin. From day one, we will help you work towards your ambitions, graduating with industry-recognised qualifications valued the world over.

At ARU, you ...

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