Postgraduate research

The Centre for Information Design Research welcomes proposals relevant to our research programme. The Centre is interdisciplinary and research with us would suit students from a range of academic backgrounds in art and design, the humanities and social sciences, or information technology.

The following are examples of the kinds of areas in which we would encourage applications:

  • The presentation or visualisation of, and interactions with, complex information, both in paper documents and on interactive displays.
  • The design of functional documents (for example instructions, instructional texts, documents with legal or contractual ramifications, financial information, forms etc.) so that they meet the needs of the range of people who will use them (both paper and on-screen presentation).
  • Design to inform and support behaviour change, for example in areas such as climate change, health, finance.
  • Design for specific user groups: for example people with expertise and specific demands in a technical area, people with lower literacy levels, people who are socially excluded and/or have limited access to technology.
  • Design for disruptive technologies, for example reality-augmenting technologies such as QR codes or interactive signs.

Application process

We sometimes publicise specific, funded PhD opportunities but we also welcome proposals from applicants. Applicants with a relevant MA or, in some cases, relevant professional experience, may be accepted directly for our PhD programme. For others, the typical route to a PhD is by registering first on our research-oreintated MA (MA(Res)) which is geared towards preparation for a PhD. Alternatively some students progress from our MA Information Design into PhD research. The choice of route depends on whether an applicant has an existing background in information design. Applications for the MA programmes are separate from applications for PhDs although we would, of course, wish to discuss your intentions at the time you apply for an MA.

PhD study at Reading

Reading is a research-intensive university, and has good support for postgraduate students. Information about training and support is available from the Graduate School in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Department of Typography & Graphic Communication pioneered doctoral study in design, and has a notable success rate in postgraduate supervision. The Department performed very highly in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, coming second in the UK in the Art and Design unit of assessment, with 45 per cent of its work being assessed as 4*, that is, world-leading.

How to apply

You should make an informal enquiry in the first instance to Dr Mary Dyson, Director of Postgraduate Studies (


Things to do now

  • Read about Postgraduate Research in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication 

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