Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.
Our graduates have an excellent employment record. Many take up positions in type design studios, with publishers and general design studios, and wayfinding and information design studios. Others develop their own businesses, or take up managerial roles in creative firms. Employers include Apple, Monotype, Microsoft Typography, Victoria & Albert Museum, Oxford University Press, Financial Times and Nokia.
Develop your existing knowledge and experience as a designer, exploiting our significant research expertise to enhance your own design and research skills to a new level.
We place emphasis on personal research, giving you the chance to develop your own interests and ideas in a challenging and supportive environment. Our aim is to help you to become a creative, imaginative and versatile designer who can operate independently or as a member of a design team.
You can work alongside our in-house design consultancy, Design Futures, and with researchers from other design areas. We also have contacts with leading design agencies and design organisations and encourage you to work collaboratively with them.
There are opportunities to participate in study trips and visits to design conferences and debates.
You choose your own project content and this is supported by lectures and seminars dealing with professional practice issues and reviewing your progress. You also take part in regular group and individual tutorials.
Your final major project is the culmination of your research and studio-based design practice. It demonstrates that you can deal with difficult contemporary questions and take a leading role as a design professional.
We are one of the oldest established art and design institutions in the UK, renowned for producing internationally recognised research. Your projects are supported by lecturers who are illustration specialists.
Vibrant and supportive learning environment
During the course you regularly take part in constructive critical debates about your own work and that of your peers. You need to communicate your research, ideas and designs in ways that are appropriate to professional leadership.
You study alongside MA and MFA Design students for part of your course and benefit from a vibrant, international, collaborative and supportive postgraduate environment.
Excellent facilities and creative resources
You have access to a huge range of creative resources to experiment and engage with including • 3D printing for rapid prototyping • state-of-the-art hardware and software • photography studios • a creative media centre • a gallery • well-equipped workshops.
You also have access to our award-winning learning centre featuring a specialist art, design and media library and extensive online resources.
MA and MFA study
MA and MFA students complete the same modules during the course except that MFA students complete an extra project module. The MFA project encourages you to develop professional skills that help you to identify, instigate, and deliver projects with external partners, such as communities, galleries or businesses. You find a project partner, agree a brief and then deliver the project to a professional standard.
We are normally asked to shortlist applicants before recommending a small number to apply. If this happens, we consider your interview, portfolio of work, academic qualifications and learning aims. We aim to pick people whose abilities and aims are relevant for the company and who are most likely to be successful in a competitive interview.
This course is part of the Sheffield Institute of Arts (SIA), an amazing, diverse community of makers – where staff, students and partners work as equals to deliver real innovation and creativity. SIA opened in 1843 and is one of the UK's oldest Art and Design Schools. We have recently moved into the Head Post Office, a redesigned Grade II listed building. It includes state-of-the-art workshops which provide you with a unique studio-based learning environment in the heart of the creative community.
• project 1 • theory supporting practice
• project 2 • negotiated project
• major project
Semester four – MFA students only
• MFA project
Semester one (year 1)
• theory supporting practice • negotiated project
Semester two (year 2)
• project 1 • project 2
Semester three (year 3)
• major project
Semester four – MFA students only (year 4)
• MFA project
Assessment and feedback are vital parts of the learning process in creative disciplines. Most assessment is through individual project work which combines research and creative practice. Assessment calls for both excellent creative work and well-documented research
There are many opportunities for employment or self-employment. We encourage you to take an enterprising approach and to strengthen your ability to develop your own business.
You can work in areas such as book and magazine illustration, or branding and advertising, where the ability to originate fresh thinking is essential.
An increasing number of our graduates undertake advanced further study through research degrees (PhD) in our Art and Design Research Centre, which has a leading position in the advancement of creative practice in design.
Sheffield is home to the largest concentration of creative production in the region. Support for creative industries in the city has encouraged home grown talent as well as practitioners relocating here.
This innovative, industry-facing programme allows you to work in a cross-disciplinary way or in a specialist area of study. Students on this course come from a diverse range of disciplines to apply ideas and findings from research towards problem-solving, social design and environmental issues. Approaches to future design range from the artistic design, such as illustration, printmaking, book arts and decorative arts, to more functional and problem-solving pursuits.
Creative, forward-thinking individuals and groups are key contributors to the new economic and social agenda. We welcome applications from disciplines outside of art and design if there is evidence of ability and desire to develop better systems, services, products and experiences.
You learn through initiatives and activities that stimulate and develop creative practice, problem solving, manufacture and distribution. Thinking, making and observation are applied to practical and social contexts. Playful and fictional approaches are encouraged through workshops and connections with international events and research projects. Future design challenges us to enquire into what happens next – in our careers, ambitions and responsibility to society. Knowledge and awareness in futurology are increasingly desirable attributes in business, employment, innovation and enterprise. Creative individuals prepare for professional practice, developing new business ideas, products, systems and services. Working in a stimulating environment you explore emerging and future aspects of design practice, through individual and collaborative action. Project-based learning activities enable knowledge, skills and experience to be acquired according to negotiated plans and professional directions. This two-year programme enhances your qualification by spending one semester completing a vocational internship, research internship or by studying abroad. Although we can’t guarantee an internship, we can provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own internship position. A vocational internship is a great way to gain work experience and give your CV a competitive edge. Alternatively, a research internship develops your research and academic skills as you work as part of a research team in an academic setting – ideal if you are interested in a career in research or academia. A third option is to study abroad in an academic exchange with one of our partner universities. This option does incur additional costs such as travel and accommodation. You must also take responsibility for ensuring you have the appropriate visa to study outside the UK, where relevant.
The programme begins with group research projects, sharing information and references from diverse sources. Collecting and analysing information from a theme of common interest helps to develop your awareness of the subject from multiple perspectives. Stage one involves developing your professional skills, ideas, research, project work and provides the opportunity for co-working, partnerships and collaborations. Your interests are evaluated for their enterprise potential and innovative outputs are proposed.
Stage two culminates in a feasibility study for a negotiated research project. Stage three enhances your learning through practice with the potential to spend one semester working full-time in industry, on a major research project, or studying or working abroad.
Stage four enables you to direct and display your major project work, supported by regular tutorial contact and studio interaction. You show future ambitions and plans for the project including how it may be distributed or realised beyond the University.
Advanced Practice options
Modules offered may vary.
How you learn
At MA level it is vital that you take an active role in structuring your own learning, and engage with the relevant methods and underpinning theories of your discipline.
Tutorials, seminars and workshops enable you to apply key learning principles to your day-to-day interactions. Individual support, provided by a personal tutor, is an integral feature of the learning and teaching strategy.
Research is also an intrinsic part of your study. You need to find and make sense of a wide variety of information from books, newspapers, journals, magazines, websites, archives and many other sources, then analyse and discuss your findings to inform the creative process. Lectures and briefings introduce topics and impart key aspects of disciplinary knowledge, usually to larger groups.
You develop your practical and professional skills with hands-on experience, informed by subject knowledge and critical understanding. Practical workshops introduce specific skills, followed by independent learning, project work, tutorials and critiques.
Critical reflection is key to all successful problem solving and is essential to the design process. You are expected to test and assess your solutions against design criteria which you develop in the light of your research.
How you are assessed
Your assessments are primarily in-course assessments – you submit work during the module rather than sit timed exams at the end.
Design modules are generally project based and primarily assessed through appraising your portfolio of work, often accompanied by a verbal presentation. Design work is largely developmental and you are assessed on your problem-solving process as well as the result, so it is essential you provide clear evidence of your development work.
There may be short-term placement opportunities for some students, particularly during the project phase of the course.
Graduates have the opportunity to go on to a range of design-related employment, develop new enterprise propositions or receive project funding to take their ideas to market.
You can work across a range of professions within design and the creative industries such as freelance designers, creative entrepreneurs, designer makers and creative directors. Further study at doctoral level is also an option.
This programme is open for September 2018 entry only.
This course is designed for students to refine their subject specific practice through creative industry experience. You will tackle issues central to contemporary design practice – such as design authorship and social engagement – through a process of analysis, experimentation and the implementation of creative ideas. During your time with us, you will be encouraged to engage creatively with contemporary visual communication issues to enable you to graduate as a professional designer.
During your time with us, you will be encouraged to undertake independent contextual and theoretical research that will improve your capacity for independent enquiry, creativity and professional practice. The course places an emphasis on problem setting rather than problem solving, through the development of self-initiated projects and briefs.
There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in live projects as we work closely with key cultural organisations within the North West. These include; The Center for Chinese Contemporary Art, Hotbed Press, Islington Mill, Castlefield Gallery, International 3, Salford Museum & Art Gallery, Artworks, Mark Devereux Projects,Textbook Studios, Dr Me and Magma Books.
This course embraces a range and diversity of practices and aims to:
MA Communication Design with Industry Experience is for students interested in observing practical and contextual issues within communication design. This could be as an individual artistic pursuit, generating a body of practice, through research and experimentation that seeks to address contemporary issues relative to a self initiated appreciation of the subject area, or as a method of engaging with professional and live projects that enable the student to produce a large body of critically aware outcomes that facilitate the transition further professional development.
The programme structure consists of 5 modules, 4 of which are delivered within a collaborative framework allowing all students across the Masters in Art & Design programs (Contemporary Fine Art, Socially Engaged Arts Practice and Design for Communication) opportunities to engage with your peers whilst working through individual assignments focused around each programme. The remaining one module is tailored to the specific programme learning outcomes.
For the full-time study option:
Semester 1 - October to February
Semester 2 - February to June
Semester 3 - June to September
You will take five core modules and will study one day a week. Full-time students will have concentrated module delivery in both the morning and afternoon.
This course uses a range of teaching and learning settings including lectures, seminars/workshops, tutorials, situated learning (e.g. ‘live’ projects) and independent learning. The combination of these aims is to develop an environment that allows students to progressively take ownership and direction of their learning so that they may develop as independent, life-long learners. The process of Masters level study, relating to an individual and independent arts practice, is one of dense critical self-reflection; this is achieved by including self-directed projects where students have the opportunity to negotiate their learning and assessment requirements.
Indicative to the course are:
Award specific learning activities include exercises; team and peer-based learning, studio practice and critical seminar-events, site visits, visiting professionals, work placements, online activities and critical debates
Assessment methods used on the course include:
You will be assessed throughout the course on:
All submissions are comprised of a body of arts practice: ‘studio’ plus a contextual and critical research portfolio, and reflective logs/journals. As the ‘thesis’ is embedded in the practice there is no requirement for a separate, written dissertation - although you may elect to do so, if appropriate, by negotiation with final award Course Team.
*You can negotiate the format of your submissions, in response to the needs and priorities within your practice, and in line with contemporary professional practice habits.
We encourage students to pursue an international profile and presence as soon as possible in support of their professional reputation. Opportunities during the programme offer industry experience and encourage students to make professional links with the art and design networks in the region.
Art and design alumni are actively employed in various sectors of design practice both in the UK and overseas, including Brazil, China and Taiwan. Previous graduates have also progressed into research, while several graduates are now employed as lecturers in the field of education in schools and universities