Great design ideas can change the world. With human and user-centred design at the heart of this internationally regarded Masters programme, you’ll develop research and practice-based design solutions to respond to a demanding industry and rapidly changing society.
Whether your background is in design or in another discipline, you’ll develop, test and evaluate innovative design solutions in real-life scenarios. You’ll gain first-hand experience of current needs and trends across a range of sectors, and focus on a large-scale design project within one of the specialisms offered (see the ‘Specialisms’ tab).
Taught by diverse staff with internationally recognised profiles in research and practice, you’ll build an interdisciplinary approach to design in a stimulating environment, while being exposed to and involved in cutting-edge research. You’ll gain practical and research skills to prepare you for a wide range of careers.
We have plenty of facilities to help you make the most of your time at Leeds. We have an impressive range of resources that you can use to develop your projects.
At the top of our research facilities we have the world’s most sophisticated mobile eye-tracking glasses, which are used to understand how users interact with design (see more information at http://www.tobiipro.com). Other excellent research facilities are our EEG equipment (electroencephalography) to understand how users interact with the world, and our colour analysis/prediction lab.
We also house the M&S Company Archive including documents, advertising, photos, films, clothing and merchandise from throughout Marks & Spencer’s history. ULITA, an archive of international textiles, is also housed on campus and collects, preserves and documents textiles and related areas from around the world. You can make appointments to view items, but it also has an online catalogue where you can explore the major collections.
You’ll also be able to develop your practice in well-equipped studios and purpose-built computer clusters so that you can build your skills on both PC and Mac. There is also a computer-aided design (CAD) suite with access to the latest design software, and some of the latest design technology, such as digital printing, screen printing, 3D printing, and laser cutting.
In Semester 1 you’ll study a set of compulsory modules that will allow you to develop a range of research, conceptual and practical design skills and tools to lay the foundations for the rest of the programme. You’ll have the chance to learn through case studies, practical exercises and work on briefs encompassing all specialisms offered.
In Semester 2 you’ll have a choice of optional modules that focus on current trends in design practice and research. These optional modules will give you the opportunity to work on live projects from industry and/or live research projects being conducted in the School of Design. You’ll work on group and/or individual projects to explore more specific and advanced skills and tools in your areas of interest.
In Semester 2 you’ll also choose and develop a specialist project in which the tools and skills learnt in Semester 1 are applied. Projects can be developed in a wide range of topics that suit your interests and career ambitions. These include: Branding Design, Digital and Interactive Design, Information Design, Instructional Design, Graphic and Visual Communication Design, Service Design, and Typographic Design.
In Semester 3 you can choose one of two pathways: 1) Continue with your specialist design project, develop it at a professional level and apply it in a real-life context (with suitable users) for evaluation; 2) Produce an independent research dissertation based around a relevant field or topic within the specialisms offered.
In addition to the compulsory modules listed below, for your final project you will choose to do either: - Design Prototyping and Evaluation (40 credits) or - Design Dissertation (40 credits).
You will select two modules from the list of optional modules below.
You’ll be taught and guided by a diverse team of staff who are leaders in their fields, with a wide variety of research interests and years of experience as design practitioners.
We use a range of teaching and learning methods so you can benefit from their expertise. These may include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, group learning and meetings with your tutor or supervisor. However, independent study is crucial to this degree, as it allows you to develop your skills and explore your own ideas.
Depending on the modules you choose you’ll be assessed by different methods. They’ll include individual and group projects, project proposals and reports, presentations and reflective reports.
This programme will equip you with a range of design skills using different media, as well as allowing you to hone your specialist skills in an area of your choice. It will also equip you with advanced skills in research, analysis, teamwork, presentation and communication that will be valuable in a range of careers.
You’ll be well prepared for a career in design practice. You can set up your own freelance business or take up a key position in a design studio, agency or organisation.
You can also work in cross-disciplinary fields applying your design skills to business, marketing, applied psychology, healthcare communication, retail, government, the public or private sector, etc.
Many of our students also choose to continue benefiting from our cutting-edge and frontier research by doing a PhD and following a research and/or academic career.
MA Design Future Society is an 18-month programme, leading to a joint award with Mannheim University of Applied Sciences. The programme includes study at both universities. If you start the programme at Leeds your first semester will be at Leeds, your second semester will be at Mannheim and then you will return to Leeds for your third semester.
All students registered on the programme may apply for Erasmus+ funding which will contribute to travel and living expenses during the five month exchange. The School of Design and Leeds University’s International Office and Language Centre will provide support for applications for funding, visas and pre-sessional language tuition.
This future orientated programme provides opportunities to integrate research from philosophy, social science and digital technology with design thinking in addressing social issues; realigning design as a discipline with social and cultural value. You will be encouraged to employ design as a catalyst for change; articulating new perceptions, developing appropriate strategies and implementing future-oriented solutions, which affect our society, culture and economy.
Traditionally designers applied their skills post problem identification – we will address that imbalance by positioning the designer at the point of problem identification and need analysis, extending the function and purpose of design beyond fulfilling commercial objectives by developing new and relevant products and implementing sustainable solutions for public, private and third sectors. This unique educational experience embraces collaboration, teamwork and internationalism and we encourage applications from all disciplines.
At the School of Design and Fakultät für Gestaltung, Mannheim University of Applied Sciences you will be able to develop your practice in well-equipped studios and purpose-built computer clusters so you can build your skills on both PC and Mac. There are computer-aided design (CAD) suites with access to the latest design software and some of the latest design technology, such as digital printing and laser cutting facilities, and colour analysis/prediction labs, eye-tracking technology and digital photography.
At Leeds there is also an impressive range of resources you can use for research. We house the M&S Company Archive including documents, advertising, photos, films, clothing and merchandise from throughout Marks & Spencer’s history, offering a fascinating insight into the changing nature of our culture over time.
Fundamentally multi-disciplinary and collaborative, course content encourages innovation and autonomy in response to set briefs and self initiated study supported by expertise in research, strategic thinking and practical implementation of communication design. Traditional academic study in the form of essays, literature reviews and reports, combines with social projects requiring, empathy, team working, concept realisation and execution. Students are required to provide evidence of effective decision-making, objective self-reflection and critical evaluation through visual and oral presentations, critiques, reflective logs and reports, visual diaries, poster presentations and portfolio development.
In the first semester students undertake theoretical and practical study in integrated media, semiotics, philosophy, sociology and research methodology in order to identify and manage complex social issues and communicate insights and design proposals by effectively employing advocacy skills and presentation techniques. Team work and collaboration are essential to the successful generation and implementation of creative solutions, therefore students are required, within this context, to demonstrate independent judgement, decision-making and personal responsibility.
In Semester 2 there is a five-month exchange programme to Mannheim which involves the application of design thinking within a different cultural environment through independent and group social projects; presenting significant challenges in comprehension, interpretation, empathy and communication. Students are encouraged to develop entrepreneurial attitudes in seeking opportunities for collaboration; contributing to professional development by operating in new areas of influence and articulating complex information into a coherent creative proposal.
In the third semester you will return from Mannheim and the programme concludes with a major research dissertation or innovation project, independently conceived and managed, demonstrating abilities in research, holistic understanding and applying contemporary knowledge to solving future problems. The knowledge, skills and qualities acquired through this postgraduate programme are transferable for employment in a variety of sectors.
Year one compulsory modules
Year two optional modules
Lectures, seminars, tutorials, creative and technical workshops, creative studio sessions, group learning, group critiques and peer assessment. There will be an emphasis on social and situated learning where dialogue, reflection, intuition, critical analysis and judgement are exercised within the context of group learning and group assignments, supported by utilising social media networks and content sharing to connect students from both institutions.
By employing social media and digital technology we aim to develop a user-centric information infrastructure and self-organisational system of information sharing in order to encourage the following:
You’ll also be assessed by a variety of methods. Your own creative work will be assessed via portfolios and projects, reports, presentations and literature reviews. Formal examinations do not contribute to assessment. Full details of assessment for each module can be found via the programme catalogue.
Employment opportunities are broad and varied as there is growing demand for communication professionals with social enterprise skills in design and innovation with a clear focus on social and cultural interaction and collaboration. Therefore employment prospects extend beyond the traditional agency model into research, strategy and planning roles within a broad range of companies and organisations. In addition graduates could also consider academic research and take advantage of the significant number of calls for research proposals that currently identify social need.
5 month Erasmus+ funded exchange at Mannheim University of Applied Sciences.