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.