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.
Study interaction design at an advanced level and explore new approaches to design creating dynamic proposals that respond to the needs of our rapidly changing society.
At Sheffield Institute of Arts interaction design is cross-disciplinary and investigates human-technological futures via design related interactions that lie between the digital and the physical. Using a practice based approach you explore the designing of interactive digital products, environments services and systems.
Interaction design is most often studied by graduates from a variety of backgrounds including • interaction design • digital media • fine art • product design • graphic design • furniture design • architecture • computer science. Your projects are supported by lecturers who are design specialists, researchers and practitioners. Modules are supported by lecturers who are design specialists in areas as diverse as • exhibition design • HCI • medical products • materials development • design thinking • social design • design anthropology.
During the course you work with experts in other departments as well as outside of the University.
As a postgraduate design student you join an established network of creative people that encourage and support you to drive your studies to the next level. Our postgraduate framework of design courses has been designed to allow you to come together with students from different disciplines, backgrounds and cultures to share teaching and learning experiences and explore your creative identities through dialogue and practice.
The primary intention of the programme is to allow you to achieve your personal employment ambitions, whether as a design professional in the creative industries, or in related areas such as marketing or research. You are also well placed to go onto further study at PhD level.
The course has a strong vocational focus to prepare, encourage and develop your confidence for employment.
The MA/MFA programme has a strong relationship with the University’s Art and Design Research Centre (ADRC), who take an active part in engaging MA Design students in research, knowledge transfer and live projects. You are also encouraged to seek industrial sponsors or collaborators for your individual project work and are given advice and support in doing this. This long established link with our Research Department supports a continuing tradition of graduates from the MA/MFA working as research assistants and/or continuing their studies to PhD.
If you are a part-time student in relevant employment or on sabbatical, you have the opportunity to plan course projects based in your workplace and relevant to your own and your employer's aims. This brings real-world experience to the course. You may go on to work as a professionally employed designer or design manager, work independently as a designer/producer or work as a researcher in design or new product development. You may also wish to go into teaching design in further and higher education.
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 design specialists in areas as diverse as medical products, materials development, furniture and sustainability.
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.
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.
As a graduate from this course you might become a • creative technologist • experiential marketer • interaction designer • artist • designer • maker • product designer • design researcher • interface designer • systems designer • UX designer • design academic • PhD student.
This programme encourages students to take a risk, to test the boundaries of the discipline and push their design ideas beyond personally predetermined limits.
You will develop an enhanced research and design proposal, culminating in a new body of work that will showcase your development and achievements.
This unique and convention-breaking programme has a strong emphasis on personal creative freedom and design innovation, ensuring you have the best chance of employment and career development upon graduation.
You will be encouraged to challenge your existing research and design knowledge and develop new skills and networks. You are expected to experiment and explore: independent study is paramount but underpinned by a number of supporting projects, workshops and events.
We expect collaboration within the School of Design, with the creative industries and where appropriate with external clients to allow you to realise personal and project possibilities to the full. There is a strong international student input which introduces diverse experience and encourages wide-ranging thinking.
We encourage bold, lateral approaches, coupled with a clear understanding of process and technique, to produce innovative, emotive and enduring design from students who learn through intense, sustained involvement with the design process.
The curriculum is student-led with an emphasis on independent learning. With tutorial guidance, you will negotiate and develop a programme of study based on personal areas of research and practice, alongside set projects to support and inform your line of enquiry.
You will initially focus on the research and development of a study proposal. With support from our dynamic team of experienced tutors (all industry practitioners or researchers) you will be encouraged to expand on your preconceived ideas and let your findings dictate future development. We expect you to engage in sophisticated design dialogue to push your ideas to their full potential. There is a hotbed of debate and prototyping before any designs are taken into production.
The written context of the programme helps amplify and contextualise your understanding of process and this wider awareness of design feeds back into your practice-based work. You will produce written context assignments alongside studio based work.
We are committed to providing our students with enhanced career prospects and the ability to achieve at the highest level. Graduates are professionally vital and well-informed, and are able to enter the design industry with a freshness of approach and the flexibility and adaptability to be able to respond to change.
Our Graphic Design graduates work in a wide range of creative career paths. The variety of projects, approaches and opportunities on course enable graduates to apply their knowledge and experience of the design process and their considerable skills onto many disciplines. Typically though our graduates leave to become valuable members of a graphic design agency.
Our extensive links with industry built through industry-led projects and staff research, and our range of visiting speakers, ensures that graduates are aware of the full range of career possibilities and are provided with a strong footing from which to develop their chosen career.
Previous career paths have included experiential design, packaging, advertising, digital design, interaction design, exhibition design, design research, marketing, retail design, exhibition design, multimedia, design management, education. Graduates may freelance or seek employment within a company.
A specific scheme we run within the programme is the Design Agency project which, in 2013, won a Guardian University Award for Employability Initiative.
Design Agency is a flagship initiative that enables graphic design students to form their own design agencies. They create their own brand for the agency and work collectively towards a common objective based on ability, regardless of age or experience. Edinburgh-based design agencies act as ‘mentor partners’ to the student agencies. The long-term relationships that are built with mentors ensures that students have the chance to show, over an extended period rather than just a few weeks on placement, what they can contribute to potential employers.
In 2013, the ECA Design Agency won the Guardian University Awards 2013 prize for Employability Initiative, with the judges praising its ambition and said its risk-taking innovation “should be applauded.”