The V&A/RCA History of Design MA and MPhil/PhD programmes are known internationally for an intellectually vigorous approach to the history of design and material culture. Offered jointly by the RCA and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), we teach and research cultural, social, economic, political and technological history through artefacts and our interactions with them. Projects and expertise range across global geographies, from the fifteenth century to the contemporary, and draw on cognate areas such as geography, performance studies and design practice.
History of Design is a full-time, 240-credit, enhanced RCA MA (unlike the standard UK 180-credit MA). It is delivered in a 15-month format, (September 2017 – December 2018). Home/EU students in History of Design can opt to undertake the second part of their studies (the dissertation ) on a part-time basis (June 2018 – March 2019). This innovative structure has been designed to give students greater flexibility to combine full and part-time modes of study. *Please note the part-time option is not available to international students for visa compliance reasons. Further details are available on Tuition Fees and MA Entrance Requirements.
Core programme teaching includes intensive training in artefact-based research, archival research, primary and secondary source analysis and interpretation, social and economic history and key theoretical concepts and approaches for understanding the history of design and material culture.
Specialist pathway teaching in areas such as fashion, architecture and urbanism, theatre and performance, subcultures, technology in early modern Europe and contemporary history enable students to work closely with the kinds of historical questions, methods, sources and arguments distinctive to each area.
The combination of core skills courses and specialist content enables students to develop both specialist expertise and a strong basis in artefact-based history and its communication to diverse audiences. The pathways allow a close focus on the particular needs of individual students, delivered through small group seminar teaching and one-to-one tutorials.
Teaching on the V&A/RCA MA in History of Design combines seminars, workshops and lectures with individual tutorials, study visits and time working with the collections of the V&A. Unique and extensive access to V&A collections and curatorial expertise supports independent research, and students have opportunities to join Museum projects, including exhibition and collections development and research. Access to workshops and technical expertise at the RCA also supports independent work and allows creative responses to programme briefs, and the College offers unusual opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration with artists, designers, architects and engineers. Assignments combine academic and public-facing work. Termly presentations hone public-speaking skills and confidence, and written assignments allow students to develop extended academic arguments and writing skills. The project portfolio, a self-directed body of work that applies the skills of the design historian to live, public-facing projects, allows students to take advantage of the unique creative environments of the RCA and the V&A.
In September 2017, the programme has been co-located with dedicated study and teaching space in the RCA's newest facilities in White City and the V&A. Journey time between the two sites is c. 30 minutes. Students also make use of facilities and learning spaces across the RCA's Kensington and Battersea sites.
The History of Design and Material Culture MA focuses on both objects from everyday life and representations of them since the eighteenth century as a basis for research and analysis.
The course allies theory and practice in seminar-based discussions that embrace various methodological issues and perspectives, including Marxism, discourse theory, phenomenology, semiology, museology, gender, race, class, memory and oral testimony. Depending on the material you analyse in your essays and seminars, as well as the dissertation topic you choose, you can also emphasise your own intellectual and subject-specific interests.
Since its inception in the late 1990s, the MA has garnered a national and international reputation as one of the pioneering and most successful programmes of its kind. As a research-led course, it harnesses the academic expertise of staff with a recognised wealth of teaching and research excellence in subject areas such as fashion and dress history, the history and theory of advertising, photography and the mass-reproduced image, and heritage and museum studies.
Under guidance, you will be encouraged to explore the relationship between theory and practice and to develop your own skills as an independent researcher, thinker and writer.
The History of Design and Material Culture MA draws on the wide-ranging academic expertise of staff in the fields of the history of decorative arts and design, dress history, material culture, museology and social history.
It stimulates innovative and interdisciplinary study in the history of design and material culture in both their western and non-western contexts, considering the relationship between local, national and international patterns of production, circulation, consumption and use.
The course is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, study visits and tutorials. Considerable emphasis is placed on student involvement in the weekly seminar readings and discussions within the two thematic core modules, Exploring Objects and Mediating Objects.
Based at Pavilion Parade, a Regency building overlooking the famous Royal Pavilion, teaching takes place close to the seafront and city centre amenities.
The Exploring Objects module introduces you to a series of different research methods and historiographical approaches, as you interrogate and make sense of designed objects in terms of how they are designed, produced, circulated, consumed and used in everyday life. It covers the period from the late eighteenth century to the present time and typically involves discussion and debate on the following themes, theories and methods: Marxist and post-Marxist historiography; production and consumption; gender and taste; phenomenology; object-based analysis; the use of archives; and 'good writing/bad writing'. It also introduces you to the academic rigour of postgraduate dissertation research.
This module complements Exploring Objects by focusing on the mediation between 'this one' (the object itself) and 'that one' (the object as represented in word and image). On one level, it examines how objects are translated in various texts and contexts, from museum and private collections to photographs, advertisements, film and fiction. On another level, it examines how objects are transformed through the embodied processes of everyday rituals such as gift-giving and personal oral and collective memories. The module therefore deals with the idea of intertexualities and how the identities of things and people are phenomenologically bound up with each other. By extension, you examine objects in relation to ideas concerning sex, gender, class, generation, race and ethnicity.
The centrepiece of your MA studies, the dissertation is a piece of original writing between 18,000 and 20,000 words on a research topic of your own choosing. It allows you to pursue a specific research topic related to your own academic and intellectual interests in a given area of the history of design and material culture, for example fashion and dress, textiles, ceramics and glass, product design, interior design and architecture, graphic communications, advertising and photography, film, museums, collecting and curating, and design pedagogy. The dissertation is largely based on primary research, often using specialist archives and surviving historical material.
This course makes use of the University of Brighton Design Archives, which include the archives of the Design Council, Alison Settle, FHK Henrion and the South of England Film and Video Archive.
Close professional contact with national institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as with local collections and centres of historical interest (such as Brighton’s unique Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, with its internationally famous collection of decorative art from the 1890s onwards), present research opportunities for students registered on the course.
The course is closely linked to our arts and humanities research division through a joint research lecture series, and we have successfully encouraged high achievers to register for the MPhil/PhD programme.
The student environment also includes the thriving postgraduate Design History Society as well as opportunities for conference presentation, professional contact and career development in the field.
The course has an extremely healthy track record in helping students to take up careers in related areas of employment and further study. Many of our postgraduates have succeeded in finding work as lecturers, curators, journalists, designers and design consultants, while many others have pursued doctoral research, most often also securing prestigious funding from the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council).
Offered in cooperation with the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and other leading institutions in the field of Art and Design in Paris, the History of Design and Curatorial Studies program* leads to a master of arts degree. Graduates may go on to careers as historians, curators, and scholars in museums, universities, historic houses, auction houses, and galleries.
The program's curriculum focuses on the stylistic, historical, and theoretical contexts of arts, decorative arts, and design from the Renaissance to the present, with particular attention to the history of collections and the contemporary issues in curation. Object-based courses on a broad range of works, movements, theories and practices go beyond connoisseurship to address objects as intersections of socio-historic meaning and aesthetic theory. Students gain practical and theoretical instruction in research on and the display of design objects.
The program's Paris home, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, is the only museum in France devoted exclusively to historical and contemporary design. Most classes are held inside the museum, where students meet and work with renowned curators, designers, collectors, and scholars. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs is housed in a wing of the Palais du Louvre. Students can also take advantage of nearby museums, such as the Musée du Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Centre Georges Pompidou, and the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine.
In the program, students become familiar with French language and culture. Parsons Paris offers numerous opportunities to achieve this goal, including language classes, field trips, and a dedicated French Grad Reading class running throughout the curriculum. Students also gain hands-on experience in French museum practices and procedures; they will be encouraged to pursue for-credit internships in museums, galleries, auction house archives, and historic houses around the city.
You can request more information here: http://www.newschool.edu/m/parsons-paris?utm_source=find_a_masters&utm_medium=hyperlink_listing&utm_campaign=pm_parsons_paris&utm_term=paris_grad
In collaboration with the Parsons Paris Gallery and partner programs or institutions, graduate students regularly undertake curatorial projects throughout their education. While developing exhibitions, students gain experience working in teams, putting theoretical and historical knowledge into practice, and dealing with both conceptual and practical issues in curation. After a range of experiences during their first year, graduate students are invited to undertake and manage a collective exhibition. This project will serve as a culmination of their studies and provide them with the extensive experience needed to enter the professional world of exhibitions, galleries, museums, and other cultural venues.
The MA in History of Design and Curatorial Studies is also offered in New York, in partnership with Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The Paris and New York campuses have the same application process and curriculum, so students have the opportunity to begin their study in one city and take a semester or year in the other. Parsons' long-standing relationships with cultural institutions in New York create opportunities for students there to engage in a unique learning experience that draws on the many collections, archives, and galleries in the city.
You can request more information here: http://www.newschool.edu/m/parsons-paris?utm_source=find_a_masters&utm_medium=hyperlink_listing&utm_campaign=pm_parsons_paris&utm_term=paris_grad
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.
Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study History at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
The MA in History is an exciting programme that covers a wide range of topics in history from the Middle Ages onwards.
The wide-ranging expertise of Swansea University's historians offers the study of British, European, American or Asian History. The History MA allows students to explore the history of art and culture, empire, gender, politics, religion, sexuality and science.
Students on the MA History programme are introduced to key concepts that shape the study of history. The MA in History students benefit not only from the unusual concentration of historians at Swansea, but also from the existence of the College of Arts and Humanities Research Centres, the Callaghan Centre for the Study of Conflict, Power and Empires and the Richard Burton Centre.
History MA students benefit from the the College of Arts and Humanities' Graduate Centre. The Graduate Centre fosters and supports individual and collaborative research activity of international excellence and offers a vibrant and supportive environment for students pursuing postgraduate research and taught masters study including the MA in History programme. The Centre provides postgraduate training to enhance academic and professional development and facilitates participation in seminar programmes, workshops and international conferences.
The full-time History course structure is split across the year with three modules taken in each academic semester (a total of six modules) and then a dissertation over the summer. History students study three compulsory modules and three optional modules. The dissertation is written on a specialist research topic of the student's choosing.
Part-time study for MA in History is available.
- To acquire advanced knowledge and understanding of a range of topics related to history.
- To develop theoretical and methodological skills relevant to all aspects of the study of history.
- To lay a solid foundation of knowledge and analytical and presentational skills for further research work in the field.
Modules on the History course typically include:
• Historical Methods and Approaches
• New Departures in the Writing of History
• Communicating History
• Directed Reading in History
• From Princely Possessions to Public Museums: A History of Collecting and Display
• Power, Conflict, and Society in the Modern World
• Venice and the Sea
• Medieval Manuscripts
• Fascism & Culture
Students from a history or related background. Students interested in preparation for postgraduate research, MPhil or PhD, or who wish to develop skills and knowledge related to history.
All staff in the Department of History and Classics are research active and publish books and articles in their areas of expertise. Staff and students are members of a range of Arts and Humanities research centres: the Callaghan Centre for the Study of Conflict, Power and Empire, the Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales and the Research Groups: MEMO: the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research and GENCAS: the Centre for Research into Gender in Culture and Society. Regular research seminars and lectures are run through these groups and through the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) giving students including those of the MA in History programme access to cutting-edge research.
Career expectations are excellent for History graduates. MA degree holders in History may move on to doctoral study or enter employment in such areas as museums, heritage and tourism; marketing, sales and advertising; business, art, design and culture; media and PR; social and welfare professions; humanitarian organisations; the civil service, and education.
“I graduated with a First-Class Honours BA History degree and an MA in History from Swansea University. My four years of study here were truly the most enjoyable of my life so far! The lecturers, tutors and all members of the History department were also incredibly friendly and always willing to help. The History MA was fully funded by a University Alumni bursary. The range of modules available to MA students is exceptional and the facilities here are fantastic. With a designated Arts and Humanities Postgraduate computer room and common-room area, as well as the University’s very own archives, Swansea is a great place to study History.”
Cath Horler, History, MA