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.
We educate designers who can articulate and develop cutting-edge practices in key areas of interaction design: tangible and sensor-based interaction, wearable and embodied interaction, game design, participatory design practices, critical design, social innovation and collaborative media development. Students approach these genres within a broad context that considers the social, political and ethical consequences of their designs. Our education is studio-based, bringing students into close contact with our design professors.
This is a one-year programme, which is also offered as the first year of a two-year programme providing a more well-rounded combination of design practice and academic research.
Interaction design is a rapidly changing discipline, and we maintain the relevance of our education by working with real-world design cases and outside clients that include local industry partners, as well as cultural and civic organisations. Navigating a shifting design landscape also requires the critical mindset of a scholar, and we foster reflective design by teaching research skills and involving students in active research projects.
Our programme was founded in 1998, making it one of the more established programmes of its kind. We focus on areas where our design and research excellence is internationally recognised: tangible and sensor-based interaction, wearable and embodied interaction, game design, participatory design practices, critical design, social innovation and collaborative media development.
Interaction design requires the fusion of multiple skill sets. We recruit students with different backgrounds – design, media, engineering, the arts, and social sciences – and focus our teaching on creating disciplinary synergy in the concrete design work.
The programme comprises full-time study for one academic year, divided into four courses starting with a studio-based introduction to multidisciplinary collaboration and mainstream interaction design. The next two courses address embodied interaction and collaborative media, two of our signature topics. The final course is a Master’s level graduation project.
Upon graduation, you are eligible for the second year of the two-year Master’s programme to learn more about interaction design research and theory. Read more about the two-year Master’s programme
The programme is based on a learning-by-doing pedagogy. This means that we encourage an iterative practice of experimentation and reflection. As teachers, we view ourselves as coaches guiding you in this process.
The programme is studio-based. You will also have access to computer labs, a materials workshop and a prototyping lab for electronics, sensor and microprocessor programming.
The primary method of learning is through group work in multidisciplinary teams with classmates and other stakeholders. Abilities to work in teams and with others – including user communities – are important parts of our curriculum, and several projects are organised to practice doing this.
With our humanistic approach, you will be practicing qualitative research approaches to support your design of tangible artefacts as well as digital and interactive services, systems and artefacts. We emphasize an understanding of people in their use situations.
Prototyping in the studio and real-world contexts is an integral part of becoming an interaction designer.
To practice reflective and experimental design activity, projects and courses integrate seminars and hands-on workshops introducing students to, among other things, ethnographic fieldwork, visualisation, low- and high-fidelity prototyping, microprocessor programming and video sketching, as well as evaluation of use qualities. All these practices are backed up by literature references and examples.
Your thesis project will be a combination of a design project and reflective writing that will involve communicating and discussing your design work. This is one result of a student's work in Thesis Project I.
Students have access to studio space, and we encourage a healthy studio culture. This is where we conduct group-work, seminars, workshops, presentations and discussions. Close by there is a well-equipped materials workshop and a physical prototyping lab for electronics and sensor work. Additionally, we often use the facilities at the MEDEA research centre for final presentations, exhibitions, seminars and programme-meetings.
Students enter the programme with different kinds of expertise, from art and design to engineering and social sciences. Upon graduation, you will have built a strong understanding of how your particular skills play a role in interaction design and how they combine with other specialities of fellow designers.
Most alumni move on to positions as interaction designers, user experience specialists or usability architects in the ICT, telecom and media industries. For some, this involves fine-tuning the interfaces and interactions of current products to users' needs; other interaction designers work on concept development for future products and services. Yet other alumni find their calling in strategic positions where the role of interaction design is considered in relation to market and business development.
Some interaction designers are also found in the role of change agents in public organisations and NGOs.
Get the specialist skills and knowledge you need to be a successful professional in the design industry. In this three-trimester programme, you'll learn the art of bringing ideas to life—from conception to design to construction.
Choose one of three majors—Industrial Design, Media Design, and Culture+Context Design—in this industry-focused, professional qualification with the School of Design. Assess new technologies and investigate the social, cultural, environmental and economic implications of design on our world.
Through a combination of coursework and supervised research you'll gain a greater understanding of the process of creating value through design.
You'll do much of your work in the Design Research Innovation Laboratory (DRIL), giving you a stimulating and supportive environment for inspiration and discovery. Choose a research group with DRIL that fits with your current knowledge and career goals, and your intended thesis or research portfolio topic.
Work with commercial and cultural organisations on applied research projects, build your communication and collaboration skills and get ready for an exciting career in design.
In the first trimester you'll study the 30-point Research Methods course. Examine a variety of design research techniques to help inform and guide your thesis project. Gain the skills you need to identify a design research topic, frame a research question, define the scope and develop your proposal.
You'll further develop your knowledge and expertise in design research in the second trimester. You'll join a Design Research Innovation Laboratory (DRIL) and nominate a supervisor so you can begin your 90-point thesis. You'll also complete one 400-level, 30-point course in your major subject area while continuing to work on your thesis project within your DRIL.
In the third trimester you'll focus on completing your design research thesis project with the guidance and support of your DRIL stream coordinators and supervisor.
DRIL research groups receive support from government, industry and external grants. They produce a range of commercially viable solutions that contribute to the advancement of design research.
You'll choose from one of five research groups within DRIL:
Through DRIL you'll work closely with staff, students and industry collaborators on research projects that address a wide range of contemporary design challenges.
The MDI can be completed in three trimesters of full-time study or in six trimesters if you are studying part time. It usually takes full-time students between 13 and 18 months to complete.
If you are studying full time, you can expect a workload of 40–45 hours a week for much of the year. Part-time students will need to do around 20–23 hours of work a week. Make sure you take this into account if you are working.
Postgraduate study at Victoria will help you build valuable relationships and networks with peers, university staff and future colleagues.
You'll have opportunities to attend events, seminars, workshops and social functions. The Postgraduate Students' Association can give you information on study at Victoria and provides a voice for you on campus.
You'll be ready for a career in many design-oriented fields within the public and private sectors. You might work as an industrial, interior or product designer, an art director, visual effects artist, jeweller, exhibition designer, digital animator or a web designer.
Because you'll gain a broad range of skills during your studies, you'll also be able to find opportunities for careers beyond the mainstream profession.