This taught research course gives you the opportunity to carry out in-depth original research into design practice while developing the skills to become an independent, critical thinker and effective design researcher.
The taught modules provide a framework of transferable skills that apply to all researchers as well as those relevant to your chosen pathway subject of Arts, Design, English Literature, History, Social Science, or Media.
You will gain an understanding of research methods while developing expert professional skills in communication, self-management, and project planning. You will devise and deliver a significant research-based project in the form of a dissertation or practical arts based project, to demonstrate your interests and ability to think independently.
Whether you go on to further PhD study, or work as a researcher for a range of public services and professions, this course gives you the research and professional skills for a successful career.
Learn From The Best
Mark Bailey is Director of Innovation Design and leads the University’s partnership with Unilever. He spent 10 years in the Aerospace industry working on advanced passenger and business jet concepts.
After graduating from Northumbria’s School of Design, Bruce Montgomery became a designer for fashion brands including Katherine Hamnett, Moschino and Jeff Banks.
Matthew Lievesley has helped develop improved care-pathways for people with Type II Diabetes in collaboration with Newcastle University Medical School.
Dr Irini Pitsaki specialises in Design Management and Strategic Brand Management with more than 15 years of experience as a researcher and lecturer in higher education.
Dr Mersha Aftab’s current work looks at Role of Design at strategic level in multinational industries. Her passion for teaching led to a full time lectureship teaching Innovation.
Dr Stuart English is a specialist in design led innovation, and the creator of Ideas-lab. He leads a portfolio of postgraduate programmes.
Elizabeth MacLarty has a degree in Fine Art from Leeds University and her research interests include the relationship of theory to practice, particularly in Design Education teaching practice.
Teaching And Assessment
You’ll learn through a combination of discipline-specific and core framework modules that develop your research skills.
You’ll undertake a dissertation or project of 20,000 words (or 10,000 word dissertation in support of a practical project for Arts practice researchers). This can be either a specialist, in-depth study based upon a substantial body of subject-relevant sources or a you can take a broader ranging approach crossing over a number of disciplines.
You will also take two discipline-specific modules that examine the key themes, traditions, and debates in your chosen discipline.
You’ll be assessed by a mixture of traditional and innovative practices, including dissertation (or equivalent project), oral and written presentations, critical reviews, and portfolios of work.
The academic team will help you develop the skills required to plan, manage and review your learning.
Northumbria's School of Design was named one of Europe’s top design schools by US Business Week magazine and has an international reputation for innovation and creativity.
It has been fitted out with state-of-the-art facilities and the latest in design technology including:
- Dedicated exhibition gallery and outdoor show spaces
- Modern presentation rooms with the latest screening facilities
- Digital photography studio
- CAD suites
- Traditional letterpress and screen printing
- The latest in computer numerically controlled machinery
- Extensive 3D prototyping workshops
- Industry standard textile, printing, knit and garment
- Construction facilities
- Sound studios and recording booths
- Interaction and animation studios
- Mobile laptop facilities
- Postgraduate, research and consultancy suites
Alongside teaching staff with experience as designers, technicians, craftsmen and journalists, you’ll also learn from visiting designers and design professionals.
Northumbria is in the UK top 10 for research power in Arts and Design. The School of Design hosts three research groups:
This research group addresses complex social and cultural issues from a design perspective. They work on themes such as social care issues with the Carers Centre Newcastle and Alzheimer’s Scotland and socio-economic challenges with Newcastle YMCA and Traidcraft.
Design Innovation and Research Methods
This group focuses on innovating and creating value across society by applying design-led innovation and better research methods to support the work of designers in context. Work involves the industrial and commercial sector, such as design's role in corporate innovation and creativity in product manufacturing and service organisations.
This research group focuses on materials and the cultural and technology benefits of making in society. Researchers work in product, industrial, interaction, service, textile, craft, fashion and interior design disciplines.
Give Your Career An Edge
This course will give you skills for life-long learning, including critical skills and attitudes, presentation skills, and the ability to reflect and evaluate abilities. These are all attractive traits and in demand from employers.
You’ll be able to demonstrate critical awareness of research and scholarship in your chosen design discipline and show that you are self-motivated, disciplined and possess a thirst for independent learning.
Throughout the course, you’ll build on your undergraduate skills, adding intensity, complexity and depth of study as you also develop communication, time management and highly developed research and inquiry skills.
Your studies have a real world focus and you’ll have the opportunity to work with external partners and industries to develop your experience and network of contacts. We seek to nurture home-grown talent to support and grow the economic, social, cultural and intellectual capital of the region and beyond.
Northumbria boasts an illustrious design alumni list including Sir Jonathan Ive, principal designer of the iPad, iPhone and iMac. Rob Law MBE, Founder of Trunki, Nicola Morgan, Designer, Lanvin, Paris, and Tim Brown, Chief Executive, IDEO.
As a graduate you’ll be able to demonstrate critical thinking and judgement and will leave equipped with excellent practical, communication, and transferable skills.
You will become an expert on your chosen research topic and well placed to use this as a platform to excel in your career and contribute to the community and the wider world in which you live.
On graduating, you will have a qualification which may enhance your promotion prospects in the fields of teaching, professional research, museums and archives, public policy, and project management.
There are also opportunities for you to advance your studies further, with advice in writing PhD and funding applications available to support students.