If you are a highly motivated individual this course prepares you for a career working at the forefront of jewellery and metalwork. You build upon existing craft traditions, extending them in response to the needs of our rapidly changing society both in terms of function and style.
Your work on the course is project led and studio based. You develop and apply advanced skills using traditional and new technologies in the field. You also carry out research through practical and theoretical investigation.
Your individual project work includes research and creative work which explores your study topic. This is supported by lectures and seminars dealing with professional practice issues and reviewing progress. You also take part in regular group and individual tutorials.
This culminates with your final project that demonstrates you can deal with difficult contemporary questions and take a leading role in your profession as a designer.
There are opportunities to participate in study trips and visits to design conferences and debates.
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.
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 reknowned specialists in jewellery and metalwork.
You benefit from a strong relationship between the masters design programme and the University’s Art and Design Research Centre which has gained international recognition for its work in both practice-based and strategic research. This has led to an approach to postgraduate study in design which emphasises the role of research in professional practice.
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.
Sheffield: an international centre for excellence in metalwork
Sheffield is famous not only for its innovative steel and tool industries but also for being at the leading edge of the design and production of contemporary metalwork, silversmithing and tableware.
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.
We are normally asked to shortlist applicants before recommending a small number to apply. If this happens, we consider your interview, portfolio of work, academic qualifications and learning aims. We aim to pick people whose abilities and aims are relevant for the company and who are most likely to be successful in a competitive interview.
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.
There are many opportunities for employment or self-employment. We encourage you to take an enterprising approach and to strengthen your ability to develop your own business practice.
An increasing number of our graduates undertake further advanced study through research degrees (PhD) in the University’s Art and Design Research Centre, which has a leading position in the advancement of creative practice in design. Some of our graduates find employment in the University.
Sheffield is home to the largest concentration of creative production in the region. Support for creative industries in the city has encouraged home grown talent as well as practitioners relocating here.
MFA Design provides a research-led learning environment and context that offers the opportunity for an individual to develop and advance their specific making, research and design skills at Masters level.
The course supports a range of disciplines including ceramics, graphic design, illustration, jewellery, interaction design, silversmithing and textiles and creates a challenging, supportive environment, where each student is asked to push the boundaries of their current thinking, explore new possibilities, engage in the current debates surrounding design and through this become advanced specialists in their own practice.
Students engage with external organisations, companies and individuals through specific projects, their peers through team projects, and where relevant, students are encouraged to pursue multidisciplinary and cross disciplinary work – solely or in collaboration with fellow students within the wider University or reaching out to external partnerships. Staff are research active, experts in their fields.
MFA Design was previously known as MFA Multidisciplinary Design. In the redesign of the course, additional staff members have joined the core team, and we now support a range of design disciplines.This richness of knowledge and experience of academic and technical staff enhances the student experience on the program, and opens up additional possibilities for collaboration and innovation, whilst maintaining the rigour in technical, research and development skills required of a masters student.
This change to the course team has also realigned the course to focus on the attainment of advanced, sustainable, skilled practice through research, which is made possible through the technical and specialist facilities available within Belfast School of Art.The course retains the emphasis of entrepreneurship which was a unique strength of the previous version of the program and is built upon tried and tested models developed in conjunction with NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) in recognition of the essential skills necessary for a successful, sustainable practice within the rapidly growing creative industries.
Through ongoing questioning and development during the course a student may identify themselves with a variety of outcomes such as;
Designer Maker – Leading to self employment, professional designer, setting up a SME
Design Researcher – Leading to PhD, research fellowships
Designer Leader – Leading to business leadership or Strategic Thinker within the creative industries.
MFA Design is delivered in full-time mode only, with taught delivery scheduled for one day per week. We recognise the changing nature of the student population and wish to offer a program that is accessible to a range of potential students.
However, a full-time commitment to the course is expected, with studios, workshops and library resources available for use throughout the week.
The course team are specialists in their field and are research active publishing, exhibiting and sharing their practice both nationally and internationally. Staff also engage with academic enterprise and scholarship in learning and teaching. Staff have excellent relationships with industry and employers and a range of funding bodies. This experience in all areas informs the learning and teaching on the program.
70% of staff are recognised by the Higher Education Academy as Fellows or Senior Fellows.
MFA Design has a very strong employability track record. Graduates from the course have gained employment both nationally and internationally. With the course’s strong entrepreneurial focus, many graduates have gone on to establish their own, successful businesses with many securing substantial venture capital funding.
Our students and graduates are opportunity focused and, during the first six years of the course had secured over £650,000 in project funding. In addition our students and graduates have received international recognition through winning numerous awards and bursaries.