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Course content

Summary

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.

About

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.

Attendance

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.

Academic profile

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.

Career options

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.


Visit the Design - MFA page on the Ulster University website for more details!

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