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Course content

This innovative, industry-facing programme allows you to work in a cross-disciplinary way or in a specialist area of study. You identify key transferable skills to help you create or respond to career opportunities or undertake further research.

Course description

This programme leads you to explore scenario building, fore sighting and future proofing as important factors in establishing the direction of your work and potential developments in design, communication and cultural industries.

It prepares you, as a creative individual, for professional practice in developing new business ideas, products, systems and artefacts, providing a stimulating environment to support high-level enquiry into emerging and future aspects of creative practice, through individual and collaborative action.

What you study

The programme begins with group research projects, sharing information and references from diverse sources. Collecting and analysing information from a theme of common interest helps you develop awareness of your subject from multiple perspectives. Stage 1 involves developing professional skills, ideas, research, project work and the opportunity for co-working, partnerships and collaborations. The enterprise potential of your interests is evaluated and innovative outputs are proposed. 

Stage 2 allows time to prepare, research and develop project proposals, culminating in a feasibility study for a negotiated major project. Preparation for this major work includes extended reading, visual and experiential references, critical thinking and collecting and analysing information. 

Stage 3 enables you to direct and display your major project work, supported by regular tutorial contact and studio interaction. You show future ambitions and plans for the project including how it may be distributed or realised beyond the University.

Course structure

Core modules

  • Creative Interaction
  • Design Direction
  • Design Innovation
  • Research and Development

Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

At MA level it is vital that you take an active role in structuring your own learning, and engage with the relevant methods and underpinning theories of your discipline. 

Tutorials, seminars and workshops enable you to apply key learning principles to your day-to-day interactions. Individual support, provided by a personal tutor, is an integral feature of the learning and teaching strategy. 

Research is also an intrinsic part of your study. You need to find and make sense of a wide variety of information from books, newspapers, journals, magazines, websites, archives and many other sources, then analyse and discuss your findings to inform the creative process. Lectures and briefings introduce topics and impart key aspects of disciplinary knowledge, usually to larger groups. 

You develop your practical and professional skills with hands-on experience, informed by subject knowledge and critical understanding. Practical workshops introduce specific skills, followed by independent learning, project work, tutorials and critiques.

Critical reflection is key to all successful problem solving and is essential to the design process. You are expected to test and assess your solutions against design criteria which you develop in the light of your research.

How you are assessed

We use a variety of assessment methods, as specified in the module handbooks. These are primarily what we call in-course assessments, where you submit work during the module rather than sit timed exams at the end. Design modules are generally project based and primarily assessed through appraising your portfolio of work, often accompanied by a verbal presentation. Design work is largely developmental and you are assessed on the process by which you achieve your solutions as well as the result, so it is essential that you provide clear evidence of your development work.


Career opportunities

As a graduate you have the opportunity to go on to a range of design-related employment, develop new enterprise propositions or receive project funding to take your ideas to market. Further study at doctoral level is also an option.

Visit the Future Design MA page on the Teesside University website for more details!




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