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Master of Design (MDes)

Course Description

Course Overview

The Master of Design (MDes) programme caters for students who wish to develop their professional practice or knowledge within the discipline of Design. Typically this might include teachers, practicing designers, design consultants, project co-ordinators, or recent graduates in Design who wish to further their professional practice.

The MDes is designed to respond to students who already have a practice and who are able to readily determine where they are in relation to a field and its histories of practices and ways of working. It is the role of the MDes to work outwards, as it were, towards a context for the students practice.

​The student focus will be on their development of Design Practice relevant to the CSAD Subjects of: Architectural Design and Technology; Product Design; Graphic Communications; Textiles; Ceramics; Artist Designer Maker; and Illustration.

The MDes curriculum is designed so that students in the field of Design:
- Kick-start a career or develop an idea
- Develop professional skills
- Become able, professional and directed
- Have a trajectory towards progression to a future Professional Doctorate.

See the website https://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/artanddesign/courses/Pages/mdes.aspx

Course Content

The MDes programme is offered as One Year Full Time

The following Modules will be undertaken by MDes students:
- ART7006: Context (60 credits).
- ART7008: Exploration (60 credits)
- ART7009: Realisation (60 credits)
- ART7005: Research and Ideas Seminars (0 credits. All students must attend the year-long Research & Ideas Seminars which happen on a weekly basis.)

Exit points/Awards
- On completing the Position module (60 credits in total) students will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate.
- On competing the Position and Exploration modules (120 credits in total) students will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma.
- On completing Realisation in addition to the above, (180 credits in total) students will be awarded a Masters Degree (Master of Design).

Learning & Teaching

The MDes is taught through lecture and seminar with individualised supervisory meetings to develop a learning contract (part of the early Personal Development Planning process [PDP]) and an individualised programme of learning and individualised supervision towards a creative research outcome, defined and monitored by developing PDP.

Our approach to learning and teaching is based on negotiation and dialogue, encouraging students to develop their own, self-directed project to a professional standard within a rigorous yet supportive academic environment. To support this, each student is allocated a Personal Tutor and an additional subject-specialist member of staff (academic tutor) from within the design expertise in a respective design department. Together, they form the Supervisory Team.

The CSAD web application form includes a personal statement, and an outline of the professional or research project that the student wishes to pursue at Masters level. This informs the allocation of personal tutor and subject-specialist member of academic staff (academic tutor) with whom the learning contract is established, which in turn forms the basis for the student’s personal plan, reflected on in the continuing PDP process. There are opportunities for all MDes students to come together in common teaching and presentations, to engage in peer learning groups and peer review of work, and to reflect on the outcomes of these peer reviews in PDP.

At several key stages in the MDes programme we stress the importance of self-directed and negotiated learning. This is in part a response to what we perceive to be a growing demand for programmes of study that allow students to integrate work, study, career, personal aspirations and other commitments.

All course documentation, including Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Research Studies Manual, CSAD’s Research Study Guide, the MDes Handbook with module descriptors, assessment guidelines and criteria, will be available as hard copy and electronically. In addition, lecture PowerPoint presentations and workshop-generated material, for example, paragraphs and textual or visual analyses composed during workshops, will be available on the Cardiff Metropolitan University Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Remote or electronic contact with staff will be available by email and/or VLE . The supervisory team will deliver, manage and monitor each student's progress through a number of individual and team meetings. Students will also be encouraged to form and maintain peer-learning groups, either face-to-face or online. Learning will be supported through the use of the VLE, electronic communications, and other relevant methods.

Any students requiring learning support are advised to contact Learning Support in Student Services. Throughout the programme, students are expected to maintain their own Personal Development Plan/Portfolio (PDP), intended to provide evidence of their knowledge and understanding in relation to the learning outcomes of each module, including the Research and Ideas Module.

Each 60 Credit module is typically delivered through:
- Seminars; workshops; lectures; personal and group tutorials, and supervised use of workshop equipment (100 hours).
- Directed study via virtual learning, e.g. Cardiff Metropolitan University Virtual Learning Environment or student blogs or wikis (100 hours).
- Self-directed study. (400 hours)


For each module, assessment is in the form of:
- ART7006: Context (60 credits). Design practice & Website / blog & reflective commentary / report (PDP)/ 4,000 words.
- ART7008: Exploration (60 credits). Portfolio Submission: Substantial body of practical work. PDP: 1,000-2,000 words
- ART7009: Realisation (60 credits). Final body of work in the form of a public presentation through exhibition. 3000 word Critical Paper and Viva Voce.
- ART7005: Research and Ideas Seminars (0 credits). Assessed through PDP undertaken in the other modules.

Support will be available through weekly small group seminars (normally no more than 16 students per group) after each lecture, exploring the theme of the lecture and allowing students to clarify their understanding. These sessions may also be run as workshops where practical demonstrations, involving student participation, are run. This may include, for example, communal writing (via computer and data projector) or small group discourse analysis. Weekly tutorials will also be available.

Employability & Careers

The MDes programme acts as a gateway for students to enhance their careers as, or to become, established artist, designers, makers or architectural technologists, leading towards a career or to a Professional Doctorate in either art or design. Cardiff School of Art and Design offers Professional Doctoral programs in both Art and Design.

The MDes programme is designed to enable students to achieve the attributes of greater flexibility, adaptability, and individual responsibility and autonomy as professional artists, designers or researchers. It goes without saying that the MDes programme develops increasing creativity, self-reliance, initiative, and the ability to perform in rapidly changing environments as well as increasing competence with research skills and methods which will make graduates highly employable as academics and or researchers or enable them to develop an active and sustained practice as artists or designers.

The MDes is particularly focused on students who have already commenced their professional practice, designed about the provision of opportunities for ‘learning in employment’, and thus by implication exhibit the qualities necessary for employment.

All students’ will complete a portable ‘record of achievement’ and use their PDP to support employability and life-long learning, normally in the form of a blog, that integrates opportunities for self-reflection in programmes in order to help them develop as effective and confident learners.

Find out how to apply here https://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/scholarships

Find out how to apply here https://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/howtoapply

Visit the Master of Design (MDes) page on the Cardiff Metropolitan University website for more details!

Student Profiles

Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme - 20+ Awards

The postgraduate scholarship is an award for those studying a full time taught masters programme in 2014. The award will pay for your fees in full, valued at £4000 depending on the course.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Up to £4000


See http://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/pgscholarships for full criteria.

Application Procedure

Please fill in the online application form at: http://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/pgscholarshipsOr visit the website to download the application form and return by:Post: Admissions, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Western Avenue, Cardiff, CF5 2YB
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 029 20 416286You will receive notification that we have received your application and successful applicants will be notified in September following enrolment.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Students will normally have achieved a first class or second class upper division first degree (1st or 2.1 degree classification) in an appropriate subject, and/or equivalent professional standing or experience in a Design discipline (based upon assessed Accredited Prior Learning or assessed Accredited Prior Experiental Learning), or a discipline associated with their programme of study.

Course Fees

UK/EU students: £5,250; International Students: £12,000

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Recipient: Cardiff Metropolitan University

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