MA Global Collaborative Design Practice

University of the Arts London
2 years
Full time
Master's degree
Scholarships available
On campus
Inquire for more information
University of the Arts London

About this program

MA Global Collaborative Design Practice

MA Global Collaborative Design Practice builds dialogues and projects between international communities and contexts. It aims to interpret and respond to social and environmental challenges through the exchange of distinct perspectives.

The course is co-hosted and co-designed by University of the Arts London (UAL) and Kyoto Institute of Technology (KIT) in Japan. You will join a studio community that spans locations and cultures and work collaboratively with fellow students over 2 years.

These interactions take place both physically in-person and remotely online. Your projects grow from time spent together in each city and through exploring the possibilities of digital interactions over distance. You will receive 2 Master’s awards upon graduation. A Master of Arts from UAL and Master of Engineering from KIT.

The course helps you frame social and environmental challenges through global perspectives, comparing key frameworks and texts such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Pluriverse: A Post-Development Dictionary. Equally, it helps you frame challenges at a local scale by comparing first-hand experience of distinct locations, communities and cultures. This global/local approach is an exploratory, inclusive, ongoing group activity. It helps the course shift and evolve its own perspectives and approaches over time.

UAL and KIT bring complementary strengths in the arts and in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to the course. We come together through shared understandings of design practice as being rooted in hands-on, user-centred making and testing.

We are committed to positive engagement with social and environmental challenges through our faculties and communities. Our dual studio, labs, workshops, and curriculum help you make to communicate’ in diverse teams and make to test’ ideas in distinct locations and realities.

We welcome applicants from across design disciplines and from fields such as the sciences, engineering and humanities. The design process is used as a meeting point and shared working language between these different skills and standpoints.

You will explore various modes of interaction, collaboration and making together over 2 years. By doing so you can establish the fundamentals for practice in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary roles directed towards the societal challenges of our time.

Admission requirements

English Language Requirements

All classes are taught in English. If English is not your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

IELTS level 6.5 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our English Language Requirements).

Standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

  • BA (Hons) degree (alternative qualifications and experience will also be taken into consideration)
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio of work

Entry to the course will be determined by the quality of your application, looking primarily at your portfolio of work and personal statement.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website.

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Program content

Year 1

This year draws together our course community through project-based learning and different modes of interaction. The themes are:

  • Global/local contexts and interactions
  • Collaborative mindsets and skillsets
  • Iterative prototyping and design innovation
  • Practice engagement and evolution

Together as students and staff we explore the origins and futures of these themes and terms through regular community debate. We interact in 4 ways:

  • September - December: The 2 cohorts start year 1 in their base London and Kyoto studios. Interaction takes place in-person locally and online globally
  • January - March: Kyoto students travel to the London studio for whole cohort, in-person interaction
  • April - May: Kyoto students remain in the London studio, but the London students travel to the Kyoto studio. Interaction takes place in-person locally and online globally
  • June - July: Kyoto students return to Japan to re-join London students for whole group in-person interaction

UAL and KIT units are designed to complement one another thematically. They are scheduled to fit alongside one another in the following groupings. Students carry out all units.

Unit Grouping 1

These units establish the community and studio, both locally in London and Kyoto and globally through online interactions. You will work both individually and in teams to explore the fundamentals of human-centred, collaborative and cross-cultural approaches to design.

UAL Unit 1: Global and collaborative

This unit introduces key themes in cross-cultural and collaborative practice. It explores:

  • Landscapes - historic and contemporary dialogue and debate
  • Mindsets - sensitivity to distances between people
  • Mechanisms - methods for bridging these distances
  • Networks - wider communities and frameworks
  • Stewardship - steering and supporting teams
  • Precedents - existing and emerging models of global and collaborative practice

KIT Unit 1: Design for interactions

This unit explores human-centred research processes, fibre science and multi-sensory interactions with products, services, environments and interfaces. It focuses on the use of sustainable materials - natural or synthetic - and physical computing to prototype tools rapidly for interaction that offer alternatives to verbal means of communication.

Unit Grouping 2

These units further explore our experiences and understandings of our studio and how we interact as a community through it. As a combined London-Kyoto cohort we change locations and roles by visiting or hosting each other and exchanging places.

We draw on and develop fundamental understandings from the initial units. This guides design prototyping and innovation models in live user-centred and external-facing projects. Camberwell Unit 2 works together with KIT's 2 smaller units, 2A and 2B.

UAL Unit 2: Design practice

This unit uses design prototyping as an accessible 'meeting point' process for developing ideas and dialogues between design practitioners, project stakeholders and project end-users. It focuses on local, user-centred projects and global-scale mapping of practice models.

KIT Unit 2A: Design for innovation

This unit introduces models of design innovation, identifying how social, technical and design considerations can be managed together. It tests business principles in non-commercial contexts through collaborative group work and role play.

KIT Unit 2B: Design for process and projects

This unit is a live project in collaboration with a public, private or non-profit sector organisation. It is a test space for interdisciplinary teamwork. It will balance ethical, social and sustainable principles with innovation strategies and imperatives.

Year 2

This year helps you cultivate practice aims and opportunities through a major project which you can undertake as an individual or in a team. This is underpinned by a professional placement, immersive fieldwork and participatory practice. It is supported by a subsequent period of tailored dissemination to strategic contexts and audiences.

The 2 cohorts return to their original base studios in Kyoto and London and work for the entire year from these locations (by default but open to individual negotiation).

Joint Unit 3 - UAL and KIT Unit 3: Final Major Project

This unit is jointly led and assessed by UAL and KIT. It draws on and further activates learning and communal bonds from year 1. The emphasis shifts to you – as individual students and as a cohort – to take the initiative in shaping interactions within and beyond the course through a major project.

This unit asks you to develop and direct an in-depth design project that responds to a defined societal challenge. There are 3 complementary parts:

  • A living brief - an evolving project framework document
  • A living body of research - immersive fieldwork and participatory dialogues
  • A living outcome - a design prototype that shows understanding and respect for the context it responds to
  • You can undertake the project as an individual or in a team

Unit Grouping 4

These are the final units. They help you transition between your completed major project and your full shift to independent practice beyond the course.

UAL Unit 4: Disseminate - Solo

This unit helps you define your practice values and disseminate your work. Audiences and contexts may relate to:

  • Employment
  • Research and enterprise funding
  • Further study
  • Competitions and awards
  • Contributions to events
  • Panels or publication

KIT Unit 4: Disseminate - Cohort

This unit presents the variety of design approaches taken by the London-Kyoto cohort over 2 years. It does so through a collective physical, virtual or hybrid event that engages with external communities, stakeholders and networks at the forefront of collaborative practice.

Note: All year 1 units must be passed for students to progress to year 2.

The award classification will be calculated using the average of both second year UAL units: The Major Project unit (40 UAL credits) and the Dissemination Solo unit (20 UAL credits).

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the university website for more information.

Program delivery

MA Global Collaborative Design Practice is offered in full-time mode and runs for 72 weeks over 2 years. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study.


  • The full tuition fee of 2022/23 for local students is £5,870 per year.
  • The full tuition fee of 2022/23 for International students is £14,725 per year.


  • Briefings, seminars and lectures
  • Cross-cultural dialogues
  • Dedicated local and global studio spaces
  • Identified reading and reference
  • Immersive fieldwork
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Individual or collaborative major project
  • Language support and tuition
  • Physical, virtual and blended modes of interaction
  • Practical and speculative project-based learning
  • Presentations, crits and debates
  • Reflective writing
  • Self-assessment and peer-assessment
  • Set, self-initiated and live projects
  • Technical workshops, libraries and archives
  • 2D, 3D, 4D making and prototyping
  • User-centred design processes
  • Virtual and physical study trips

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About this institute

University of the Arts London

University of the Arts London (UAL) is ranked 2nd in the world for Art and Design according to the 2023 QS World University Rankings®, for the fifth year in a row. It has an international reputation in art, design, communication,...

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Why study at University of the Arts London

With multiple sites across London, UAL offers endless opportunities to draw inspiration from this global creative hub.

  • UAL has a track record for launching and furthering careers across the creative industries and beyond.
  • Graduates are frequently shortlisted for national and global awards ranging from the Turner Prize to the Oscars.
  • UAL is home to more than 2,400 postgraduate students.
  • The university offers a wide range of theoretical and practice-based research programmes leading to a PhD or MPhil.
  • UAL is ranked among the UK’s top research universities, with 83% of research conducted by UAL students and staff graded as world-leading.
  • UAL has a diverse student community, with students drawn from over 130 countries across the globe.
  • Students are encouraged to draw inspiration from London’s world-famous art galleries, museums and theatres.
  • UAL’s dedicated support service offers useful advice for international students including guidance on funding, visa applications and accommodation.

Contact info

University of the Arts London

272 High Holborn
WC1V 7EY London
United Kingdom

Phone no: +4420 7514 8480

Message the school

Want to know more about MA Global Collaborative Design Practice? Fill out the following form and we'll pass your details on to a representative from the school, who will respond to your enquiry.


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