MA/MDes Design

University of Derby
Program overview
1-2 years
Full time/part time
Master's degree
Scholarships available

Start dates
September 2023

September 2024

September 2025
University of Derby

About this program

MA/MDes Design

  • It’s for experimental and curious designers who want to broaden their practice and collaborate with people from all design disciplines. This approach is critical to the future of design — we need bolder ideas that go beyond conventional boundaries, if we’re going to help solve society’s big challenges
  • You will take part in range of live design projects, which will involve working with industry and community stakeholders. This will develop and test your practice and help you build a professional network
  • Develop a personalised design curriculum and shape your professional future, with optional modules, professional development seminars, and the freedom to develop your own design projects
  • We’re using technology in innovative ways to provide an online studio environment as well as a physical studio on campus. So wherever you are, you will be able to interact with others.

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Admission requirements


You'll usually need an undergraduate degree (at least second class), in a related subject, or an equivalent qualification and a portfolio of your practice.

Selection on to the Program is based on a portfolio interview. The interview experience is an exciting opportunity for applicants to demonstrate their passion for Design. Applicants will have the opportunity to show teaching staff their interests and experimentation in the subject and they will have time to ask the questions that are important to their study. During the interview applicants will be expected to discuss the potential focus of study that they would like to undertake, including specific pathways, and to show and discuss their previous work.

If English is not your first language, you'll also need an IELTS score of 6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area) or equivalent.

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Program content

Design Synthesis

This is an independent study module running over 2 semesters where the student brings together their practice, research and learning to date into an integrative Design project which captures their personal and professional ambitions. The project is proposed, agreed and developed through a Negotiated Learning Agreement (NLA) which is reviewed regularly throughout the module where students will present their findings to Concept Panels and receive feedback from tutors, peers and their personal supervisor. Projects in Design Synthesis will be situated in and supported through the collaborative studio environment and will be exhibited to the profession and the public.

Choose one module on the third and final stage of the Program:

  • Design Synthesis: Core to MA Design
  • Design Synthesis: Graphic Design, core to MDes Graphic Design
  • Design Synthesis: Illustration, core to MDes Illustration
  • Design Synthesis: Fashion, core to MDes Fashion
  • Design Synthesis: Textile Design, core to MDes Textile Design
  • Design Synthesis: Interior and Spatial Design, core to MDes Interior and Spatial Design
  • Design Synthesis: Product Design, core to MDes Product Design

Scholarships & funding

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


Tuition Fees

Full time

  • UK - £6,750 for the full course or £755 per 20 credits*
  • International - £14,700 for the full course

Part time

  • UK - £755 per 20 credits

Career paths

The enterprise elements of this MA/Des Design, particularly the live projects, ensure that you will graduate with the knowledge, skills and networks to find employment. Graduates from previous Design Programs at Derby have become independent designers, worked in an array of creative careers and set up their own freelance businesses across the creative industies. For instance, they have worked for organsiations like BBC Creative, The Partners, Superunion, Design for Good, Derby Football Club, Three Guru, Studio East, and many more.

Alternatively, with your advanced research skills, you will be able to progress on to a PhD or Professional Doctorate.

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About this institute

University of Derby              

The University of Derby is a Top 50 University located in the heart of England, offering a broad range of courses at the foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Get your career off to a great start with real-world learning, focussing...

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Contact info

University of Derby

Kedleston Road
DE22 1GB Derby

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