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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Programme Catalogue

MA Design

Programme code:MA-DESNUCAS code:
Duration:12 Months Method of Attendance: Full Time
Programme manager:Dr Nina Hansopaheluwakan Contact

Total credits: 180

Entry requirements:

You will need a bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or equivalent qualification in an design or art degree with a major in one of the following subjects: graphic design, visual communication design, information design, branding, environmental design & sustainability, environmental & landscape art, painting and colour design. Those with industry experience or a strong portfolio may be considered with a lower classification if your degree is in a relevant design or art subject. You’ll be required to submit a portfolio of recent practical work. Applicants are required to answer the questions in the supporting statement section of their online application form, including details of the design specialism they wish to study as part of their MA Design.

International students whose first language is not English must also satisfy the University of Leeds requirement for English Language; either IELTS (6.5 overall with not less than 6.0 in all components), TOEFL iBT (94 overall with at least 21 in listening, 23 in reading and speaking, and 24 in writing) or PTE (64 overall and at least 60 in all components).

School/Unit responsible for the parenting of students and programme:

School of Design

Examination board through which the programme will be considered:

School of Design

Programme specification:

In Semester 1, you’ll study compulsory modules that will allow you to develop a range of research, conceptual, practical and digital design skills and tools to lay the foundations for the rest of the programme. You’ll have the chance to learn through case studies, practical exercises and work on briefs encompassing all specialisms offered.

In Semester 2, you’ll have a choice of optional modules that focus on current trends in design practice and research. These optional modules will give you the opportunity to work on live projects from industry and/or live research projects being conducted in the School of Design. You’ll work on projects that allow you to explore more specific and advanced skills and tools in your areas of interest. In Semester 2 you’ll also choose and develop a specialist project in which the tools and skills learnt in Semester 1 are applied. Projects are interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary and can be developed in a wide range of topics that suit your interests and career ambitions. These include: Art and Design, Colour Design, Design for Social Innovation, Digital and Interactive Design, Information Design, Instructional Design, Graphic and Visual Communication Design, Service Design, Sustainable Design, and Typographic Design.

In the Summer Term you can choose one of two pathways: 1) Continue with your specialist design project, develop it at a professional level and apply it in a real-life context (with suitable users) for evaluation; 2) Produce an independent research dissertation based around a relevant field or topic within the specialisms offered.


You can develop projects in a wide range of topics. These fall into specialisms that reflect the research and expertise of School staff and are increasingly in demand from both industry and research bodies:
* Colour Design: creative and effective communication of ideas and solutions to problems within the context of colour design, including colour in marketing, branding, packaging, websites and apps, motion, infographics, wayfinding, storytelling, etc.
* Digital and Interactive Design: creative and effective communication of ideas and solutions to problems within the context of digital and interactive design, including UI and UX Design, AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) as well as online, social and mobile media channels.
* Graphic and Visual Communication Design: creative and effective communication of ideas and solutions using graphic design language and methods in areas such as editorial design, book design, experimental typography, branding, packaging, poster design, advertising, illustration, photography etc.
* Information Design: creative and effective communication of information in order to make it easy to access and simple to use, such as healthcare and financial information, maps and transport routes, signage and wayfinding, data graphics, etc.; and by exploring techniques such as information visualisation, infographics, motion graphics, etc.
* Service Design: creation or improvement of services to make them useful, usable and desirable for people as well as being effective for organisations within business, healthcare, retail, banking, transportation, utilities and other sectors. Some examples of successful cases are: Airbnb, Virgin Atlantic, GOV.UK, Spotify, etc. Service Design is a new and growing field of study and research. Learn more about service design on the Design Council website.
* Social Design: creative and effective development of design solutions to directly benefit social, community, environmental and humanitarian causes with the aim of increasing inclusivity, equality, sustainability, social justice, creativity, etc. Consequently, Social Design also benefits businesses, governments, city councils, communities, and so on.
* Typographic Design: creative and effective communication of ideas and solutions using typography as the main design element and as an inherent part of the design process. Typographic design and legibility are vital in numerous design contexts: design for reading, design for inclusivity (to include people with special needs, with low literacy, older people and children, etc.), as well as design to communicate, to inform, to instruct, to persuade, etc.

Year1 - View timetable

[Learning Outcomes, Transferable (Key) Skills, Assessment]

Compulsory modules:

Candidates will be required to study the following compulsory modules:

DESN5150MResearch Methods for Design20 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)
DESN5154MDesign Research and Integration40 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
DESN5161MDesign Theory and Practice40 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)

Optional modules:

Candidates will be required to study 40 credits from the following optional modules:

DESN5163MInformation, Digital and Interactive Design40 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
DESN5164MGraphic, Typographic and Colour Design40 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
DESN5165MService and Social Design for Innovation40 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
DESN5441MInterdisciplinary Art and Design40 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)

The optional modules listed are indicative of those available. The School reserves the right to withdraw and introduce new optional modules in line with the annual review and development of teaching within the School.

Pathway Modules

Candidates will be required to study 40 credits from the following pathway modules

DESN5158MDesign Prototyping & Evaluation40 credits1 May to 31 Aug
DESN5159MDesign Dissertation40 credits1 May to 31 Aug

Last updated: 28/07/2021 09:17:49


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