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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Programme Catalogue

MA Design

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

Total credits: 180

Entry requirements:

Applicants will need a bachelor's degree with a 2:1 (Hons) or equivalent qualification in a 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 their degree is in a relevant design or art subject. Applicants will be required to submit a portfolio of recent practical work. They are also 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 the 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

Relevant QAA Subject Benchmark Groups:

Art and Design:

Programme specification:


This Masters course focuses on human and user-centred design and focuses on developing research and practice-based design solutions to respond to a demanding industry and rapidly changing society.

Whether the students’ background is in design or in another discipline, they will gain the skills and knowledge they need to develop, test and evaluate innovative design solutions in real-life contexts. The students will gain first-hand experience of current needs and trends across a range of sectors and focus on a large-scale design project within one of the specialisms offered.

Taught by diverse staff with internationally recognised profiles in research and practice, the students will build an interdisciplinary approach to design in a stimulating environment while being exposed to and involved in cutting-edge research. Students will also gain practical and research skills to prepare them for a wide range of careers.


As part of the School of Design, the programme provides plenty of facilities and range of resources that students can use to develop their projects.

For those interested in engaging with immersive technologies, the programme offers standalone Android-based Virtual Reality headsets, enabling VR prototype testing and development of MA Design research and design projects. Other excellent research facilities within the school include our eye-tracking measurement system including mobile glasses, which are used to understand how users interact with design. The school also have EEG (electroencephalography) equipment to understand how users interact with the world. In addition, it has a lighting and colour lab with the latest colour measurement and communication tools to explore the role of colour in the design and retail industry and the effect of light on health and wellbeing.

Students will be able to develop their practice in well-equipped studios and workshops, and have access to the latest design software, as well as some of the latest design technology, such as digital printing, screen-printing, 3D printing, and laser cutting.


In the first semester, students will study a set of compulsory modules that will allow them to develop a range of research, conceptual and practical design skills and tools to lay the foundations for the rest of the programme. They will have the chance to learn through case studies, practical exercises and work on briefs encompassing all specialisms offered.

In the second semester, students will 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. They will work on group and/or individual projects to explore more specific and advanced skills and tools in their areas of interest.

In Semester 2 students will also choose and develop a specialist project in which the tools and skills learnt in Semester 1 are applied. Projects are interdisciplinary and can be developed in a wide range of topics that suit their 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, Typographic Design and Design Management.

In Semester 3 students can choose one of two pathways: 1) Continue with their specialist design project, develop it at a professional level and apply it in a real-life context (with suitable participants) for evaluation; 2) Produce an independent research dissertation based around a relevant field or topic within the specialisms offered.


Students will be taught and guided by a diverse team of staff who are leaders in their fields, with a wide variety of research interests and years of experience as design practitioners.

The programme uses a range of teaching and learning methods so students can benefit from their expertise. These may include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, fieldworks, exhibitions, group learning and meetings with tutor or supervisor. However, independent study is crucial to this degree, as it allows students to develop skills and explore their own ideas.

On this course students will be taught by expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. Students may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting them to some of the brightest minds on campus.

Year1 - View timetable

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

Compulsory modules:

Candidates will be required to study the following compulsory modules:

DESN5171MDesign Theory and Practice30 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)
DESN5175MDesign Research and Integration45 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
DESN5177MResearch Methods for Design30 creditsSemester 1 (Sep to Jan)

Optional modules:

Candidates will be required to study one of the following pathway modules:

DESN5170M Design Dissertation45 credits1 May to 31 Aug
DESN5176MDesign Prototyping and Evaluation45 credits1 May to 31 Aug

Candidates will be required to study one of the following optional modules:

DESN5172MInformation, Digital and Interactive Design30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
DESN5173MGraphic, Typographic and Colour Design30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
DESN5174MService and Social Design for Innovation30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
DESN5215MDesign Management: Design Thinking and Strategic Innovation30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)
DESN5445MInterdisciplinary Art and Design30 creditsSemester 2 (Jan to Jun)

Last updated: 25/10/2023 16:09:25


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