MA Design (Ceramics); MA Design (Furniture); MA Design (Jewellery)

MA Design focuses on your individual design practice and, through making and immersion in material processes, will broaden your career and research horizons. Your Masters project becomes the vehicle for developing your creative abilities and analytical skills, while you critically engage in the fields of emergent design discourse, global markets and the investigation of technologies. Our two-year Masters programme expects you to be ambitious. It will challenge you to explore and expand your opportunities, and make your mark on the global design industry.

This course is part of the Product, Ceramic & Industrial Design Programme.

Scholarships, Awards and Funding available:

All postgraduate funding options for Central Saint Martins 

Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships:
Home/EU | International
Jane Rapley Scholarships
Swarovski Foundation MA Design Scholarship

10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.

Meet Course Leader Simon Fraser, staff and students

Maria Gasparian talks about her Nova-nominated final project 'Ceramic City'

Nova nominee Mark Laban on traditional Japanese aesthetics in digital furniture design

Aureliele Bourhis
Aureliele Bourhis

Aureliele Bourhis

Ana Jimenez Palomar
Ana Jimenez Palomar

Ana Jimenez Palomar

Alice Cicolini
Alice Cicolini

Alice Cicolini

Reasons to Apply

  • The course addresses the changing roles of designers and their increasing need to design responsibly, think entrepreneurially and re-imagine manufacturing.
  • Gain a new, challenging perspective on your practice.
  • Combine individually tailored project work with the unique experience of studying in a cohort alongside other specialist designers and different subject cultures.
  • You are your project. This project-based MA enables you to become self-motivated, transformative, and empowered in your practice as a designer.
  • You’ll be supported by the experience and long-term professional networks accrued by staff and alumni, expanding and enhancing your project.
  • During the two years of study you will reshape the way your career progresses, creating global networks and establishing an active professional career in the design industry.
  • The high level of specialised, final work frames a bespoke business for many MA Design graduates, while others go on to work as consultants or creative directors.


Course Leader

Simon Fraser

Course Location

King's Cross, London.

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course LengthFull time: 2 years (60 weeks)
Home/EU Fee

Tuition fees for 2017/18: £5,050 per year. Please note that fees for second year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course. 

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

International Fee

Tuition fees for 2017/18: £12,860 per year.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course. 

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Start DateSeptember 2017
Autumn Term DatesMonday 25 September 2017 – Friday 8 December 2017
Spring Term DatesMonday 8 January 2018 – Friday 16 March 2018
Summer Term DatesTuesday 16 April 2018 – Friday 22 June 2018
Application Route

Direct application by project proposal and standard Masters application (see Apply section below)

Content and structure

MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery is part of the Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design programme. Ceramics, furniture and jewellery design share rich cultural histories and traditions of practice. Each is concerned with what can be described as 'intimate architecture' - a physical relationship of the artefact with the body.

The role of design practitioners is changing as a result of emergent technologies, global marketing, the internationalisation of production, and a rising interest in a 'bespoke approach' or 'craft content' within design.

Designers need to be able to think creatively and strategically about the identity of products and their cultural backgrounds and to support their ideas with innovation, commercial thinking and ethical questioning. MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery (by Project) develops your creative abilities, imagination and expertise in relation to real design world demands by linking formal design approaches with practice-led research.

The postgraduate course is achieved in the context of your own personal project, explored and developed according to your individual pathway choice, in a stimulating, supportive, creative and collaborative environment.

About this course

  • MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery lasts 60 weeks structured as two consecutive periods of 30 weeks each (i.e. two academic years) in its 'extended full-time mode'.
  • MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery is credit rated at 180 credits, and comprises 2 units. Unit 1 (60 credits) lasts 20 weeks. Unit 2 (120 credits) runs for 10 weeks in the first year and 30 weeks in the second year.
  • Both units must be passed in order to achieve the MA, but the classification of the award of MA derives from your mark for Unit 2 only.

You are expected to attend three days each week.

The framework for the postgraduate course is an independent study route defined by your chosen project. The project becomes a vehicle for developing your creative abilities, problem solving and analytical skills, and for locating your work within the professional world.

You'll be encouraged to refocus your skills intellectually, contextually and practically, to exploit and extend design strategies from your own and other disciplines, and to question and test your ideas through teamwork and group critiques. On applying to MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery you'll be asked to produce a comprehensive project proposal that you refine during Stage 1 of the programme. In Stage 2, this proposal becomes an Action Agreement, the blueprint for the MA project submission at the end of the postgraduate course.

Unit 1- Investigation and Development: Research for your Personal Project and allied elements

This Unit is concerned with the clarification, investigation and development of the Personal Project. You'll be supported by a range of teaching and learning strategies, this frequently includes the opportunity to undertake a consultant design team project with a significant client,

The introduction of specialist research information that will enable the development of your project. There will be a short period of introduction to the course, the College and the University resources and postgraduate community. Research methodology seminars will focus on your own project and practice understanding and you'll be introduced to the use of professional mentors. The development of your Project Proposal and Critical Synopsis are preparation for the Critical Review in Unit Two.

Unit 2 - Reflection, Synthesis and Resolution: delivering and fully understanding your Project

During this Unit you bring your Project to both a practical and critically reflective conclusion, manifesting the practical outcomes and defining your position through the Critical Review. During the final stages of the postgraduate course there will be professional futures workshops to support your career development.


Course Leader and Subject Leader (Jewellery):Simon Fraser

Subject Leader (Furniture):Professor Ralph Ball

Lecturer:Professor Rob Kesseler
Lecturer:Dr Ulrike Oberlack
Lecturer:Anthony Quinn
Lecturer:Dr Elizabeth Wright


Through the professional experience of the teaching team there are strong links with commercial, artistic, craft and industrial bodies in London, nationally and internationally. Over the duration of the MA, meetings with practitioners, industry professionals, and participants in the wider design community will enable you to learn to communicate effectively across a range of different environments.
Future careers and graduate prospects

Many MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery graduates move speedily into self-employment, developing businesses at the highest levels finding opportunities to progress their independent practice at both a national and international level. These includes students showing work at the Victoria Miro Gallery and Sotheby’s and collection designs for Swarovksi, MADE, Top shop and the House of Fraser.

Other MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery graduates work for design teams in Europe and Internationally either in their country of origin or increasingly in a country of their choice. A significant minority enter educational work at Masters level.

For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit the Student Jobs And Careers section.

Entry requirements

MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery requirements are: relevant Honours degree; evidence of experiential learning equivalent to a degree; or three years relevant professional experience.

What we look for

We recruit students to ensure a dynamic and supportive cohort with a range of different life experiences within the ceramic, furniture or jewellery design areas, who will be able to share expertise and add value to the experience of all students on the course.

We offer places to a variety of applicants, ranging from exceptional students who have just completed undergraduate degrees in the appropriate subject, to graduates who have been working in the field for some time and who wish to return to study.

We are interested in applicants from a range of arts/design backgrounds who are looking to relocate their career paths or who feel that their skill base can be used to open new opportunities and avenues in the ceramics, furniture or jewellery fields.

Applicants who have proven managerial experience of design will also be encouraged, especially if they have worked in an area directly related to ceramic, furniture or jewellery production.

Student selection criteria

Admission to MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery will be based on submission of the following:

  • A Project Proposal written by the applicant outlining the main project's intentions and the research support and commercial/industrial connections applicable to the project.
  • A portfolio of supporting work illustrating the applicant's previous experience and practical skills. Documentation relating to exhibitions or particular 'live' projects will also be required

The interview (for applicants selected following submission of the application form, action project proposal and supporting work) is used to evaluate the extent to which a candidate demonstrates:

  • The suitability, appropriateness and deliverability of the Project Proposal in relation to the professional expertise of the staff team
  • Analytical and critical skills and the ability of the applicant to apply these to the Project Proposal
  • The quality of the design work submitted in support of the application and the 'match' between this and the Project Proposal
  • The applicant's awareness of the historical, cultural and social implications of their project
  • The resource implications of the Project Proposal and the ability of the course and the applicant to support the practical realisation of the project

English language requirement

All classes are conducted in English. The standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. For further information visit the Language Centre website. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you send us an English language test score together with your application to prove your level of proficiency. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please clearly indicate this on your application form. When you have received your test score, please send it to us immediately. 
Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the External English Tests page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.

Application advice

The following points are intended to help you think, research and structure essential areas of your project proposal. We understand that you are only at the beginning of a journey of exploration and do not expect you to have complete answers to all your questions. It is important to us that you examine your knowledge and experience with regards to your proposed project and are able to identify questions and areas that you do not know about. Naturally, we would like you to demonstrate how you intend to tackle those areas and questions. This process should help you gain more clarity about your project proposal and give us a chance to identify how this course can support you and your professional development.


  • Using bullet points, state professional qualifications, experience and abilities that how relevance concerning your project/application.
  • Briefly describe your work, outlining recent developments.
  • Describe the precise area of study you wish to undertake, including the intended programme, demonstrating your contextual knowledge.


  • Refer to specific areas, issues, critical ideas and precedent, which may underpin and frame your proposal.


  • Outline the sequence of practical, theoretical and visual research that you intend to follow. This will be vital to your programme of study in Stage 1 of the course, where the Project Proposal records your progress.


  • Critically evaluate your work to date, drawing any conclusions that you are able to make. List any visual work undertaken, including tests, experiments and outcomes.

Research sources

  • Document your research sources including professional contacts, libraries, museums, galleries, special archives, or collections that you have visited or accessed as part of your research towards the Proposal.


  • Insert relevant documentary material. Keep a full record of the original and documentary material consulted, listing appropriate reading material.


  • Insert any additional material that you consider relevant but not a core part of the Project Proposal. This could be other projects, notebooks, drawings, company analyses, or additional research material.


How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application form:

Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

Please make sure that you complete your online application to the course as soon as possible, even if you intend to send us more information through other links, for example, WeTransfer.

This is because the online recruitment system does not notify the course team of your application until it is completed online, so the team will be unaware of your application or your interest in a place on the course until you have gone through this process.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Referee details (this course requires two, both should be from your tutor or someone who knows your work)

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation email that includes links to where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Personal statement

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course. (Write between 300 to 500 words)

  • What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally, personally?
  • Why do you wish to study on MA Design; Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery?
  • What makes you a suitable candidate for acceptance?
  • What do you think you would contribute to your peer group on the course? 

Project proposal

As MA Design; Ceramics, Furniture, Jewellery is a research-based ‘by Project’ Masters course, your project proposal is the focal point of your application. Your project proposal forms the basis for selection for the course supported by your portfolio and your prior qualifications and experience.

All project proposals are read by the course reader group during the process of application. If you are selected for interview, you can expect to explore and develop your proposal in discussion with the course team. If you are selected for the course, the project proposal will form the basis and focus of your studies.

The following questions are intended to help you think, research and structure essential areas of your project proposal. We understand that you are only at the beginning of a journey of exploration and do not expect you to have complete answers to all your questions. It is important to us that you examine your knowledge and experience and explain it in regard to your proposed project.  We would also like you to identify where you have questions and areas that you do not know about, and suggest how you intend to tackle those.

This process should help you gain more clarity about your project proposal and give us a chance to identify how this course can support your professional development.

We expect a project proposal to be 500 to 800 words long in total. The sections ‘Resources’, ‘Bibliography’ and ‘Appendix’ are in addition to this word count. 

Your Background

Using bullet points, state professional qualifications, skills, experiences, abilities and prior practice that are relevant to your proposal.

Outline Proposal

Describe your precise area of interest and research/study you wish to undertake demonstrating your contextual knowledge.

Describe the core of your project in three to four sentences.

Outline the context in which your project operates answering questions such as: Why is your project relevant? Who might be its audience(s)?


Refer to specific areas, critical ideas and precedents, which underpin and frame your proposal.
This section invites you to extend the description of your project focusing on specific areas. Particularly important is your evaluation of precedents and how you position your project in relationship to these.


Outline the sequence of practical, of theoretical and of visual research that you intend to follow.

This section requires you to be specific about how you plan to conduct your project and where particular challenges might lie.


Evaluate your work to date. Which conclusions are you are able to draw?

Where do you think the strengths of your work lie and where are areas you might improve?


Document resources that you have drawn on as part of your research towards your proposal including professional contacts, libraries, museums, galleries, special archives or collections.
Document any professional contacts that might support the delivery of your project. These might be drawn from the list above and / or extend to your access to research or production facilities, potential collaborators etc.


Please give clear references of any relevant documentary material including books, images, videos, objects, artworks, online sources etc.

Appendix (optional)

This section is optional. You can insert any additional material that you consider relevant but not a core part of your project proposal.
This could be other projects, notebooks, drawings, company analyses, or additional research material.


Your digital portfolio should demonstrate:

  • The full range and level of your design, technical and practical skills.
  • Your thinking and decision making in the design process.
  • Your personal vision and approach to design.

Your portfolio should contain at least one fully documented design process showing:

  • A project brief and your research into or interrogation of the brief
    (This could be a client or college brief or a brief you might have set yourself)
  • Inspirations and initial ideas (where do these come from?)
  • Visual and conceptual development of these ideas (sketching and/or alternative methods)
  • Drawing/design of objects based on these visual/conceptual developments
  • (Iterative) model making, production and refinement of objects
  • final product(s), object(s) and/or presentations such as exhibitions etc.

Some tips:

  • Do not edit your portfolio too tightly, we would like to see raw sketches that express your thinking as well as more developed drawings, models and final works.
  • Consider the size, resolution and the spacing of images on each page. We need to be able to see sketches, drawings, images etc. clearly in order to evaluate them.
  • Ensure that your portfolio clearly presents why you have included items.
  • Avoid too much text on your image pages.

Please note, you can submit text and as many website links as you need to, but the portfolio form does not allow you to upload files.

Start your application now

Due to the high level of interest in * MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery (*as appropriate) we recommend that you return your application as soon as possible after 1 January 2017, and before the end of May 2017 at the latest. You can submit your application after this closing date, but if the course is full at that point it will be filed as a late application, and you will only be interviewed if and when a place becomes available.

Applications can be submitted throughout the year. Places are limited however, so we advise you to submit your application as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Deferred entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

What happens next?

We read and consider all application forms and personal references. Please note we give particular attention to your Project Proposal and references.

Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, preliminary selection is based on your study proposal, documentation of work and supporting information. You may then be invited to attend an interview. You'll be asked to bring a portfolio of your latest work. For candidates applying for external funding, interviews will be scheduled prior to funding body deadlines.

Can't attend the interview

If you're a home/EU or international applicant unable to attend for interview, the MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery recruitment panel will expect to discuss your application by Skype preferably or by telephone. We interview every student who gains a place on the course.

In the case of applicants unable to attend for interview and unable to discuss their application by telephone, a decision regarding the offer of a place on the course will be made on the basis of a review of the application materials. We keep notes about decisions made following the initial application review and the interview process.

Selection is by two members of staff (normally the Course Leader and one other), and offers of places are made on the basis of our selection criteria. Applicants are informed of the decision via either the Student Administration or the International Office.

Open days

Open days are a great opportunity to meet staff and students and to find out at first hand about courses, teaching and student life. Bookings can only be made online – to book and find dates, times and locations please visit our open days section.

Collaborations and co-design

Working with paying clients on live briefs will give you valuable commercial experience which may mean your work being taken forward for production or, if so desired, in the purchase of your intellectual property. All paid projects are conducted within a carefully developed legal framework, which includes student agreements to protect your work and help you realise its commercial value. 

Recent client projects in the Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design programme include: Nespresso, Roche Bobois, John Lewis, Canal and River Trust, Action Dog. Find out more about the News UK client project. 

Once you’ve graduated, you may be picked as part of a small team to work on a live creative brief, organised by our Business and Innovation department, under the supervision of an experienced tutor. This can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline and has resulted in graduates being hired by clients.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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