MA Material Futures

Applications for 2016/17 entry are now closed.

Application for 2017/18 entry will open in November.  Please check back in November when online applications will open for new applicants.  We look forward to receiving your application.

The intersection of craft, science and technology.

Material Futures is a two-year Masters course at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, dedicated to exploring how we will live in the future through trans-disciplinary practice and expert collaboration.

Our aim is to actively re-think the future.

Through collaboration, risk-taking and blurring the boundaries between craft, science and technology we aim to look beyond existing disciplines to anticipate our future needs, desires and challenges for the 21st century.

We encourage a wholly multi-disciplinary approach to design.

Taking materiality as the starting point of the design process, literally the things we can touch, feel, interact with and observe, we integrate high and low technological materials and processes to respond to the environment around us. Our students explore and come from a diverse range of disciplines, mostly, but not limited to, the worlds of fashion, architecture, industrial, communication, textile, critical, digital and speculative design.

Research is intrinsic to our design process. We advocate research-driven design.

We believe that it is only by observing and analysing how we live today that we can begin to consider and explore how we can live more sustainably tomorrow. Considering the current and future context of design decisions is key to our ethos, combining social, political, scientific and economic inquiry and insights to help inform future design scenarios and speculations. 

This course is part of the Jewellery & Textiles Programme

Scholarships, Awards and Funding available:

All postgraduate funding options for Central Saint Martins. 

Postgraduate loans of up to £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.

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Yesenia Thibault Picazo| The Anthropogenic Specimens Cabinet

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Zuzana Gombosova | Invisible Resources

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Anne Vaandrager | Independant Labour

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Hanan Alkouh | Sea Meat Sea Weed

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Charlotte Nordmoen | humanMade

Reasons to apply

  • You’ll be exposed to new materials, processes, technologies and design methodologies and use materiality as a platform to critically interrogate our sustainable future with topics spanning smart textiles, new materials, interactive design, sustainable design, trend forecasting, branding, fashion, and craft futures.
  • You'll develop experimental design work alongside innovative design proposals and work collaboratively with MA Industrial Design, MA Design Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery and MA Communication Design students to critically interrogate the complexity of the global and local context of your work.
  • Our graduates continue to forge highly successful futures, whether it be working in the creative industry, setting up their own studios, or going onto further study or research roles within academia.
  • We practice a wholly multi-disciplinary approach to design, not only recruiting students with a whole host of different backgrounds and skills, but also introducing them to the very best practitioners from the worlds of science, technology, craft and design.
  • Our graduates go on to do amazing things, working not only at the very forefront of the creative industries, but also in the leading laboratories, research centres and creative startups across the globe.


Course Leader

Kieren Jones (Acting)

Course Location

King’s Cross, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 7023

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

Tuition fees for 2016/17: £4,900 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 2016/17: £12,365 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 2016
Autumn Term DatesMonday 26 September 2016 – Friday 9 December 2016
Spring Term DatesMonday 9 January 2017 – Friday 17 March 2017
Summer Term DatesTuesday 18 April 2017 – Friday 23 June 2017
Application Route

Direct application

Content and structure

About the course

Material Futures is a two-year Masters course at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, dedicated to exploring how we will live in the future.

Through hands on making we explore emerging sciences and technologies, new processes and materials as well as current trends and behavioural insights to generate new design scenarios, speculations, artifacts and applications that will help contribute to a more sustainable tomorrow.

Some of the key themes we interrogate include trend forecasting and future insights, future crafts and materials, the convergence of science and design and smart or interactive materials. The course is divided into two units across two years. 

Unit One - Design Challenge

Unit One offers and intensive and reactive learning experience, students are exposed to a broad variety of new ideas and technical processes through a combination of workshops, lectures, experts and individual project briefs. Providing a bombardment of new ideas, processes and skills, students are challenged to deconstruct their previous experience and expertise and instead adopt an open, experimental and multi-disciplinary approach to design. We value working with industrial partners and usually incorporate at least one live project in Unit One.

Unit Two - Design Futures

Unit Two is designed to allow students to reflect on their experiences within unit one and consider their own design agenda and desired role within the creative industries. By combining the new processes and methodologies introduced to them in unit one, as well as their previous skills and experience, students formulate a single project proposal. All Unit Two projects are directed by a single research question, driven by the student’s personal definition of Material Futures in the context of a more sustainable future. Collaboration is key to unit two and all students pursue external support from established practitioners and experts to help validate and strengthen their final projects.

Our graduate's projects explore the entire spectrum of materiality, from analogue craft processes to smart and interactive technologies and sciences.


Acting Course Leader: Kieren Jones

First Year Leader: TBA
Research Tutor: Professor Carole Collet
Associate Lecturer: Amy Congdon 
Contextual Studies and Thesis Tutor: Dr Stephen Hayward 



MA Textile Futures has established various links with industry in London and beyond, allowing students to work on international design projects and initiatives. MA Material Futures itself has contributed much to debate around design, both through the media and by organising and delivering papers at international conferences.

MA Material Futures students are expected to establish their own network of contacts and develop collaborations within industry as part of the development of their Masters project. Employers have included Adidas, Distance Lab, Banff New Media, Castelbajac, Donna Karan, Etam, Hussein Chayalan, Line Consultants, Louis Vuitton, Margiela, Media Lab Europe, Nicole Farhi, Speedo, Ted Baker, Design Lab, Trend Union and Nissan Design Europe.

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

Entry requirements

MA Material Futures entry requirements are: relevant Honours degree; evidence of experiential learning equivalent to a degree; or 3 years relevant professional experience.

English language requirement

All classes are conducted in English. 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. 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 English Language Support page.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Immigration and Visas page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.

What we look for

We're seeking imaginative, resourceful thinkers and makers who have the potential to shift existing design boundaries, re-imagining and shaping how we live today before interrogating how we can design for a more sustainable tomorrow.

MA Material Futures is demanding and challenging and will benefit most those who are prepared to question their contribution to the design discipline and who aim at becoming the very best leading practitioners and researchers. Once on the MA course you'll be expected to demonstrate creative design skills, develop strategic design thinking, be independent, flexible, and prepared to respond to challenge with a mature and professional attitude.

Student selection criteria

We are looking for people who are highly driven and passionate about design and who keep informed about the material, ethical, moral, social and political issues that affect the creative industries today as well as how they locate themselves and their work within a global context of design.

When preparing for your interview and/or writing your statement, make sure you state clearly the reasons for applying to MA Material Futures as opposed to another MA programme.

You should also provide your own vision of Material Futures; ie think about what will influence the way we design and live in the future. The interview and personal statement should evidence:

  • The ability to discuss your portfolio, through verbal or written means, demonstrating a critical perspective of your work
  • A clear understanding of your design context and an engagement with issues that affect your industry.
  • The ability to have an informed conversation about your role as a designer
  • Motivation, commitment and understanding of the ethos of the MA Material Futures course.

How to apply

Applications for September 2016 entry are now closed.

You can apply for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. 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.

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 references, at least one of which should be an academic or professional reference). 

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 answer the following questions (please note suggested word count for each question is 100 words).

  • Biography (What experience would you propose to bring to the MA course personally?)
  • Why have you chosen to apply for MA Material Futures rather than another Masters course?
  • What do you understand ‘Material Futures’ to mean?
  • Tell us about the most exciting innovation or project you have come across recently.
  • Describe something you believe will have an impact on the future of design. (This could be something social, economic, environmental or a breakthrough in science, for example).

Portfolio (international students only)

International applicants are required to submit an online portfolio consisting of several design projects as well as design development and sketchbook work. The portfolio should evidence the following:

  • Strong design and technical skills
  • A personal approach to developing a design concept (including research, design development and final outputs)
  • A knowledge and understanding of materials
  • A creative approach to visual communication and presentation.

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

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

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.

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.

What happens next?

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

Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, preliminary selection is based on your study statement and documentation of work and supporting information. You may then be invited to attend an interview. 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 Material Futures Course Leader would hope to discuss your application by telephone.

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 School Office 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. Visit the open day section for dates and to book your session. Bookings can only be made online, not by phone or email.

Industry collaborations

We try to work with at least one paying client on a live brief each year. These projects are carefully considered to provide students with not only valuable commercial experience, but also to expose them to those industries and practitioners who are pushing the boundaries and who are at the very forefront of their associated disciplines.

Working on a live project could involve working with a laboratory and a new science, creating new insights for a cutting edge research and development department or creating a new artifact or film for an exciting commercial client.

Such collaboration could lead to 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.

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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