• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length2 years full time (60 weeks)

MA Material Futures

The intersection of craft, science and technology.

Material Futures is a two-year Masters course 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 and Textiles Programme.

Reasons to apply

  • You’ll be exposed to new materials, processes, technologies and design methodologies and use materiality as a platform to critically interrogate, explore and make sense of how we should occupy a more sustainable future.
  • 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.
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

Course Catalogues

Course detail

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, artefacts 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. 

Course structure

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.

MA Material Futures Programme Specification 2018/19 (PDF, 390KB)

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.

Staff

Acting Course Leader: Kieren Jones
Research Tutor: Professor Carole Collet
Associate Lecturer: Amy Congdon
Contextual Studies and Thesis Tutor: Dr Stephen Hayward

How to apply

2018/19 entry

You can apply to 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 Entry Requirements section further down this page to learn about the application process which includes detailed guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide later in the 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.

Before you can submit the form, you will 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 online application form, we will send you a confirmation email.

You will be emailed a link to our online application tool, 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 the suggested word count for each question is 100 words):

  • Biography (what experience would you propose to bring to MA Material Futures 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 interesting innovation, project or piece of research that 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

All applicants are required to submit an online portfolio consisting of several design or research projects, to include design development and documentation of final design work.

The portfolio should contain no more than 10 images and evidence the following:

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

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education and qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not 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. 

Apply to MA Material Futures

What happens next

We read and consider all application forms.

Subject to you meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, selection is based on your personal statement, portfolio and supporting information. Home/EU students may then be invited to attend an interview / full portfolio review.

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.

When to apply

Applications for MA Material Futures can be submitted within either of the two rounds below. Please be aware that the majority of places and scholarships are awarded in Round One.

Round One

9 January 2017: Online application deadline

16 January 2017: Portfolio submission deadline

1 –3 March 2017: Interviews

We aim to notify you of the outcome by 1 April 2017.

Round Two

15 May 2017: Online application deadline

22 May 2017: Portfolio submission deadline

19 – 30 June 2017: Interviews

We aim to notify you of the outcome by 10 July 2017.

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.

2018/19 entry

You can apply to 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 Entry Requirements section further down this page to learn about the application process which includes detailed guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide later in the 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.

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

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page

Immigration History form (for international applications only)

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an Immigration History form.

We will email you an Immigration History form when we receive your application.

You will need to send this back to us, by email, with copies of the following documents:

  • Your passport photo page; 
  • Your current visa (if you have one) and any previous UK study visas;
  • Your current English language certificate (if you have this);
  • Your academic qualifications (A2, IB, high school diploma, foundation etc. - if completed. Translated into English).

Please note: If you do not complete and return your Immigration History form we will not be able to proceed with your application.

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the online application form, we will send you a confirmation email.

You will be emailed a link to our online application tool, 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 the suggested word count for each question is 100 words):

  • Biography (what experience would you propose to bring to MA Material Futures 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 interesting innovation, project or piece of research that 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

All applicants are required to submit an online portfolio consisting of several design or research projects, to include design development and final documentation of final design work.

Talent and potential are our primary acceptance criteria, along with the commitment and the ambition to make a difference in the world.

The portfolio should contain no more than 30 images and evidence the following:

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

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education and qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not 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. 

Apply to MA Material Futures

What happens next

We read and consider all application forms.

Subject to you meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, selection is based on your personal statement, portfolio and supporting information. International students may then be invited to interview (by skype or in person).

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.

When to apply

We strongly recommend you apply before 30 June 2017. After that point we cannot guarantee your application will be considered.

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.

Entry requirements

Minimum entry requirements

MA Material Future entry requirements are:

  • A relevant Honours degree;
  • Evidence of experiential learning equivalent to a degree;
  • Or 3 years relevant professional experience.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is:

  • IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one paper, or equivalent.

For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

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

What we look for

We are 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

Selection criteria

We select applicants who demonstrate:

  • 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;
  • 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.

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for 2018/19: £5,550 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.

International fee

Tuition fees for 2018/19: £13,890 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.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

MA Material 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.