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Postgraduate

MA Industrial Design

A blue parachute surrounded by clouds of mist
Lily Consuelo Saporta Tagiuri – Cloud Catchers
College
Central Saint Martins
Start date
September 2024
Course length
Two years (60 weeks)
Extended full-time

MA Industrial Design will teach you to be strategic, respond to trends, initiate new design approaches and thrive in multidisciplinary teams.

Applying for more than 1 course

You can apply for more than 1 postgraduate course at UAL but we recommend that you apply for no more than 3. Find out more in the Apply Now section.

The course is internationally recognised as a leader in postgraduate industrial design education. It is part of the Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

    Internationally recognised: Central Saint Martins' Product and Industrial Design courses were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education, recognising their leadership in design education and contribution to industry, commerce and design professions, both in the UK and internationally.

    Discipline (re)defining: The course provides a platform for you to question what industry is today. We continually reappraise design practices, addressing critical and socially responsive design across market-led, societal and environmental contexts.

    Collaborative and multidisciplinary: Our course culture is not governed by a particular dogma but instead encourages diverse engagement and prototyping of the discipline itself. We apply intellectual development directly to design practice, expanding your strategic skills to create new approaches and thrive in multidisciplinary teams.

    People-centred design: We strive to develop innovative approaches to better understand users. Recent innovations include methods informed by theatre and performance as well as storytelling and scenario-building techniques used as research, ideation and communication strategies.

    Networked: The course has extensive links to the design industry through collaborative projects, staff practice, research as well as participation in international exhibitions, publications and competitions. Our network provides a range of external practitioners as lecturers, mentors and collaborators ensuring your curriculum is current and informed by industry.

Course overview

Traditionally, industrial design is associated with the improvement of goods and services through creative intervention. However, as the nature of production and consumption has changed in the face of growing social, economic, environmental challenges and technological development so has the role of the industrial designer. 

This places an emphasis on the strategic competencies within the design process and requires a set of responsive and critical skills that complement the creative processes and materially informed skill sets that gave rise to the discipline.    

As a pioneering course in the field, MA Industrial Design adapts to these changes continually expanding the disciplinary purview of industrial design. 

On the course, you will question how, why and for whom particular goods and services are produced. You will utilise Industrial Design to catalyse change and leverage insight to inform new practices, your discipline and industry. You will question the impacts of design practice and the role and agency of the industrial designer engaging in a broad range of problem contexts.  We draw on current thinking and practice in other discipline areas, including the physical sciences, social, psychology, policy design, behavioural science and environmental studies.  

The course is concerned with the continued development of industrial design as a discipline and profession and will encourage you to question what industry is today. You will continually reappraise the discipline, question and develop its relevance through critical and socially responsive approaches. You will explore the application of industrial design in both market-led and societal contexts. This constant review of what industrial design is creates a culture independent of a particular style or dogma. Instead, it encourages diverse engagement, reflection, negotiation and prototyping of the discipline. 

MA Industrial Design applies this intellectual development directly to design practice. It will teach you to take on strategic sustainably informed roles, identify and respond to trends, initiate design approaches and thrive in multidisciplinary teams. While the course honours the traditional legacy of the subject, we continue to reframe what industrial design is and means. 

We are committed to developing ethical industrial design practices. To achieve this, we are working to embed UAL's Principles for Climate, Social and Racial Justice into the course. 

Course units

The MA Industrial Design curriculum engages what we describe as emphases in practice. These locate forms of industrial design practice and allow you to challenge, question, and advance the discipline. Each emphasis promotes the view that people should be at the centre of the design process. The course develops innovative approaches to understanding users and their wants and needs. Recently, this has included the development of design methods informed by theatre and performance, storytelling and scenario building; used as research, ideation and communication strategies. You will explore relationships between people, design, emerging technologies and behaviours and the impact and consequences of design work in different contexts. These approaches are embedded in studio projects, allowing you to work with anthropological design methods and processes informed by principles of sustainable development.

Industrial design for enterprise 

This emphasis positions industrial design as a commercial practice. Here, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking provide solutions which meet the needs of real people. It is responsive to new commercial conditions – from start-ups to established multinational businesses. As part of this area of study, you will question existing industrial paradigms, professional roles, opportunities for manufacture and routes to market. 

Industrial design for publics 

This emphasis applies industrial design processes to societal issues. It considers the dynamic challenges that require new ways of thinking and doing. Industrial design for publics applies co-design and participatory design methods. Problem stakeholders are engaged in the design process to jointly frame and tackle such challenges. It is a form of design-led social innovation. In this context, we encourage the development of links with social enterprises, government, local authorities, charities, and NGOs. 

Industrial design for service 

This emphasis explores the discipline from a strategic perspective. You will work with different disciplines and explore processes for the service and interaction design sectors. Taking a user-centred and systemic view, you will focus on the design and evaluation of multi-media, multi-modal and multi-platform interactions that support user experience through physical, digital, and hybridised products.  

Industrial design for discourse 

This emphasis explores design as a form of critique and speculation within disciplinary, scientific, and societal frames. In this context, designers reflect on the role of design in society. In doing this, designers challenge established discourse, presenting alternatives for the field. In this emphasis you will question the discipline itself and how it engages in processes of critique and world making.  

Industrial design horizons

This emphasis explores signs of important developments in industrial design practice. This is done through an examination of potential threats and opportunities. It explores novel and unexpected disciplinary developments including matters at the margins of current professional and disciplinary thinking. The aim is to develop strategies for anticipating future developments and thereby gain lead time providing learning experiences, research and knowledge exchange activities that are at forefront of disciplinary practice. Examples might include regenerative design, computational technologies, and Industry 5.0. 

MA Industrial Design consists of four units, each of which is structured around studio projects. Unit 2 is a collaboration with another student group at CSM. They are devised to allow you to adopt a strategic and proactive role within the discipline.  

Unit 1: Methodological and Critical Approaches to Design

This unit is made up of a series of projects which vary in length. These will introduce you to a variety of research methods and issues relevant to the discipline. These are implemented in the realisation of design work. 

Unit 2: Collaborative practices for Common Good

The aims of this unit are to explore the potential of collaborative practice and to equip you with the ability to apply interdisciplinary approaches through collective agency. It supports you in building communities of practice across the College, drawing on interdisciplinary expertise and group working methods from a breadth of disciplines. The unit explores how relational and networked-based practices can create positive impact, based on a shared concern for a specific place, space or community of humans and non-humans, in order to create common and shared well-being (social, economic and environmental).
 

Unit 3: Positioning and Professional Practice

Unit 3 reviews professional design practice by engaging external agencies and expertise. You will reflect on this activity through design practice. 

Unit 4: Self-Directed Design Research

This unit requires you to specify, manage, implement, and evaluate a self-directed design project informed by themes and issues identified in Unit 3. 

Important note concerning academic progression through your course: If you are required to retake a unit you will need to cease further study on the course until you have passed the unit concerned. Once you have successfully passed this unit, you will be able to proceed onto the next unit. Retaking a unit might require you to take time out of study, which could affect other things such as student loans or the visa status for international students. 

Mode of study

MA Industrial Design is offered in extended full-time mode which runs for 60 weeks over two academic years. You will be expected to commit 30 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.

The course has been designed in this way to enable you to pursue studies, while also undertaking part-time employment, internships, or care responsibilities. 

Credit and award requirements

The course is credit-rated at 180 credits.  

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Arts (MA degree).  

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MA is Level 7. All units must be passed to achieve the MA, but the classification of the award is derived from the mark for the final unit only.  

If you are unable to continue the course, a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) will normally be offered following the successful completion of 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) following the successful completion of 120 credits.  

Learning and teaching methods

The learning and teaching methods devised for this course include:

  • Learning through doing 
  • Project work 
  • Collaborative work 
  • Learning through making 
  • Prototyping and manufacturing 
  • Design theory 
  • Performance methods 
  • Research and ideation

Students Lily Saporta Taguiri, Zhen Jiang, Lucy Mulholland and Xiang Guan discuss their Degree Show work

Graduate Showcase

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Showcase

Student work

Course publications

MA Industrial Design stories

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Staff

Associate Lecturer: Thomas Thwaites
Tutor: Jesus Felipe Querol

Fees and funding

Home fee

£7,680 per year

This fee is correct for 2024/25 entry and is subject to change for 2025/26 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£20,505 per year

This fee is correct for 2024/25 entry and is subject to change for 2025/26 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

  • An honours degree in a relevant field: For example, product design, 3D design, furniture design, service design, interaction design, architecture, game design, creative computing, engineering, and led social innovation.
  • Applicants are also considered from disciplines as broad ranging as performance practice to physical and behavioural sciences. In this context, applicant portfolios must demonstrate some proficiency in industrial design skills, and that personal and professional aspirations are compatible with the aims of the course.
  • Or an equivalent EU/international qualification

And normally at least one year of relevant professional experience.

AP(E)L – Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference

Or a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

IELTS level 6.5 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas:

  • You can generate and communicate a range of ideas (Portfolio Review)
  • You can analyse a design problem from several perspectives and generate a range of design responses to a particular problem (Portfolio Review)
  • Demonstrating your personal and professional aspirations are compatible with the aims and objectives of MA Industrial Design (Personal Statement/Interview)
  • You can demonstrate the necessary fluency in your design process to be able to benefit from the postgraduate course (Portfolio Review/Personal Statement/Interview).

Apply now

Application deadline

Deadline

Round 1:

13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)

Round 2:

3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)

Digital portfolio and video task deadline

Round 1:

16 January 2024

Round 2:

16 April 2024

Decision outcome

Round 1:

End of March 2024

Round 2:

End of June 2024

Round 1
Round 2
Deadline
13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)
3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)
Digital portfolio and video task deadline
16 January 2024
16 April 2024
Decision outcome
End of March 2024
End of June 2024

All applications received by 3 April will be treated equally. If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Read more about deadlines

Apply now

Application deadline

Deadline

Round 1:

13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)

Round 2:

3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)

Digital portfolio and video task deadline

Round 1:

16 January 2024

Round 2:

16 April 2024

Decision outcome

Round 1:

End of March 2024

Round 2:

End of June 2024

Round 1
Round 2
Deadline
13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)
3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)
Digital portfolio and video task deadline
16 January 2024
16 April 2024
Decision outcome
End of March 2024
End of June 2024

All applications received by 3 April will be treated equally. If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Read more about deadlines

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How to apply

Follow this step-by-step guide to apply for this course

Step 1: Initial application

You will need to submit an initial application including your personal statement and CV.

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement should be maximum 500 words and include:

  • your reasons for choosing the course
  • your current creative practice and how this course will help you achieve your future plans
  • any relevant education and experience, especially if you do not have any formal academic qualifications.

Visit our personal statement page for more advice.

CV advice

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If you have any web projects or other media that you would like to share, please include links in your CV. If English is not your first language, please also include your most recent English language test score.

Step 2: Video task and Digital portfolio

We will review your initial application. If you have met the standard entry requirements, we will ask you to submit a digital portfolio.

You’ll need to submit this via PebblePad, our online portfolio tool.

Video task advice

We’d like you to submit a 2-3 minute video to help us learn more about you. When recording your task, please face the camera and speak in English.

What to include in your video task:
  • choose 1 project from your portfolio and explain how it challenged you and your understanding of industrial design.
  • explain how this experience inspired you to apply to MA Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins.

Read our guidance for how to submit your video task and which file types we accept.

Digital portfolio advice

Your portfolio should consist of recent work that reflects your creative strengths.

It should:

  • be maximum 25 pages, including your video task
  • include examples that demonstrate your ability to skilfully generate and communicate a range of ideas relating to industrial design
  • include examples where you have analysed a design problem from multiple perspectives and then generated a range of design responses
  • demonstrate your technical design skills and creative processes
  • demonstrate your ability to experiment and test ideas in order to produce viable design outcomes
  • illustrate your personal vision and approach to design.

For more support, see our Portfolio advice and PebblePad advice.

Step 3: Interview

You may be invited to an interview following our review of your application. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes.

For top tips, see our Interview advice.

You also need to know

Communicating with you

Once you have submitted your initial application, we will email you with your login details for our Applicant portal.

Requests for supplementary documents like qualifications and English language tests will be made through the applicant portal. You can also use it to ask questions regarding your application. Visit our After you apply page for more information.

Applying to more than 1 course

You can apply for more than 1 postgraduate course at UAL but we recommend that you apply for no more than 3 courses. You need to tailor your application, supporting documents and portfolio to each course, so applying for many different courses could risk the overall quality of your application. If you receive offers for multiple courses, you'll only be able to accept 1 offer. UAL doesn't accept repeat applications to the same course in the same academic year.

Visas and immigration history check

All non-UK nationals must complete an immigration history check. Your application may be considered by our course teams before this check takes place. This means that we may request your portfolio and/or video task before we identify any issues arising from your immigration history check. Sometimes your history may mean that we are not able to continue considering your application. Visit our Immigration and visas advice page for more information.

External student transfer policy

UAL accepts transfers from other institutions on a case-by-case basis. Read our Student transfer policy for more information.

Alternative offers

If your application is really strong, but we believe your strengths and skillset are better suited to a different course, we may make you an alternative offer. This means you will be offered a place on a different course or at a different UAL College.

Deferring your place

We do not accept any deferral requests for our postgraduate courses. This means that you must apply in the year that you plan to start your course and you will not be able to defer your place to start at a later date.

Application deadlines

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 equal consideration deadlines to ensure fairness for all our applicants. If you apply ahead of either of these deadlines, your application will be considered on an equal basis with all other applications in that round. If there are places available after the second deadline, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Careers

A typical graduate should have a thorough knowledge of contemporary product design and development, and be able to adopt a critical perspective on both their own work and that of their contemporaries. In addition, the emphasis on self-directed study should equip graduates with appropriate methods and strategies for successful project management both within teams and as individuals. The typical aspiration of graduates is to find work in the consulting field. Following significant shifts in this industry over the last 10-15 years, many graduates working in consultancy find themselves in roles that can be described as designer, design strategy, service innovation, forecasting, or management in addition to straightforward new product development.

The second largest area of graduate employment is through in-house design for manufacturing companies. Increasingly students establish their own studios and have moved to work in charitable organisations and the third sector. A number develop careers in commercial research and also progress to study at PhD. Graduates are now distinguished and respected designers and design managers in international companies.

Employers of recent MA Industrial Design graduates include: Plan UK, Projects by If, Mother, Catapult Satellite Industries UK, Itsu, Arup, Microsoft, Open Desk, Fitch, Tangerine, Seymour Powell, Nokia, LG, Samsung, Herman Miller, The Future Laboratory, Tangerine, Lenovo, BenQ, Acer.