The MA Industrial Design curriculum has four emphases in practice: enterprise, publics, discourse and service. These areas locate 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 techniques are also used as research, ideation and communication strategies.
The course has a strong ethnographic focus. You will explore relationships between people, design, emerging technologies and behaviours in different contexts. These approaches are embedded into studio projects, allowing you to work with anthropological design methods and design practice.
Industrial design for enterprise
This 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 area 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
As part of industrial design for service, you will look at 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
Industrial design today is increasingly applied 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 design for discourse, you will question the discipline itself and how it engages discourse.
MA Industrial Design consists of three units, each of which is structured around studio projects. 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 directly implemented in the realisation of design work.
Unit 2: Positioning and Professional Practice
Unit 2 reviews professional design practice by engaging external agencies and expertise. You will reflect on this activity through design practice.
Unit 3: 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 2.
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 in order 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 on 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.