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Central Saint Martins

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MA Material Futures

College
CSM
Start date
September 2020
Course length
Two years (60 weeks)
Extended full-time

Material Futures is where science, technology and design collide.

We not only imagine a better future, but aim to actively change it today. This course is part of the Jewellery, Textiles and Materials Programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • Future-facing design approach: The course curriculum will ask you to look beyond existing boundaries to anticipate future needs, desires, and challenges.
  • Embedded focus on sustainability: Using design and materiality as a platform to critically interrogate our sustainable future is a core component of the course.
  • Industry links: MA Material Futures continues to develop links with collaborative partners across a range of industry sectors. The course values the experience of live client briefs, as well as encouraging opportunities for students to gain external exposure and professional practice experience.
  • Multi-disciplinary and collaborative learning: The course encourages a multi-disciplinary approach. It explores the full spectrum of materiality, from low-tech analogue craft processes, to high-tech smart and interactive technologies.

Open days

The next round of open days will take place from February to March 2020, please check back here by December 2019 to book.

Scholarships, awards and funding available

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 our postgraduate loans page.

UAL International Postgraduate £25,000 plus International Student House (ISH) Scholarships

MA Material Futures students trying out traditional coracle making workshop in the Brecon Beacons.

Student work

Course catalogues

MA Material Futures stories

Designing Alternatives

We talk to Elissa Brunato, a recent MA Material Futures graduate exhibiting in Designing in Turbulent Times, about designing an alternative sequin

Designing with Abundance

We talk to recent graduates exhibiting in Designing in Turbulent Times, currently on show at the Lethaby Gallery. First up, designers transforming waste.

Show Two: in pictures

Show Two: Design opened last night as the College showcased performances, installations and work by our graduating students from over 20 courses on our design-led Programmes.

Course overview

MA Material Futures encourages a wholly multi-disciplinary approach to design. Through trans-disciplinary practice and collaboration, you will explore how we will live in the future. By working with experts, taking risks and blurring the boundaries between design, science and technology, you will look beyond existing disciplines, anticipating the future needs, desires and challenges that we face in the twenty-first century.  

We believe that only by observing and analysing how we live today we can begin to explore how we might occupy tomorrow. Considering the current and future context of design decisions is key to our ethos. We will encourage you to combine social, scientific, political, environmental, ecological and economic inquiry. These insights will help inform future design scenarios, material propositions and research-led speculations.

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. Our students both explore and come from a diverse range of disciplines. These include the worlds of fashion and architecture, as well as industrial, communication, textile, critical, digital and speculative design. 

Course units

In MA Material Futures, units may include external workshops, lectures and projects. Through hands-on making, you will explore emerging sciences and technologies, processes and materials. You will also investigate current trends and behavioural insights. Through this, you will generate new design applications to contribute to a more sustainable tomorrow. Some of the key themes you will interrogate include: trend forecasting and future insights, future crafts and materials, the convergence of science and design and smart or interactive materials.  

Unit 1: Material Experimentation

Unit 1 is intended to be a test bed for new ideas, approaches and design collisions. You will be encouraged to forget your previous disciplines and methodologies, and to experiment and be ambitious. You will be exposed to new technologies, science and design practices alongside methods of material and design research.  

Experimentation, innovation, contextual and critical knowledge and design-led personal research is key. The unit draws on academic research leadership, industrial links and a programme of current speakers. It is engineered to stimulate debate and to engage you in the critical context of design. You will be encouraged to engage with emerging issues that will affect the future of your personal design practice. 

In this unit, you will be expected to develop experimental design work and innovative design proposals. You will discuss and critically debate issues related to your practice. Your work in this unit will encourage you to create and propose sustainable concepts, artefacts and materials.

Unit 2: Material Proposition

In Unit 2, you will combine your new knowledge of emerging material practice with you previous skill set. You will create a personal research project proposal and critical journal. These will explore a topical issue in the field of material futures. This unit should be used as an opportunity to launch a physical and theoretical design proposition. You will identify and engage with relevant experts who can support you in your chosen field of design. They will help navigate the complexities of turning your design proposition into a reality.  

At the beginning of the unit, short projects or workshops may help you structure the critical framework for your final project. By the end of the unit, you will have framed a design issue. You will have identified relevant research methods to produce a final creative portfolio. This body of work and research investigation with culminate in an exhibition of design propositions.

Unit 3: Material Impact

In Unit 3 you will contextualise, construct and launch your design proposition. This is predominantly a self-initiated unit. It allows you the freedom to pursue your own research interests and personal approach within the discipline. 

What is the real-world impact? Why is this proposition pertinent now or in the future? You will also complete a critical text which explores and contextualises your work within a wider context. You will install and exhibit your work at the College's annual Degree Show.

Mode of study

MA Material Futures 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.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Supervised workshop sessions and studio time 
  • Project work 
  • Briefing documents or briefing meetings 
  • Group critiques 
  • Independent Study 
  • Research 
  • Professional presentations 
  • Interdisciplinary group and teamwork 
  • Self-evaluation

Assessment methods

  • Design portfolios 
  • Presentations 
  • Project proposals 
  • Critical journals 
  • Design projects 

Staff

Marta  Giralt

Marta Giralt

Year Leader, MA Material Futures

Kieren  Jones

Kieren Jones

Course Leader, MA Material Futures

Stephen  Hayward

Stephen Hayward

Associate Lecturer, MA Industrial Design; MA Material Futures

Agi  Haines

Agi Haines

Associate Lecturer, MA Material Futures

Research Tutor: Professor Carole Collet
Academic Coordinator: Chloe Griffith

Visiting Practitioner: Attua Aparicio Torinos

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

  • An honours degree
  • Or an equivalent EU/international qualification

And three years professional experience in a relevant setting.

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:

Portfolio Criteria for all Applicants

The quality of portfolio demonstrating:

  • 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.

Interview Criteria for all Applicants

In addition to the skills demonstrated in the portfolio and in the written project proposal, the applicant’s potential ability will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • 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.

What we are looking for

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.

Making your application

You should apply by clicking on the link to the direct form below. 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.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Start your application now

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should answer the following questions (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).

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

To guarantee equal consideration you must apply in full by 22 April 2020.

There are two application points for this course:

Application Point 1

Apply in full by 3 January 2020

Submit a digital portfolio by 13 January 2020

Interviews take place during January 2020

Final application outcome by 11 February 2020

Application Point 2

Apply in full by 22 April 2020

Submit a digital portfolio by 30 April 2020

Interviews take place during May 2020

Final application outcome by 10 June 2020

There are two ways international students can apply:

  • One of our official representatives in your country
  • A direct application.

If you are applying directly you click on the link to the direct form below. 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.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Start your application now

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should answer the following questions (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).

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

To guarantee equal consideration you must apply in full by 22 April 2020.

There are two application points for this course:

Application Point 1

Apply in full by 3 January 2020

Submit a digital portfolio by 13 January 2020

Interviews take place during January 2020

Final application outcome by 11 February 2020

Application Point 2

Apply in full by 22 April 2020

Submit a digital portfolio by 30 April 2020

Interviews take place during May 2020

Final application outcome by 10 June 2020


After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents or book an audition, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  If you do, you will be invited to submit a portfolio through the UAL Portal.

Portfolio

Your portfolio should be up to 20 pages and 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.

Following the review of the portfolio we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process.  These applicants will be invited to an interview.

Interview

Applicants who are invited to interview may be interviewed either in person or by skype.

In addition to the skills demonstrated in the portfolio and in the written statement, the applicant’s potential ability will be assessed using the following criteria during the interview:

  • 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 we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Portal.

Fees & Funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for 2020/21: £6,455 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 2020/21: £16,450 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.

Scholarship 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.

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