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London College of Communication

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MA Design Management

Start date
September 2019
Course length
1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

Course summary

Applications for 2019/20 will open shortly.

MA Design Management combines academic study with creative and professional practice in a project-led curriculum that draws on a range of interdisciplinary perspectives from business and the arts.

Great Reasons to Apply

  • Study business and management from a creative perspective, within a world-leading art and design institution with strong link to the creative industries.
  • Apply design thinking to real-world challenges; design collaboratively, engage critically and creatively with others and learn from shared experiences.
  • An interdisciplinary course informed by theories drawn from a range of design, business and humanities and delivered through projects, crits and collaborations.
  • Gain insight into creative briefs, target audiences and markets, by studying design management in combination with cultures.
  • Benefit from diverse potential employment routes including setting up your own business, in-house and external design leadership roles, cultural positions and agency management jobs.

Open evenings

The next Open Evening for this course will be on Thursday 6 December.

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Course details

Design and innovation are key drivers of change generating commercial, social, cultural and ecological value. MA Design Management will give you a leading-edge insight, and the mindset and problem solving skills needed to effectively work in a constantly evolving global environment.

The course combines academic study with creative and professional practice in a project-led curriculum that draws on a range of interdisciplinary perspectives from business and the arts.

When you join MA Design Management you will have the opportunity to pursue your own design research project; work on real-life business ideas and challenges and team up with fellow students and collaborators from design, business, marketing and IT backgrounds.

The content of the course reflects current knowledge, debates and issues within the disciplines. You will interrogate, through practical projects, a range of perspectives including design research methods; design thinking for the cultural and creative industries; branding; the role of creative interventions in brand communications; trend forecasting; strategies for the management of brand experiences; design for social needs and sustainability; project management; entrepreneurship and innovation; change management; and design leadership.

Skills and employability

The course is designed to support employability and employer engagement, by developing both transferable skills and a strategic perspective of design leadership and management. You will develop research, analytical, communication, business, management and problem-solving capabilities that are directed towards careers within the cultural and creative industries.

You will be equipped with a set of practical skills in project management, change management, enterprise, leadership, branding and critical writing and practice. You will also have the opportunity to customise your studies through major project selection according to your own particular business and cultural design interests and career aspirations.

Throughout the course, there will be regular contact with industry professionals through studio and industry visits, live briefs and guest speaker and networking events. In addition, mentoring programmes can be developed via industry contacts, where students can spend time in real working environments observing management systems in action.

The growth of design management

Academic and instructional writing on design management has significantly increased, with articles on the subject appearing in major publications such as The Economist, Harvard Business Review, Business Week and The New York Times. The continuing growth of the creative industries in the UK, (now estimated at 6% of GDP), has created employment opportunities for design leaders, design managers and innovative thinkers in this burgeoning sector.

The strength of demand for design management skills in a range of enterprises and organisations is reflected in the career sections of professional networking and employment sites.

Growing job opportunities, in turn, create a demand for educational courses such as MA Design Management, which prepares future design leaders and managers for work in both traditional and new economy models. The last decade has witnessed a growing emphasis by government on the economic value of culture, at the same time as business and management studies have experienced a ‘cultural turn’.

The cross-fertilisation between business and culture has opened up opportunities for subjects that bridge this disciplinary divide, such as MA Design Management at LCC.

The course combines theory with practice, through projects which draw on perspectives from a range of disciplines across business and the arts; covering a breadth of topics from branding, design and innovation processes to anthropology, culture, history and meaning.

Design and cultural management opportunities

Design managers oversee design teams and departments to create the optimum product presence, design or brand identity. They are responsible for the operation of corporate design functions and design agencies. Design managers create quality and consistency of studio output and are required to have strong project management and communication skills.

Design leaders strategically champion design across an organisation as a means of innovation and differentiation. They stimulate and facilitate a culture of innovation, collaboration and enterprise within and across disciplines, cultures, companies and industries.

Professional roles that encompass design management skills include department managers, creative directors, heads of design, design strategists and researchers, in addition to executives with responsibility for making decisions about design and innovation.

Career opportunities that emerge from the study of design business and management are further strengthened by exposure to cultural and critical studies. The latter is a diverse area that draws on sociology, anthropology, philosophy, politics, museum studies, history and feminist theory and develops a discursive capacity for critical analysis and debate.

MA Design Management combines an understanding of management and organisation from perspectives drawn from business, the arts and humanities. The curriculum has a professional focus with a strong emphasis on the development of leadership, management, communication and analytical skills.

Course units

MA Design Management is a four-term, full-time programme. Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves six units, totalling 180 credits.

Autumn, Term 1

Units summary:

  • Design, Management and Innovation (40 credits)
  • Design Research Methods and Critical Practice (20 credits)

In the Autumn Term, you will critically engage with ‘design thinking’ and concepts and principals of design management and innovation. You will experiment with a range of interdisciplinary research methods.

Spring, Term 2

Units summary:

  • Design Leadership and Culture (20 credits)
  • Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

At the start of the Spring Term, you will take the Collaborative Unit, which is common to all courses at Masters level. This is a group based unit and may involve a live brief, external and or internal collaborators from the creative industries, cultural sector, public sector or commercial sector.

You will develop your understanding of leadership and management roles and the various ways in which design engages and interacts with stakeholders across various sectors and cultural contexts.

Summer, Term 3

Units summary:

  • Global Design Futures (20 credits)
  • Final Major Project and Thesis (60 credits)

In the Summer Term, you'll consider how design management can bring about transformation within a global context. You will apply your design research skills to explore trends and investigate the impact of and on design, and the drives behind the creation of social, political and cultural meaning.

You'll take the knowledge, skills and experience from the units studied to date on the course and bring these together in the production of a proposal for your self-directed major project that you will submit mid way through the Summer Term. You will then be assigned a tutor and develop this project which will culminate in a written thesis and an end of year show in Term 4.

Autumn, Term 4

Units summary:

  • Final Major Project and Thesis (continued)

If you are unable to continue or decide to exit the course, there are two possible exit awards. A Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Independent Learning Time (also referred to as Self-Directed Study)
  • Personal Tutorials
  • Group Tutorials
  • Projects
  • Group Project Work
  • Live and Simulated Projects
  • Sketchbooks
  • Online Presence
  • Portfolio / Body of Work
  • Self-Initiated Projects
  • Seminars
  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Study Visits

Assessment Methods

The programme outcomes are assessed using the following assessment methods:

  • Practical project work and digital activities
  • Prepared writing i.e. academic reports, essays etc.
  • Responses to case studies
  • Oral presentations
  • Peer learning
  • Personal presentations of prepared work
  • Simulations and role plays
  • Workshop based activities
  • Written research projects
  • The creation of a portfolio or collection of work, which may contain a number of different activities i.e. creative artefacts with supporting process documentation and/or reports and evaluations.

Course structure

The information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course.

Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year.

In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.

Webpage updates

We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact a member of the course team.


Sara  Ekenger

Sara Ekenger

Course Leader, MA Design Management

How to apply

We ask all applicants to complete an online application and upload additional digital items, via the Apply now link, below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the course Entry Requirements section to learn about the application process and additional items you would need to supply.

All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:

  • First, they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement and portfolio

There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Required information for all Postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application:

  • 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Research proposal for a major project idea – Download the Research Proposal Template

Personal statement advice

You will be asked to complete a personal statement (300-500 words) describing why you want to study on MA Design Management. You should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course.

Candidates will be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course. The personal statement is an important part of your application and should demonstrate to the course team that you are interested in the subject.

Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future.

This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.

CV advice

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

Research proposal advice (1500 words)

All applicants will be expected to outline their major project ideas in the application. In the project proposal a description of the area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of their intended project. This should include an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project and the methodology.

It is important to recognise that these ideas will inevitably develop and change during your study on the course and only serve to inform your application at this stage. You will have opportunities within the course to revise and submit updated versions of the Major Project Proposal before you complete the major project itself.

Please download and read the template below which provides structure of how to develop and identify your Major Project Proposal:

Research Proposal Template

Portfolio and interview advice

All applicants will be expected to submit an electronic portfolio as part of their application (maximum 20 images, in one PDF upload). The portfolio should be conceptual and research based, and must show your thinking and making process and a curious nature to explore, test and experiment.

It should include a maximum of six projects with supporting material and be clearly annotated and organised. You can include reports, reviews, essays, creative projects, etc. Also include any other examples that indicate your personal areas of interest in the field of design management and cultures.

The selected work will depend on your field of expertise (design, or other) and can cover examples from your most recent commercial or academic activity supported with documents showing your working processes and research.

Applicants with a background in design should include: 

  • Examples of visual work
  • Cross platform moving image work if appropriate
  • Developmental research material
  • Samples of written work

Applicants from all other backgrounds should include:

  • (In your CV) descriptions of any professional projects
  • Documentation of work where possible including reports, presentations or research projects for which you have been responsible
  • Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will take place at London College of Communication, or via Skype/telephone.

Before submitting your application, you will need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the application form. Once you have submitted the online application, we will send you a confirmation email.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

After you have submitted your application, the course leader will then review your work and may invite you to interview or interview you via Skype, and will then make a decision on your application.

The admissions team will be in touch soon after that to let you know the outcome and to guide you through the next steps.

Entry requirements

The MA Design Management team recognise that applicants come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds from across the world. We are actively seeking open-minded graduates from diverse academic and industry/professional backgrounds who want to explore design management at a high level.

A key characteristic of our candidates will be their desire to work across disciplines and professional boundaries, to explore the future changes of design management. Educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree;
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

Language requirements (International/EU)

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application.

If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score.

IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills.

If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.

The online application 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 press submit.

As you progress through the application process we will send you emails with important information, so do check your inbox regularly (and junk folder, just in case).

Selection criteria

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:

  • Sufficient prior knowledge and experience of and/or potential in a specialist subject area to be able to successfully complete the programme of study and have an academic or professional background in a relevant subject
  • Also to show a willingness to work as a team player, good language skills in reading, writing and speaking, the ability to work independently and be self-motivated
  • Critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject area and capacity for research-led design, intellectual inquiry and reflective thought through: contextual awareness (professional, cultural, social, historical); evidence of research, analysis, development and evaluation (from previous academic study and employment) and a grounded understanding of the world of sonic, visual and networked culture and be able to engage in and contribute to critical discussion
  • In the project proposal a description of the area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of their intended project. This should include an overview of how you intend to go about producing the project and the methodology
  • The portfolio should be conceptual and research based, you must show your thinking and making process and a curious nature to explore, test and experiment

Starting your application

Applications for 2019/20 will open shortly.

Applications are accepted and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

The online application 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 press submit.

As you progress through the application process we will send you emails with important information, so do check your inbox regularly (and junk folder, just in case).


Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2019/20 but wish to defer to 2020/21, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the deposit in order to defer. In all cases, deferred places will be held for one year.

Making a deferred application (during 2018/19 for entry in 2020/21)

Home/EU applicants are permitted to make a deferred application. International applicants are not permitted to make a deferred application.

What happens next

Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£9,500 (2018/19).

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments


Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the Equivalent or Lower Qualifications (ELQ) fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. For enquiries relating to ELQ fees, please complete this register your interest form.

International fee

£19,350 (2018/19).

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

Additional costs

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


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

Scholarships and awards

A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.

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.

Home / EU and International students

Funding opportunities available for this course:

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Graduates of MA Design Management will be equipped to make a contribution to both private and public sectors in areas such as private enterprise, public sector service provision and the voluntary sector.

They will leave with an in-depth understanding of design business and management with the skills of critical analysis and debate usually associated with the humanities and social sciences. 

Career opportunities include setting up your own business, managing design projects, strategic leadership in a variety of industries, forecasting, consultancy, research and entrepreneurship.

You could take up a career within a wide range of creative industries or organisations such as museums, galleries, auction houses, publishing, arts administration, Public Relations, marketing, forecasting consultancies, design and branding agencies, advertising and retail. Alternatively, they may go on to work as editors, design critics, journalists, event and exhibition curators or educators. 

There are also opportunities to study for further professional qualifications or research degrees such as a PhD or MPhil at LCC/UAL.

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