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Postgraduate

MA Service Design


College
London College of Communication
Start date
September 2021
Course length
1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

We develop and apply service design to a board range of societal and business challenges, working across disciplines, with stakeholders and experts.​

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • We teach through live projects: We focus on collaboration for service design challenges facing the private, public and third sectors. The majority of projects are live and taught with involvement of multiple partners, clients, experts and stakeholders.
  • We are committed to ethical practices of design: We use approaches that go from the micro aspects of individual user needs to the macro aspects of larger systems including humans, organisations, society and ecology.
  • We are at the forefront of new developments in service design: We work in innovative areas such as policy and science, and in collaboration with high profile and industry-leading service design research projects at LCC, UAL and beyond.
  • We apply innovation processes: We engage with start-up and social entrepreneurship and use non-linear and agile ways of working. We engage critically with new technologies to identify opportunities for human-centred and socially beneficial applications.
  • We value making and design-based methods throughout the design process: We communicate service design processes and outputs to a wider public through designed artefacts, reports, videos, presentations and exhibitions.

Open Evenings

The next Open Day for this course will be announced soon.

Follow

Course blog
Twitter

Course playlist

What is service design?

MA Service Design students answer the question: what is service design?

How to apply for MA Service Design

Course Leader Silvia Grimaldi talks through how to apply to this course.

Student voices: Yasmeen Bazian

Yasmeen tells us about creating a service that connects exhibitors at the Art and Architecture Biennale with sustainable tools that help them to reduce waste.

Online Open Day

(Recorded March 2021)

Course Leader, Silvia Grimaldi, gives an overview of studying MA Service Design at London College of Communication.

Industry Projects

Course stories

Facilities

  • A close-up of the moveable type available in the Letterpress area.
    Image © Lewis Bush
    Printing and Finishing

    Discover our printing techniques, from Lithographic Printing to Print Finishing and Bookbinding.

  • Students using the computers in the Digital Space
    Student in Creative Technology Lab, 2020. London College of Communication, UAL. Photograph: Tim Boddy
    Creative Technology Lab

    A multi-purpose space that supports students with: Creative Coding, Physical Computing, Projection Mapping, Games, and Virtual Reality.

  • Student reading a book in between two bookshelves in the Library
    Students in the Digital Space. London College of Communication, UAL. Photograph: Alys Tomlinson
    The Digital Space

    The Digital Space is an open-plan, creative hub with computers set up with specialist software.

Course overview

Service design is a human-centred discipline which focuses on:

  • designing services in the public or private sector
  • working in a participative, iterative and qualitative manner with all stakeholders
  • considering wider systems at play.

By developing and applying service design to a range of societal and business challenges, this course will enable you to work on live projects, collaborate with stakeholders, partners and experts across multiple disciplines, and use design at a strategic level.

This course is structured to guide you through the understanding and practice of service design, starting from current challenges at the local and user scale before progressing through to futures and systems levels.

What can you expect?

  • We value making and design-based methods throughout the course. From the very beginning, you’ll work collaboratively on projects using research and co-design strategies, evolving from team work in the first terms to developing more individual work towards the end.
  • You’ll undertake projects that tackle many of the social, corporate and environmental challenges facing the 21st century. You’ll develop the confidence to engage with stakeholders, and learn to analyse and apply the results through meaningful interventions.
  • You’ll end the course by completing a Major Project. Previously, these have ranged widely in terms of subject and geographical location – past examples include redesigning educational systems in India, creating games to facilitate conversations between relatives of transgender people, designing post-acceleration support programmes for technology start-ups, and designing digital services for refugee camp volunteers in Greece.
  • Practice and theory are embedded into everything that you’ll do: each practice-based project is underpinned by theory, and each theory-based assignment has an element of practice or research-through-design.
  • Your lessons will take the form of lectures, practical workshops, tutorial sessions, feedback sessions with experts, presentations and pitches, industry talks, museum visits and technical sessions.
  • MA Service Design is aimed at applicants from design disciplines who wish to broaden their understanding of innovation and design as a collaborative, interdisciplinary process. The course is also open to students with backgrounds in social sciences, business and innovation, and other related fields.

Mode of study

MA Service Design is offered in full-time mode and runs for 45 weeks over 15 months, with a break over the summer. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study.

Contact us

For queries relating to the Coronavirus outbreak, read our Coronavirus guidance for prospective students.

To register your interest and receive information and updates about studying at UAL, please complete this form.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for or to ask a question, please contact us.

Course units

Postgraduate courses run a four-term model, from September through to December for 45 weeks in line with Higher Education term dates and incorporate a formal summer break period with no unit delivery. The Masters course structure has a total of 180 credits, which is broken down into credit-rated units.

Autumn, Term One

User-Centred Project (40 credits)
Ways of Working (20 credits)

Term one will give you a detailed knowledge of core theory and skills in service design, collaboration and team-work, research methods and design innovation. You will be engaged in live projects working in groups and with stakeholders. You will also reflect on your practice and engage with the ethics of your project. You will use the skills and knowledge obtained to articulate design ideas, observations and solutions creatively, as well as demonstrate rigour and critical evaluation in your work. This term has a user focus and projects are based in the present or in the near future.

Spring, Term Two

User-Centred Project (continued)
Design Futures (20 credits)
Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

Term two will give you a critical view of the role of the designer in society. In Collaborative Unit you will work on larger system-level projects in multidisciplinary teams, and you will be able to apply your design thinking strategically to add value in new and challenging contexts. In Design Futures you will explore experimental methodologies for addressing futures, using speculative design and research-through-design. This term has a systems focus and projects are situated in the future in terms of outcomes or impact.

Summer, Term Three

Design Futures (continued)
Proposal Development (20 credits)
Major Project (60 credits)

Term Three builds on the knowledge and skills you have acquired and you will be encouraged to explore and gain expertise in your own area of interest, and apply this to the creation of an original design research project. You will develop your major project proposal on the basis of extensive research, investigation and a firm methodological approach.

Autumn, Term Four

Major Project (continued)

In Term Four you will continue with the development and production of your Final Major Project, where you will explore the context of the project, engage with stakeholders and run co-design sessions, identify key issues, design innovative services, and test your design outcomes. You will be encouraged to present your project through presentations, exhibitions, and design outputs in a variety of physical and digital media. You will be guided to appropriate research discourses, research methodologies, materials and media through which you can effectively communicate your ideas.

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

Learning and teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Guest speakers
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Masterclasses
  • Feedback sessions with stakeholders and experts
  • Group and individual tutorials
  • Technical sessions

Assessment methods

  • Practical Projects
  • Critical Reports
  • Presentations through a range of media
  • Writing for reflective practice
  • Essay writing
  • Research Proposals
  • Portfolio of Evidence

Associate Lecturers

Paul Sims

Visiting Practitioners

Francesco Mazzarella, Rob Maslin, Adrian Gradinar

Visiting Lecturers

Martyn Evans, Head of Product at Unboxed

Alex Nisbet, Designit

Thais Tozatto Maio, Livework

Boris Divjak, Unboxed

Bethany Frank, Engine Service Design

Joseph Hargrave, Global Foresight Manger at ARUP Foresight

Serena Pollastri, Lancaster University

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

MA Service Design welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world. Applicants may have an Honours degree in a field relevant to design or may have other, equivalent qualifications.

The course also welcomes students with good degrees from social science, business and other backgrounds, those who have previously worked in the industry, or those with relevant experience in non-traditional backgrounds, as well as those already within employment.

Your educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (named above);
  • 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.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Learning)

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. 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 we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Language requirements

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 6.0 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.

Selection criteria

The MA Service Design team is looking for open-minded applicants from a broad spectrum of backgrounds from across the world.

All applications will be considered by the course team who will decide on your suitability to join the course. They will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results), your personal statement, portfolio, major project proposal, and any previous work experience

Academic or professional references are not required for this course.

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria:

  • You understand the field of service design, or similar areas such as experience design or innovation.
  • You are open-minded and motivated to explore service design at a high level, and enthusiastic for the subject.
  • You are willing to work across disciplines and professional boundaries, and in mixed teams, to explore the future of the subject.
  • You are ready to study at postgraduate level and to engage critically with your work and the work and research of others.
  • You demonstrate skills in one or more of the following areas: design (any design field), research (in particular user research or other research with people), project management, innovation, social entrepreneurship, or other relevant field.

Personal Statement (300-500 words)

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course.

You can use the following questions as a guide: What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally and personally? Why do you want to study MA Service Design? Why do you think you are a suitable candidate? What previous experiences could you describe, that would meet the Selection Criteria above?

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education and 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 (if available).

Portfolio (Maximum 6 projects)

All applicants will be expected to submit a digital portfolio. This should include a maximum of six projects and supporting materials showing your process. These should be clearly annotated and organised.

If you are applying with work experience in design, you can include projects you worked on as part of your employment as well as speculative projects or student projects. Where relevant, please annotate the portfolio items with a description of your role within the project or team.

If you are applying directly from a BA course without experience of professional practice you must be able to demonstrate a good knowledge of design practice, supported by a good degree and portfolio work. Demonstrating some engagement with professional experiences, for example through internships, freelance work, voluntary work or participation in outside activities such as service jams, would be to your advantage.

For those applying from non-design backgrounds, your portfolio could include professional projects, or research based around a relevant topic, as well as any professional engagement with multidisciplinary projects. Where relevant, please annotate the portfolio items with a descriptions of your role within the project or research team.

Speculative projects related to service design or other relevant design fields are also great to include in the portfolio, including projects you may have initiated yourself, or worked on as part of a short courses or events (Global Service Jam, OpenIDEO, are good places to get some hands-on service design experience).

In all instances, enthusiasm for the subject is paramount.

Major Project Proposal (maximum 1000 words)

All applicants will be expected to outline a proposal for a possible Major Project in their application (you will not have to use this as your major project on the course, it is just an exercise).

The Major Project Proposal should describe your area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of your intended work and should include a rationale to show why this is a valuable service design project for you to undertake. The proposal should include an overview of the methodology, how you intend to go about producing the project, and an indication of what the outcomes could possibly be (but not a fully developed outcome).

We want to know that you are passionate about a project, able to identify a suitable project topic, and can put together a plan for how you would go about working on this project.

You can (but don’t have to) use the following headings for guidance:

  • Project Summary
  • Research Question (What do you want to find out)
  • Research Background, Field of Study, Context
  • Rationale (why is this a valuable project in this discipline)
  • Project Stakeholders (who is affected by the project)
  • Proposed Approaches, Methods and Methodologies (how you would carry out this project and why you think this is appropriate)
  • Possible Outcomes of the Project (not a fully developed outcome, just an indication of what the outcome might be)
  • References and Bibliography (only a few key ones)

Application Advice

If you require more advice on your application, please email the course leader or any of the lecturers.

Interview Advice

For some students the material submitted in the application is enough for the course team to make a decision, without interviewing.

When the course team requires a more in-depth conversation, applicants are interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered.

  • Interviews will take place in person at LCC for local students, or via Skype/telephone for those who live farther away.

Making your application

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:

  • Firstly they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement, portfolio, and study proposal (for major project)
  • There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner. Read our Admissions Policy for details, including how to request a deferral and by when.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Extra information required for applications to this course

  • Portfolio
  • Study proposal for major project

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer.

The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

Start your application now

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.

Apply now

CV

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.

Personal statement advice (300-500 words)

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the MA Service Design course.

You can use the following questions as a guide:

  • What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally and personally?
  • Why do you want to study MA Service Design?
  • Why do you think you are a suitable candidate?
  • What previous experiences could you describe, that would meet the Selection Criteria above?

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

Study proposal advice for major project (maximum 1000 words)

All applicants will be expected to outline a proposal for a possible major project in their application (you will not have to use this as your major project on the course, it is just an exercise).

The Major Project Proposal should describe your area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of your intended work and should include a rationale to show why this is a valuable service design project for you to undertake.

The proposal should include an overview of the methodology, how you intend to go about producing the project, and an indication of what the outcomes could possibly be (but not a fully developed outcome).

We want to know that you are passionate about a project, able to identify a suitable project topic, and can put together a plan for how you would go about working on this project.

You can (but don’t have to) use the following headings for guidance:

  • Project Summary
  • Research Question (what do you want to find out)
  • Research Background, Field of Study, Context
  • Rationale (why is this a valuable project in this discipline)
  • Project Stakeholders (who is affected by the project)
  • Proposed Approaches, Methods and Methodologies (how you would carry out this project and why you think this is appropriate)
  • Possible Outcomes of the Project (not a fully developed outcome, just an indication of what the outcome might be)
  • References and Bibliography (only a few key ones)

If you require more advice on your application, please email the course leader.

Application deadline

15 May 2021

We recommend you apply as soon as possible before this date, for equal consideration. We may still be able to accept applications after this date, depending on availability.

When you’ll hear from us

Once you’ve sent in your application, this will be sent through to our course teams for review. We’ll be in touch shortly after you apply with information about next steps. Find out more about what happens after you apply.

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:

  • Firstly they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • Secondly, they will review your personal statement, portfolio, and study proposal (for major project)
  • There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner. Read our Admissions Policy for details, including how to request a deferral and by when.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Please note: we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

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

Extra information required for applications to this course

  • Portfolio
  • Study proposal for major project

Start your application now

There are two ways international students can apply:

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.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer.

The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

CV

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.

Personal statement advice (300-500 words)

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the MA Service Design course.

You can use the following questions as a guide:

  • What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally and personally?
  • Why do you want to study MA Service Design?
  • Why do you think you are a suitable candidate?
  • What previous experiences could you describe, that would meet the Selection Criteria above?

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

Study proposal advice for major project (maximum 1000 words)

All applicants will be expected to outline a proposal for a possible major project in their application (you will not have to use this as your major project on the course, it is just an exercise).

The Major Project Proposal should describe your area of interest, field of study and the particular focus of your intended work and should include a rationale to show why this is a valuable service design project for you to undertake.

The proposal should include an overview of the methodology, how you intend to go about producing the project, and an indication of what the outcomes could possibly be (but not a fully developed outcome).

We want to know that you are passionate about a project, able to identify a suitable project topic, and can put together a plan for how you would go about working on this project.

You can (but don’t have to) use the following headings for guidance:

  • Project Summary
  • Research Question (what do you want to find out)
  • Research Background, Field of Study, Context
  • Rationale (why is this a valuable project in this discipline)
  • Project Stakeholders (who is affected by the project)
  • Proposed Approaches, Methods and Methodologies (how you would carry out this project and why you think this is appropriate)
  • Possible Outcomes of the Project (not a fully developed outcome, just an indication of what the outcome might be)
  • References and Bibliography (only a few key ones)

If you require more advice on your application, please email the course leader.

Application deadline

15 March 2021

We recommend you apply as soon as possible before this date, for equal consideration. We may still be able to accept applications after this date, depending on availability.

When you’ll hear from us

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them all after the application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about any next steps until after this date. Find out more about what happens after you apply.

After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal. Please add @arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.

Please log into the portal, as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, and you can contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

Portfolio and interview information

All applicants will be expected to submit a digital portfolio which includes (maximum 20 images, across six projects) with supporting materials showing your process. These should be clearly annotated and organised.

If you are applying with work experience in design, you can include projects you worked on as part of your employment as well as speculative projects or student projects. Where relevant, please annotate the portfolio items with a descriptions of your role within the project or team.

If you are applying directly from a BA course without experience of professional practice you must be able to demonstrate a good knowledge of design practice, supported by a good degree and portfolio work.

Demonstrating some engagement with professional experiences, for example through internships, freelance work, voluntary work or participation in outside activities such as service jams, would be to your advantage.

For those applying from non-design backgrounds, your portfolio could include professional projects, or research based around a relevant topic, as well as any professional engagement with multidisciplinary projects. Where relevant, please annotate the portfolio items with a descriptions of your role within the project or research team.

Speculative projects related to service design or other relevant design fields are also great to include in the portfolio, including projects you may have initiated yourself, or worked on as part of a short courses or events (Global Service Jam, OpenIDEO, are good places to get some hands-on service design experience).

In all instances, enthusiasm for the subject is paramount.

Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will be held online, and details will be sent via the UAL Portal.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

Requesting feedback

This course receives a high number of applications, and we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview.

If you would like to request feedback – please email lcc.ukeu@arts.ac.uk if you are a Home or EU applicant, or lcc.international@arts.ac.uk if International. We are only able to provide feedback to you directly, or to someone you have told us in writing can receive it on your behalf.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£11,220 per course

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 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 resident nationals. However, the rules are complex and you can find out more on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

International fee

£22,920 per course

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

International fees are currently charged to students from countries outside of the UK. However, the rules are complex and more information can be found on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

There are numerous possibilities open to graduates from this course. You will find your new knowledge and skills useful for careers in industry, local authorities or non-profit organisations. Alternatively, you may decide to pursue an academic career.

MA Service Design alumni work as Service Designers, Design Researchers, Experience Designers, Design Strategists, User Centred Consultants, Participatory Designers, UX Designers, and Academics in private, public and third sectors. Students have also progressed to study at PhD level.

During the course, students have a number of opportunities to work directly with industry through live projects as well as particular engagement activities, such as acting as human centred design consultants for tech companies competing in the Ordnance Survey Geovation Challenge or organising events for the Service Design Fringe as part of the London Design Festival. As a result of these engagements, students will sometimes continue the activity in the form of consultancy or internships.UAL Jobs and Careers