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MA Service Design

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

Course summary

Develop and apply design thinking to a broad range of societal and business challenges, on this unique transdisciplinary course.

About this course

By exploring design at a strategic level, MA Service Design offers the opportunity to work collaboratively with experts from different fields. You will learn service design research methods and processes, offering opportunities for user-centred and co-designed innovation.

The course has a particular focus on start-up entrepreneurship, global future trends and emerging technologies like the Internet of Things, big data, virtual reality and 3D printing.

Open evenings

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

Book your place

Follow the course

Course blog


Student Voices: Rujata Autude

Rujata talks us through her work in the LCC Postgraduate Shows 2016.

Industry projects

Detail of a service design diagram with blue icons

Decathlon - Improving employment experience

Intensive five day service design sprint with sporting goods retailer Decathlon.

Service design workshop with two people using post-it notes

Plan International UK - redesigning collective campaign

Designing new ways to show the collective voice of supporters.

Image of design concept mapping stats to paper figures with captions

Camden Council - service design innovation

Transforming Camden Home Library Service to enhance its social value.

Student explains work as part of a project for Lambeth Council
Lambeth Council Case Study, Yuneui Choi

Lambeth Council

Developing digital strength-based screening tools for Lambeth Adult Social Care

Blue and white infographic processes involved in the EU Policy lab

EU Policy Lab

The Future of Government 2030+.

Latest news


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.

A tutor in the process of producing a print.
Image © Lewis Bush


This workshop offers a wide-range of expertise in everything from etching to lithography.

The Digital Space, London College of Communication.
Image © Ana Escobar

The Digital Space

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

Course details

The course is structured to develop strategic and creative expertise within the design and delivery of innovative service experiences. You’ll be encouraged to undertake projects that will tackle many of the social, corporate and environmental challenges facing the 21st century.

From the very beginning of the course, you’ll work collaboratively in a wide variety of contexts, through research and co-design strategies.

You’ll gain the confidence to engage with stakeholders and learn how to analyse and apply the results of this engagement through meaningful interventions.

Course projects can be as diverse as conceiving services to mitigate the digital divide of senior citizens in a London borough, improving the employee experience of a major retailer, through to realising an innovative business proposition for a start-up.

Student’s Major Projects have ranged widely in terms of subject and geographical location. Recent examples include redesigning educational systems in India, creating games to facilitate conversations between relatives of transgendered people, to designing digital services for refugee camp volunteers in Greece.

MA Service Design is aimed at applicants from a design discipline 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.

The teaching staff are active researchers and practitioners in different areas of design and innovation, and this feeds directly into the teaching as well as the projects students engage with.

Practice and theory are both embedded into everything that you’ll do, so each practice-based project will have underpinning theory, and each theory-based assignment will have an element of practice or research-through-design.

Your lessons will take the forms of lectures, practical workshops, tutorial sessions, presentations and pitches, industry talks, museum visits and technical sessions.

Course units

Autumn, Term One

Unit summary:

  • Service Experience Design for Social and Corporate Innovation (40 credits)
  • Entrepreneurial Strategy and Project Management (20 credits)

Spring, Term Two

Unit summary:

  • Collaborative Unit (20 credits)
  • Global Design Futures (20 credits)
  • Individual Concept Development (20 credits)

In Terms One and Two you will gain a detailed knowledge of core theory and skills in innovation and creativity. The skills and knowledge obtained will enable you to articulate design ideas, observations and solutions creatively as designers, as well as demonstrating rigour and critical evaluation in your work. You will be able to apply your design thinking strategically and add value to new and challenging contexts.

Summer, Term Three

Unit summary:

  • Global Design Futures (continued)
  • Individual Concept Development (continued)
  • Major Project (60 credits)

Term Three builds on the knowledge and skills you have acquired and applies these to the creation of original design research projects. This involves the development of a major project on the basis of extensive research, investigation and a firm methodological approach.

Autumn, Term Four

Unit summary:

  • Major Project (continued)

In Term Four you'll continue with the development and production of your Final Major Project, where you will need to demonstrate the testing of ideas, exploring the context of the project as well as identifying key issues such as appropriate 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 Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits.

Teaching and learning methods

The courses outcomes are taught using the following learning and teaching methods:

  • Independent Learning Time (Sometimes referred to as Self-Directed Study)
  • Personal Tutorials
  • Group Tutorials
  • Group Project Work
  • Live and Simulated Projects
  • Portfolio / Body of Work
  • Self-Initiated Projects
  • Seminars
  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Study visits
  • Academic Support
  • Moodle

Assessment methods

The course outcomes are assessed using the following assessment methods:

  • Practical project work and digital activities
  • Prepared writing i.e. academic reports, essays etc.
  • 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.


Silvia  Grimaldi

Silvia Grimaldi

Course Leader, MA Service Design

Lara  Salinas

Lara Salinas

Course Tutor, MA Service Experience Design and Innovation

Cordula  Friedlander

Cordula Friedlander

Course Tutor, MA Service Experience Design and Innovation

Phillipa  Rose

Phillipa Rose

Associate Lecturer, BA (Hons) Design Management and MA Service Experience Design and Innovation

Alison  Prendiville

Alison Prendiville

Senior Researcher, Design School

Georgina  Voss

Georgina Voss

Supra Systems Studio Lead

Monica  Biagioli

Monica Biagioli

Senior Lecturer, BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design

Associate Lecturers

Hena Ali, Paul Sims

Visiting Practitioners

Vernon Lai, Paola PierriFrancesco 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 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 welcome applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world, from an Honours degree course in a field relevant to design or those with other, equivalent qualifications.

The course team also welcomes students with good degrees from social science backgrounds, and 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.

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.

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
  • 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
  • Portfolio should be conceptual and research-based, you must show your thinking and making process and a curious nature to explore, test and experiment


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.

Portfolio and interview advice

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 take place at LCC, or via Skype/telephone.


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.

Making your application

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 the additional the items you would also 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:

  • 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.

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

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).

Extra information required for applications to this course

You will need to supply:

  • Portfolio
  • Study proposal for major project

After you have submitted your application, the course leader will then review your work, 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.

Start your application now

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

Apply 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.

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).

After you apply

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

Fees & Funding

Home/EU fee

£10,890 (2019/20)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

International fee

£19,930 (2019/20)

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.

Scholarship 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

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

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