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Undergraduate

BA (Hons) Service Design

Close up shot of moulded shapes in a variety of pastel colours
The Green Pavement by Fianda van Kuler
London College of Communication, UAL
College
London College of Communication
UCAS code
W920
Start date
September 2023
Course length
3 years

On BA (Hons) Service Design you’ll use interdisciplinary approaches and core design principles to understand the effect of design on individuals, communities and society.

Subject to validation

BA (Hons) Service Design is a new course undergoing validation. This is the process by which we ensure the course provides a high-quality academic experience. During validation there may be some changes to the course content displayed on this page. Please contact us if you have any questions about the course.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • Human-centred: You'll focus on creating better human experiences using creative, compassionate and empathetic research methods. You’ll gain insights outside your existing knowledge and experiences, enabling you to approach design from multiple perspectives.
  • Social purpose: We design for - and with – a range of audiences by identifying their needs and addressing inequalities, with a particular focus on marginalised communities. We also work on briefs that provide social or ecological value.
  • Collaboration and co-design: You’ll learn how to navigate group roles and collaborate effectively within a course and discipline underpinned by teamwork.
  • Make, prototype, iterate: By engaging in playful making-processes and creative methods, you’ll design artefacts, reports, films, presentations and exhibitions that communicate and translate service design in inclusive and accessible ways.

Open Days

The next Open Day for this course will be on Saturday 10 December. Book your place.

Explore life at LCC with our interactive Virtual Open Day.

Course overview

On BA (Hons) Service Design, you’ll explore a future-making practice through interdisciplinary approaches, building a strong foundation in core design principles to understand the effect of design on both the natural and built world, and on individuals, communities and society.

As a discipline, service design involves planning and organising people to design infrastructure, communication and material components in ways that aim to improve the quality of a service, along with the interaction between a service provider and its users.

This course will enable you to consider systems, actions and infrastructures within the context of an emerging practice, positioning you at the forefront of new developments that are increasingly being adopted across public and private sectors.

What to expect

  • Learning by making: With opportunities to explore both physical and digital making, you’ll learn how to develop and communicate your ideas to a wide range of audiences through different types of media. You’ll be taught using research-through-design methodologies which emphasise playfulness and prototyping, which will help you to communicate your design process and your final outcomes.
  • Human-centred approach: You’ll develop a grounding in qualitative, collaborative and design-led research methods to co-design services in ways that will enable you to step outside your existing knowledge and experience while approaching design from multiple perspectives.
  • Social purpose: Throughout the course, you’ll design not only for but with marginalised communities by identifying their needs and addressing inequalities, and by working on briefs that focus on providing social or ecological value.
  • Collaborative focus: You’ll learn how to navigate group roles and collaborate effectively within both a course and a discipline underpinned by teamwork.

Industry experience and opportunities

During specific units, you’ll have opportunities to engage in live briefs which might be in partnership with community groups, or private, public or third sector organisations. These live projects will support you to actively learn about touch points in service design, working and co-designing with stakeholders and managing these collaborations.

You’ll also have the opportunity to undertake the Diploma in Professional Studies or the Diploma in Creative Computing between Years 2 and 3 to enhance your learning experience and employability skills.

Mode of study

BA (Hons) Service Design runs for 93 weeks in full-time mode. It is divided into 3 stages over 3 academic years. Each stage lasts 31 weeks.

Course units

Year 1

The first year of study will support you to develop a wide range of design techniques and principles, to ensure you have a solid base in understanding design as a creative and responsible discipline.

Units range from learning how to learn to exploring what the Design School has to offer in helping you to gain core concepts in service design such as materialising, co-designing and collaborating – all of which   provides you with a solid grounding in approaches to service design and its real-world applications.

Introduction to Service Design (20 credits)

This unit will introduce you to study at higher education level and foundational ideas from your chosen course.

Design School Explorations (40 credits)

This School-level unit will introduce you to the full range of topics available for study in the Design School, and will further contextualise work undertaken in the Introduction To unit.

Principles (40 credits)

You’ll explore core concepts and ideas from your chosen course, situating them within relevant cultural, historical and theoretical contexts.

Responsible Design (20 credits)

In this School-level unit, you’ll address key questions around ethics, and social and climate justice.

Year 2

The second year of your course offers an element of optionality, which will encourage you to engage in wide-ranging experimentation.

Building on the knowledge and skillsets gained in your first year of study, you’ll have an opportunity to widen the scope of your course subject by choosing to explore diverse design practice methodologies or subject areas. You might also choose to deepen your understanding of service design through units which focus on social innovation, co-design, co-creation and service futures, and designing/co-designing with and for both human and non-human ecosystems.

Options units (40 and 20 credits x2)

You will undertake one 40 and one 20 credit unit per block from a range of options available at School-level.

Options may be developed by course teams, individual tutors, combination teams, or other groupings such as research hubs, centres, or even external parties.

Year 3

In the third year of your studies, you’ll develop your specialism by focusing on service design through collaborative practices and self-initiated projects. Using a range of service design methodologies and processes for prototyping and making, you’ll focus on design for social innovation, designing with and for local and global communities, and the ‘more than human ecosystem’.

You’ll be encouraged to develop your own voice as a service designer to co-create and co-design with communities, making a positive impact while reflecting on responsible service design actions and interventions.

In this final year of the course, you’ll have an opportunity to self-direct a project that ultimately showcases your voice as an emerging service designer.

Process Portfolio (40 and 20 credits)

In this unit, you’ll take one 40- and one 20-credit unit from a single course available in the School. Here, the focus is on Process, and you’ll be required to demonstrate contextual understanding and the ability to manage skills and resources to produce a substantial creative project.

Realisation Portfolio (60 credits)

You’ll take one 60-credit unit from a single course available in the Design School. Here the emphasis is on Realisation, with focus on the production of a self-directed creative work to a professional standard.

Optional Diploma between Years 2 and 3

Between Years 2 and 3 of your course, you’ll also have the opportunity to undertake one of the following qualifications:

Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS) (Optional)

An optional, year-long learning opportunity which enables you to develop your professional skills by undertaking time out for industry experience. Supported throughout the year by academics, you’ll build on the knowledge gained on your course in a range of national or international locations, and graduate with an additional qualification of Diploma in Professional Studies.

Diploma in Creative Computing (Optional)

Between Years 2 and 3, you can undertake the year-long Diploma in Creative Computing. This will develop your skills in creative computing alongside your degree. After successfully completing the diploma and your undergraduate degree, you’ll graduate with an enhanced degree: BA (Hons) Service Design (with Creative Computing).

Learning and teaching methods

  • Interactive lectures 
  • Seminar discussions 
  • Hands-on workshops 
  • Peer-led seminar learning 
  • Individual and group tutorials 
  • Guest speakers 
  • Study trips 
  • Technologies to enhance learning 
  • Co-design and collaborations 
  • Self-directed learning 

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.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£25,970 per year

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

80 UCAS tariff points, which can be made up of one or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications:

  • A Levels at grade C or above (preferred subjects include: English; History; Media; Business; Art and Design, or other subjects within Social Sciences).
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4).
  • Merit, Merit, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma (preferred subjects: Art and Design, IT & Computing, Media).
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferred subject: Digital and Creative Media, Film and Production, Computing).
  • OR equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma at 24 points minimum

And 3 GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C).

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

If you do not meet these entry requirements but your application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative relevant experience, you may still be considered. This could include:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • A combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit. We cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

  • IELTS level 6.0 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

All classes are taught in English. If English isn’t your first language, you will need to show evidence of your English language ability when you enrol. For further guidance, please check our  English language requirements.

Selection criteria

The portfolio, along with the details on your UCAS application (including the academic reference and your personal statement) will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Visual language: quality of structure, use of line, shape - 2D or 3D, form, scale, space, light, colour, texture and time.
  • Ideas generation: quality of ideas and thought process, expression of design thinking.
  • Research and its application (including images from sketch books): evidence of investigation and use of appropriate resources.
  • Materials, media exploration and experimentation; experimentation and testing of materials to achieve outcomes.
  • Contextual awareness and its influence on the portfolio; understanding and application of subject knowledge and context.

Apply now

You must apply for this course through Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), where you'll need the following information:

  • University code: U65
  • Course code: W920

London College of Communication courses are listed under University of the Arts London.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 18:00 GMT on 25 January 2023 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Personal statement advice

This is an important part of your application and should demonstrate to the team that you are interested in service design, and that you have thought carefully about why you want to study on this course.

You can demonstrate this through your previous work experience or study, personal experience and your ambitions for personal development as a student at LCC.

You should ensure it is written clearly, and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the team by demonstrating your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it will help you in the future.

State what you personally would bring to the course, and explain what motivates you to learn, explore and experiment.

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, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Transfers

If you are currently studying somewhere else on a course in an equivalent subject area and would like to transfer to this course, you can transfer to:

  • Year 2, if you’ve completed 120 credits in Year 1
  • Year 3, if you’ve completely 240 credits in Years 1 and 2

Apply via UCAS and choose Year 2 or 3 for your POE (Point of Entry)

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and Year 1/Year 2 unit transcripts.

Referral to alternative UAL courses

The University operates a cross-referral system, where applicants can be considered for and offered a place on an alternative course, if the admissions tutor feels they are more suited to that course. If you wish to opt out of the cross-referral process you can do so at the application form stage.

There are 2 ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course:

You must apply through UCAS, where you will need the following information:

  • University code: U65
  • Course code: W920

London College of Communication courses are listed under University of the Arts London.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 18:00 GMT on 25 January 2023 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Personal statement advice

This is an important part of your application and should demonstrate to the team that you are interested in service design, and that you have thought carefully about why you want to study on this course.

You can demonstrate this through your previous work experience or study, personal experience and your ambitions for personal development as a student at LCC.

You should ensure it is written clearly, and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the team by demonstrating your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it will help you in the future.

State what you personally would bring to the course, and explain what motivates you to learn, explore and experiment.

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, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Transfers

If you are currently studying somewhere else on a course in an equivalent subject area and would like to transfer to this course, you can transfer to:

  • Year 2, if you’ve completed 120 credits in Year 1
  • Year 3, if you’ve completely 240 credits in Years 1 and 2

Apply via UCAS and choose Year 2 or 3 for your POE (Point of Entry)

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and Year 1/Year 2 unit transcripts.

Referral to alternative UAL courses

The University operates a cross-referral system, where applicants can be considered for and offered a place on an alternative course, if the admissions tutor feels they are more suited to that course. If you wish to opt out of the cross-referral process you can do so at the application form stage.

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 through the portal. You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

If you have achieved or expect to achieve the standard entry requirements we will consider you for a place on the course.

We make our offers based on the strength of the whole application, and therefore don’t routinely invite applicants to interview.

International applicants may be invited to an online interview. Interview details will be sent via the UAL Portal.

Please add @arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.

Portfolio advice

You will be asked to present a portfolio (maximum of 20 images) that you consider would help support your application.

Your portfolio of work an important part of your application and you must clearly evidence development work as well as work from completed projects.

What happens next?

We will advise you of your application outcome through UCAS Hub. If you are an International applicant and have applied directly or through an agent, we will notify you through the UAL Portal.

We invite all offer holders to attend one of our online Offer Holder events. This is your opportunity to meet the academic team and fellow offer holders, find out more about the course, and get a taste of what it will be like to study here.

Requesting feedback

This course receives a high number of applications. Unfortunately, we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview. 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. If you would like to request feedback  please contact us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

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

Careers

Careers and alumni

As a BA (Hons) Service Design graduate, you’ll develop the knowledge and skills needed for careers in sectors ranging from the creative industries to local authorities and non-profit organisations.

Previously, our MA Service Design alumni have gone on to work in roles such as:

  • Service Designer
  • Design Researcher
  • Experience Designer
  • Design Strategist
  • User-Centred Consultant
  • Participatory Designer
  • User Experience (UX) Designer.

You may also decide to progress to further study on postgraduate courses such as MA Service Design or MA User Experience Design.