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MA Design for Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures

College
LCC
Start date
September 2020
Course length
1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

This course invites people from different creative backgrounds to come together around a shared interest in complex global issues, criticality, collective action and the future of design practice.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • Create real impact - this course invites you to generate work that will have a positive influence and impact on the world. At different scales and in different ways.
  • Collaborate widely - The open studio culture within this course will involve you working with people with a variety of backgrounds and lived experiences, from all over the world, inside and outside the university walls.
  • Expand your network and your mind - The course will introduce you to a range of people and places working in the field of social innovation and sustainable futures. Through workshops, talks, visits, exhibitions and events you will take a critical look at existing practice and theory while developing your own knowledge.
  • Figure out your unique values and purpose - This course will give you opportunities to explore what matters most to you, what change you want to make in the world now and in the future.
  • Future-facing skills - Develop a range of fundamental transferable skills such as design research, impact evaluation, participatory design, social entrepreneurship and critical analysis. Setting you up for your unique professional future as a responsible creative practitioner.

Open Evenings

Dates for our upcoming Open Evenings will be announced shortly on our Open Days page.

Facilities

Red light indicating recording is taking place.
Image © Vladimir Molico

Lens-based and Audio-visual

Find out about the workspaces and studios that support Lens-based and Audio-visual practice.

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

Printmaking

Have a look around the places and spaces that make up LCC and get an idea of what it's like to be here.

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 stories

Course overview

MA Design for Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures has been established as a collaborative, creative and generative studio for designers of all types interested in working inside complex global issues.

The course will explore the future of design practice and its interdependency with humanitarian and ecological concerns. It is both a practical and thoughtful course with an emphasis on innovative practice, collective action, plurality and real world change.

Over 15 months you will be exploring and questioning the systems that influence from multiple perspectives. You will scrutinise your own relationship to the planet as a creative and collaborative activist.

You will be asked to shake-up your own practice and re-imagine new possibilities for the future. The MA will culminate in a Final Project which you will create in collaboration with people outside of the university walls. 

What can you expect? 

You will work fast. You will work slow. You will think deeply. You will make quickly. You might fail periodically. You might play intensely. You should learn continuously.

This course has been designed using principles from human-centered design, and building on the concept of humanity-centered design. You will delve deeply into research methodologies, prototyping and experimentation, ideation, service design and systems thinking. 

Through various forms of collaboration inside and outside the university walls, you will learn to connect, frame, re-imagine and build for more sustainable futures.

You will be exposed to different theories in social innovation and sustainable practice. You will be invited to critique these and build your own knowledge.

You’ll be given opportunities to participate in a diverse range of experiences including workshops, presentations, exhibitions, symposia, knowledge exchange and skills sharing.

The course has been designed to be designed. All students involved will be shape-shifting this course through their own critical and practical work.

The Design School at London College of Communication believes in ‘design as the site of action and agency to radically transform our world’. This course will be putting thinking into practice, giving you the chance to make real social impact through a Final Project.

Who is this course for? 

  • You care about the world you inhabit.
  • ​You believe design has a systemic role to play in shaping the future.
  • You suspect design might not be enough to create the changes the world urgently needs.
  • You have a creative background and you make work with purpose and intent. 
  • You want to do things, try things, explore things, disrupt things, share everything and learn from everyone.
  • You want to work with people who are not the same as you, creating ecosystems of collective action.
  • You want to work across the boundaries of specialisms, in the cracks between practice, and on the edges of established knowledge.
  • You listen to others and you question yourself.
  • You have courage. 
  • You have imagination.
  • You have optimism.

Mode of Study

MA Design for Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures is in full time mode which runs for 45 weeks over 15 months. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study.

Course units

Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves five units, totalling 180 credits.

Unit summary:

  • Researching and framing for innovation (20 credits)

Understand the range of different design research methods and apply these to a real-world enquiry. Explore the ethics of research practice, the complexity of the global issues within our different personal and cultural contexts, and the importance of getting the question right.

  • Social impact and enterprise (40 credits)

Explore an expansive range of theories, models, and literature around the subject of social innovation and sustainability. Dive into examples of practice and take a critical look at the past, present and future.

  • Collaborative unit (20 credits)

A chance to do a real project with other people across the university and beyond. Put your knowledge, thinking, and ideas into practice.

  • Co-design for sustainable futures (40 credits)

Speculate, imagine, and make more plural, collaborative and sustainable futures.

  • Design in action: major project (60 credits)

A chance for you to roll your sleeves up and start your own piece of work in direct reaction to a situation or issue in the world that you want to change. 

Learning and teaching methods

  • Collaborative learning
  • Peer-to-peer exchange
  • Hands on workshops
  • Reading groups
  • Peer-led seminar learning
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Self-directed learning
  • Visiting practitioners
  • Study trips
  • Formative and summative assessment

Assessment methods

  • Documentary and reflective process blogs
  • Presentations (group and individual) of insights in response to real-world problems
  • Portfolios (group and individual)
  • Critical, evaluative and self-reflective reports
  • Sustainably designed outputs of the written work
  • Outcomes: proof of concepts, interventions, prototypes

Note: Presentation and portfolio outcomes may be multimedia, visual or experiential.

Staff

Ella  Britton

Ella Britton

Course Leader, MA Design for Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures

Noemi  Sadowska

Noemi Sadowska

Programme Director, Branding and Design Innovation

How to apply

Opportunities for all

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

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

Entry requirements

The MA Design for Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures course welcomes applicants who are keen to explore design in terms of its human-centred and strategic approach, its collaborative potential, and as a leading force for driving meaningful and contextually relevant societal and ecological transformation.

Applicants may come from a range of design disciplines or related creative industry experiences with a 2:1 or above Honours degree course, or have other equivalent qualifications.

The course team also welcomes students with relevant technical/ practical background experience who have worked in creative industries and who show a commitment to design and experiential learning, being keen to explore their practice as a place of sustainable action and social transformation.

The teaching team is looking for applicants who value critical thinking and socially and environmentally focused design, and are looking to question the relationship of design industry and the global systems it inhabits.

Educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree at 2:1 or first-class
  • 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

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 speaking and reading, and 5.5 in writing and listening.
  • 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 design for social innovation
  • A willingness to work as a team player, excellent language skills in speaking, reading and writing, the ability to work independently/be self-motivated and work collaboratively.
  • A proactive team attitude, with strong communication skills and the ability to work both collaboratively and independently.
  • Critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for design as place of social transformation and capacity for research-led design, intellectual inquiry and reflective thought through: contextual awareness (professional, cultural, social, historical, environmental); evidence of investigation, analysis, development and evaluation (from previous academic study and/or employment) and a grounded understanding of the world of design cultures and be able to engage in and contribute to critical discussion.
  • Via the ‘Personal Statement’ – a curiosity to explore responsible and ethical design practice in order to transform society and enable sustainable futures.
  • Via the ‘Portfolio’ – creative and research-based projects, that show problem-solving, experimentation and making processes.

Making your application

All applications will be reviewed 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

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

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

Application deadline

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

Transfers

If you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current postgraduate course at another institution 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. Find out about our UAL External Student Transfer Policy which includes what you need to include in 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

Your statement should be 500 words

Please say why you are applying for this course, in particular giving examples of your enthusiasm for, and inquiry into, ‘design as an agent of transformative change’.

Your personal statement should also outline relevant prior experience (design or otherwise) demonstrating current knowledge of social innovation and socially focused design developments and discourses.

Ensure that your personal statement 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.

Deferrals

Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2020/21 but wish to defer to 2021/22, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the pre-payment in order to defer. In all cases, deferred places will be held for one year.

Making a deferred application (during 2019/20 for entry in 2021/22)

Home/EU applicants are permitted to make a deferred application.

All applications will be reviewed 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

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

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.

Alternatively, international applicants can apply through an overseas representative in your country.

Apply now

Application deadline

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

Transfers

If you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current postgraduate course at another institution 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. Find out about our UAL External Student Transfer Policy which includes what you need to include in your application.

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

Your statement should be 500 words

Please say why you are applying for this course, in particular giving examples of your enthusiasm for, and inquiry into, ‘design as an agent of transformative change’.

Your personal statement should also outline relevant prior experience (design or otherwise) demonstrating current knowledge of social innovation and socially focused design developments and discourses.

Ensure that your personal statement 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.

Deferrals

Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2020/21 but wish to defer to 2021/22, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the pre-payment in order to defer. In all cases, deferred places will be held for one year.

Making a deferred application (during 2019/20 for entry in 2021/22)

International applicants are not permitted to make a deferred application.


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 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 an electronic portfolio of work, which includes maximum of six projects (10-20 images) with supporting material – demonstrating creativity, research and working process as well as the final outcome.

  • Examples of creative work (visual and written).
  • Evidence of developmental research and process competencies.
  • Evidence of personal areas of interest in the field of sustainability and social innovation.

If you have links to web projects or other media, please note these in your CV.

Applicants may be asked to participate in an interview conducted by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will take place at LCC, or via Skype/telephone.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£11,220 (2020/21).

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

International fee

£22,920 (2020/21).

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.

Accommodation

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

Careers paths

Demand in the public, private and third sectors for professionals with this knowledge-set and experience means that career options are diverse. Therefore, graduates might join/work with:

  • Creative practices and strategic design companies.
  • Corporate social responsibility departments.
  • Ethical businesses or social enterprises.
  • Government, policy-makers and government agencies/advisors.
  • Charities, NGOs and Not for Profits.

By combining strong practice-based learning and strategic thinking with an innovative and enterprising mind-set, students will also have the knowledge, confidence and competitive edge to:

  • Set up their own agencies, start-ups or incubators.
  • Become eco-social entrepreneurs, researchers and educators.
  • Act as ethical/sustainable consultants or advisors to business, organisations and enterprises.

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