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Central Saint Martins

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MA Biodesign

College
CSM
Start date
September 2019
Course length
2 years

Course summary

Please note that MA Biodesign is ‘subject to validation’. ‘Validation’ is the process by which the university develops new courses. It is developmental in nature and makes sure students get 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 this course.

MA Biodesign explores bio-informed design strategies as a driver for sustainable innovation.

Inspired by biological living systems, this two-year, research-led Masters degree introduces designers from multidisciplinary design backgrounds to biological systems, synthetic biology, computational design, and digital and biofabrication techniques to articulate alternative and innovative new design propositions for the emerging bio-circular economy to redefine the use of energy, water, air, waste and materials.

With dedicated Lecturer in Biology and a brand new ‘Grow Lab’ bio-laboratory facility, you can be part of the emergent and fast growing biodesign movement targeting contemporary challenges like climate change, low energy manufacturing, natural resource depletion, and human and environmental health.

The current global cultural and socio-political context will inform the development of your personal biodesign agenda, supported by a strong emphasis on ethical issues and a ‘learning-through-making’ approach to teaching.

“I am delighted that Central Saint Martins is leading the way by setting up this groundbreaking MA in Biodesign. This builds on the College’s long-standing reputation for using design to intervene in other disciplines and producing innovative hybrid outcomes. The Central Saint Martins MA Biodesign will develop a rigorous practice-led research approach, equipping students with a range of skills and processes. I am confident that the graduates from the course will emerge as pioneers in this developing field.”

Professor Jeremy Till, Head of Central Saint Martins, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, University of the Arts London

Great reasons to apply

  • You can be part of the emergent biodesign movement targeting contemporary challenges like climate change, low energy manufacturing, natural resources depletion, human and environmental health
  • You will have access to the ‘Grow Lab’, a new bio laboratory facility at Central Saint Martins with full technical support
  • You will learn biology protocols from a dedicated Lecturer in Biology
  • The research-driven curriculum benefits from the Central Saint Martins pioneering and extensive body of research and international scientific network of the Design & Living Systems Lab
  • There will be opportunities to work with industry partners on Knowledge Exchange and Research-oriented projects in this rapidly emerging field
  • The course combines the excellence of creative craftsmanship and the disruptive and experimental culture of Central Saint Martins with a rigorous scientific curriculum to create innovative sustainable design proposals.

Course details

MA Biodesign is currently subject to validation. 

MA Biodesign explores bio-informed design strategies as a driver for sustainable innovation. This research-led design course aims at incorporating the inherent life-conducive principles of biological living systems into the design process to develop alternative and regenerative design propositions for a sustainable future. Students will work in the context of the emerging bio-circular economy to articulate alternative and innovative new design solutions that can redefine the use of energy, water, air, waste and materials and how we design and make in the future.

The course will introduce designers from multidisciplinary design backgrounds to whole system thinking, biomimicry principles, biological systems, bio-computational simulation, digital and bio-fabrication techniques. Students will apply these principles to design new sustainable materials, products, services, systems or architectural propositions. There will be a strong emphasis on ethical issues, and on learning through making, whilst the theoretical and global cultural and socio-environmental context will inform the development of a personal biodesign agenda.

Course units

By researching and referencing models found in nature, we can incorporate biological principles (cyclic, solar, local) into the design process and explore alternative sustainable and life-conducive design propositions for the future.

We ask questions such as:

  • How can we collaborate with living systems to prototype new sustainable materials?
  • How can we incorporate life-conducive values in the design process towards biocompatible solutions with surrounding ecosystems?
  • How can we engineer biological systems in order to tackle contemporary challenges like urban resilience, human and environmental health?
  • How can biodesign contribute to the circular economy?
  • Can bio-computation simulate and model living systems towards energy and material efficiency?

Biodesign is an emerging discipline and despite a growing number of publications and exhibitions, there is no universal definition of biodesign as such. Other terminologies exists, such as biophilic design, bio-integrated design, biomimetic design, and bio-informed design, and they all offer variations of definitions which will be discussed at induction time, yet they all relate to similar principles: that we can learn from Nature to transition to more sustainable ways of life.

The MA Biodesign at Central Saint Martins UAL specifically understands biodesign as a means to incorporate the inherent life-conducive principles of biological living systems into the design process to achieve a transition to a more holistic sustainable future.

The course is dedicated to guide students towards a design inquiry and the development of a personal biodesign agenda which can facilitate the transition to a sustainable way of life. As such we are expecting students to fully engage with theoretical, scientific and cultural references to develop an ecological stance via their design practice.  There is a strong emphasis on ethical issues related to sustainability and biodesign practice throughout the course.

MA Biodesign is delivered in Extended Full Time Mode which runs for 60 weeks over two academic years. You will be expected to commit an average of 30 hours per week to study. The course has been designed in this way to enable you to pursue studies, whilst also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities.

The course is structured around three units of twenty weeks each, 3 days per week.

The course is credit-rated at 180 credits. On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Arts (MA degree). Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MA is level 7. All units must be passed in order to achieve the MA but the classification of the award is derived from the mark for the final unit only.

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) will normally be offered following the successful completion of 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) following the successful completion of 120 credits.

The units are designed so that you gradually become more and more independent in the development of your biodesign practice.

Unit one, Seed, establishes the foundations for biodesign and will let you explore a range of bio-informed design strategies via a series of laboratory and studio workshops, inductions, lectures and design projects. It will be front-loaded in terms of teaching and will require both individual and group work. You will be expected to be proactive, responsive and collaborative in your learning. Some projects will incorporate external scientific and/or industrial partners, others will be focused on your own learning and development. A series of knowledge-gathering and knowledge-mapping workshops will help you to integrate and discuss relevant theoretical and contextual references and will guide you towards the development of an annotated bibliography. The unit concludes with the submission of a biodesign portfolio which will evidence your learning and an oral and visual presentation that will test how you articulate and communicate your research and design work.

Unit two, Grow, allows you to build on the foundations of unit one to develop a personal biodesign agenda which will culminate in the submission of your MA Biodesign Project Proposal and relevant ethics and risk assessment forms, together with an R&D biodesign portfolio. In this unit, we will encourage you to be proactive and seek relevant external expertise and/or collaborations so that you can test your ideas and enrich your learning against external stakeholders. There will be a range of design and research methodologies workshops designed to support and challenge the development and delivery of your MA Biodesign Project Proposal. Whilst self-directed study will be prominent in this unit, peer learning activities will encourage you to articulate and discuss your personal agenda with your peers.

Unit three, Harvest, is dedicated to the creative production and communication of your final MA Biodesign project. The MA Biodesign project proposal submitted in unit two will provide the framework for the development of your project. You will discuss and report on your progress in regular tutorials and group critiques. There will be a strong emphasis on communication in this unit, as you will have to submit a short film/animation which will articulate the sustainable issues you are addressing and showcase your research, development and final design outputs. You will also have to present your final biodesign project in a 15 minutes oral and visual presentation followed by Q&A where you will be expected to clearly situate your project and be able to debate related sustainable issues.

Staff

Nancy  Diniz

Nancy Diniz

Course Leader, MA Biodesign

Professor Carole Collet - Course Founder

MA Biodesign is currently subject to validation.

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

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

*          An honours degree in a relevant design subject area OR

*          An equivalent EU / international qualification

AND normally at least one year of professional experience.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. 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.

English Language Requirements

IELTS level 6.5 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English Language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

Applicants will be selected on the basis of the following criteria. These criteria are assessed through a review of the Personal Statement, Portfolio and Interview. Interviews are only arranged on the basis that the portfolio demonstrates the applicant’s ability to skilfully generate and communicate a range of ideas addressing problems relevant to the discipline of biodesign.

  • Demonstrate that your personal and professional aspirations are compatible with the aims and objectives of MA Biodesign (Personal Statement/Interview)
  • You can demonstrate the necessary skill and fluency in your own design thinking and processes to benefit from the course (Portfolio review/Personal Statement/Interview)
  • You can demonstrate a strong personal commitment to sustainable change and an ability to articulate and reflect on issues relating to sustainability (Portfolio review/Personal Statement/Interview).

What we are looking for

We are looking for people who are personally committed to contributing to sustainable change through their own design practice and who are excited about the potential of biodesign practices to contribute to this. Successful applicants will be able to embrace iterative, speculative and experimental approaches to developing biodesign practices and will relish the opportunity to articulate and debate how their work can contribute to the wider issues relating to sustainability.

Making your application

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and seek to recruit students from diverse socio-economic, cultural and educational backgrounds. We are committed to supporting all 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 tell the University as soon as possible.   This helps us to plan the right support and adjustments for you during the admissions process and before you arrive. Please contact the University Disability Service to discuss your disability and support needs. (All enquiries are treated confidentially.)

Email: disability@arts.ac.uk Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 6156.

To find out more, please visit our disability support webpage.

Please note that MA BioDesign is ‘subject to validation’. ‘Validation’ is the process by which the university develops new courses. It is developmental in nature and makes sure students get 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 this course.

You should apply by clicking on the link to the direct form below. 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.

Start your application now

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal Statement

You will need to submit a short statement about why you want to study MA Biodesign. This gives us a clear sense of your interests and your suitability for our course.

Here are some tips for what should include:

  • Please give your reasons for applying to this course
  • Please provide details of your particular subject interests, relevant experience or abilities
  • Provide details of your engagement with sustainable issues and debates in your educational and professional experience to date and describe how these have informed your design process.
  • Describe what you wish to achieve on the course, and how you intend to use the experience to advance your career aspirations?

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

To guarantee consideration you must apply in full by 29 June 2019.

The application schedule for this course is as follows:

Apply in full by 29 June 2019
Submit an online portfolio 6 July 2019
Interviews take place during April and July 2019

Final application outcome by 31 July 2019

Please note that MA BioDesign is ‘subject to validation’. ‘Validation’ is the process by which the university develops new courses. It is developmental in nature and makes sure students get 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 this course.

There are two ways international students can apply:

If you are applying directly you click on the link to the direct form below. 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.

Start your application now

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)

Current English language level

Current and/or previous education and qualification details

Employment history

Personal Statement

You will need to submit a short statement about why you want to study MA Biodesign. This gives us a clear sense of your interests and your suitability for our course.

Here are some tips for what should include:

  • Please give your reasons for applying to this course
  • Please provide details of your particular subject interests, relevant experience or abilities
  • Provide details of your engagement with sustainable issues and debates in your educational and professional experience to date and describe how these have informed your design process.
  • Describe what you wish to achieve on the course, and how you intend to use the experience to advance your career aspirations?

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all of the information above.

Application deadline

To guarantee consideration you must apply in full by 29 June 2019.

The application schedule for this course is as follows:

Apply in full by 29 June 2019
Submit an online portfolio 6 July 2019
Interviews take place during April and July 2019

Final application outcome by 31 July 2019


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 or book an audition, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  If you do, you will be invited to submit a portfolio through the UAL Portal.

Portfolio

Your portfolio should be up to 20 pages and demonstrate that:

  • You have the necessary skill and fluency in your own design thinking and processes to benefit from the course
  • You have a strong personal commitment to sustainable change and an ability to articulate and reflect on issues relating to sustainability

Following the review of the portfolio we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process.  These applicants will be invited to an interview.

Interview

Applicants who are invited to interview may be interviewed either in person or by skype.

In addition to the skills demonstrated in the portfolio and in the written statement, the applicant’s potential ability will be assessed using the following criteria during the interview:

  • Demonstrate that your personal and professional aspirations are compatible with the aims and objectives of MA Biodesign (Personal Statement/Interview)
  • You can demonstrate the necessary skill and fluency in your own design thinking and processes to benefit from the course (Portfolio review/Personal Statement/Interview)
  • You can demonstrate a strong personal commitment to sustainable change and an ability to articulate and reflect on issues relating to sustainability (Portfolio review/Personal Statement/Interview).

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

Fees & Funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for 2019/20: £6,265 per year. Please note that fees for second year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

ELQ

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

International fee

Tuition fees for 2019/20: £14,305 per year.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

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