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Postgraduate

MA Material Futures

  A cream trainer prototype
Jen Keane
College
Central Saint Martins
Start date
October 2022
Course length
Two years (60 weeks)
Extended full-time

Material Futures is where science, technology and design collide.

We not only imagine a better future, but aim to actively change it today. This course is part of the Jewellery, Textiles and Materials Programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • Future-facing design approach: The course curriculum will ask you to look beyond existing boundaries to anticipate future needs, desires, and challenges.
  • Embedded focus on sustainability: Using design and materiality as a platform to critically interrogate our sustainable future is a core component of the course.
  • Industry links: MA Material Futures continues to develop links with collaborative partners across a range of industry sectors. The course values the experience of live client briefs, as well as encouraging opportunities for students to gain external exposure and professional practice experience.
  • Multi-disciplinary and collaborative learning: The course encourages a multi-disciplinary approach. It explores the full spectrum of materiality, from low-tech analogue craft processes, to high-tech smart and interactive technologies.

Future Tool workshop

Class of 2020

MA Material Futures x Baume and Mercier

MA Material Futures students trying out traditional coracle making workshop in the Brecon Beacons

Student work

  • Lesley-Ann-Daly.jpg
    , Lesley-Ann Daly
  • Katie-May-Boyd.jpg
    , Katie May Boyd
  • Katy-Shand.jpeg
    , Katy Shand
  • Nilou-Esfandiary.jpg
    , Nilou Esfandiary
  • Mael-Henaff.jpg
    , Mael Henaff
  • Diana-Munoz.jpg
    , Diana Munoz
  • Elissa-Brunato.jpeg
    , Elissa Brunato

Course catalogues

MA Material Futures stories

  • NOVA X opens

    Celebrating a decade of award-winning creative practice, NOVA X shares the stories past winners of the MullenLowe NOVA Awards for Fresh Creative Talent.

  • Class of 2021: Practice, Process, Progress

    On the Graduate Showcase you'll find a collection of work by students innovating and pushing their process. Here, we pause on three projects from that collection that rethink waste.

  • Shortlist for MullenLowe NOVA Awards 2021

    From a kit for washing reusable menstruation pads to ceramics fired by bacteria, the shortlist for this year's MullenLowe NOVA Awards is fittingly bold and brilliant. And with YourNOVA, now it's your turn to vote for your favourite.

  • Class of 2021: Ecocentric

    On the Graduate Showcase you'll find a collection of work curated by the UAL Climate Emergency Network. Here, we pause on a few of those selected projects responding to the climate emergency in bold and witty ways.

Course overview

MA Material Futures encourages a wholly multi-disciplinary approach to design. Through trans-disciplinary practice and collaboration you will explore how we will live in the future. By working with experts, taking risks and blurring the boundaries between design, science and technology, you will look beyond existing disciplines, anticipating the future needs, desires and challenges that we face in the 21st Century.  

We believe that only by observing and analysing how we live today we can begin to explore how we might occupy tomorrow. Considering the current and future context of design decisions is key to our ethos. We will encourage you to combine social, scientific, political, environmental, ecological and economic inquiry. These insights will help inform future design scenarios, material propositions and research-led speculations.

Taking materiality as the starting point of the design process – literally the things we can touch, feel, interact with and observe – we integrate high and low technological materials and processes. Our students explore and come from a diverse range of disciplines. These include the worlds of fashion and architecture, as well as industrial, communication, textile, critical, digital and speculative design. 

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

In MA Material Futures, units may include external workshops, lectures and projects. Through hands-on making, you will explore emerging sciences and technologies, processes and materials. You will also investigate current trends and behavioural insights. Through this, you will generate new design applications to contribute to a more sustainable tomorrow. 

Unit 1: Material Exploration

Unit 1 is intended to be a test bed for new ideas, approaches and design collisions. You will be encouraged to forget your previous disciplines and methodologies, and to experiment and be ambitious. You will be exposed to new technologies, science and design practices alongside methods of material and design research.  

Experimentation, innovation, contextual and critical knowledge and design-led personal research is key. The unit draws on academic research, industrial links and a programme of current speakers. It is engineered to stimulate debate and to engage you in the critical context of design. You will be encouraged to engage with emerging issues that will affect the future of your personal design practice. 

In this unit you will be expected to develop experimental design work and innovative design proposals. You will discuss and critically debate issues related to your practice. Your work in this unit will encourage you to create and propose sustainable concepts, artefacts and materials.

Unit 2: Material Proposition

In Unit 2 you will combine your new knowledge of emerging material practice with your previous skill set. You will create a personal research project proposal and critical journal. These will explore a topical issue in the field of material futures. This unit should be used as an opportunity to launch a physical and theoretical design proposition. You will identify and engage with relevant experts who can support you in your chosen field of design. They will help navigate the complexities of turning your design proposition into a reality.  

At the beginning of the unit, short projects or workshops may help you structure the critical framework for your final project. By the end of the unit, you will have framed a design issue. You will have identified relevant research methods to produce a final creative portfolio. This body of work and research investigation with culminate in an exhibition of design propositions.

Unit 3: Material Impact

In Unit 3 you will contextualise, construct and launch your design proposition. This is predominantly a self-initiated unit. It allows you the freedom to pursue your own research interests and personal approach within the discipline. 

What is the real-world impact? Why is this proposition pertinent now or in the future? You will also complete a critical text which explores and contextualises your work within a wider context. You Showcase your work at the college's annual degree show.

Mode of study

MA Material Futures is an extended full-time course which runs for 60 weeks over two academic years. You will be expected to commit 30 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.  

The course has been designed in this way to enable you to pursue studies, while also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities. 

Credit and award requirements

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.

Learning and teaching methods

During your course you will engage with learning and teaching that includes both online and face-to-face modes. Typically, this will include:

  • Formative assessments;
  • Group critique;
  • Independent study;
  • Individual tutorials;
  • Lectures/workshops introducing research methodologies and techniques;
  • Peer learning;
  • Self-evaluation;
  • Technical demonstrations.

Assessment methods

  • Design portfolios 
  • Presentations 
  • Project proposals 
  • Critical journals 
  • Design projects 

Research Tutor: Professor Carole Collet
Academic Coordinator: Chloe Griffith

Visiting Practitioner: Attua Aparicio Torinos

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 standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

  • An honours degree
  • Or an equivalent EU/international qualification

AP(E)L – Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

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

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas:

Portfolio

The quality of portfolio demonstrating:

  • Strong design and technical skills
  • A personal approach to developing a design concept (including research, design development and final outputs)
  • A knowledge and understanding of materials
  • A creative approach to visual communication and presentation.

Interview

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

  • The ability to discuss your portfolio demonstrating a critical perspective of your work
  • A clear understanding of your design context and an engagement with issues that affect your industry
  • The ability to have an informed conversation about your role as a designer
  • Motivation, commitment and understanding of the ethos of the MA Material Futures course.

What we are looking for

We are looking for people who are highly driven and passionate about design and who keep informed about the material, ethical, moral, social and political issues that affect the creative industries today, as well as how they locate themselves and their work within the global context of design.

Making your application

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.

Deferred entry

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

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units and modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, 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.

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

You will need to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Start your application now

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, preferred name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)
  • Current English language level
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history

Personal statement

Your personal statement should answer the following questions (suggested word count for each question is 100 words):

  • Biography (what experience would you propose to bring to MA Material Futures personally?)
  • Why have you chosen to apply for MA Material Futures rather than another Masters course?
  • What do you understand ‘Material Futures’ to mean?
  • Tell us about the most interesting innovation, project or piece of research that you have come across recently
  • Describe something you believe will have an impact on the future of design (this could be something social, economic, environmental or a breakthrough in science, for example).

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

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

Please add csm.ukeu@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.  Also consider altering your spam or junk mail filter to ensure that emails from @arts.ac.uk get through to you.

Application deadline

12 January 2022 or 13 April 2022

For all postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply by 12 January 2022 for Round 1 or by 13 April 2022 for Round 2. We recommend you submit your application as early as possible before these deadlines, to allow the Admissions team to resolve any queries and progress your application as quickly as possible.

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 in two rounds, after each application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about any next steps until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by (at the latest) end of March and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by end of June 2022.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

There are two ways international students can apply:

You can only apply to the same course once per year.

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.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units and modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, 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.

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

You will need to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Deferred entry

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

Visas

Read our visit our immigration and visa advice page to find out whether you need a visa to study.

Start your application now

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, preferred name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)
  • Current English language level
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history

Personal statement

Your personal statement should answer the following questions (suggested word count for each question is 100 words):

  • Biography (what experience would you propose to bring to MA Material Futures personally?)
  • Why have you chosen to apply for MA Material Futures rather than another Masters course?
  • What do you understand ‘Material Futures’ to mean?
  • Tell us about the most interesting innovation, project or piece of research that you have come across recently
  • Describe something you believe will have an impact on the future of design (this could be something social, economic, environmental or a breakthrough in science, for example).

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 the information above.

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

Please add csm.international@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL. Also consider altering your spam or junk mail filter to ensure that emails from @arts.ac.uk get through to you.

Application deadline

12 January 2022 or 13 April 2022

For all postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply by 12 January 2022 for Round 1 or by 13 April 2022 for Round 2. We recommend you submit your application as early as possible before these deadlines, to allow the Admissions team to resolve any queries and progress your application as quickly as possible.

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 in two rounds, after each application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about any next steps until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by (at the latest) end of March and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by end of June 2022.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

After you apply

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.

Digital portfolio

Your portfolio should be up to 15 pages and demonstrate:

  • Strong design and technical skills
  • A personal approach to developing a design concept (including research, design development and final outputs)
  • A knowledge and understanding of materials
  • A creative approach to visual communication and presentation.

For more portfolio advice please visit our portfolio advice page.

Interview

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 online interview, lasting 15 to 20 minutes.

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:

  • The ability to discuss your portfolio, through verbal or written means, demonstrating a critical perspective of your work
  • A clear understanding of your design context and an engagement with issues that affect your industry
  • The ability to have an informed conversation about your role as a designer
  • Motivation, commitment and understanding of the ethos of the MA Material Futures course.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

Fees and funding

Home fee

£6,455 per year

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

£16,450 per year

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

MA Material Futures has established various links with industry in London and beyond, allowing students to work on international design projects and initiatives. MA Material Futures itself has contributed much to debate around design, both through the media and by organising and delivering papers at international conferences.

MA Material Futures students are expected to establish their own network of contacts and develop collaborations within industry as part of the development of their Masters project. Employers have included Adidas, Distance Lab, Banff New Media, Castelbajac, Donna Karan, Etam, Hussein Chayalan, Line Consultants, Louis Vuitton, Margiela, Media Lab Europe, Nicole Farhi, Speedo, Ted Baker, Design Lab, Trend Union and Nissan Design Europe.