Design Innovation MA

Design Innovation and Management MA/MSc

Whether your interests lie in retail or museums, product or interiors, fashion or visual communication, this course will equip you to create innovative designs alongside an understanding of business and management, making it an ideal platform to launch your own creative business.


With a flexible curriculum to accommodate your creative ambitions, this course will prepare you to take a critical position to forge a successful career in the globalised creative world. The key business skills that you will gain make this course the ideal platform for creative entrepreneurs to launch their own design businesses and consultancies, or for those who hope to take up senior roles in design strategy or brand management. The course is designed for students with a good working knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite applications, such as Photoshop, Acrobat, and InDesign, and will develop these technical skills to an advanced level.

You will select a specialist area of study from diverse options, ranging from retail, museum and exhibition, and product design, to interior, fashion, visual communication, and design innovation. Learn to devise creative solutions to complex issues surrounding sustainability and explore the role of design and innovation as a driver for change. Your learning will culminate in either a work-based project or individual major project (either creative practice based, or research focused), drawing on the professional expertise and specialist knowledge of our academics.

Throughout the course we will empower you to experiment boldly and support you to take risks. You will be encouraged to challenge conventions and develop innovative approaches to tackling contemporary design challenges, with the cutting-edge facilities for you to refine your talents and realise your creative visions.

Key features

  • You can be awarded an MA or MSc depending on your route through your studies and final Major Project. You can also exit the course with a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate award depending on the credits you have successfully achieved.
  • Specialise in varied design areas, from retail, museum and exhibition, and product design, to interior, fashion, visual communication, and design innovation.
  • You will develop the design skills and innovative approach required to become a successful and impactful entrepreneur in the creative industries.
  • You can tailor your course to develop your personal interests and support your career aspirations or establish the design concept for your own business.
  • Gain expert knowledge from visiting guest lecturers and work on real-world live projects set by professionals from industry, museum, charity and arts organisations.
  • Join a community that is working together to co-design new ways of thinking to redefine the future of creative practice.
  • With an optional year-long work placement you can gain valuable experience to further enhance your practical and professional skills.
  • Our award-winning Vijay Patel building has been designed to provide the space and facilities where all of our art and design students can develop their ideas and flourish.
  • The School of Design’s close-knit community of postgraduate students and staff creates a supportive learning environment for design students from around the world.

Talk to our course team

If you would like to find out more about how this course can help you achieve your career ambitions, send a message to our course team [Dr Emily Baines] who would be happy to chat to you. Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate event or call our course enquirers team on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70  / WhatsApp: 0797 0655 800.


DMU offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships and bursaries to help you realise your academic ambitions.

International Scholarships

Find out about available scholarships and country specific fee discounts for international students. 


More courses like this:

Digital Design MA
Fashion and Textiles MA
Product Design MA

DMU has been shortlisted for the Postgraduate Award in the 2024 Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs), as voted for by students.

  • UK
  • EU/International

Programme code: W20080

Start date: September 2024

Duration: One year full-time. Two years part-time.

Fees and funding:

2024/25 Full-time tuition fees for UK students £9,435 per year

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Programme code: W20080

Start date: September 2024

Duration: One year full-time.

Fees and funding: 

2024/25 tuition fees for EU and international students: £15,800

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

You should have the equivalent or above of a 2:2 UK bachelor’s honours degree in a design subject relevant to your proposed specialism or major project area.

If you have other professional qualifications and industry experience, we will consider your application on an individual basis.

Interview and Portfolio

Applicants with relevant qualifications should submit a portfolio of work (please see our Design Innovation MA application portfolio advice for full details).

Non-standard applicants will be invited to attend an interview with a portfolio and a 2,500-word report.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each band (or equivalent) when you start the course is essential.

English language tuition, delivered by our British Council-accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessments



Block 1: Creative Design Research Studio

This module will introduce you to a critical appraisal of current creative and research processes in a professional multidisciplinary context, which will support you to move beyond design research skill development toward high-performance working and enable you to develop a range of applied skills that will boost your potential employability.

You will develop your project ideas, strengthen your subject specialism, and broaden your horizon for creative possibilities by studying the subject techniques, working practices and research methods of a range of art and design disciplines. You will demonstrate original applications of knowledge together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry techniques are used to create and interpret knowledge. Design management, project planning and design thinking aspects, as well as teamworking, will be significant in these projects.

You will also explore sustainability issues and approaches, including design strategies for the circular economy and sustainable resource use; lifecycle analysis of a product in relation to climate change, air, land and water pollution and human health impacts; importance of sustainable materials selection; the UN sustainable development goals; and issues of ethics in production and Corporate Social Responsibility (including supply chain transparency and greenwashing).

 Block 2: Research Methods and Cultural Context

In the module you will be introduced to advanced research skills. You will consider the role of research within the context of design and management, and reflect on your personal attributes, skills, and values as a contemporary researcher. Typical content will include research design; gathering, managing and analysing data; developing critical and ethical practices; and reporting and presenting research findings.  

You will also develop your understanding of material culture theory on the semiotics of design/ products, on issues of cultural, gender and individual identity, of status and social positioning and of disability and the body. It will enable you to apply these concepts within your individual research and design project.

Block 3: Select one from the following:

  • Sustainability Strategy and Design

Debates surrounding sustainability have become increasingly prominent due to greater awareness among consumers of environmental and ethical issues, as well as initiatives by many companies to improve their sustainable credentials. This module examines key historical and contemporary contexts relating to sustainable design and corporate strategy, unpicking the complex debates surrounding a range of issues from worker’s rights to product lifecycles. Alternative perspectives on the traditional production and consumption model will be introduced, and both practical and conceptual aspects considered.

This module addresses the needs of students aiming to work in design, manufacturing, or retail, providing future managers and entrepreneurs with a clear overview of the major sustainability issues within their industry. The impact of ethical and environmental considerations on designed products, production and business ideology will be analysed. It will cover sustainable development, ethical supply chains, corporate sustainability strategy, circular economy, slow fashion/lifestyle design, lifecycle analysis, alternative production and consumption models, integrated system design/ sustainable innovation, climate change, biodiversity, toxicity and sustainable resources.

  • Narrative Spaces

This module will explore how the design of spaces can tell a story. You will consider the interaction between objects, space and stories, in order to better understand complex ideas, messages or emotional connections and empathy. The interpretation of ‘space’ will be stretched beyond physical space and you will also explore how digital platforms can play a significant role in enhancing and immersing people in the built environment. There will be a particular focus on how modern retail environments and progressive museum and exhibition design use a combination of spaces and experiences to convey a story.

You will produce a group design project and presentation as a design team, with flexibility within the design brief to propose a multi-layered design concept proposal.

  • UX and UI

This module is designed to prepare you for a career in UX/UI design. You will develop the skills to design a user interface that enhances the user experience using tools and techniques used in industry.

The content of the module will include conducting research to devise a UX Strategy and you will develop an understanding of Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Human Interface guidelines and best practice. You will apply UX design principles, tools, and techniques to an existing or new design solution incorporating awareness of Inclusive design, data security and privacy. The design concept will be enhanced with usability testing and performance reviews (using data analysis) leading to further design iterations.

Block 4: Select one from the following:

  • Business and Marketing Strategies

The manoeuvring of a creative concept to market using business and financial skills is crucial to the success of the Creative Entrepreneur. Confident handling of commercial and creative theoretical and practical tools forms a major part of the activities of the entrepreneur. On this module you will identify potential for a new product/service/experience and mobilize the necessary business resources to realise your ideas. This knowledge will include an understanding of marketing and corporate strategy, the value offering and value structure, industry analysis, competitive positioning, blue ocean theory, innovation, analysis of markets (including PESTEL and consumer behaviour) and financial planning.

You will contextualise your concept by analysing the relevant industrial structure, business environment, competition, and consumer behaviour; and on this basis establish a finely evolved and market positioned business strategy with financial projections in a business plan. You will present this in the form of a market analysis and business plan produced to a professional standard.

  • Design Problem Solving

In this module you will be supported to develop innovative approaches to tackling difficult local and global design problems, while also consolidating and developing your subject specific skills. The module supports the experimentation of a range of research and analytical tools that can be used to inform design. The aim of the module is to support you to become a creative, resilient designer who will thrive on your ability to draw on your genuine curiosity. At the end of this module, you will have greater confidence in working outside your disciplinary boundaries and knowing how and when to deploy experimental research tools effectively. The module also supports you to consolidate and develop your plans for your Major Project.

Blocks 5 and 6: Select one from the following:

  • Major Project – Dissertation

Your learning will culminate in a dissertation on a research topic of your own choosing. You will demonstrate your ability to use initiative and ingenuity, make complex decisions and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level.

  • Major Project – Design Innovation

In this module you will be supported to demonstrate a systematic and comprehensive understanding of the techniques applicable to your own research and advanced scholarship in the completion of a major project. You will demonstrate your ability to use initiative and ingenuity, make complex decisions and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level.

You will have the choice of either a major focus on design practice supported by a written critical evaluation (practice) or a major focus on the critical evaluation supported by a condensed design practice (academic). This should reflect your chosen path after graduation, should that be into design practice or continuing to an academic path.

  • Work-based Project

This module provides the opportunity to develop and demonstrate skills acquired from the course in a practical context - for example working with a fashion, textile or design company on the development of a prototype innovation. It is anticipated that this work-based live project will include experience of working on the design or development of products within an area of fashion, textiles or design. You will bring together all aspects of the course ranging from research methodologies to discipline-specific modules. This work-based project will receive supervision from the host organisation and the university and outcomes will be negotiated and may include a mix of a research reports for the host and/or plans.

Note: All modules are indicative and based on the current academic session. Course information is correct at the time of publication and is subject to review. Exact modules may, therefore, vary for your intake in order to keep content current. If there are changes to your course we will, where reasonable, take steps to inform you as appropriate.



You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, and workshops. Assessment methods are varied and are designed to enable you to develop different skills. Assessments include individual and group presentations, reports, literature reviews, essays, a business plan, dissertation and design concept presentation.

You will benefit from visiting lecturers who specialise in exhibition design, museum curation, retail design, sustainable design, business planning and creative digital design. At the same time, a range of industry, museum, charity, and arts organisation representatives regularly present and coordinate live projects.

Contact hours

In your first two terms you will normally attend around 12 hours of timetabled taught sessions including lectures, tutorials and workshop and studio sessions each week, and be expected to undertake at least 23 hours of independent study each week. Your third term will be pre-dominantly self-directed, during which you can expect to undertake 35 hours of independent study each week.


Facilities and features

Art and design facilities

Our award-winning Vijay Patel building has been designed to provide the space and facilities where all of our art and design students can develop their ideas and flourish. 

The creative industries require imaginative graduates who can develop new ideas and products. Students use our sophisticated and contemporary workshops, labs and studios to experiment and test in the same way they will in industry, while the open and transparent spaces in the building encourage collaboration between disciplines. In doing so, the building prepares students for industry and helps develop them as future leaders in their respective fields. 

Take a look at our stunning showcase of the building at


Library and learning zones

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including the Virtual Learning Environment, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.


More flexible ways to learn

We offer an equitable and inclusive approach to learning and teaching for all our students. Known as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), our teaching approach has been recognised as sector leading. UDL means we offer a wide variety of support, facilities and technology to all students, including those with disabilities and specific learning differences.

Just one of the ways we do this is by using ‘DMU Replay’ – a technology providing all students with anytime access to audio and/or visual material of lectures. This means students can revise taught material in a way that suits them best, whether it's replaying a recording of a class or adapting written material shared in class using specialist software.

Opportunities and careers

Find the people who will open doors for you

DMU's award-winning careers service provides guaranteed work experience opportunities DMU Careers Team


During this course you can choose to undertake a year-long work placement, an invaluable opportunity to put the skills developed during your degree into practice. This insight into the professional world will build on your knowledge in a real-world setting, preparing you to progress onto your chosen career. Placements will normally take place between semester two and three.

Our Careers Team can help to hone your professional skills with mock interviews and practice aptitude tests, and an assigned personal tutor will support you throughout your placement. 


DMU Global

This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.

Through DMU Global, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.



Graduate careers

Many of our graduates go on to launch their own design businesses and consultancies, take up roles as creative designers, or progress on to senior roles in design strategy or brand management.

Recent graduates have landed successful roles such as:

  • Senior Industrial Designer for Wistron Corporation, producing notebook PCs and other electronic equipment.
  • Lingerie Garment Technologist for MAS Intimates, co-ordinating production for lingerie of major brands including Marks & Spencer, Victoria’s Secret, and La Senza
  • Designer for London-based fashion brand Max C  
  • Designer and Production Supervisor at Fleur La Fleur fashion design
  • Head of User Experience (web design) for Freestyle Interactive Ltd
  • Creative Services Manager for Revlon
  • Project Manager at Ideal Design, for interior design in Taiwan

Businesses started by DMU graduates include the Pooja Kapoor fashion brand, Whiteroom Media, Luidpro Design, and Cerebral Innovation.

The focus on research and developing your skills as an independent learner will also be an excellent stepping stone to study at PhD level.

Take your next steps