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Product Design MA/MSc

This course will help you to develop the key design skills and creativity required by entrepreneurs and industry professionals, in relation to your own professional ambitions and area of design.

Overview

This course is for students with a product, furniture or a directly related 3D design degree who wish to build on their expertise, specialist knowledge and employability. You will develop an advanced understanding of design practice, learn about research methodologies, explore service design and the ways that emerging digital technologies can enhance your work.

The flexibility of the curriculum allows you to focus on your individual interests and ambitions and equip you with the practical commercial skills for a successful career in the creative industries. Your studies will culminate in a self-directed design project, during which you will explore real world product design processes such as external validation, prototyping, testing, technical definition and specification.

In all your designs and processes we will empower you to experiment boldly and encourage you to take risks. We aim to develop independent learners who can take their own personal and critical approach to tackling complex design challenges. Access to our sophisticated facilities, including industry-standard vector-based and three-dimensional modelling packages, will enable you to push design boundaries 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.
  • Employability is embedded throughout the course, along with an understanding of professional and commercial practice, to support you in your career aspirations – whether that be as a practice-based designer, entrepreneur or in the wider creative industries.
  • By considering sustainability and social responsibility in every design decision made, you will become a responsible ‘global’ citizen with the tools to tackle the complex environmental challenges ahead.
  • Learn from an expert teaching team who are active in their own field and maintain their professional skillset, ensuring you develop the most relevant skills for a career in the industry.
  • 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. 
  • The award-winning Vijay Patel Building provides both the space to foster creative thinking as well as top-class facilities, giving you access to a range of dedicated workshops and a host of specialist equipment.

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 Kyungeun Sung] and [Dr Lionel Dean] 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.


Scholarships:

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:

Design Innovation and Management MA/MSc
Digital Design MA

  • UK
  • EU/International

Programme code: W24081

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

Start date: September 2024

Fees and funding UK/EU:

2024/25 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: W24081

Duration: One year full-time

Start date: September 2024

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 product or furniture design or a directly related subject.

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 Product Design application portfolio advice for full details).

Non-standard applicants will be invited to attend an interview with a portfolio.

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

 

Modules

Block 1: Design Practice and Horizons

This module provides you with the opportunity to: (i) identify the strengths and weaknesses in your practice; (ii) hone your knowledge and skills based on the set briefs (e.g., RSA Student Design Awards); (iii) generate professional design outcomes; and (iv) understand a variety of design practices and research addressing a wide range of topics and issues in Product Design and beyond. You will also be introduced to sustainability issues and approaches that can be applied within your design projects and provide a basis for your design thinking. It will consider 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: Specialist Knowledge and Skills

In this module you will be introduced to advanced Product Design research and design skills. The Research component of this module invites you to consider the role of research within a design context, and to 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.  In the Design component you will engage with current design research, professional practices, and advanced scholarship in Product Design, and demonstrate conceptual understanding and critical evaluation of the specialist knowledge and skills in Product Design.

Block 3: Select one from the following

  • Sustainability Strategy and Design

This module seeks to examine 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 those aiming to work in design, manufacturing or retail, providing future designers, 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.

  • Technology for Design

Technological advancement in design and manufacturing techniques are growing exponentially. Designers of all specialisms are curious about how technology can help them create and innovate in order to develop new practice, effect change things and affect the way we live. This module aims to provide a platform for you to explore a range of technologies and help to advance your knowledge and practice in this area.

You will research a range of technologies and work with the staff team to identify an area which you would like to investigate, which could include computer aided design; computer visualisation; virtual prototyping; direct digital manufacturing and the development of new equipment, materials, artefacts and devices. Staff will assist and provide guidance in the partnering of student and technology where possible, internal within the university or external in local industry.

  • 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: Research and Innovation

In this module you will conduct primary research for your Major Project and propose a range of appropriate and creative design solutions based on your self-defined brief. Those pursuing a practice-oriented project will focus on relevant and applicable research for high quality design outcomes (e.g., design brief, Product Design Specifications, ideas and concepts), whereas those pursuing a more theoretical project will focus on design and execution of valid and reliable research with scientific rigour by, for example, carrying out pilot studies and analyses aiming for publishable data. A designated tutor will supervise your individual project. This module is leading to Block 5.

Taking a business viewpoint, you will need to prove the ‘viability’ in your design proposal. You will establish a marketing strategy for your design which will include positioning the value offering against its competitors, defining the target market, and proposing a broad corporate strategy to deliver the creative value offering. This will support those intending to start their own creative businesses where you will need to plan a business strategy for a product or product range.

Blocks 5 and 6: Major Project

Following on from research and concept generation in the previous modules, you will develop and define a detailed product design in your 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 two different pathways: a practice-oriented project with more weighting for design work and a report/dissertation, or a research-oriented project with a report/dissertation.

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.

See pre-Education version of Product Design MA | Product Design MSc

Overview

The curriculum is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, self-directed learning and group learning. Assessment methods are varied and include design journals, presentation banners, technical drawings, physical artefacts (e.g. test rigs, working prototypes, aesthetic models), reflective essays, research reports, oral presentations, and a dissertation as well as a major design project submission comprising development, technical specification, prototyping and testing elements.

The school's close-knit community of postgraduate students and staff creates a supportive learning environment for design students from around the world. All teaching staff are involved in research and commercial activities that shape the curriculum and there is a strong integration between theory and practice. Within the product design subject area, the team maintains the currency of their modules and design project teaching through involvement in consultancy, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships as well as noteworthy research activities. The teaching staff have expertise in additive manufacture, new product development and inclusive design.

Contact hours

In your first two terms you will normally attend around 10 hours of timetabled taught sessions including lectures, tutorials and workshop and studio sessions each week, and be expected to undertake at least 25 hours of independent study each week. Your third term will be pre-dominantly self-directed (including meetings with your supervisor), 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 dmu.ac.uk/aad.

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
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Placements

During this course you will have the option to complete a paid placement year, 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.

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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.

 

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Graduate careers

Our graduates have found employment in product and display design, and the manufacturing industry, both in the UK and internationally. We also place a strong focus on research and developing your skills as an independent learner, meaning that this course provides an excellent stepping stone to study at PhD level.

Graduate Emily Hancock is a project manager for the Impacting Business by Design project.  She said: “Undertaking my MA in Product Design enabled me to develop my skill set in multiple areas including research, business and of course product design. The support and freedom from the staff enabled me to discover where my strengths lie and how to improve in areas where I felt needed improvement. Without this postgraduate degree I would not be in the role I am currently.”

Find out how graduate Dan Sawford received a coveted commendation in the international RSA Student Design Awards 2020 with his innovative ideas to improve pedestrian crossings. 

Take your next steps