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.
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.
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