Taught course


University of Derby · College of Arts, Humanities and Education

Entry requirements

You'll usually need an undergraduate degree (at least second class), in a related subject, or an equivalent qualification and a portfolio of your practice.

Selection on to the Programme is based on a portfolio interview. The interview experience is an exciting opportunity for applicants to demonstrate their passion for Design. Applicants will have the opportunity to show teaching staff their interests and experimentation in the subject and they will have time to ask the questions that are important to their study. During the interview applicants will be expected to discuss the potential focus of study that they would like to undertake, including specific pathways, and to show and discuss their previous work.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

This highly flexible Masters offers you either a broad MA Design qualification, or a choice of six specialist MDes qualifications in Graphic Design, Illustration, Fashion, Textile Design, Interior and Spatial Design, or Product Design.

The MA Design qualification is ideal if you want to craft a personal design identity and practice, which crosses the conventional borders between disciplines. However, if you are keen to graduate with a qualification rooted in a specific design discipline, then one of the MDes awards would suit you better.

Why choose this course?

You will take part in range of live design projects, which will involve working with industry and community stakeholders. This will develop and test your practice and help you build a professional network. You’ll be supported to develop a personalised design curriculum and shape your professional future, with optional modules, professional development seminars, and the freedom to develop your own design projects.

The programme integrates theory, research and practice, guiding you through a process of personal-development and self-awareness. We begin with a diagnostic module, called Design Propositions, in which you will re-evaluate your knowledge, skills and competencies and propose a direction for the rest of your programme and your professional future. We’re using technology in innovative ways to provide an online studio environment as well as a physical studio on campus. So wherever you are, you will be able to interact with others.

You will be learning from a multidisciplinary teaching team made up of academic and technical staff with expertise in critical practice, experiential design, interior architecture, fashion and textiles, illustration, animation, graphic design, and product design. You will be exposed to a wide range of perspectives and approaches, which enable original and exciting work.

As a postgraduate student, we will encourage you to join our Civic Lab research group, which focuses on how participatory culture, creative dialogue and experiential design can be used for social impact — particularly in the City of Derby. It considers how we build communities, and how we create the conditions in which those communities can sustainably develop, innovate and thrive within the social, economic, environmental and cultural challenges of the 21st century.

Through this and other research groups, you could get involved in a wide range of multidisciplinary creative research activities, working with external cultural partners, public, commercial and third sector organisations, educational institutions and international networks.

How you'll learn

Throughout the course, you will have regular professional development seminars, critiques and concept panels, where you will review your work with fellow students, academics and professional partners, and have the opportunity to review and readjust your practice and professional direction in the light of that feedback and reflection.

You will be able to choose from a variety of Design Lab modules, which focus on different themes such as ‘experiencing the past’ or ‘creative futures.’ During these, you will collaborate on live design projects with industry, academic and/or community stakeholders, which will test your own practice and research methods in a new environment. These will help you develop your portfolio, experience and networks.


The enterprise elements of this MA/Des Design, particularly the live projects, ensure that you will graduate with the knowledge, skills and networks to find employment. Graduates from previous Design programmes at Derby have become independent designers, worked in an array of creative careers and set up their own freelance businesses across the creative industies. For instance, they have worked for organsiations like BBC Creative, The Partners, Superunion, Design for Good, Derby Football Club, Three Guru, Studio East, and many more.

Alternatively, with your advanced research skills, you will be able to progress on to a PhD or Professional Doctorate.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language, you'll also need an IELTS score of 6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area) or equivalent.

Fees and funding

UK students
£6,750 for the full course
International students
£14,700 for the full course

Learn more at the funding page.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA/MDes
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

+44 (0)1332 591044