Taught course (will run subject to approval)

Design Histories and Futures

University of the Arts London - London College of Communication · Faculty of Design

Entry requirements

MA Design Histories and Futures appeals to applicants with a critical writerly practice and an eagerness to engage in challenging, world-leading research into material and visual culture.

Applicants should be confident writers and communicators and an existing portfolio of rich, rigorous and compelling writing - whether academic or journalistic - is desirable. Applicants will be proactive, curious and have strong contextual and critical focus in their work. The course welcomes applicants with the relevant academic experience and qualifications or those with industry experience.

The course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world, with an Honours degree in a relevant subject such as: Design, Art, Cultural Studies, Sociology or a professional qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours degree in a design-related or creative/humanities discipline.

The educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (named above);
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence.

Months of entry


Course content

MA Design Histories and Futures is supported by world-leading researchers from a wide range of design fields. You’ll explore transnational perspectives on design, discover history through archives, create design fictions, author critical writing, develop critical design practice and collaborate with a wide range of industry and educational partners. By the end of the course, you will have developed a portfolio of writing and design practice that will enable you to comment authoritatively on a host of design contexts and issues. This course is taught at London College of Communication, at Elephant & Castle, part of University of the Arts London (UAL).

What can you expect?

You will develop your writerly practice, which will form the basis for a journal of design criticism, hosted online. Representing the diverse perspectives and ideas you are developing, it will allow you to establish a profile in the field on your own terms.

The course is delivered by tutors from across the School’s range of subject expertise. It is led by experienced researchers and practitioners in design and material culture with extensive exhibition and publication profiles in graphic design, performance, comics, information design, subculture, phenomenology, history of art, critical cartography, participatory design and art, urban studies, research methods, design and media activism, feminist media, architecture, queer theory and many others. In addition, you will engage with practitioners and researchers from across the School.

You will have the opportunity to work on a major project that could take the form of archival, curatorial or event-based practice.

Reasons to apply

  • Work across London College of Communication's Design School with researchers and practitioners that represent and work in the cutting edge of contemporary design practice and thought
  • The course provides opportunities to develop a PhD research proposal with support from current PhD supervisors at London College of Communication
  • Make use of London College of Communication and UAL’s extensive archives and special collections to develop curatorial and research projects
  • Develop a rich and authoritative writerly practice for multiple applications across research and reporting
  • Engage in a challenging curriculum of study that critiques the accepted scholarship of design history and futures

About London College of Communication

The communications sector is evolving fast. Through our world-leading community of teaching, research and industry partnerships, we enable our students to develop the critical, creative and technical excellence needed to succeed and to discover new possibilities and practices.

Our Design, Media and Screen Schools produce experts and award-winners across virtual reality, journalism, photography, television and sound, graphic communication, games, design management – and more.

The London College of Communication experience is all about learning by doing. Our students get their hands dirty and develop their skills through the exploration of our facilities and technical spaces.

Students work on live briefs and commissions, with everything from independent start-ups and charities in Southwark, through to major global companies. Student designers, makers and innovators have worked with Nike, Penguin, the EU Commission, Colgate, Plan International, the National Trust, Nokia and Royal Mail, to name a few.

Information for international students

IELTS 7.0 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four skills.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Learn more at the funding page.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    15 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

+44 (0)20 7514 6599