Taught course

MA Design Management and Cultures

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

Entry requirements

The MA Design Management and Cultures team recognises that applicants come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds from across the world. We are actively seeking open-minded graduates from diverse academic and industry/professional backgrounds who want to explore design management and cultures at a high level. A key characteristic of our candidates will be the desire to work across disciplinary and professional boundaries to explore the future of design management of rapid change and disruption. To be considered for the MA Design Management and Cultures course applicants must have one of the following: An Honours Degree A professional qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours degree Relevant professional/work experience The above should be in a relevant subject discipline or professional field such as: Design Business studies Management Social Sciences Humanities Physical sciences Marketing Language requirements (International/EU) All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you send us your English language test score together with your application to prove your level of proficiency. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please clearly indicate this on your application form. When you have received your test score, please send it to us immediately. IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. You can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page. Student selection criteria Applicants will be selected on the basis of the following criteria, detailed below: BA or equivalent level of skills and knowledge in your discipline through a professional qualification or professional work experience A personal statement Portfolio of work Major Project proposal Personal statement Your personal statement (300-500 words) should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course. What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally and personally? Why do you want to study MA Design Management and Cultures? Do you have any relevant experience? Why do you think you are a suitable candidate? Your portfolio Your portfolio should demonstrate your practical and conceptual skills, and working processes. It should include a maximum of six projects with supporting material and be clearly annotated and organised. The selected work will depend on your field of expertise and can cover examples from your most recent commercial or academic activity supported with documents showing your working processes and research. You can include reports, reviews, essays, creative projects, etc. Also include any other examples that indicate your personal areas of interest in the field of design management and cultures. Applicants with a background in design should include: Examples of visual work in PDF format Cross platform CDS or DVDs of moving image work if appropriate Developmental research material Samples of written work Applicants from all other backgrounds should include: A detailed professional CV with project descriptions Documentation of work where possible including report, presentations or research projects for which you have been responsible Major Project Proposal (1500 words) All applicants will be expected to outline their major project ideas in the application. It is important to recognise that these ideas will inevitably develop and change during your study on the course and only serve to inform your application at this stage. You will have opportunities within the course to revise and submit updated versions of the Major Project Proposal before you complete the major project itself.

Months of entry


Course content

MA Design Management and Cultures combines academic study with creative and professional practice in a project-led curriculum that draws on a range of interdisciplinary perspectives from business and the arts.

The content of the course reflects current knowledge, debates and issues within the discipline. You will interrogate, through practical projects, a range of perspectives including: design research methods; design thinking for the cultural and creative industries; branding; the role of creative interventions in brand communications; trend forecasting; strategies for the management of brand experiences; design for social needs and sustainability; project management; entrepreneurship and innovation; change management; and design leadership.

High-level skills and industry development

The course is designed to support employability and employer engagement by developing both transferable and industries specific high-level skills. You will develop research, analytical, communication, business, management and problem-solving skills that are directed towards careers within the cultural and creative industries.

You will be equipped with a set of practical skills in project management, change management, enterprise, leadership, branding and critical writing and practice. You will also have the opportunity to customise your studies through major project selection according to your own particular business and cultural design interests and career aspirations.

Throughout the course there will be regular contact with industry professionals through studio and industry visits, live briefs and guest speaker and networking events. In addition, mentoring programmes will be developed via industry contacts, where students can spend time in real working environments observing management systems in action.

The growth of design management

Academic and instructional writing on design management has significantly increased with articles on the subject appearing in major publications such as The Economist, Harvard Business Review, Business Week and The New York Times. The continuing growth of the creative industries in the UK, now estimated at 6% of GDP, has created employment opportunities for design leaders and managers in this burgeoning sector. The strength of demand for design managers in a range of enterprises and organisations is reflected in the career sections of professional networking and employment sites.

Growing job opportunities in turn create a demand for educational courses such as MA Design Management and Cultures, which prepares future design leaders and managers for work in both traditional and new economy models. The last decade has witnessed a growing emphasis by government on the economic value of culture at the same time as business and management studies have experienced a ‘cultural turn’.

The cross-fertilisation between business and culture has opened up opportunities for subjects that bridge this disciplinary divide such as MA Design Management and Cultures. The course combines theory with practice through projects, which draw on perspectives from a range of disciplines across business and the arts, covering a breadth of topics that encompass design process, branding, history and anthropology.

Design management opportunities

Design managers oversee design teams and departments to create the optimum product presence, design or brand identity. They are responsible for the operation of corporate design functions and design agencies as well strategically championing design across an organisation as a means of innovation and differentiation. Design managers create quality and consistency of studio output, and are required to have strong project management and communication skills.

Professional roles that encompass design management include: department managers, creative directors, and heads of design, design strategists and researchers, in addition to executives with responsibility for making decisions about design.
Career opportunities that emerge from the study of design business and management are further strengthened by exposure to cultural and critical studies. The latter is a diverse area that draws on sociology, anthropology, philosophy, politics, museum studies, history and feminist theory and develops discursive capacity for critical analysis and debate.

MA Design Management and Cultures combines an understanding of management and organisation from perspectives drawn from business, the arts and humanities. The curriculum has a professional focus with a strong emphasis on the development of leadership, management, communication and analytical skills.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification and course duration


full time
15 months

Course contact details

Information Centre
+44 (0)20 7514 6599