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MA Design

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  • Objectives
    There is a new set of characteristics designers need to employ in order to be successful. In addition to creativity, designers have to adopt a multidisciplinary approach to design; they have to communicate a "point of view" and they need a certain entrepreneurial spirit and tenaciousness to succeed. At the University of Plymouth we want to teach "Design" not only to be fun, engaging and rewarding but also to reflect today"s requirements to be a successful designer in business.
  • Entry requirements
    The programme is aimed at students who wish to develop their skills in dealing with the inter-disciplinary nature of professional practice, and the application of design as a potent and creative business tool.
  • Academic Title
    MA Design
  • Course description
    General programme structure

    MA Design, informed by IDEO’s world-class design-innovation programme, is focused, comprehensive and relevant to industry, and is run by experienced professional designers, researchers and educationalists.

    All learning is done "by doing" in a busy collegial studio environment. Students undertake a series of assignments to develop an area of interest or particular direction that they may wish their careers to follow. Social, cultural, environmental and economic issues are integrated into the programme to encourage a comprehensive and holistic approach to design thinking.

    Four core modules underpin and provide a foundation for the major project. A series of lectures, seminars and tutorials are scheduled to enable opportunities to develop both specific intuitive design skills alongside a more generic creative awareness including: team working, interpersonal skills, honesty and integrity, self learning, and communication skills. Workshops are available every day where you are encouraged to develop, refine and prototype ideas that demonstrate design rigor and assignment outputs.

    Detailed programme structure

    At masters level you work autonomously, learning specific skills and developing an understanding of your chosen field. The core modules are designed to develop individual practice and critical and theoretical understanding.

    -Creative design processes (30 credits)
    -Design thinking (30 credits)
    -Design and business (30 credits)
    -Developing a designer’s eye (30 credits)
    -Major project (60 credits)

    Creative design processes (30 credits)
    Through a short series of fast-paced mini projects you experience and complete a comprehensive design cycle, from inspiration to innovation. This will provide you with an understanding and appreciation of creative design processes that puts ‘users’ at the centre of design.

    Design thinking (30 credits)
    This module explores contemporary critical contexts of applied design research, with an emphasis on the way design is described, shaped and influential. This will include the examination of artefacts and products as well as their broader, social, cultural, economic and technical implications, such as consumption and sustainability with the process of design.

    Design and business (30 credits)
    Project management and communication skills are essential for successful outcomes. You will follow and undertake an industry-led design assignment that helps you understand and develop different design management techniques and behaviours. These will include planning for different types of projects, stakeholder management, and more importantly learning how to apply business factors as a creative design tool.

    Developing a designer’s eye (30 credits)
    Through exposure and practice we are able to transform the rehearsal of design into an intuitive and creative process. This is enhanced with a deeper understanding of ‘Design Culture’ to help assess and recognise quality design, and develop a personal ‘point of view’.

    Major project (60 credits)
    This independent study module provides the opportunity to develop an MA project or a combined project and dissertation. The practice-based project encourages innovation in addition to refinement of practice and skills and will result in a body of work on a selected topic, which will be underpinned by relevant research, analysis, critical reflection and professional preparation.

    Assessment is based on an evaluation of the level of achievement for each module, in relation to the aims and learning outcomes and demonstrates that you have achieved these learning outcomes. Each module descriptor has sections showing the assessment mode and criteria used, learning outcomes and assessed skills elements. In addition to providing evidence that the learning outcomes have been achieved, you will be expected to complete a self-evaluation and assessment profile.

    Key Staff for 2007

    Roberto Fraquelli, Programme Leader, MA Design
    Roberto specialises in design and innovation. He designs products, environments and experiences for organisations seeking new ways to provide value for their customers. Roberto holds many design patents and has received awards for many of his designs in the USA and Europe.

    Pete Davis, MDesRCA Senior Lecturer
    Roy Tam, MDesRCA Senior Lecturer

    The programme is supported by visiting lecturers and practitioners from our comprehensive range of design and business partners

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