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MA Design Studies

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  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements Applicants will normally hold a good honours degree (at least 2:1 or above) in a design related discipline such as graphics, illustration, digital media or three-dimensional studies. Practising professionals with vocational, rather than academic experience may be considered. All applicants are expected to present a portfolio of appropriate creative work at interview.
  • Academic Title
    MA Design Studies
  • Course description
    This is a practice-based multi-disciplinary programme, underpinned by contextual studies in design. Students undertake a series of studio based modules, of negotiated content, based upon individual research and professional goals. Self-directed learning is supported by practical and theoretical lectures, critiques and seminar presentations. At masters level students will present a dissertation or case study which supports their portfolio of creative work.

    This MA offers a free choice of modules from those offered by the other postgraduate programmes in design, which are: MA Multimedia and Graphics MA Illustration and Design MA 3D Design and Innovation. This facilitates a degree of flexibility allowing for the combination of two or more specialist media disciplines, tailoring the programme to the student's personal interests.

    Course Content

    Stage 1
    Postgraduate Certificate (PgC) 60 credits

        * Design Studies 1

    This is a sixty credit module which covers both the practical and theoretical elements of the programme. The practical element enables students to explore aspects of creative studio practice pertinent to their own academic and vocational interests, based upon a negotiated 'statement of intent' or rationale delivered in parallel with the theoretical element which contextualises their chosen area of specialist media study, alongside other design media, within the broader field of visual communications.

    Stage 2
    Postgraduate Diploma (PgD) 60 credits

        * Design Studies 2

    Building upon the experiences at certificate stage, this second sixty credit module allows for the study of an alternative specialist media discipline through both practical and theoretical research. Once again this will be of negotiated content based upon the student's creative aspirations. The module also explores the techniques and effective application of visual communication as it applies to a wide range of specialist design disciplines.

    Stage 3
    Masters (MA) 60 credits

        * Design Studies 3

    Within a sixty credit module, students produce a significant portfolio of innovative, creative work which has evolved from the visual and theoretical research fostered at stages one and two. It may also incorporate investigations into a third specialist media area. This will be supported by a dissertation or case study either based upon the practical and research outcomes, or the historical or contemporary contexts from which the work has evolved.

    Teaching and Assessment

    A wide range of teaching and learning methods are incorporated in the programme, ranging from formal lectures and student led seminars, to group critiques and practical demonstrations. These are supported by a range of guest speakers from a wide spectrum of academic and design backgrounds.

    Assessment is through portfolio presentation or exhibition, seminar presentation, written essays and dissertation.

    Career Opportunities

    On completing this programme you will be equipped for employment within the creative industries at an advanced level.

    The type of career likely to be sought by postgraduates with this award might include: multimedia designer; illustrator or animator; model maker; or perhaps as a broad-based graphic designer.

    The award will also enhance career opportunities within further and higher education.

    Supplemental Information

    Students are recommended to seek membership of appropriate professional bodies, such as the Chartered Society of Designers, though this is not a mandatory requirement.


    World Class Web/Design Tools
    The University of Sunderland provides access to the full Adobe/Microsoft suite of web/design applications on campus. Under our Education Partnership Agreement, Adobe/Microsoft tools are upgraded every time there is a new release, to ensure that our students have the very latest industry standard versions. Apply now for access to the latest versions of: Adobe/Microsoft (inc. Dream weaver, Flash, Fireworks, Freehand) Director (web content, DVD & CD Rom production tool) Also Authorware, Contribute, Breeze and others.

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