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Master Design Research for Disability

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  • Objectives
    The philosophy and rationale of the course is based on the view that disabled people experience physical, environmental and social barriers that restrict their ability to participate fully in society. This course offers a unique opportunity for designers and health professionals to work together in developing desirable products, environments and equipment for the widest possible consumer base, regardless of age and ability. It is our intention to produce practitioners who are knowledgeable about the design process, production and marketing of products and environments for a diverse society. We also aim to advance the learning, knowledge and professional competence of those already working, or wishing to work, in the area of inclusive design and bespoke equipment for disabled people. The course therefore attracts designers who wish to specialise in this field and also health professionals who want to specify or supervise the manufacture of products for disabled people.
  • Entry requirements
    Applicants are normally required to possess a good Honours degree in three-dimensional design with expertise in areas such as product, industrial, interior or architectural design or hold a professional qualification in the life sciences, normally occupational therapy, physiotherapy or speech therapy. Consideration will be given to those with an exceptional BTEC HND and subsequent work experience. All applicants will be required to provide evidence of appropriate academic and practical skills, and international design applicants must submit a portfolio on CD or DVD.
  • Academic Title
    MA Design Research for Disability
  • Course description
    Course structure
    For full-time students, the first two semesters comprise six taught modules, with a period of independent study for assignments and project work. Two weeks are designated for the assessment of modules, plus counselling of students.

    The summer studies period is for independent study, the construction of prototypes and tutorials relating to project work, report writing and your dissertation.

    Part-time students take two cycles of the course, with a break in the first summer studies period in order to complete the MA. If you are part-time, you take four modules in the first year, two in the second year, and your Major Project/Dissertation (double module) in the summer studies period.

    Modules include:

    -Assimilation
    -Research Methods
    -Design for Production
    -Disability and Society
    -Life Science or Visual Communication
    -Case Study and MA Concept Development
    -Major Project or Dissertation (double module)

    Each design project that you undertake will have either a client or will be based upon an established need defined by members of staff. Additional links with business and research partners are made when you work on your Major Project/Dissertation.

    Assessment
    Coursework will be continually assessed and involves written reports, assignments, project work research methods, and, presentations. On completion of each module, a percentage mark will be given. Work is evaluated by staff as well as by professionals both from the design industry and the healthcare sector, acting as consultants to the course.

    Career opportunities
    Career opportunities in this field are expanding rapidly due to an increasing business interest in inclusive design, resulting from global changes in anti-discrimination legislations and the growing ageing populations. Health professionals and designers generally return to their respective profession with enhanced knowledge and skills and relevant professional links, and some progress to an MPhil or PhD. The course maintains a good employment record for graduate jobs in this sector, including consultancy opportunities for therapists who wish to work in the design sector, and also for designers working in the disability sector.

    Attendance & duration
    Full-time: two semesters and a summer studies period (45 consecutive weeks in a calendar year), Wed and Thurs with three days a week independent study
    Part-time: two years and three months
    Year one, two semesters (Wed)
    Year two, two semesters (Thurs) plus summer study period and one semester independent study

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