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Master in Arts Interdisciplinary Design

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  • Objectives
    This taught programme aims to cut across the concerns of traditional design disciplines and to focus on contemporary issues that need a broader conceptual approach and innovative, interdisciplinary forms of design practice. To achieve this the course integrates design, research and professional studies. Students negotiate a programme of projects tailored to meet individual interests and needs, and elect to study one of the specialisms offered in the programme. The aim is to bring together people from a variety of design and other professional backgrounds to focus on topics that have particular implications for the quality of the designed environment. Students may also propose their own specialist study.
  • Entry requirements
    The course is open to graduates of art, design, and architecture who wish to enhance professional capabilities and receive basic training in research. The course is also open to graduates of appropriate related disciplines in the social sciences, technology, business studies and management. Graduates from these disciplines who wish to become designers may also undertake a programme of preparatory work before commencing the MA. Applicants should have or expect to receive a good honours degree or be able to demonstrate an equivalent level of experience. Applicants from backgrounds outside of art, design and architecture will also need to demonstrate an aptitude for design
  • Academic Title
    MA Interdisciplinary Design
  • Course description

    ‘The interdisciplinary character of the course is a refreshing perspective that makes the MA course a valuable one for students wishing to pursue hybrid careers or explore the cross fertilization of design domains’. (Alec Robertson – External Examiner, 2003)


    Students may propose their own specialism or apply to study in one of the following areas:

    Lighting – the subject encourages students to explore innovation in lamp, luminaire and illumination design. Investigation of cultural factors, technologies, and environmental strategies supports a focus on developing integrated and sustainable approaches to lighting environments for a wide variety of practical and experimental purposes.

    Commercial Furniture – the subject focuses on furniture designed for industrial production and encourages students to rethink the interiorscapes of living, working, leisure and hybrid environments and to explore the use of new materials and processes, CAD CAM methodologies, and sustainable approaches to managing the product lifecycle.

    Architectural Products – the subject addresses the need for innovation in the design and manufacture of a wide range of building components from those affecting buildability, construction safety, and adaptability of buildings, to those affecting appearance, security and weatherproof qualities of a building envelope, and those affecting the comfort, accessibility, and meaning of buildings in use.

    Environmental Graphics – the subject investigates the integration of large scale and 3-D graphics in the built environment and encourages students to explore the use of new materials and technologies, and audiovisual media, in the realization of signage and brand communication, and the development of architectural communication concepts.

    (All specialisms are subject to Faculty approval)

    Special features

        * A range of cognate specialisms.
        * Integrated approach to research, design and professional studies.
        * Open to art, design and architecture graduates and students from non-art and design disciplines.

    Unit structure and credit

    The course proceeds in three stages. Each stage attracts 60 points of level M credit under the national Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)

    Postgraduate Certificate (60 credit points)
    Research Methods in Design Practice – 12 points
    Specialist Subject (part 1) – 12 points
    Professional Studies – 12 points
    Certificate Project – 24 points

    Postgraduate Diploma (120 credit points)
    Research Project – 24 points
    Diploma Project – 36 points

    Masters (180 credit points)
    Masters Project – 60 credit points


    Assessment is by project work and written assignment.

    There are no time-limited examinations.

    Bridging studies

    For those who need to develop their design skills before embarking on the masters programme, preparatory design studies are available from the design departments in the School of Architecture.

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