MA Design

MA Design students can benefit from a studio-based programme of practice, study, and research, tailored to their own particular discipline.

The Course

The Lincoln School of Design offers students the creative freedom to explore their chosen discipline, together with the opportunity to hone their creative and professional practice.

Students can work alongside academics and practitioners in a dynamic and interdisciplinary studio environment. The interdisciplinary nature of the course enables students to gain a better understanding of other design disciplines and to apply innovative design philosophies to their own particular practice.

There is flexibility to tailor your learning in a way that is relevant to you and your career aspirations. Students join a community of creative practitioners and researchers, with opportunities to collaborate with fellow designers and build a network of industry contacts.

Full-time: Monday and Thursday, September - September. Part-time: Monday, first year. Thursday, second year.

Design is a very broad subject however, there are certain key themes which run throughout all the different areas of practice and the module structure of MA Design allows students to explore their own particular discipline at a deeper level.

The six modules are as follows:

  • Research for Design
  • Design: Purpose & User
  • Critical Review of Current Practices
  • Design Theory & Making
  • Design Proposal
  • Final Major Project

In all Modules, MA Design is a studio-based programme of practice, study, and research. Modes of study within the programme include lectures by staff and visiting practitioners, seminars (staff and student-led), studio practice sessions, studio critiques and presentations, interim exhibitions and reviews, visits, workshops, and skills training sessions.

Please contact us for further details

Critical Review of Current Practices (Core)
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Critical Review of Current Practices (Core)

This module aims to provide the opportunity to explore current design praxis and the theories and agendas that help make the contextual landscape. Through a process of research and critical evaluation students taking this module will be expected to identify and evaluate current, and historic, themes and trends relevant to their own design practice. The primary aim of this module is to enable students to establish an understanding of their own design practice and to be able to locate it within relevant commercial, philosophical, social, or critically theoretical contexts. A secondary aim is to help student designers understand and assimilate relevant working practices so that they will be able to build an informed approach to developing their work beyond the supportive environment of the programme.

Design Proposal (Core)
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Design Proposal (Core)

This module is the penultimate step before the Final Major Project and may help provide students with the necessary focus on aims and objectives before commencing their final practical design work. Work from previous modules will provide the basis for students to write their own ‘brief’ and ascertain a series of outcomes which will be delivered.

A professional, realistic, and aspirational attitude is encouraged which will be of great benefit to the student going forward. The student should be able to demonstrate to potential employers a level of independence and enquiry that sets them apart from undergraduate students.

Design Theory and Making (Core)
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Design Theory and Making (Core)

The Design Theory and Making module aims to provide insights and discussions devoted to making the myriad connections between theoretical aspects of design debates, and the practical issues concerned with shaping a viable design project oriented towards actual making. It may explore through group discussions and 1-to-1 tutorials, the key issues of generating and applying new design ideas; relating research to concrete practice; shaping viable design projects; critically reflecting upon emerging iterations and consequent degrees of progress – all to provide space for a critical consideration of how to take conceptual thinking and planning through to concrete making within the context of a student-led design project.

Design: Purpose and User. (Core)
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Design: Purpose and User. (Core)

The Design: Purpose & User Module is intended to foster independence and confidence in the design solutions produced by students. By embarking on a series of lectures/seminars and practical projects students can develop a set of analytical skills based in psychological and practical understanding of the obstacles to effective design and how to design more effectively.

The programme is distinctive in that emphasis is placed on the effective application of analytical and creative thinking processes; an appreciation of ethical concerns; an awareness of the realities of professional life and an ability to articulate and communicate. The curriculum is designed to encourage the development of intellectual maturity, curiosity, personal innovation, risk-taking, independent enquiry, and effective management and planning skills; thus students may have the opportunity develop generic skills alongside their subject-specific knowledge and skills. As it is a practice-based programme combined with research, it also provides opportunities to further develop relevant creative, intellectual, and technical skills, which are essential to enter contemporary design practice at a high level.

Final Major project (Core)
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Final Major project (Core)

This module is the final showcase of students' theoretical and practical skills which have been cultivated during the course of the programme. The more highly focused skills acquired and developed since graduating from undergraduate study should be in evidence. Successful students should be able to justify the title Master by expressing their acquired knowledge and practical skills in this final practical project.

By identifying their particular practice throughout the programme and focusing their aspirations around this identified practice, students should emerge from the programme with a greater sense of confidence in their own abilities and a confidence in what they are as a designer. Mapping out a career plan and working towards those goals should be clear to successful graduates, be these work aspirations or going on to study at a higher level.

Research for Design (Core)
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Research for Design (Core)

For several years the MA Design has offered students a heuristic model research rather than a didactic one. We start from an individual's creative practice looking out, rather than from an 'expert' external argument against which the student must judge their practice. This approach has served us well and has several advantages:

1. A heuristic 'invitation to learn' is more suited to a Masters programme with its acknowledgement of disciplinary and studentship competence in the students on the programme.
2. It puts the emphasis on the student as an active participant in the co-creation of their learning experience.
3. It enables the programme team to talk sensibly to students across a wide-range of disciplinary practice and to include unique variations and distinctions of approach within practice disciplines.

While this is not a unique approach it is one with pedigree and one which has been consolidated through the research publications of the programme team. It has served us well and we see it as being central to the revalidated MA Design. It is also an approach that equips students well, as part of their professional development, for their entry into the creative industries.

† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Postgraduate Certificate stage assessment is a combination of practical portfolio, presentation to peers and staff, written research, and written proposal.

An extensive finished project and supporting portfolio of development work and a short presentation to staff and peers forms part of the MA Design.

Written documents include an extensive negotiated written work exploring themes relevant to studio practice and/or discipline, and a further document recording dissemination of work/ideas. A written project proposal is submitted ahead of the major project.

We interview all applicants where appropriate.
The MA Design programme maintains regular links with current practising designers and these individuals form part of a vibrant and regular visiting lecturer series.
 2019/20 Entry*
Home/EU £7,400

(including Alumni Scholarship 20% reduction )**

International £16,000
(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship £2,000 reduction)**
 Part-time Home/EU £41 per credit point
 Part-time International £89 per credit point

* Academic year September- July
** Subject to eligibility


A Postgraduate Master's Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study. Individuals** will be able to borrow up to £10,906 for the purpose of completing an eligible postgraduate Master's qualification. The amount available will depend on the start date of your course.

- £10,906, if your course starts on or after 1 August 2019
- £10,609, if your course starts between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019


As a postgraduate student you may be eligible for scholarships in addition to those shown above.

Guidance for Part-time Postgraduate Fees

To complete a standard Master's Taught programme, you must complete 180 credit points.

Full time students will be invoiced for the programme in full upon initial enrolment.

For part-time students, tuition fees are payable each credit point enrolled. To calculate your part-time fees, multiply the part-time fee per credit point by the number of credits you intend to complete within that academic year. This is usually between 60 and 90 credit points per year.

For example, if the fee per credit point for your programme is £38, and you enrol on 60 credits, the tuition fee payable for that academic year will be £2280.

Fees for enrolment on additional modules

Tuition fees for additional activity are payable by the student/sponsor and charged at the equivalent £ per credit point rate for each module. Additional activity includes:

- Enrolment on modules that are in addition to the validated programme curriculum

- Enrolment on modules that are over and above the full credit diet for the relevant academic year

- Retakes of modules as permitted by the Board of Examiners

Exceptionally tuition fees may not be payable where a student has been granted a retake with approved extenuating circumstances.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [].

Other Costs

Students may need to acquire specialist equipment in order to complete their proposed negotiated projects according to the ambition of the project, these materials are dependent on the nature of the design practice. Many pieces of equipment and specialised facilities are available to the student to use at the University, such as computer labs, the maker lab, the print workshop, and the machine workshop.

First or upper second class honours degree or equivalent professional experience.

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page.

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses.

These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.

Learn from Experts

Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may also be supported in their learning by other students.

Mike Belton

Programme Leader

Prior to his current role as a Senior Lecturer, Mike Belton worked as an art director for around twenty years at a number of high-profile advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, CDP and KHBB. During this time he wrote, designed and produced adverts for clients such as Carlsberg, Muller, Toyota, Canon, Pentax, Hamlet, Sol, Asahi, Yakult, Dell, Vauxhall, Allianz, NEC and Hewlett Packard.

Your Future Career

Career and Personal Development

There is flexibility for you to tailor your learning in a way that is relevant to you and your career aspirations. Graduates may go on to work as professional designers for existing companies or set up their own businesses. Others may pursue work in the arts and cultural sectors.

Careers Services

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing your course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual and website resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities.
The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages here


At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our students. Whatever the area of study, the University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which they may need in their future career.

Students on this course are provided with free access to Adobe Creative Cloud and Autodesk software, and

Students can study and research in the University's Great Central Warehouse Library, which provides more than 250,000 printed books and approximately 400,000 electronic books and journals, as well as databases and specialist collections. The Library has a range of different spaces for shared and individual learning.

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.