MA Design

Two Design degree students working on a design prototype
Entry year
Course code
Art and Design
City Campus
12 months full-time
Part-time, Full-time, starts September
Programme leader
Dr Paul Laidler

This course is open to Home, Home EU and Home Offshore applicants.

We are no longer able to accept applications for September 2022 entry from those requiring a Student Route Visa to study.

Page last updated 11 August 2022


Staff from The Centre for Fine Print Research form the key teaching team on MA Design. The CFPR is one of the country's leading university research centres in Art and Design, combining a multi-technology approach towards novel surface print, design and fabrication in 2 and 3 dimensions.

The broad and practice-based MA Design takes students on a creative journey where you will explore process, materials and context. You will challenge and extend your existing design practice at an advanced level whilst developing a range of artistic and practical skills.

The course is delivered through a series of project-based modules 'Make', 'Play' and 'Live', through which you will engage with real-world problems and issues of relevance to contemporary design practice and work towards the production of a physical object.

The course attracts a diverse range of practicing designers, makers and industry professionals from a range of disciplines, including but not exclusively: Fashion Design, Product Design, Fine Art, Graphic Arts, Jewellery Design, Interior Design and Ceramics and equally broad ranging staff backgrounds in Fine Art, Textiles, Interior Design, and Graphic Art. You will work both independently and collaboratively, pushing boundaries and exchanging ideas across design disciplines.

Why study this course?

The course is based at Bower Ashton Campus, part of City Campus, where exceptional facilities and resources include state-of-the-art digital media, production and fabrication workshops offer a combination of traditional tools and the latest technology.

Wide ranging expertise

Students value the experience and knowledge of staff, bringing different perspectives and industry insight to teaching in a highly professional and creative environment. Our students benefit from active links with the on-site Centre for Fine Print Research (one of the teaching staff is a member), leaders in 3D and 2.5D print research, bringing opportunities for placements, collaborative projects and exhibitions.

You will have access to cutting-edge facilities and technical expertise in fabrication, fashion, textiles, print and photography, in addition to regular guest speakers and live projects, bringing you up-to-date with the latest techniques and developments.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



You will study:

Make (30 credits)

You will be encouraged to creatively engage with a broad range of materials, making and manufacturing processes. Though a series of short practical projects, you will be invited to challenge the nature, role and cultural value of different approaches to 'making' and 'manufacture' from new and emerging digital fabrication technologies to the contemporary application of craft.

Play (30 credits)

This module aims to reinvigorate a genuine sense of play into the creative enquiry and to build upon its potential for delivering innovation in design realisation. The emphasis of this module is on play, without the expectation that 'finished' work will be produced. You will explore and develop ideas for a project proposal which will form the basis of the final 'Live' module of the course. 

Research Practice (30 credits)

Primarily concerned with building academic skills, this module offers a series of choices, each of which has specific sets of concerns related to the practice and theory of art, media and design. These options are: Research by practice; Critical Research; and Research in Enterprise (in the Creative Industries).

Practice in a Professional Context (30 credits)

You will explore possibilities outside of the institution and participate in a placement, collaboration, research or work experience situation to gain knowledge and understanding of the professional arena. You will have the opportunity to negotiate your own programme of study, which explores and evaluates design within a professional context.

Live (60 credits)

This module is designed to facilitate the development and delivery of a major creative project that capitalises upon the previous four modules. Whether working in collaboration with an industry partner, via partnerships between students, or working individually, the development of design solutions will be for a 'live' outward facing event: the UWE Creative Industries Degree Show.

This structure is for full-time students only. Part-time students study the same modules but the delivery pattern will be different.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

You will be taught through a combination of seminars, workshops, lectures and individual tutorials.

Students are responsible for setting their own projects, there are no set briefs and a large proportion of your time will be allocated to self-directed study with guidance from teaching and technical staff.

You will have access to a rolling programme of design-focused guest speakers from industry and academia and students are encouraged to make visits relevant to the practice.

Study time

Full time - students typically study for three semesters over 12 months and are expected to study (formal contact time and self-directed study) five days a week.

Part time - part-time students study for six semesters over three years with workshops on a Thursday. 

The academic year runs September to June.


You will be assessed through a combination of practical work and accompanying critical design log. Research practice is essay and presentation based.

You will present and communicate design ideas to staff and your peer group as part of the 'play' module, and the 'live' module encourages a live aspect to include the degree show or a negotiated live project with industry.

For more detail see our full glossary of assessment terms.



As part of the Practice in a Professional Context module, you will be supported in your development as a professional in the creative industries through self-negotiated placements or internships in external organisations. This experience will aid your career on completion of the course.

Study facilities

As a Postgraduate student you will have access to extensive, cutting-edge technical resources in print, fabrication, textiles, fashion, photography and a recently extended, well-resourced library. Open lectures also allow you to attend lectures in any subject that relate to your design practice.

Studying at Bower Ashton offers an excellent base for students within the exciting City Campus that connects teaching and learning with some of the best creative and cultural organisations in Bristol.  Bower Ashton houses the main library supporting the creative and cultural industries, student support services, as well as the extensive resource base that make up the facilities and resources.  Students will also have the opportunity of studying and accessing facilities at other sites within City Campus.  This may include attending lectures, including guest lectures, and seminars at Arnolfini and Watershed in Bristol City Centre.

You will also benefit from our strong and active links with the Digital Cultures Research Centre at the Watershed. The research they do is highly appropriate to the course and feeds into teaching.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.


Careers / Further study

The course places strong emphasis on developing making skills, knowledge and creativity commensurate with the needs of professional practice in design and the creative industries today. It aims to prepare you for professional practice as self-employed designer/makers, artists, design teachers/lecturers/researchers and for work in design studios and interior design. The course also facilitates progression to PhD study.

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.


Supplementary fee information

See our funding pages for more information.


We are pleased to confirm that our New students webpages are now available for students starting this course in September 2022. Here you can find links to useful information about registering, course start dates, arriving on campus what to expect before and when you arrive.

We automatically send a message via your Welcome website plus an email to notify you once your Preparing to Study information is available. It is important that you regularly check your Welcome website for new messages.

Entry requirements

We are looking for highly motivated, creative students from a range of academic and professional practice backgrounds. Usually applicants will have an undergraduate degree in either art or design.

We also welcome applications from prospective students with interests in design thinking, critical making and contemporary craft practice.

International applicants

For country specific entry requirements, please find your country on the Country Information pages.

Selection process

Applicants will be required to submit a statement of intent, covering:

  • what you wish to use your time on the course for
  • what your existing skills are
  • what area of design your intend to investigate
  • why your feel a postgraduate qualification is the place to achieve your goals.

It may also be useful for you to consider what you would use the MA for afterwards.

Applicants are normally invited to an interview where you will be expected to present a portfolio of creative work and to discuss your previous experience, aims, motivations and ideas for projects you may wish to pursue within the context of the MA in Design. Skype or telephone interviews will be arranged for international applicants.

English Language Requirement

International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

*The University accepts a large number of UK and international qualifications in place of IELTS. To find details of acceptable tests and the required grades, please visit English Language requirements.

English language support

If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.

Read more about our pre-sessional English programme.

How to apply

Read more about postgraduate applications

We accept applications throughout the year but if you are working to a funding deadline, you should build this into your application process.

For further information