MA Design Innovation

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MA Design Innovation considers how design acts as a catalyst for innovation leading to new products, services and user experiences. It focusses on design thinking approaches, to address contemporary societal and business challenges to develop a rich understanding of where design can add value. It will provide you with the skills to strategically apply design to solve complex problems in the global market.

The application of design thinking is explored with the latest research and practice in design innovation, design management and design strategy, that supports you to develop a holistic view of design and creatively apply the theory in your specialist area. Design research, empathy and user-centred development are at the core of the programme that reveals unmet user needs and, in turn, generate insights that lead to desirable products and services in a commercial and societal context.

The course provides a balance of theory and practices through a series of lectures, seminars, workshops, cross-disciplinary collaborations, research visits and live-projects to provide you with comprehensive knowledge of design innovation while giving practical skills to excel professionally.

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

The course aims to cultivate highly motivated, independent and creative thinkers who can transfer their skills into the creative marketplace, as entrepreneurial innovators, freelance practitioners and innovative team players.

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Entry requirements

2:2 in Design or cognate discipline (e.g. creative arts, management, marketing, branding, engineering, etc). Equivalent EU/international qualifications are also accepted. Applicants who do not meet these criteria will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Other professional qualifications will be considered on merit and/or with relevant professional experience.

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English language qualification.

Course details

MA Design Innovation comprises of five units, totalling 180 credits.

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Core Units

Design Thinking

This unit introduces an applied understanding of how design can be used as an iterative process for creative problem solving. It will enable you to understand how to apply design thinking processes to your specialist area through understanding users, challenging assumptions, redefining problems and creating innovative solutions to prototype and test. The unit will also provide a broad introduction to research methodologies, strategic research planning and research design. A range of design thinking tools will be introduced and explored before you undertake an in-depth project that provides opportunities for experimentation leading to innovative solutions.

Design Innovation

This unit introduces the core principles of design innovation and develops a broad understanding of how design can be used as a strategic resource to drive innovation. It will explore a range of design processes and expose their application in different project settings. An interrogation of the spectrum of design innovation approaches will enable you to develop knowledge and skills in their use in academic and professional contexts. It will also develop knowledge of how design strategy and management can be used as a strategic resource in the public and private sectors and as a result enable you to be able to critically analyse the role of design in potential political, economic, socio-cultural and technological futures.

Design Futures

This unit provides an in-depth understanding of the scope, nature and role of how design can be used to shape the future. A series of future-focussed tools will be explored from a creative perspective to understand how to employ design as a catalyst for new products, services and experiences that address contemporary societal and business-related challenges. It also will examine the role of design at strategic, tactical and operational levels and support an understanding of the relationship of the user to strategic goals over a range of time horizons. The unit will culminate in design provocations that demonstrate how design can engage with multiple futures that blend technology and business needs while providing user-focussed innovative solutions.

Synthesis Project: Design Innovation

The self-directed unit provides opportunities for you to direct your own learning in line with personal interests and career aspirations. It enables you to initiate, develop, resolve and disseminate a significant body of work alongside opportunities for collaborative, outward facing, or international learning experiences. It provides a significant opportunity for you to synthesise prior learning and apply this in an ambitious way that will evidence their knowledge, skills and understanding of the role that design plays in innovation.

Likely Optional Units

CUTE Values for Product Design

The unit extends the understanding of the complex and often conflicting requirements and constraints within the design of new products for volume industrial production.

Message / Audience / Context

This unit is concerned with the development and production of a body of work realising your individual creative ambition within the fields of Graphic Design and Art Direction and Illustration. The work will expand on the research and development undertaken during the Graphic Behaviours units. You will be encouraged to collaborate with peers, external partners and virtual communities and expose your work to critical appraisal. You will prototype, finesse and resolve projects which deliver strategic messages to defined audiences.

Colour, Material & Finish

This unit will enable you to explore the language of material making, process and enquiry. Briefs will stimulate you to generate a range of practice-based responses to questions of context, concept, making, manufacturing, materiality, visual language and sustainability.

Culture & Context

This unit offers focussed opportunity for you to extend and enhance your practice by including working in a wider art and design research community. The study of the cultural and critical contexts of art and design practice is vital to any student of the creative disciplines, this unit will develop your abilities to contextualise your practice through one of a series of themes addressing contemporary issue in art and design.

In previous years, themes have included:

  • Contested Territories
  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Negotiated Study
  • Space & Context
  • Digital Futures
  • Writing Research & Funding Proposals
  • Images And Archives
  • Art & Science Stories

Theme options may vary each year.

Manchester School of Art

Our School of Art is the second oldest design school in Britain, offering courses designed to serve specialist industry needs and give students the tools for their chosen career.

Like the city of Manchester, the school prides itself on being creative, unconventional and professional, providing a broad range of architecture, art, design, media and theatre undergraduate and postgraduate courses in a unique creative environment that encourages creative collaboration across the disciplines.

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Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

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UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £17,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 for books and printing. Total optional cost: £400

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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How to apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

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If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for postgraduate taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
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All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.