Master of Design (MDes) Design Strategies

HK PolyU School of Design

Program Description

Master of Design (MDes) Design Strategies

HK PolyU School of Design


The Master of Design (Design Strategies) is directed at people who are established in their careers and wish to deepen and enhance their strategic thinking and methods by integrating design, business, and technology. The specialism is intended for both design and non-design professionals with solid working experience in or related to the areas of design, such as communication, brand management, production, marketing, engineering or teaching. Those who are considering becoming entrepreneurs, taking on more responsibility for design-led business development, or translating new technology into designed experiences and practical applications will benefit from this specialism. Design Strategies was rated as one of the World’s Best Design Thinking Programs by BusinessWeek.

  • Application Timeline - Sep 2018 Entry
  • Applications start: 26 Sep 2017
  • Information Session: 31 Jan 2018
  • Application deadline: 30 Apr 2018


This specialism seeks to locate design strategically in the context of business and technology by exploring best practices as shown in case studies, human-centered explorations to identify previously unrecognised user needs and desires, comparative analyses of business opportunities, successes, and failures, analyses of branding strategies, and with particular attention to the local context of transforming original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to original design manufacturer (ODM), and finally to own brand management (OBM). The specialism is applicable to both business and nonprofit organizations and extends across local and global issues.


This specialism seeks knowledge in design that facilitates the integration of design, technology, and business by:

  • creating value by design
  • applying design to business development
  • transforming OEM/ ODM to OBM
  • branding products and services for domestic and international markets
  • exploring cultural differences and issues in local and global contexts
  • understanding customers’ needs and goals

Programme Structure

Design Strategies has a flexible approach to learning for engaged professionals. Subjects are taught on weekends with most subjects taken in any order after the completion of a selection of core subjects. For example, a typical 3-credit subject requires three weekends spread over a 4–5 week period. Not a studio programme, the purpose of this specialism is academic — to deepen design understanding and integrate design in its business and technological context through reading, thinking, discussing, and writing. The programme concludes with a report that synthesizes individual experience and interests with programme materials leading to strategic development for an organization or in the pursuit of social or cultural goals.

Class delivery mode & duration

Normally classes are held during weekends except one core subject and one elective that is delivered on weekday evenings. Each subject requires three weekends spread over 4–5 weeks. Normally it takes 2 years to complete the specialism.

Entrance requirement

A Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent; and a minimum of two years of professional experience in a design related field is required. Candidates with other tertiary qualifications complemented by substantial relevant professional experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

A complete application includes

  • Application form
  • Letter of intent
  • Three letters of recommendation (Academic/ Profession)~
  • Evidence of academic qualification, i.e. Official Full Transcripts and Degree Certificates
  • IELTS/ TOEFL report*

~ Design Strategies applicants need to provide an employment proof for meeting entrance requirements.
* If you are not a native speaker of English, and your Bachelor's degree or equivalent qualification is awarded by institutions where the medium of instruction is not English, you are expected to fulfil the following minimum English language requirement for admission purpose: A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 80 for the Internet-based test or 550 for the paper-based test; OR An overall Band Score of at least 6 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).


All admissions must go through the interview process. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview in person (for local applicants) or over internet video calls (for non-local applicants).

  • Number of credits: 36
  • Normal Period of Study: 2 Years (part-time)
  • Tuition: HK$144,000 (local) / HK$158,400 (non-local); Initial Programme Fee: Local student HK$16,000 (4 credits x HK$4,000)/ Non-local student HK$44,000 (10 credits x HK$4,400)

Financial Aid

No scholarship is available for non-local students for 2018/19 admissions. For local residents, two types of financial aid are available through the Government's Student Finance Office: (1) Continuing Education Fund and (2) Extended Non-means-Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS)

Some subjects in MDes scheme are included on the Continuing Education Fund (CEF) list of reimbursable courses for local residents. For further information on CEF or reimbursable courses list, please visit CEF official website. Extended Non-means Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS) offers interest-bearing loans to eligible students for covering tuition fees. For details of the scheme, please refer to the Government’s website.

Type of VISA (for International Students)

The People’s Republic of China and foreign nationals may join the full-time programme provided either they apply for and receive a Student VISA, or they may join the part-time programme if they are holding a valid work permit or dependent VISA from the Hong Kong Administrative Region Immigration Department.

Instead of moving to Hong Kong, non-local students in the region, who might be running their business or having the need to travel to Hong Kong on a regular basis, can make travel arrangements to attend classes on Friday evenings/ weekends. They will likely be issued with a Short-term Multiple-entry Student VISA permitting periods of stay around their class schedule. A study plan, in addition to other documents, will be required for applying this type of Student VISA.

School of Design will provide assistance in this regard.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated February 18, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
1 year
Full time
158,400 HKD
Apr. 30, 2018
Hong Kong - Kowloon
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Apr. 30, 2018
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
Hong Kong - Kowloon
Application deadline Apr. 30, 2018
End date Request Info