Master of Design (MDes) International Design and Business Management


Program Description

International Design and Business Management (ID&BM) is a multidisciplinary specialism based on an integrative design thinking management approach, pulling together professional knowledge in the areas of design, business and technological fields to achieve "managing design as a competitive strategy" in an international business setting. Globalisation in business and education has rapidly diminished boundaries between countries, cultures, and economies.

ID&BM will provide a ‘meeting point’ for students and faculties amongst the collaborative institutes from different regions of the world, which enables cross-cultural and -disciplinary project teams to solve and manage the real-life design, business and technical problems. ID&BM is targeting intakes distributed across Hong Kong, mainland Chinese and international students, and across design, business and technological fields.

Application Timeline - Sep 2021 Entry

  • Applications period: Sep 24, 2020 – Apr 30, 2021
  • Reviews deadlines:
    • Early Round: Dec 18, 2020
    • Round 1: Jan 29, 2021
    • Round 2: Mar 12, 2021
    • Round 3: Apr 30, 2021
  • Application deadline: Apr 30, 2021
ID&BM is aimed at nurturing a new mindset and attitude where cross-disciplinary stimulation is the foundation of innovation / PolyU Design

Programme Aims

ID&BM aims to nurture "T-shaped professionals" with high-level competencies to better understand and manage global business dynamic and to function in and contribute to design-sensitive and technological-intensive business environments. These competencies enable students to lead the transformation of their respective local enterprises and to challenge existing mindset in technological innovations, product and service designs from an integrative design thinking management approach. Ultimately, ID&BM aims to create an impact at the regional and global levels by meeting future talents demand of well-balanced business developers, entrepreneurs, products and services innovators.

Representatives of industry partners at student presentation / PolyU Design

Programme Objectives

Students, irrespective of their disciplinary background, learn together to nurture a new mindset and attitude where cross-disciplinary stimulation is the foundation of innovation. They will:

  • apply theories and concepts of the three domains underpinning this specialism
  • evaluate cultural differences and their implications for leadership and effective management of design and business activities
  • identify and evaluate the means by which value creation may be managed
  • participate effectively in the design, implementation and comprehensive evaluation of projects involving multidisciplinary and multicultural teams
  • demonstrate the ability to view, frame and resolve design issues by adopting multiple perspectives
  • understand and perform the integrative design thinking roles of a T-shaped professional in a business environment
Students presenting to industry collaborators at the Design Foresight MasterClass 2018: Greater China Public Transportation 2030 - Stations & Interchanges / PolyU Design

Programme Structure

ID&BM begins with an intensive seven-week introduction to the Essential Knowledge in each of the three disciplines, then followed by a series of compulsory subjects which centres on corresponding theories and/or practices. In the second semester, the focus is on two team-based ID&BM Multidisciplinary Projects collaborated with private or public organizations, while students can choose elective subjects in design and business disciplines to enhance their individual career profile. Capstone Reflective Thesis synthesises the learning in ID&BM at the summer term.

Design Thinking workshop / PolyU Design

Class delivery mode & duration

Classes are normally held during daytime on weekdays except for three subjects, which will be delivered during weekends. Each of these weekend subjects requires three weekends spread over 4–5 weeks.

Normally it takes 1 year to complete the specialism.

Our students have a disciplinary background in Design, Business + Management, Engineering + IT, Social Science (Humanities, Communication, Cultural Studies, Psychology). / PolyU Design


Entrance requirement

A Bachelor’s degree in design or the equivalent in a related discipline and professional experience in design is preferred.

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
  • Portfolio (refer to FAQ for requirements and submission)
  • IELTS/ TOEFL report^

^ Except for native English speakers whose Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent qualification) is awarded by a recognised university where the medium of instruction is English. Otherwise, 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 English language test scores are considered valid for two years after the date of the test.


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).

Local and non-local students from the Mainland, other parts of Asia and rest of the world / PolyU Design

Financial Aid

PolyU Design BA graduates can apply for Alumni Bursary (subject to approval) when admitted into one of the MDes programmes in 2021/22. This financial aid will be in a form of reimbursement of an amount equivalent to 15% of the tuition fee paid.

Local students who are holders of HKID Card (Permanent) admitted to one of the MDes programmes in 2021/22 may apply for the subsidy capped at HK$120,000 offered by the University Grants Committee (UGC)’s Targeted Taught Postgraduate Programmes Fellowships Scheme for the settlement of the tuition fee. The main purpose of the Fellowship Scheme is to attract meritorious local students to pursue interdisciplinary and in-depth postgraduate training in priority areas of strategic importance for Hong Kong and to meet the societal needs for talents speedily.

Other types of financial aid for local students are available through the Government's Student Finance Office: Continuing Education Fund (CEF) and Extended Non-means-Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS).

Merit-based entry scholarships are offered competitively for non-local students in 2021/22. One or two students may be awarded after nomination and the value of the scholarship shall be equivalent to 25%-50% tuition reimbursement/ offset.

* Remark: PolyU reserves the right to change the terms or withdraw the above fellowships or bursary. In case of any dispute/disagreement, PolyU’s decision is final.

Type of VISA (for International Students)

People’s Republic of China and foreign nationals, and those who are holding valid employment or working holiday visa/ entry permit may apply to this programme as non-locals. Non-locals will need a student visa to take this full-time programme. Holders of dependant visa or a visa under IANG are also considered as non-locals but do not require a student visa. Visa applications are processed and determined by the Immigration Department of the Government of the HK SAR. The process normally takes 8 – 10 weeks upon receipt of all the required documents.

Student Message

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

PolyU Design has been an important hub of design education and research for Hong Kong since 1964. The School thrives on its geographical position in bridging the East and the West, allowing its studen ... Read More

PolyU Design has been an important hub of design education and research for Hong Kong since 1964. The School thrives on its geographical position in bridging the East and the West, allowing its students to develop their design strengths with a uniquely international cultural awareness at both professional and social levels. Read less