Master of Design

Massey University

Program Description

Master of Design

Massey University

The Master of Design (MDes) is an advanced research qualification in design.

Unless you already have an honours degree, you will first explore creative research practices and develop the skills and approaches you may wish to use during your thesis (e.g., digital fabrication). For your thesis, you will complete a supervised programme of focused design research taking a challenging real-world design problem through to a well-evolved solution, eg a product prototype.

Different from undergrad

The MDes gives you a lot of freedom, especially once you get into your thesis. You have regular meetings with your supervisors, and crit sessions with your fellow MDes students, but you are in control of structuring your own time.

You generally have two supervisors who are experienced designers in fields related to your research. It is their job to challenge you to take the project as far as you can. Typically, the University will assign you a primary supervisor, and you will get input into who becomes your second supervisor. Check out our staff profiles and feel free to get in touch with anyone whose research interests you.

As a Masters student, you get studio space alongside other creative arts postgrads and access to Massey’s state of the art facilities.

Callaghan Innovation scholarships

The College of Creative Arts frequently acts as a broker for industry projects, matching business needs with potential Master of Design students. The college has had considerable success to date in obtaining Callaghan Innovation and private business funding for industry-linked projects, notably in New Zealand wool and agriculture. The college aims to facilitate design projects that contribute to research-driven innovation and sustainable economic growth. We are actively seeking to expand the pool of business projects.

Rolling start dates

MDes students can start their thesis in late February, mid-July or mid-September 2017, depending on their own circumstances and arrangements with their external partners. Courses for Part One of the 180-credit MDes will be offered from September 2017.

International recognition

Massey University’s College of Creative Arts is Ranked Second in Asia-Pacific for design concept by Red Dot global design award agency. It is also the only university in Australasia to be recognised by the US National Association of Schools of Art and Design, putting its degrees on a par with the leading US design schools. The College was shortlisted for the 2015 international Reimagine Education Awards for curriculum innovation.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for Massey’s 180-credit Master of Design are:

  1. Admission to Massey University;
  2. Attainment of a Bachelor of Design or equivalent with a grade average of at least B;
  3. Selection into the programme through an interview and the assessment of a portfolio of submitted design work; and
  4. An appropriate level of English language proficiency.

If you have a Bachelor of Design (Honours) or Postgraduate Diploma in Design or equivalent with a grade average that indicates an adequate level of preparation, you do not have to do Part One of the Master of Design and may proceed directly to the 120-credit thesis project. To do this, you must submit a proposal for your intended research project. We are looking for proposals that are academically viable, industry-linked and able to be supported by Massey resources.


Part One: 60 credits of taught courses

You must enrol in the compulsory course:

  • 197.701: Creative Research Practices I (30 credits)

You also choose another 30 credits in courses at 700-level or 400-level. For the digital fabrication path, those courses are:

  • 197.706 Advanced Digital Fabrication for Creative Research 1 (15 credits)
  • 197.707, Advanced Digital Fabrication for Creative Research 2 (15 credits)

Part Two: 120 credits design thesis

You enrol in:

  • 197.802 Design Thesis Part I (60 credits)
  • 197.803 Design Thesis Part II (60 credits)
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated January 25, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Mar. 2019
12 - 18 months
Full time
New Zealand - Wellington, Wellington
Start date : Mar. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Mar. 2019
New Zealand - Wellington, Wellington
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info