MA in Sustainable Design
Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom
1 - 2 year
Full time, Part time
GBP 10,900 / per year **
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Earliest start date
* there is no application deadline for postgraduate courses
** home full-time: £10,900 | international full-time: £18,700
Why choose this course?
The MA Sustainable Design welcomes those who want to direct their existing creative practice towards ambitious and inclusive visions of sustainability.
It focuses on the power of social innovation, systems thinking, and design for service to drive collective sustainable change. This established course will enable you to raise your sustainability literacy, and then design meaningful responses to the challenges of unsustainability that move you the most.
The cohort includes designers of communications, clothing, products, interiors, buildings, services, and digital environments, unified by a commitment to designing sustainability itself. You will also have the chance to collaborate with students on other courses in the Design School.
Reasons to choose Kingston
- This course is open to designers from all backgrounds who want to go beyond the boundaries of their existing disciplines rather than simply refine their existing practice.
- You will benefit from site visits and visiting speakers from a wide range of organisations that further sustainability.
- This course is distinctive through a focus on multi-disciplinary, socially-led design for sustainable change.
What you will study
This Sustainable Design MA is directed towards the goal of creating a more sustainable and equitable society. You will explore innovative and practical ways to help realise those visions, emphasising design, creativity, empathy, innovation and activism.
You'll be encouraged to think critically about the social and ecological agendas it addresses. The course is design-based, but not confined to design practice – it includes a significant amount of theoretical and contextual studies. You can choose to write a dissertation for the final major project.
This course is part of the Design School's Postgraduate Framework. The structure, shared with postgraduate students from other design courses, enables you to explore your individual specialist interests within an integrative learning environment.
Throughout the course, you'll understand the value and role of interdisciplinary methods and ways of working. The impact of thinking from related design subjects, on your own specialist study, is an important aspect of the identity and community of interdisciplinary practice at the master's level in the Design School.
Design for Social Innovation can also be taken as a stand-alone module.
- Design for Social Innovation
- Designing Research
- Sustainable Design Principles, Perspectives and Practices
- Creative Futures
- The Major Project
Optional placement year
Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the work placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's Student Route visa.
- Professional Placement
Stand-alone module: Design for Social Innovation
Design for Social Innovation
Design for social innovation is an emerging mode of design practice gaining popularity and interest within the design professions and more widely, for example in the public sector. Local authorities are increasingly looking to employ designers to redesign public services and to deliver their programmes more effectively.
There is therefore demand for training in design for social innovation. This is a distinguishing feature of the Sustainable Design MA, but there are designers and other practitioners who do not yet wish to embark on a full MA course. This module is for them.
The module will be based on a 'live' project brief and include sessions with leading practitioners in the field.
"This module will be useful to designers and those who come from the world of frontline social impact services, who want to learn more about innovation and design - and to gain practical experience with which to develop." Mat Hunter (Chief design officer, Design Council)
About the stand-alone module
This is currently a course-specific module within the Sustainable Design MA. It is also available as a credit-bearing stand-alone module, whereby it can be taken without enrolling on the Sustainable Design MA (although the credits could be used subsequently for entry to the course). Students enrolled on the MA and stand-alone modules are part of the same module cohort, participate equally, and have the same module experience.
Please note that this is an indicative list of sessions and is not intended as a definitive list.
- The role of design in social innovation
- Design process models (including the Double Diamond framework)
- User-centred design research methods (such as personas, journey mapping, role-playing, and user diaries)
- Designing your design brief
- Physical prototyping of your concepts
- Research ethics in social innovation
- Design studio visit(s)
This is a 12-week module.
- Ten full teaching days (10.30 am–1 pm, 2–4.30 pm), one day per week (specific day to be confirmed)
- One self-directed project day (Week Six, the University's Enrichment Activity Week)
- Some teaching days include individual and group tutorials to support the development of your work for submission for assessment. This means you will not attend for the whole day on those days.
The stand-alone module Design for Social Innovation is charged on a pro-rata basis from the Home full-time MA fee (one-sixth).
Optional modules only run if there is enough demand. If we have an insufficient number of students interested in an optional module, that module will not be offered for this course.