MA Design Management

1 year Full-time classroom

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The MA Design Management programme is an ideal course for those looking to develop and enhance their careers through an excellent understanding of the value of design and innovation. You will learn how to harness the power of creativity within business and how this can be used as a strategic tool.

Key facts

  • Prepare to take on managerial roles supported by your understanding of how to harness the power of design within a corporate context
  • Engage with industrial multidisciplinary projects based on real life situations
  • Applicants with substantial relevant experience alone will be considered on individual merit
  • Also available at our Newcastle Campus
  • Upon completion of your programme, you will be eligible for the QA Professional Pathways programmes which will enable you to further develop your skills with one of the UK’s largest providers of IT and project management training
About this course

What will I study?

The MA Design Management is an ideal course for designers who want to develop their career by taking on a more strategic, managerial role. It will also appeal to business graduates or managers from other sectors, who want to advance their careers by developing a greater understanding of how design can contribute to leadership, sustainability and social innovation within a business.

You will study 6 modules that work together to give you a holistic view of design strategies and ways to successfully manage the complete design process. Areas that you will cover include: Creative Thinking, NSF Intellectual Property, Intercultural Communication, Research Principles, Reflective Practice, Contemporary Influences and Commercialisation.

These highly contextual modules provide the perfect foundation for you to understand the field of Design Management, find your personal direction and provide a stepping stone to your future career.

How will I be taught and assessed?

Teaching on this programme is delivered through tutorials, seminars, workshops and tutor guided independent learning, totalling between 12-14 hours per week. You will also be expected to engage in independent study involving directed and self-directed learning, around 28 hours per week.

Assessments take place through a mix of coursework, reports, presentations and projects.

You’ll be taught by experienced lecturers and academics who use their industry experience to demonstrate how the theories you will learn translate in to real life situations.

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) is embedded throughout the course with tools such as the ‘Blackboard’ eLearning Portal and electronic reading lists that will guide your preparation for seminars and independent research.

Careers and further study

Upon graduation, you will be qualified to take on managerial roles supported by your understanding of how to harness the power of design within a corporate context.

Upon successfully completing your course, you may undertake further professional development and training through Professional Pathways programmes. These are offered to our graduates for free, from our partner, QA. Find out more about Professional Pathways and your eligibility.

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Applicants should have the following:

Academic requirements

  • Minimum 2:2 (second class) honours degree from a UK university or its equivalent.

Applicants will normally be expected to have a good honours degree. This does not have to be in design but, applicants should have experience in a relevant industry or be able to demonstrate a link between their current job/experience and design. This refers to design in the broadest sense so can include organisational design, systems design and service design as well as more traditional design disciplines such as product, fashion and graphics.

If you don’t meet the academic requirements

Mature applicants with a lower qualification and at least 3 years of appropriate professional experience may be accepted.

If you have substantial relevant experience alone, your application will be considered on its individual merit.

Alternatively, you may also be eligible for our Pre-Masters courses. These are pathway programmes designed specifically for students who are looking to progress on to a Masters degree.

English language requirements

Students require IELTS 6.5 (or above) with no single element below 5.5 or equivalent.

If you have IELTS 5.5 – 6.0, you may be eligible to join our Pre-Sessional English before starting this programme.

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All modules on this course are core.

In this module you will learn concepts and principles centred around creative thinking, research principles and contemporary influences on design. Creative thinking methods will enable you to frame problems from multiple perspectives and create new opportunities from interrelated factors. You will also develop practical knowledge of advanced design research methods. Through contemporary influences, you will learn to situate design in the contemporary world and identify the impact of external factors on your own design practice.

You will learn concepts, methods and principles centred around action research and reflective practice, cross cultural collaboration and innovation and enterprise. You will learn about action research methods, enabling you to build your own action research process models and recording templates that you will apply in practice as part of your development as a reflective practitioner. In conjunction you will learn about theories and theories of enterprise and innovation, applying this knowledge through exploring business models and intellectual property.

In this module, you will learn about the relationship between design and business success and innovation. You will develop an understanding of organisational structure, organisational culture and functional leadership of design. Through exploring real life case studies of design’s value creation, you will be able to articulate the design processes and activities required for multidisciplinary innovation in large and medium sized organisations. You will be taught the skills, competence, capabilities and knowledge that a design manager needs to make effective business decisions.

In this module, you will be introduced to a strategy theory framework and ways to analyse an organisation through an understanding of the internal and external environment and use of business models. You will explore Design Thinking and Innovation and with it, the need for a design approach in organisations. You will develop an understanding of both business and design perspectives that you will apply to a case study, enabling you to enhance your knowledge of design management practice and capabilities necessary to function at a strategic level.

In this module, you will integrate the skills and knowledge gained in semesters 1 and 2 to produce a major thesis or project. These will evidence an analysis of advanced academic research, debates, and exploratory practice in the production of theories that demonstrate real world discipline specific value within an industry context.

You will be expected to take an increasingly autonomous approach to your studies at this stage in developing, embedding and clarifying personally developed research themes theories and experiences that will be realised through either Option 1: a focussed major design project (Component A) and written report (Component B) that will embed reflection as part of the design process or Option 2: a design thesis detailing your engagement with your PDP and reflection on your learning.

MA Design Management will give you the knowledge and tools to orchestrate design thinking and process at a strategic level in organisations. You will build a meta view of transferable design knowledge that will enable you to recognise the value of design within organisations and to provide effective leadership and management of design roles. You will learn to navigate complexity, and develop your understanding of how to build and manage organisational growth through brand, new product and service opportunities and strategic innovation.

The purpose of this module is to develop your ability in study skills and English language skills for academic purposes.

The module is designed to develop you as an independent learner. The module is supported by a teaching and learning plan which outlines the formal sessions, together with the tutor-directed study and independent reading. An interactive approach to seminars will draw upon the directed learning undertaken and your own experience of study skills. Directed learning will centre upon a range of activities including pre-reading, preparation for interactive activities and use of the discussion board on the e-learning platform.

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Tuition fee 2018/19

  • UK/EU students: £7,995
  • International students: £14,000

Please note that your tuition fees do not include the cost of course books that you may choose to purchase, stationery, printing and photocopying, accommodation, living expenses, travel or any other extracurricular activities. As a Northumbria University London Campus student, you will have full access to our online digital library with over 400,000 e-books and 50,000 electronic journals.

The modules you will study do not require you to purchase additional textbooks although we recommend you allow an additional £250-500 for the duration of your studies should you choose to purchase any additional reading materials.

Scholarships and bursaries for international students

Depending on the country you are from, you may be eligible for a country bursary and/or scholarship when studying this Masters programme.

All of our scholarships and bursaries are automatically applied when we process your application and one of our team will be able to confirm your eligibility.

Scholarships and bursaries

Payment plans for self-funded students

If you need support to spread the cost of your tuition, you may be eligible for our payment plan.

Payment plans

Government Loan for Masters study

For the Academic Year 2018/19, the Government will be providing a Postgraduate Loan (PGL) up to the value of £10,609 for UK and EU students.

Postgraduate Loan

How to find out more

Enquire now to find out more information about the course, studying with us, the application process, and to ask any other questions you may have.

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How to apply

Once you’re ready to apply, you can apply online to study the MA Design Management programme. This method allows you to upload your supporting documents at the time of application and automatically receive your student application number.

Apply online

We strongly recommend that you submit your application as early as possible to allow you to complete all of the preparations needed to study your programme. After receiving an offer it can take time to arrange your finances and apply for your visa (if required) and it is important that you arrive in good time to enrol onto your course. Please refer to the Dates and Fees page.

If you are unable to apply online, then you can download a PDF application form and email it to

International students application form UK/EU students application form

Supporting documents

For us to assess your application in a timely manner, it is important that you provide us with the following documents:

  • Fully completed application form
  • Personal email address must be included on the application form
  • Transcripts and/or certificates (including a certified translation if not in English)
  • Passport – copy of personal details page
  • Proof of financial sponsorship if applicable
  • Reference
  • Confirmation of immigration history including copies of previous and current visas if applicable

You can check more information on how to apply here, including guidelines for the application forms.

Course information

Level of study:
£7,995 (UK/EU) £14,000 (International)
Entry requirements:
Minimum 2:2 (second class) honours degree from a UK university or its equivalent. Professional qualifications that are equivalent to an honours degree may also be acceptable.
English language requirements:
IELTS 6.5 with no component less than 5.5
Mode of study:
Full-time classroom
1 year
Assessment methods:
Scholarship or bursaries:
Student finance:
Payment plan:
Next application deadline:

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