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Design (MA)

This Master's in Design will build on your skills and knowledge to the point that you can demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of design theory and techniques. Thus prepared, you will be able to conduct research intended for use within a professional context. 

The programme provides an opportunity for independent and collaborative work, creating a space for creativity and experimentation.

Through the careful structuring of modules, it provides you with the opportunity to understand complex theoretical and philosophical ideas while building independent academic research.

Funding now available:
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Tuition Fees 2023/24:
Home: £7,800
Overseas: £15,000

Five reasons to study this course

  1. The master's Contemporary Dialogues portfolio offers a unique interdisciplinary learning environment, with access to workshops and staff across the faculty.
  2. Master's and research students are supported by a highly committed and professional team of lecturers and technical demonstrators, who together create a diverse, supportive learning environment.
  3. SCA offers full and part-time options and, to help support our master's students, we deliver the majority of core teaching on Thursdays and Fridays.
  4. Swansea College of Art (SCA), now part of UWTSD, has deep roots. Founded in 1853, it is the oldest art school in Wales; extensive premises include the beautiful Alex Building. 
  5. Our art and design courses are regularly highly rated

What you will learn

Course Overview

The Master's Contemporary Dialogues portfolio at Swansea College of Art offers a unique postgraduate experience.

Graduates and professionals from a wide range of specialities benefit from multidisciplinary learning together with expert lecturers and a broad range of facilities.

You will have the opportunity to draw upon experiences and knowledge from across the different pathways and reflect on this in your own personal study.

The research environment benefits greatly from the input of our teaching staff and visiting lecturers, most of whom are research-active artists, designers, and theoreticians of national and international significance.

In the first part of the programme, you will complete a series of taught modules. You will participate in multidisciplinary exchanges, through seminars and lectures involving students from all programmes within the Contemporary Dialogues portfolio, to stimulate new perspectives and challenge directions. The cross-fertilisation of ideas through such dialogues is expected to promote a rethinking of the perceptions and production techniques appropriate to your discipline.

Throughout the taught part of the programme, you will be expected to undertake material investigations and research into contemporary themes, with consideration given to environmental, economic, social, and cultural issues.

Module Topics

The Master's portfolio is an innovative interdisciplinary postgraduate course. The course structure facilitates learning within and across disciplines, creating connections with staff and students with a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience.

The first part of the course is delivered through three 20-credit modules, which aim to expand experience and deepen knowledge, the emphasis is on experimentation and research.

The next phase of the course is student-led. Students select from a range of learning opportunities, which are of most interest and use to their individual learning experience. During this 60-credit module, students are encouraged to develop individual or collaborative research, through practical and theoretical exploration and experiment, supported by practical workshops, lectures, seminars and tutorials.

The final phase of the course is a student-led Major Project. Students consolidate the work with the aims of presenting the outcomes in some kind of public dissemination, such as, for example, an exhibition, product prototype or book. This part of the course is supported by seminars, tutorials and a programme of visiting lectures which offer professional development opportunities. 

Semester 1/Year 1

The Thought Experiment
Conducted at the beginning of the Master's programme in Art and Design, the Thought Experiment is a 20-credit module which provides an opportunity to discover research methods pertinent to the acquisition of experiential, as opposed to cognitive,  knowledge, in a light-hearted but serious introduction to the programme.

Creative Innovation
This module aims to equip students with the knowledge they need to nurture innovation in their design practice while developing effective, innovative solutions to real problems.

Coexistent Perspectives
The Coexistent Perspectives 20-credit module combines an introduction to complex theoretical and philosophical ideas with independent academic research.

Semester 2/Year 1

Collaborative Dialogues
Taking advantage of the course's connections with other postgraduate programmes, this module serves to widen students' experiences and open dialogues about how cross-disciplinary collaboration can enhance creative projects; the close cooperation within a broad peer group helps foster a team dynamic. 

Design Experiences
Students on this module will explore a range of advanced creative methodologies while developing their communication and industry skills. 

Semester 3/Year 1

Major Design Project
Prepared for this final project by the previous modules they have studied, students will now work independently on design project that will require all the creative, academic and technical skills they have been learning through the course.


Assessment is carried out through coursework, both written practical and presented.

There is a 4,000-word theoretical essay with a poster presentation in Semester 1, and a 5,000-word report in Semester 3, which accompanies the practical work.

There are no exams on this course. Students are formatively assessed throughout a module. Summative assessment takes place at the end of a module, which includes a presentation of the work to the assessment team.

A variety of teaching and learning methods are used throughout the course, which includes, among others:

Group Tutorials/Seminars
These are held on a regular basis, across all stages of the course, with one member of staff. They provide an excellent opportunity for students to share and exchange ideas with their peers in a structured manner, in addition to valuable input from staff.

Informal and Formal presentations
Some of the modules have a presentation of ideas as part of the module outcome and are an essential way of sharing ideas across the course. Presenting work informally to peers is also part of seminar teaching and a way of getting valuable feedback on the progress of the work.

Exhibiting work
At the end of the course, there is an opportunity, if appropriate, to show outcomes from the course in a curated exhibition. Students are also supported to create their own exhibitions during the middle part of the course if they wish to do so.

Our Facilities

Student and Swansea Life

Key Information

Entry Criteria

We normally require an undergraduate 2.1. However, we also consider candidates with relevant experience and aim to interview all applicants. Where possible, we invite prospective students to experience a day of teaching to see if it suits their expectations.

Career Opportunities

Graduate prospects


  • Designer maker
  • Editorial – magazines, blogging, websites, illustration
  • Freelance for interior brands and clients
  • In-house roles for interior brands
  • Interior stylist
  • Lifestyle product designer
  • Pattern designer
  • Screen printer
  • Textile designer
  • Trend prediction and interior forecasting
  • Wallpaper designer


  • Design assistant
  • Design studio roles
  • Designer maker
  • Digital textile designer
  • Editorial - magazines, blogging, websites, illustration
  • Fashion stylist
  • Freelance for brands
  • Graduate trainee positions
  • In-house roles for brands
  • Lifestyle and accessory designer
  • Pattern designer
  • Screen printer
  • Textile designer
  • Trend prediction and fashion forecasting


  • Giftware design – wraps, and associated accessories and ranges
  • Illustrator
  • Stationery design – cards, books, lifestyle ranges

Arts Bodies

  • Artists in Residence
  • Community projects
  • Exhibiting maker
  • Gallery management
  • Project management
  • Stocking and selling through curated gallery shops
  • Volunteering
  • Workshops


  • Buying
  • Personal stylist
  • Selling through retail outlets
  • Styling
  • Visual Merchandising – design and installation


  • Community Workshops and Arts groups
  • PGCE – Secondary, Primary, FE
  • University lecturer
  • Visiting lecturer
  • Workshop, freelance

Work modes

  • Employment
  • Enterprise
  • Freelance
  • Self-Employment
  • Voluntary
Additional Costs

Our students have access to a diverse range of equipment and resources which, in most cases, is sufficient to complete their programme of study. We provide the basic materials necessary for students to develop their practical work within our extensive workshop and studio facilities.

However, it is likely that art and design students will incur some additional costs in the extension of their personal practice. Examples include purchasing their own specialised materials and equipment, joining optional study trips, and paying for printing. 

Depending on distance and duration, optional study visits can vary in cost from approximately £10 to visit local galleries and exhibitions, to £200 plus for overseas or longer UK study visits. These costs cover things such things as transport, entry to venues and accommodation, and are normally at reduced rates for our students.

Bursary / Scholarship Information

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study.  To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit our Scholarships and Bursaries section.


In addition to our University Accommodation at Llys Glas, Swansea also benefits from a number of private student halls, all within a short walk, including:

Map View


Visit our Accommodation section to find out more.

Further Information

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions related to the University or to this course in particular.