The Master of Design (MDes) programme caters for students who wish to develop their professional practice or knowledge within the discipline of Design. Typically this might include teachers, practicing designers, design consultants, project co-ordinators, or recent graduates in Design who wish to further their professional practice.
The MDes is designed to respond to students who already have a practice and who are able to readily determine where they are in relation to a field and its histories of practices and ways of working. It is the role of the MDes to work outwards, as it were, towards a context for the students practice.
The student focus will be on their development of Design Practice relevant to the CSAD Subjects of: Architectural Design and Technology; Product Design; Graphic Communications; Textiles; Ceramics; Artist Designer Maker; and Illustration.
The MDes programme is offered as One Year Full Time
The following Modules will be undertaken by MDes students:
- ART7006: Context (60 credits).
- ART7008: Exploration (60 credits)
- ART7009: Realisation (60 credits)
- ART7005: Research and Ideas Seminars (0 credits. All students must attend the year-long Research & Ideas Seminars which happen on a weekly basis.)
- On completing the Position module (60 credits in total) students will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate.
- On competing the Position and Exploration modules (120 credits in total) students will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma.
- On completing Realisation in addition to the above, (180 credits in total) students will be awarded a Masters Degree (Master of Design).
Learning & Teaching
The MDes is taught through lecture and seminar with individualised supervisory meetings to develop a learning contract (part of the early Personal Development Planning process [PDP]) and an individualised programme of learning and individualised supervision towards a creative research outcome, defined and monitored by developing PDP.
Our approach to learning and teaching is based on negotiation and dialogue, encouraging students to develop their own, self-directed project to a professional standard within a rigorous yet supportive academic environment. To support this, each student is allocated a Personal Tutor and an additional subject-specialist member of staff (academic tutor) from within the design expertise in a respective design department. Together, they form the Supervisory Team.
The CSAD web application form includes a personal statement, and an outline of the professional or research project that the student wishes to pursue at Masters level. This informs the allocation of personal tutor and subject-specialist member of academic staff (academic tutor) with whom the learning contract is established, which in turn forms the basis for the student’s personal plan, reflected on in the continuing PDP process. There are opportunities for all MDes students to come together in common teaching and presentations, to engage in peer learning groups and peer review of work, and to reflect on the outcomes of these peer reviews in PDP.
At several key stages in the MDes programme we stress the importance of self-directed and negotiated learning. This is in part a response to what we perceive to be a growing demand for programmes of study that allow students to integrate work, study, career, personal aspirations and other commitments.
All course documentation, including Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Research Studies Manual, CSAD’s Research Study Guide, the MDes Handbook with module descriptors, assessment guidelines and criteria, will be available as hard copy and electronically. In addition, lecture PowerPoint presentations and workshop-generated material, for example, paragraphs and textual or visual analyses composed during workshops, will be available on the Cardiff Metropolitan University Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
Remote or electronic contact with staff will be available by email and/or VLE . The supervisory team will deliver, manage and monitor each student's progress through a number of individual and team meetings. Students will also be encouraged to form and maintain peer-learning groups, either face-to-face or online. Learning will be supported through the use of the VLE, electronic communications, and other relevant methods.
Any students requiring learning support are advised to contact Learning Support in Student Services. Throughout the programme, students are expected to maintain their own Personal Development Plan/Portfolio (PDP), intended to provide evidence of their knowledge and understanding in relation to the learning outcomes of each module, including the Research and Ideas Module.
Each 60 Credit module is typically delivered through:
- Seminars; workshops; lectures; personal and group tutorials, and supervised use of workshop equipment (100 hours).
- Directed study via virtual learning, e.g. Cardiff Metropolitan University Virtual Learning Environment or student blogs or wikis (100 hours).
- Self-directed study. (400 hours)
Specialised studio space for those engaged in full time practice. Cardiff School of Art and Design offers an extensive range of spaces, workshops and equipment, creating a vibrant and creative learning environment, within a new purpose designed building and a fully renovated extension. Workshop and technical facilities include a foundry; and access to other workshops across the full range of Art and Design disciplines. Membership of the Fablab is included in the indicative coursework costs below. Cardiff School of Art and Design has a wide range of tools and equipment for use by students; necessary workshop training in their use includes access to materials used as part of timetabled workshop inductions. You also have access to and use of recycled materials within workshop areas.
Indicative Material Costs
You will need to purchase materials for individual projects used in studio and workshops as appropriate. Please note that costs will vary depending upon the scale and individual requirements of your work. Typically we suggest that you budget £575 for your projects during the MDes Programme.
Other Additional costs
Additional costs will be incurred for the one-off purchase of personal tools and equipment (particularly any personal equipment appropriate to your own field of practice or enquiry) and study trips if you participate in these. Other costs such as printing, the purchase of textbooks; and cost of optional placements will also need to be accounted for. Please ask your Programme Director for specific guidance when you accept our offer of a place.
For each module, assessment is in the form of:
- ART7006: Context (60 credits). Design practice & Website / blog & reflective commentary / report (PDP)/ 4,000 words.
- ART7008: Exploration (60 credits). Portfolio Submission: Substantial body of practical work. PDP: 1,000-2,000 words
- ART7009: Realisation (60 credits). Final body of work in the form of a public presentation through exhibition. 3000 word Critical Paper and Viva Voce.
- ART7005: Research and Ideas Seminars (0 credits). Assessed through PDP undertaken in the other modules.
Support will be available through weekly small group seminars (normally no more than 16 students per group) after each lecture, exploring the theme of the lecture and allowing students to clarify their understanding. These sessions may also be run as workshops where practical demonstrations, involving student participation, are run. This may include, for example, communal writing (via computer and data projector) or small group discourse analysis. Weekly tutorials will also be available.
Employability & Careers
The MDes programme acts as a gateway for students to enhance their careers as, or to become, established artist, designers, makers or architectural technologists, leading towards a career or to a Professional Doctorate in either art or design. Cardiff School of Art and Design offers Professional Doctoral programs in both Art and Design.
The MDes programme is designed to enable students to achieve the attributes of greater flexibility, adaptability, and individual responsibility and autonomy as professional artists, designers or researchers. It goes without saying that the MDes programme develops increasing creativity, self-reliance, initiative, and the ability to perform in rapidly changing environments as well as increasing competence with research skills and methods which will make graduates highly employable as academics and or researchers or enable them to develop an active and sustained practice as artists or designers.
The MDes is particularly focused on students who have already commenced their professional practice, designed about the provision of opportunities for ‘learning in employment’, and thus by implication exhibit the qualities necessary for employment.
All students’ will complete a portable ‘record of achievement’ and use their PDP to support employability and life-long learning, normally in the form of a blog, that integrates opportunities for self-reflection in programmes in order to help them develop as effective and confident learners.
Entry Requirements & How to Apply
Students will normally have achieved a first class or second class upper division first degree (1st or 2.1 degree classification) in an appropriate subject, and/or equivalent professional standing or experience in a Design discipline (based upon assessed Accredited Prior Learning or assessed Accredited Prior Experiental Learning), or a discipline associated with their programme of study.
In addition those students for whom English is not their first language are required to have IELTS or to have achieved an approved equivalent standard. Applicants are normally required to have achieved a minimum IELTS score (or the equivalent) of 6.5 based upon specific minimum sub-test scores of: Reading: 6.0; Writing: 6.0, Speaking: 6.0, Listening: 6.5. International applicants can apply for the Cardiff Metropolitan University (CMU) processional English courses that aim to assist in achieving IELTS score requirements.
Claims for Accredited Prior Learning (APL) are assessed in accordance with the CMU Academic Handbook, based upon either demonstrable evidence of assessed learning outcomes with equivalence, or equivalent experience where students “have learned in similarly ambitious ways”. APL claims are normally expected to be approved at the time of enrolment.
School of Art and Design (CSAD) postgraduate applicants are required to both apply via the Cardiff Metropolitan University admissions site, and to complete additional information via the CSAD website. The additional information that is required includes: a statement about your current work and practice and the interests which inform it; a succinct statement outlining why you wish to undertake this course; an outline of the professional or research project that you wish to pursue on this course; and a portfolio of your previous work (where appropriate) in support of your application.
Images of your work or examples of written work can be submitted via a personal website or via an appropriate online platform (eg. Flickr, Tumbr or Wordpress). At least four different examples of your work should be referenced. Before an offer is then made some applicants may then be asked to attend for an interview, by visiting CSAD or by Skype or similar online discussion tools.
How to Apply: (postgraduate/research)
Applications for this course should be made direct to the university via our self-service facility. For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/howtoapply.
Place of Study:
Cardiff School of Art & Design
One year full-time
Before making an application, international students (those outside of the EU), should contact the International Office at Cardiff Met to discuss the necessary procedures in relation to studying with us. For further information visit
Tuition Fees and Financial Support:
For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available. Please refer to www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/fees.
Postgraduate costs of study in CSAD
You will receive access to materials used as part of timetabled workshop inductions. You will also have access to and use of recycled materials within workshop areas where available. In general you will need to purchase materials for individual projects used in studio and workshops as appropriate. Please note that costs will vary depending upon the scale and individual requirements of your work. In addition one-off purchases of personal tools and equipment will need to be budgeted for. Other costs such as printing, the purchase of textbooks; and cost of optional placements will also need to be accounted for by you.
In the main, no charges are made for the use of equipment, with the exception of some specialist high end equipment such as the Mimaki and 3D printers. Access to Cardiff FabLab is subject to student membership; it offers reduced fees for student use.
For further information about additional course costs, including fees, equipment requirements and other charges for each undergraduate programme, please visit: www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/additionalcosts.
Field trips and visits
Study Trips are organized during the year and students will be asked to share the costs. The costs of study abroad, including exchanges, placements and projects are the responsibility of the individual student.
Bursaries & Scholarships:
The university also offers a bursary and scholarship scheme to help students whilst at university. To see if you are eligible, visit