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Design: Products and Furniture MA

  • Level(s) of Study: Postgraduate taught / Professional
  • Start Date(s): September 2022
  • Duration: One year full-time or two years part-time
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time / Part-time (day)
  • Campus: City Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information

Introduction:

Our MA Design: Products and Furniture course is aimed at designers looking to master their approach to develop innovative products, furniture, systems or services. Underpinned by a focus on your own specialism, you’ll explore the multidisciplinary field of design, challenge the norms in design thinking and engage with the realities of designing for new and emerging markets.

You'll analyse the relationship between traditional craft skills, new technology and modern manufacture, with ideas and approaches informed by collaborative working and hands-on experience. Through contemporary research and industry-applied projects and briefs, you’ll consider materials and manufacturing, and a broad range of strategies and approaches to help explore and understand markets, social needs and end users.

Who is this course designed for?

This course is aimed at design professionals or graduates with a design-related honours degree. The course, and the associated support provided by the University, will enable graduates to develop advanced design, technological and manufacturing skills, enabling them to start their own business, work within the manufacturing industry, design consultancies, research and development organisations, or to progress to further study by engaging in research.

Visit our Product Design Masters Showcase, an online exhibition celebrating the work of our MA and MSc Class of 2021 students.

  • Our course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD), recognising the quality and relevance of the course content, and allowing you to gain free membership as a full-time student for the duration of your studies.
  • Benefit from the industry-standard facilities at our City Campus, in the heart of Nottingham’s city centre. Supported by our team of expert technicians, you’ll have access to our machining and manufacturing workshops, laboratories, modern CAD/CAM studios and dedicated studio for Masters students.
  • Showcase your work at our annual NTU Art and Design Degree Show, and postgraduate design exhibition, attended by design professionals, industry experts and potential employers, providing you invaluable opportunity to expand your networks.
  • Benefit from our established links to commercial organisations, industry professionals and research experts. Our research activities are globally-recognised and supported by grants from a variety of funding organisations.

Course accreditation

  • Chartered Society of Designers logo

The course will apply for reaccreditation by the CSD by July 2022 to cover intakes from 2022 onwards.

Main image: Work by Caterina Fratino

What you’ll study

With a strong studio-based culture, our MA Design course considers the relationship between traditional craft skills, new technology and modern manufacture, and encourages collaborative working and hands-on experience. You’ll be given the tools to understand market, social needs and end users, developing into an advanced and aware designer, specialising in existing or emerging areas of product design.

Course structure

The course is formed of four core modules, three of which are worth 20 credit points and develop different aspects of your design skills, knowledge and experience. You will also study a 120 credit Major Study Project, which will run throughout the year/two years on the part-time route. This is split into three elements which are assessed at the end of each term. You’ll have the opportunity to take part in a public exhibition at the NTU Degree Show, at the end of Term 2.

You'll study the three 20 credit point modules alongside students from the MSc Design: Products and Technology course, offering opportunities to share ideas and expertise across the subject group.

Course overview

Full-time route

Term 1 (15 weeks) Term 2 (15 weeks) Term 3 (15 weeks)

Design Research Methods
(20 credits)

Professional Collaboration
(20 credits)
Products and Furniture: Major Study Project
Element 3: Realisation and Evaluation Core (part of 120 credit module) 
Design Tools
(20 credits) 
Products and Furniture: Major Study Project
Element 2: Design and Development Core
(part of 120 credit module) 
Products and Furniture: Major Study Project
Element 1: Context and Rationale Core
(part of 120 credit module)

Part-time route

Year 1Year 2
Term 1
(15 weeks) 
Term 2
(15 weeks)
Term 3
(15 weeks)
Term 1
(15 weeks) 
Term 2
(15 weeks) 
Term 3
(15 weeks) 

Design Research Methods
(20 credits)

Design Tools
(20 credits)
Professional Collaboration
(20 credits)
Products and Furniture: Major Study Project
Element 3: Realisation and Evaluation Core (part of 120 credit module)
Products and Furniture: Major Study Project
Element 1: Context and Rationale Core
(part of 120 credit module)
Products and Furniture: Major Study Project Element 2: Design and Development Core
(part of 120 credit module)

Design Research Methods 

20 credit points

  • This module will provide students with the research methodologies, languages, methods, knowledge and skills necessary in building contemporary arts, design, manufacturing and technology-related practices.
  • Working in small groups you'll complete a research project in consultation with your supervisor, identifying your aims and objectives within the framework of their course and beyond.
  • You'll engage with a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods, and evaluate primary and secondary methods with reference to design issues.
  • You'll learn to critically appraise theoretical and experimental methods of research in your chosen field of interest and apply them in your practice, and reflect on the relationship between theory and practice.

Design Tools

20 credit points

  • This module will provide you with the necessary practical skills and knowledge to devise creative design solutions at an advanced level.
  • You'll undertake a series of exploratory workshops to become familiarised with the facilities and staff at the university, and to develop an awareness of the potential for emerging materials and technologies relating to their design interests.
  • You'll generate ideas for new products and develop and evaluate a range of new solutions, communicate ideas, concepts, plans and designs, using a variety of approaches including written, oral, graphic illustrations and computer-based presentations.
  • You'll consider different elements of your individual design interests through studio and reflective practice, skills such as drawing, and prototyping as well as investigations to materials such as wood, metal, plastics, ceramics, composites and sustainable materials, and fourth-generation development platforms, computer aided design and additive manufacturing.

Professional Collaboration

20 credit points

  • Working as a member of a small team, the Professional Collaboration module will provide challenging simulated work environments, to enable you to engage in the design and management of real-world design projects with industrial partners.
  • You'll choose from a range of problem-based scenarios and benefit from working with others on innovative projects set in the context of contemporary real-world issues, and find solutions to difficult and complex challenges.
  • You'll be challenged to define the value in a design proposal, and to develop it into a viable commercial proposition, informed by current developments in design management, venture funding, manufacturing technologies, intellectual property (IP), open innovation, and brand management.

Major Study Project

120 credit points

  • This module provides you with the opportunity to develop innovative artefacts, products or systems. You'll work on your own design concept, an industrially-led, or research-based project as individually negotiated through your learning agreement.
  • Projects may be based on developing innovative products, furniture, systems and services.  Projects should consider not only materials and manufacturing, but also a broad range of strategies and approaches driven by user-centred, market-driven, sustainable, ethical, technological or critical methodologies.
  • The first element of this module is called context and rationale. The main aims of this phase are to enable you to employ appropriate methods of creative research, and apply them to the development of effective design strategies for a negotiated Masters Project.
  • In the second element, design and development you'll progress your project by applying research methods and creative concept generation and ideas prototyping to the development and testing of a range of possible design outcomes for your project.
  • In the final element of the Major Study Project, realisation and evaluation, you'll realise the outcome of your design project through the development of manufactured artifacts, detailed prototypes and/or digital simulations, which will enable effective testing and evaluation of the project outcome, and successfully communicate the product, system or service to all stakeholders in the project.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Student Profiles

Lucia Vazquez Vaquero

The people in my course are amazing and I love being able to spend time with them and work alongside them. We all come from different academic backgrounds so there is a lot to learn from each other. Our studio feels like home, which is extremely comforting.

Amy Louise Sargent

The tutors are very supportive and understanding, as I am a part-time student it means that I have other priorities. The staff always take this into account and ask about your wellbeing, giving advice when needed.

Allan Cutts

My advice? Work with passion, come out of your comfort zone and embrace the opportunities of new challenges. The product design department at NTU provide the opportunities to excel.

Clarisa Castrilli

Being able to work with students from other areas, like those specialising in medical or smart design, was challenging, but at the same time helped me think about aspects of design that I would not have considered otherwise.

How you’re taught

How will I learn?

Learning and teaching will comprise of lectures to introduce and develop concepts, and to explore the application of these concepts. Studio work, workshops and laboratory sessions will develop your skills.

Seminars and tutorials will provide you with academic support, and case studies and project work will be used to develop your understanding of concepts and applications.

You’ll also be expected to take part in project presentations to develop your confidence and identity in professional practice.

Showcase of student work

Our postgraduate students produce a website to showcase their final year projects and the live briefs they complete on the course. Head over to our Product Design Masters website to find out more about the different directions they've taken their work.

Study trips

There will be the opportunity to integrate study trips on the course. Trips may include visits to practices, museums, exhibitions and events. Where a trip is mandatory it will be aligned to your modules and inform project work, and substantive costs – including travel and accommodation – will be paid for by the school. Optional trips may also be organised which can provide additional opportunities to enhance your knowledge and experience. Where optional trips are offered, they will be charged at full cost to students. A valid passport and any associated visas will be required for trips outside of the UK.

Staff Profiles

Theresa McMorrow

Senior Lecturer

School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment

Theresa is a Senior Lecturer in Product Design and Course Leader: MA Design: Products and Furniture, and MSc Design: Products and Technology

Bella Gulden Malya

Senior Lecturer

School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment

Bella Gulden Malya is a Senior Lecturer in Product Design.

Rebecca Gamble

Senior Lecturer

School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment

Rebecca Gamble is a Principal Lecturer in Product Design, in the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University.

Katie Furmston

Senior Lecturer

School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment

Katie is a Senior Lecturer in Product Design in the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University.

Allan Cutts

Lecturer

School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment

Allan is a lecturer on our postgraduate Product Design courses.

James Dale

Head of Department

School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment

James Dale is the Head of Product Design in the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment.

Chris Lamerton

Principal Lecturer

School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment

Chris is a Course Leader and Senior Lecturer. This entails running and managing the Furniture and Product Design module and product design courses. Chris also teaches on all levels of

Phillipa Marsh

Principal Lecturer

School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment

Senior Lecturer in 3D Design and Course Leader for the BA (hons) Product Design course.

Luke Siena

Lecturer

School of Architecture Design and the Built Environment

Dr Luke Siena is a Lecturer in Product Design, a Creative Short Course and Summer School Tutor within the School of Architecture Design & The Built Environment.

How you’re assessed

Your progress on the course is assessed by 100% coursework, working to tasks and briefs.

Careers and employability

Where do MA Design: Products and Furniture graduates from NTU work?

This course has been developed to meet the needs of industry in the UK and overseas. It is specifically designed to increase your employability in a business context by identifying new services, strategies and product opportunities, and conducting projects in collaboration with industrial partners. You'll become more strategically aware and technically literate, and will communicate concepts and outcomes at an advanced level in an ever-changing global market place.

On completion, you will have acquired a set of skills, knowledge and experience to enable you to set up your own business, to work in manufacturing industries, design consultancies, and research and development organisations, or to progress to PhD study by engaging in further research.

Our Employability team

Our expert Employability team will work closely with you at every stage of your career planning, providing personal support and advice. You can benefit from this service at any time during your studies, and for up to three years after completing your course.

NTU Enterprise

You'll also have the opportunity to turn your ideas into a viable business with help from NTU Enterprise, NTU's purpose-built Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a support centre to help students create, develop and grow their own businesses.

Re:search Re:imagined

To us, research is about more than writing papers and proposing new ideas. By daring to think differently, we’re disrupting the research landscape and finding the answers to the questions that really matter. From sustainable technologies to revolutionary medical products, we’re inspiring the brightest minds to rise up and find solutions to some of the most significant global challenges facing society.

Find out more: ntu.ac.uk/research

Campus and facilities

Studio space

Our Arkwright building is home to many creative studio spaces and, on this course, one of them will be yours. Our dedicated space for postgraduate product design students is where you'll collaborate, undertake group and individual work, sketch, develop projects and soft modeling, and have presentations and critique sessions. Fitted with desk space and computers with all the software you need, you'll be well equipped and supported by our academic and technical teams.

MA MSc Design tutorial session

Postgraduate Product Design students in our Arkwright studio space

Workshops and laboratories

Our Maudslay building boasts a number of industry-standard workshops and facilities. Supported by a team of expert technical staff, we offer woodwork and metal workshops, model making studios, structural testing equipment, concrete, soil and materials laboratories.

Maudslay technology control prototyping laboratory

Maudslay technology control prototyping laboratory

Postgraduate Product Design students in our Maudslay building workshop

Entry requirements

Applying with prior qualifications

  • 2.2 honours degree in an art and design-related subject.

Applicants with non-standard entry requirements and / or relevant experience will be considered on an individual basis. Your work experience will be assessed to ensure it is relevant to your application.

Applying with non-standard entry qualifications/experience

Applicants with non-standard entry qualifications and/or relevant experience will be considered on an individual basis. Assessment of your experience will confirm that you have achieved the necessary skills in the course of your general experience.

Other requirements

If your initial application is successful, you'll be asked to upload a digital portfolio of your work to the University.

Take a look at our digital portfolio advice.

Advanced entry

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please contact us at Ask NTU or call +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Applying with prior qualifications

  • 2.2 honours degree in an art and design-related subject.

Applicants with non-standard entry requirements and/or relevant experience will be considered on an individual basis. Your work experience will be assessed to ensure it is relevant to your application.

Other requirements

If your initial application is successful, you'll be asked to upload a digital portfolio of your work to the University.

Take a look at our digital portfolio advice.

International qualifications 

We accept qualifications from all over the world – check yours here:

Postgraduate preparation courses (Pre-Masters)

If you don’t yet meet our entry requirements, we offer Pre-Masters courses through our partner Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), based on our City Campus:

English language entry requirements 

You can meet our language requirements by successfully completing our pre-sessional English course for an agreed length of time, or by submitting the required grade in one of our accepted English language tests, such as IELTS:

Would you like some advice on your study plans? 

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

Complete this simple form to keep in touch with the International Office.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2022 entry

Study routeHome (UK students) fees 2022
Full-time (1 year)£8,800
Part-time (cost per year of study)£4,400

*Please note that if you are considering a part-time route that runs over more than one year, the tuition fee stated is for Year One of study. The course fee for Year Two is subject to annual review.

Funding your studies

There are numerous sources of funding available for postgraduate students, both from external sources such as the Government and funding bodies, and from the University.

There are two main costs involved with postgraduate study: the cost of your tuition fees which is paid directly to the University, and living expenses such as accommodation, travel and food.

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies. We award scholarships to those students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our postgraduate funding page for information about sourcing grants, bursaries and scholarships, and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service by calling +44 (0)115 848 2494.

Fees for 2022 entry

Study routeEU and International fees 2022
Full-time (1 year)£14,800
Part-time (cost per year of study)£7,400

*Please note that if you are considering a part-time route that runs over more than one year, the tuition fee stated is for Year One of study. The course fee for Year Two is subject to annual review.

Tuition fees are payable for each year that you are at the University. The level of tuition fees for the second and subsequent years of your postgraduate course may increase in line with inflation and as specified by the UK government.

Scholarships 

We offer scholarships of up to 50% of your tuition fee. You can apply for your scholarship when you have an offer to study at NTU.

Living costs

Get advice on the cost of living as an international student in Nottingham and how to budget:

Paying fees 

Find out about advanced payments, instalment plan options and how to make payments securely to the University:

Would you like some advice on your study plans? 

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

Complete this simple form to keep in touch with the International Office.

How to apply

Apply online through our NTU Applicant Portal.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieved, as well as a personal statement.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our postgraduate pages. Here you’ll find advice about how to write a good personal statement and much more.

Your portfolio

If your initial application is successful, you'll be asked to upload a digital portfolio of your work to the University.

Take a look at our digital portfolio advice.

Advice for non-standard applicants

We welcome applications from applicants without prior qualifications. However, in this instance, you must have proven experience in the design industry, which demonstrates appropriate knowledge and skills at honours degree (undergraduate) standard.

If you are applying without prior qualifications, you will need to submit comprehensive details of your achievements with evidence to substantiate your claim (any documentation can be uploaded to the My Documents section of the Applicant Portal). This type of application will be considered with respect to the University’s provision for ‘accreditation for prior experiential learning’. Decisions regarding the accreditation of prior learning are a matter of academic judgement.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or support, you can call our Admissions Team on +44 (0)115 848 4200, or contact us at Ask NTU.

Good luck with your application!

Apply online through our NTU Applicant Portal.

Application advice

Apply early so that you have enough time to prepare – processing times for Student visas can vary, for example.  After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Writing your personal statement

Be honest, thorough, and persuasive – we can only make a decision about your application based on what you tell us:

Your portfolio 

If your initial application is successful, you'll be asked to upload a digital portfolio of your work to the University.

Take a look at our digital portfolio advice.

Would you like some advice on your study plans? 

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

Complete this simple form to keep in touch with the International Office.

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