MA in Design Education

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 3 years part-time
  • Department

Course overview

The MA in Design Education stems from two big human ideas – designing and learning – and explores their connection. We consider how learning might reinvigorate designing, and how designing might reinvigorate learning.

While we can all re-order and improve our words, can we learn to be better designers?

While learning is a natural consequence of human growth, can we learn more effectively through the real-world engagement that designing provides?

You will reflect on and develop your own practice through the lens of radical pedagogies, and design learning activities that push the boundaries of traditional educational environments. 

The programme establishes a critical-creative setting in which you can challenge existing practice and explore ways to develop your own.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Admissions Tutor, Jenny Bain

Modules & structure

The programme establishes a critical-creative setting in which you can challenge existing practice and explore ways to develop your own.

Core modules

You complete three core modules:

Module title Credits
  Designing and Learning 30 credits
  Researching Design Learning 30 credits
  Independent Research Project 60 credits

Option modules

You will be able to take additional options selected from a range available in the Department of Design.

Options offered from the MA Design Education include:

  • Design ideation
  • Located learning
  • International and cultural perspectives on design learning

Options from the MA Design Critical Practice will also be available. Please note that not all options may be available in any one year. Also, not all modules can be timetabled to suit your programme of study. You decide on your option modules during phase one of the programme.

Final project

The core and option units allow you to develop understandings and expertise that you can draw together and utilise in your final project.

This project will enable you to engage in significant research, in a context of your own choosing, that will inform understandings of designing and learning.

The project can be undertaken as either practice-based research supported by theory, or theory-based research supported by practice.


The MA utilises a range of complementary assessment methods and strategies. The following reflect the range you can expect over the whole programme, depending on individual preferences and choices:

Presentation forums give you the opportunity to select and present aspects of your work for peer feedback.

Critical and reflective statements enabled through group seminars and individual tutorials. These statements usually accompany a process-based portfolio of work that is focused on a specific practice-based field of enquiry demonstrating exploratory thinking and research. The statements give you an opportunity to express the development of your knowledge and understanding through completion of the module and are usually attached to an open module.

Essays will be set by individual course tutors and some of these will have an ‘equivalent word count’ attached to them (ie the written text will form a part of the submission and will be accompanied by other specified material). The essays vary in length according to the module units and are assessed formatively through tutorials before final submission.

The individual research project can either be submitted in the form of a dissertation or a portfolio, realised outcome and report. Project work is assessed formatively through individual tutorials. A viva at the end of the individual research project will comprise of a 30-minute interview with your written and/or project work with at least two tutors from the programme team. The structure and material for the viva will have been prepared from previous presentation forums. 

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.


Design at Goldsmiths is ranked:
1st in the UK**
11th in the world***


We’ve also been ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top graduate universities for designers, because so many of our graduates go on to find jobs in the industry.

Critique the status quo

We want you to go on to have your own self-sustaining practice that can change over time, so you’ll learn about design not just as a commercial enterprise, but also as a way to question and critique the status quo. 

The freedom to experiment

You don’t have to know what kind of a designer you’ll be: we give you the time and the freedom to experiment, use tools, explore materials and discover different modes of making. Many of our students have already worked in the design industry and are keen to develop their theoretical understanding of the discipline, and have the opportunity to explore their practice without the confines of commercial restrictions.

Industry leaders

Our graduates are industry leaders: many have gone on to work at top organisations and design companies such as Pentagram, Dyson and Selfridges, while many others have set up their own studios and enterprises.

Find out more about the Department of Design.

**The Guardian University Guide 2016

***QS World University Rankings by subject 2016

Skills & careers

We produce graduates of consistently high calibre, including many who have become leaders in the creative industries of a number of countries, including China, Japan and Korea.

Our students have won numerous awards (including UK Young Designer of the Year and Eco-Designer of the Year) and their shows have attracted positive attention in the media and achieved great acclaim in the design community.

A number of graduates are now working in top London design consultancies (Fitch, Thomas Heatherwick Studios, Imagination, Pentagram) and major UK companies (John Lewis Partnership, Eden Project, Harvey Nichols).

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student profiles


"The learning experience was challenging but exciting and the staff were always there for support and guidance."

"For as long as I can remember I have had this undying passion for education and teaching. Coming from a Design background (Undergraduate in Jewellery Design) I wished to pursue a course that would amalgamate the two and stumbled upon Goldsmiths' MA Design Education course

After being accepted, just like any international student I was enthusiastic yet apprehensive about everything; the academic structure, faculty and living in the halls. But believe it or not I fell absolutely in love with Goldsmiths' atmosphere two weeks into the academic year. 

The entire learning experience was challenging but also exciting and the faculty was always there for our support and guidance. In the past year I have made some unforgettable memories along with some unbreakable bonds. This will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable years of my life, as it has helped me nurture into a more focused individual personally as well as academically."

Entry requirements

You should usually have experience in a professional design and/or educational context with evidence of a commitment to furthering your practice in design education.

You are normally expected to hold a degree in the field of design, education, design and technology, visual cultures, architecture, curating/gallery studied or a related field.

Applicants with extensive professional experience may be considered.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from 1 October until 1 March for students wanting to start the following September (late applications may be considered if there are spaces available). 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

If you're applying for funding you may be subject to an application deadline.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

Related content links