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MA in Interaction Design

  • Length
    15 months full-time or 30 months part-time
  • Department
    Design

Course overview

This programme offers a unique synthesis of practice-based research and cutting edge sociological concepts and methods, and will equip you to play 
a leading role in the development and understanding of emerging technology in society.

Building on Goldsmiths’ unique position in design-led and sociological research, you will learn how to shape your designs through the collection and analysis of social data, employing cutting-edge research methods.

This Masters offers you a distinctive opportunity to challenge and develop your existing practice. You will develop the skills and confidence to work in various settings where an understanding of design in society is key.

You'll have the opportunity to undertake a professional placement, or to carry out independent fieldwork.

Why study Interaction Design?

We believe the discipline of Interaction Design is changing. On the one hand, it has matured as a design-led approach to technological development, where practitioners contribute to the definition of computational technology in commercial and academic settings. On the other hand interaction designers now engage with contemporary social, technological and political conditions and seek other forms of output, such as engagement events, exhibitions and research deployments.

Here, interaction designers have recently engaged with the biotech industry and laboratory science, citizen science and the public understanding of science, alternative community groups and non-standard ways of living, activism and issue-based politics, the politics of web data, government policy, the delivery of health and social care services, as well as the radical reframing of participatory design as a democratic project.

These developments correspond to a richly expanded view of the end-user, from that of user-consumers to one of people and collectives situated in complex sociocultural and political-economic settings. Alongside such developments, interactive technology itself increasingly pervades everyday life, as witnessed by the rise of web 3.0 and online social platforms, and the ubiquity of products and devices that link to such platforms.

This Masters provides students with the practical, methodological and theoretical tools to reflect the range of technical and social issues relevant for designing contemporary interactive systems.

Equally, this programme builds on traditions of design and social science interdisciplinary collaborations and that capitalizes on emerging trends, in academic research and industry, where design research and design practice increasingly draws on the concepts and methods of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and where STS looks to design for methodological innovation and experimental modes of engagement.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Tobie Kerridge

Modules & structure

Overview

The MA in Interaction Design is delivered through an innovative four-term programme over 15 months.

It is structured around core and option modules, a placement or independent fieldwork, and a major final project.

Depending on your strengths and interests, you'll deliver a final project that strikes a balance between practical design and written thesis or report.

Supported by a strong academic and professional network, you'll benefit from Goldsmiths' world-leading expertise in design and social science research.

The following four themes correspond to the core modules delivered as part of the MA:

  • Interaction design
  • Design and the sociology of science and technology
  • Design research and engaging in the field
  • Innovative methodological approaches to design and the social

Core modules

Module title Credits
  Interaction Design 30 credits
  Mapping Societies: Interaction Design Research 30 credits
  Researching & Designing in the Field 30 credits
  Design, Technoscience and Cosmopolitics 15 credits
  Independent Research Project 60 credits

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.

Department

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

Design

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

Staff

Suggested reading

Staff publications

  • Beaver, J. et al. (2009) Material Beliefs. London: Goldsmiths, University of London.
  • Gaver, B. et al. (1999) ‘Cultural Probes’, Interactions.
  • Gaver, W. et al. (2008) Threshold Devices: Looking Out from the Home. ACM.
  • Wilkie, A. and M. Michael (2009) ‘Expectation and Mobilisation: Enacting Future Users’, Science, Technology & Human Values 34(4): 502–22.
  • Wilkie, A. and M. Ward ‘Made in Criticalland: Designing Matters of Concern’, pp. 118–23 in Glynne, J. et al. (eds), Networks of Design: Proceedings of the 2008 Annual International Conference of the Design History Society (UK).

Indicative readings

  • Binder, T. et al. (2011) Design Things. Cambridge, Mass; London: The MIT Press.
  • Braun, B. et al. (eds) (2010) Political Matter: Technoscience, Democracy, and Public Life. University Of Minnesota Press.
  • DiSalvo, C. (2012) Adversarial Design. Cambridge, Mass; London: MIT Press.
  • Dourish, P. (2001) Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
  • Haraway, D.J. (1997) Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©-Meets-OncoMouseTM: Feminism and Technoscience. New York; London: Routledge.
  • Latour, B. (2005) Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-network-theory. Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies. Oxford: Clarendon.
  • Law, J. (2004) After Method: Mess in Social Science Research, International Library of Sociology. London: Routledge.
  • Oudshoorn, N. and T.J. Pinch (2003) How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technologies. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT.
  • Rogers, R. (2004) Information Politics on the Web. Cambridge, Mass; London: MIT Press.
  • Stengers, I. (2005) ‘The Cosmopolitical Proposal’, pp. 994–1003 in Latour, Bruno and Weibel, P. (eds), Making Things Public. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

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 7.0 (including 7.0 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
  • 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)

Applicants with a design background: you should also submit a portfolio comprising 5 relevant projects and a sample of writing about design, technology or society (500-2,000 words). Please upload your Portfolio as PDF and you writing as a PDF or Word Document.

Applicants with a social science background: you should also submit a short essay around a topic relevant to the programme (500-2,000 words), and a 10 page visual workbook related to the essay topic. Please upload workbook as PDF and essay as a PDF or Word Document.

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 October for students wanting to start the following September. 

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. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subjectto an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Interviews will be arranged to suit your requirements, at Goldsmiths or using Skype. At interview you will present a portfolio of work that may include a range of material including sketchbooks, and samples of written assignments.

Find out more about applying.

Fees & funding

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.

Find out more about tuition fees.

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