MRes in Design

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department

Course overview

This programme enables you to develop and undertake original research in or into design practices and related fields at Masters level. This can be preparation for more evolved research, and may allow for fast tracking onto a PhD programme.

You're able to bring your own research project or interests to develop through your study.

Your research may be focused on past and/or contemporary forms of design, design practice, design ideologies, design research.

It may also engage with the contexts in which design is produced and consumed, and with wider contextual fields.

The submission for examination can be focused in writing or in practice, in many forms. What constitutes a practice research submission will be part of the ongoing debates on the programme.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Department of Design


Three strands of study will:

  • introduce you to the theories/discourses inherent in design practice
  • encourage you to review and explore the methods and processes used to research and produce ideas for and about design
  • encourage you to locate topics and themes for research in particular areas of interest

A major research project will prepare you for further research in industry/professional practice or at MPhil/PhD level.

Assessment is through peer review, tutor appraisal, self-evaluation and student-tutor consultation, and also via assignments and essays; written or design work; major research project.

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


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


The programme will help you develop strong conceptual and critical design research skills.

You'll also develop transferable skills in areas such as analytical thinking, critical reflection project management, creative facilitation, research methods – which are valuable in a range of careers and sectors.


Most of our graduates find employment in the creative and cultural industries, some in prestigious leading-edge companies such as Imagination, Coleman Planet, Raw, Medium Rare, Fitch and Pentagram. Also: practice development; further study; freelancing; senior designer/manager.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.

Entry requirements

If you do not have a related undergraduate degree we also welcome applicants with significant practical experience in a design-related field or those who have done significant research. We expect some expertise in technologies used to conduct and present research. For those intending to produce practice as research we require skills in the use of equipment used to produce design work (IT and/or manufacture workshop skills).

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
  • Contact details of a second referee
  • 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)
  • A selection of examples of your work (see below) 

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.

Before you apply, we advise you to get in touch with the contact listed above. It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting.

Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body. 

If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.

Submitting examples of your work

Along with your application form please include examples of your work. This should be a written piece of at least 4,000 words, such as an academic dissertation or a research report undertaken in commercial/industrial or other employment.

Alternatively, or in addition, you may also send examples of your creative practice: slides (approximately 12), a CD-ROM, or another representation accessible on generally used software; include an index which outlines the concerns and ideas in what you have submitted (200-500 words) and a brief description of individual pieces (including scale, materials and collaborators and object performance where relevant).

You should also submit a written statement (approximately 250 words), outlining your reasons for wishing to undertake this degree.

When to apply 

We accept applications from 1 October to 1 March 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 conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

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

Selection process 

Succesful applications at the initial stage are invited to interview, where you present a portfolio of your work. We will look for potential in critical and creative thinking. 

Applicants from outside the UK are encouraged to attend for interview. If you cannot attend in person, we will ask you to send a portfolio (slides or photographs or CD-ROMs accessible on generally used software) of your art/design work with written explanations of selected pieces. Copies of essays in English are also required. If possible we also conduct a telephone interview.

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.

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