Course information

Department

Design

Length

15 months full-time

Course overview

This course is a radical post-disciplinary programme for practitioners who want to push the boundaries of what design can be and do. During this MA we work with you to transform your practice as a critical and social undertaking.

By challenging the role and norms of traditional design towards an emerging type of ‘advanced design’, unshackled from the history of specialisms and entrenched methods, you will become part of a community of practice. You will be encouraged to actively contribute to a deep understanding of how design is set to address and affect change within contemporary society.

Whatever your background or previous degree we expect you to examine your own practice. This might be in a traditional field of design such as graphic design, product design, fashion design, interior design etc. Other fields such as teaching, social science, humanities, curating, engineering, science and business are also considered practices and welcome on the programme.

The programme is structured around thematic areas of investigation (Studios) which situates you (the practitioner) in a particular field of study and reference. Each Studio will be encouraged to build an identity within the programme; supporting diverse practice, building a rich identity and attracting a broad range of applicants.

The studio offering will be tailored each year to the skills/expertise of applicants and in response to the changing nature of the design field and the world around us. The studios running for 2019/20 are:

  • Communication & Experience
  • Fashions & Embodiment
  • Innovation & Service Interactions
  • Engagement Spaces & Participation 
  • Interactions and Engagement

You can find out more about each of these studios in the Studios tab below.

FAQs

Explore answers to some frequently asked questions about the approach of this programme.

Contact the department

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

Studios

Each Studio takes a post-disciplinary approach to practice, where tools, techniques, media and methods are appropriated and adopted in response to the demands of a project. The studios will help build collaborative and material skills through project based learning where collective investigation is carried out alongside both faculty and visiting experts.

The Studio structure allows the programme to adapt over time in response to the changing nature of the design field and the world around us. Therefore the Studio offering is subject to change. The following is an indicative list of studios offered in 2019/20. You should motivate your application through a first and second choice from this set of Studios:

Communication & Experience

This studio focuses on investigation and communication, acknowledging a clear interdependency between 'content' (that being investigated) and 'container' (the exploration of the means of communication). Following an interpretative or curatorial process, we encourage the exploration of new formats and languages of communication using all means and media, through an interplay of space, objects, film, comics, gaming, language, graphics, etc. The work we support seeks to engage with the public, not as audience, but as co-respondents, co-authors and co-inspirators.

Fashions & Embodiment

This studio facilitates conversations between making and unmaking, global and local, ethics and aesthetics, object and system, bodies and clothes. We challenge accepted boundaries and perceptions to explore fashion as a mode of collective agency. This requires questioning the relationship between fashion and consumption and generating knowledge and approaches that foster the transformative capacities of fashion and dress. We aim to broaden and reposition fashion practice through rethinking the relationships between garment, image, text, body and context to explore innovative ways of thinking, making and doing fashion.

Innovation & Service

This studio reaches out to emerging areas of design to draw together new forms of knowledge and processes that shape the future of innovation, and the practices that constitute it. We explore how service design can empower society, from the individual citizen to larger organisations that make up our social and cultural worlds. We debate issues of responsibility in innovation, encouraging design as a creatively aware practice. The studio embraces both strategic & ‘grassroots’ approaches to design, stakeholder involvement in innovation, the value of team work & understanding relationships, design tools for asking questions, raising complexities and framing problems.

Interactions & Engagement

This studio encourages practice through deep engagement with sites, people, infrastructure, technologies and policy. We build on issues and insights generated by in situ experiments to test new behaviour and to understand opportunities for further intervention. Then we make responsive and resolved outcomes that support debate and enable novel perspectives. We draw upon material from Interaction Design, Co-Design and Science & Technology Studies, and understand that designs emerge through collaboration with publics as well as practitioners from relevant fields.

Spaces & Participation 

This studio locates design, in an active and transformative capacity, within complex spatial-political networks. We focus on ‘ways of acting’ within systems of control, exploring relations between the physicality of space, people and use that begin to negotiate and shape behaviours, and (inter) actions in responsive and innovative ways - from the personal and intimate to architectural and planetary. We embrace the complexities of contested spaces, often hidden behind a language of efficiency, improvement and regulation to explore power relations in the arrangements and movements of the systems and structures we inhabit. 

What you'll study

The programme runs for 15 months over five 10-11 week Terms and is full-time (this means a minimum of 4 days per week). It is largely delivered through project briefs (both working in groups and individually), which allows an experimental and exploratory design process.

The projects open up opportunities for you to work collectively on research projects, external industry briefs and wider design research themes. Through this process, you'll evolve a design practice that is progressive but also thoughtful, critical and grounded in the complex realities of the world.

Throughout your projects you'll benefit from the input of experienced practice-based staff, as well as world-class visiting practitioners. These projects are all part of three interconnected modules that make up the MA Design Expanded Practice programme:

 

Modules Module title Credits
  Studio Expanded Practice 120 credits
  Design Transfocality 60 credits
  Extended Study 30 credits

For Studio Expanded Practice in the first term you will also respond to a shared project brief supported by wide range of design staff from the department and guest speakers. This initial project will be run across the whole masters programme, to build your practice working alongside and in collaboration with the diverse cohort of design students. This will be a combination of scheduled sessions (lectures, workshops, tutorials) as well as self-directed studio or fieldwork amounting to 3 days per week.

In addition to this project you will choose to situate yourself within a studio, and spend one day a week in your studio of choice, where you will be exploring discourses through talks and seminars, engaging with methods and processes appropriate to the studio's focus. This will give you a body of knowledge that will equip you to act in design in your area of interest and continue as weekly session throughout Terms 1, 2 and 3.

In Terms 2 and 3 (Design Transfocality) you will be selecting a project from a choice of three projects each term. Each of these projects will be made up of students from all of the Studios. The aim is to bring your interests to the particular project to shape it for the development of your own practice.

In Term 4 (Summer period) you will select an externally focused project (Extended Study), like our annual summer school in Paris (eg. Design and Performance), or a placement with an external organisation.

You return to Goldsmiths for Term 5 to pull together your body of work and concluding design outcomes (culmination of Studio Expanded Practice) for public engagement through various public facing platforms (eg. publication, exhibition, symposium)

Download the programme specification for the 2018-19 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

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

Entry requirements

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

If you don't have a related undergraduate degree we also welcome those who have significant practical experience in a design-related field: you will be judged on the relevance of your previous work experience and on your art and/or design work. We will also consider applicants who do not have a design-related background but who have engaged in research either in academia (as students or academics) or at work.

We expect a high standard of achievement in design or other creative practice, and competencies in the use of equipment used to produce design work (IT and/or manufacture workshop skills).

You need to present, in portfolio and at interview, evidence of evolved critical and creative thinking in design.

International qualifications

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

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

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.

Paying your fees

Please note that as the MA Design: Expanded Practice is a 15-month programme, this will have implications for paying your fees if you are applying for a postgraduate loan to help fund your studies. The postgraduate loan instalments will be spread over a period of two years, with the final two loan instalments being paid after you complete your studies. 

If you are planning to use the postgraduate loan to help pay your fees, you need to be aware that all tuition fees will need to either be paid at enrolment in September when you start your programme or via direct debit instalments, but these instalments will not be aligned with your loan. The full fee value will be due by the end of the third term (July) of the programme, prior to payment of the second year of postgraduate loan payments. Find out more about paying your tuition fees.

How to apply

For the MA Design: Expanded Practice, 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
  • 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 personal statement (this can either be uploaded as a Word document or PDF, or completed online). Your personal statement should answer the following:
    • What is your educational/professional background and how has this shaped your current practice?
    • What are your expectations/what do you want to achieve through the MA?
    • Why/how do you think this MA at Goldsmiths particularly aligns with your future goals/aspirations?
    • What are your first and second Studio preferences and why?
  • Applicants with a design background: submit a portfolio comprising 5 relevant projects and a short piece of writing that explains your selection (500-1,000 words) Please upload both your portfolio and writing in two separate PDFs
  • Applicants with a non-design background: you should submit a short piece of writing (500-1,000 words) around a topic relevant to the programme (use this as an opportunity to articulate your views on topics that align with your chosen studio) and a 10-page visual document related to this topic. Your visual document provides a platform for inventive, insightful and idiosyncratic treatments of that topic. As an example to support your own approach, this visual document was developed during the exploratory phase of a sustainability project.
  • Please upload both your visual document and writing in two separate PDFs
  • 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

Application deadlines:

  • First deadline: 18 January (Interviews first 2 weeks of March)
  • Second deadline 15 March (Interviews middle 2 weeks of April)
  • Third deadline 14 June (Interviews middle 2 weeks of July)

Selection and interview process

There are no places offered on the programme via application alone. Selected applicants must attend an interview that will be arranged to suit your requirements, at Goldsmiths or via Skype.

At interview you will present a portfolio of work that may include a range of material including sketchbooks, and samples of written assignments. The interview is also an opportunity to have a conversation about Studio preferences and your portfolio and meet some of the staff working on the programme.

Find out more about applying.

Facilities

Fundamental to every programme within the department, the workshops and computing lab provide an accessible and vibrant environment for making and experimentation. The Department of Design's facilities are based in the Lockwood Building: the workshop, textile, fabrication facility and computing labs are staffed by people from diverse design backgrounds, with wide-ranging skillsets and experience.

What our students say

Amira El Shawarby

The MA Design: Expanded Practice has been a great way to expand my practices and pinpoint overlaps between design and other fields.

When I decided to pursue my master’s degree, I started looking for the top design schools around the world and Goldsmiths was on top of the list. The more I read about it and the more I informed myself about the MA Design: Expanded Practice programme, the more I became really excited about becoming a Goldsmithser!



After finishing my bachelor degree in 2012 in the faculty of Applied Sciences and Arts at the German University in Cairo, I started working right away. I’ve been exploring different directions and career possibilities in Egypt. I worked as a teaching assistant at the University, alongside working on my own startup and involving myself in the entrepreneurship scene. 
One of my biggest dreams and goals to achieve is to make use of the craftsmanship within Egypt. I believe in our craftsmen, their skills, and their very powerful talent that has been implanted in our heritage since ancient times. I also believe in the strength, dynamics and the unlimited potential in the craftsman-designer work exchange. Being involved in such a programme is a great way to expand my practices and pinpoint overlaps between design and other fields.



The course is very well structured and we have a great pool of knowledge and fascinating staff members who make this experience one of a kind. Each one of them is a unique character who . is worth getting in touch with and learning from. 



As for London, I think it’s a very interesting city. You’ll definitely find yourself somewhere in its diverse communities and places. Using your body as a vehicle is the greatest way to explore the streets of London so I advise you to just walk around and let yourself be surprised. 



At this point in time, I’m aiming at expanding freely yet smartly. I’m working on finding a proper link between the past-present-future of me as a design-being. After I finish my degree, I’m keen on going back to the teaching path. The form of teaching may vary, it might not be in the university and maybe the setup would be completely different. It could be more in the context of peer learning, or maybe not, I haven’t decided yet, but what I know for a fact is that knowledge exchange and transferring any information I get to others while always learning from them is one thing I’ll always enjoy and aim to achieve. 
Focusing on my startup and working on making it one of the leading businesses in Egypt is definitely one other major goal.

Jinyoung Lee

Applying to Goldsmiths gave me the chance to reframe my professional practice.

My main reason for applying to Goldsmiths is to make a chance to reframe my professional practice and establish international cooperation and research-based work. Another primary aim is sharing holistic experiences with my family in London. 

The question for me was what my true identity as a designer was before applying for this course. In my past work experience, I have engaged in various activities, the design of everyday goods, corporate brands and space. In retrospect, I have tried to attain a proper resolution to the problems through a fundamental analysis of the given problem rather than relying on particular theory and methodology.n However, the more I worked, the more I started asking myself what the primary reason I design is. This critical question about the origin of the problem is essential to shaping my life as a designer.

In an era of radical change where algorithms replace designers, I realised that it is necessary to define first what the problem is, rather than solve it. Fortunately, I have started to get clues about how to find these ambiguous problems as I get to realise about social change in a combined world in the shift toward sustainability in this course.

I have conducted the ‘KLEM project’, a social project which provides fundamental solutions to improve some of the most vulnerable African communities by offering education opportunities. I have developed a business plan and shoe design based on the ‘open design solution’ concept and showed them freely. Thankfully, I have collaborated with brilliant national and overseas-related organisations over five years.

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