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
You can find out more about each of these studios in the Studios tab below.
The activity for the MA will operate across both the main New Cross campus and our satellite campus, currently in Deptford (a 10-minute walk from Goldsmiths).
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 the Department of Design.
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
For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the Programme Changes page
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:
|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)
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
What our students say
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.
Please see the How to Apply section for more information on the application process.
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
Annual tuition fees
These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2021/2022 academic year.
- Home - full-time: £10870
- International - full-time: £21180
It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Student Visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.
If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.
In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.
There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.
Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. 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.
To complete your application, you will 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)
Applicants with a design background
Your portfolio should show five relevant projects (including sketches, process, experiments, and iterations), and include a short piece of writing in which you explain and reflect on your selection (500-1,000 words). Please upload this as a single PDF.
Applicants with a non-design background
Please 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 will provide a platform for inventive, insightful, and idiosyncratic treatments of your chosen topic.
Please complete the personal statement template in the application system. You must complete these specific sections during the application process – please do not upload a general document in the Personal Statement section. The sections are as follows:
- Intellectual rationale for choosing your programme (MA Design Expanded Practice).
- Previous academic background in relation to your programme choice.
- Other experience that contributes to your programme choice.
- What are your long-term academic goals and how will this programme help you achieve these?
- Any other information you feel to be relevant?
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
Deadline 1: Sunday 31st January 2021
Interviews will commence in January and continue throughout the Spring Term. After this date, applications will be processed on a rolling basis.
Deadline 2: Friday 14th May 2021
We may be able to consider applications from international applicants up to this date, after which we cannot guarantee that Goldsmiths will be able to process your visa in time to start in September 2021. Interviews will take place in May and continue through the Summer Term.
After this date applications will be processed on a rolling basis as long as there are still places available.
Selection and interview process
There are no places offered on the programme via application alone. Selected applicants must attend an interview arranged to suit your requirements, either at Goldsmiths or via Skype.
During the Interview you will asked the following questions:
- 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 Design Expanded Practice?
- Why/how do you think the unique approach and structure of this programme at Goldsmiths particularly aligns with your future goals/aspirations?
- If accepted onto the programme, which studio would you like to join? Please tell us your first and second preference.
Will also have the opportunity to present a portfolio of work that may include a range of material including sketchbooks, and samples of written assignments. The interview is an opportunity to have a conversation about studio preferences and your portfolio, and meet some of the staff working on the programme.
Please remember that the interview is between yourself and the tutor; you should not have anyone else present with you during the interview.
We understand that access to Skype is no accessible in some countries. If you are unable to interview in this format, please inform the department when you receive your interview invitation.
Find out more about applying.
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.