Year 1 (credit level 4)
Studio projects are formulated to allow you to develop your own ways of thinking. You will be challenged to push your ideas, and given space and support to develop an understanding of artefact, user, site and situation. Studio Practice is where the majority of practical, project-based work is delivered, discussed and assessed.
Contextual Studies provides the theoretical core of the programme. In your first year you study:
- Histories and Theories – lectures, visits and practical exercises on the historical and theoretical context of design in the 20th century unravel the main theoretical influences on design and designing.
- Design and Meaning – lectures and practical exercises looking at the roles that psychology and semiotics play in design. You'll examine the complex nature of design thinking and creative techniques, and the ways in which these relate to actual practice. You'll also be encouraged to explore your own personal responses to the design process.
- Philosophy and Design – this course aims to explore an expanded sense of the ecological through philosophical politics and ethics, and design philosophy, to challenge the embedded logic systems and structures of consciousness that perpetuate ecological problems within a complex global world.
Methods and Processes
Concentrating on the techniques and processes in research, modelling and drawing, this module equips you with a set of tools for designing, looking at research methods and ways to generate and record ideas.
These workshops focus on specific areas within the discipline. They'll give both a critical and technical introduction into areas such as making, still image, graphic communication and textiles.
Year 2 (credit level 5)
You'll explore ways that the contemporary designer can negotiate a changing social, cultural, ecological and political terrain. You'll be encouraged to adopt a personal, ethical and ideological stance in tackling projects concerning the social, cultural, environmental and political domain.
In the spring term, you'll work on ‘industry-based projects’, the briefings for which come from the commercial sector. These projects allow you to present to design professionals, gaining valuable experience and insight. The projects are set by a broad range of design professional and commercial sectors, such as Imagination, Pentagram, Hive, Raw Nerve and Lewisham Council.
Society and Culture - This one-week intensive course investigates ideology and design in the context of society and culture. It examines a number of socio-cultural influences on designers, design processes, systems, and architectures. The course introduces various readings of society and culture so as to give a sense of the ideological context of design, but also to show how design creates ideology itself.
Material Culture - This course investigates design in the context of what has become known as Material Culture. The course explores various attitudes to cultural production, examines notions of consumption and taste, and investigates the various processes and practices that have been built around these notions. Though a series of lectures, practical exercises and self-directed learning students will be encouraged to explore the ways in which their own designs are framed by material (and immaterial) culture
Design Politics and Ethics - From national level parliamentary enquiries to the founding of design-led policy labs and the realisation of new design-led government departments like the Government’s Digital Services, Design has emerged as a significant practice in the shaping and realising of our political and moral landscape. But how has design practice responded to this opportunity?
Methods and Processes – Professional Practice
This module asks you to engage in design as a professional practice and prepares you for workplace environments. It opens up the extensive nature of the design industry, in order to increase your understanding of the role of a practising designer.
These sessions cover a range of skills, which build upon the previous year. We offer workshops such as interactive design, moving image, electronics, object manufacture, rapid prototyping/CAD and graphic communication.
During the summer term, you are expected to secure and undertake a placement of at least six weeks in duration. At the beginning of Year 3, you will be assessed on a presentation based on your work placement.
Year 3 (credit level 6)
You develop your own projects in Year 3, supported by an individual ‘mentor’. Workshops enable you to formulate, develop and realise a project. Major projects must have a strong conceptual underpinning and be well-founded and reasoned.
The final stage of Year 3 is the presentation and exhibition of design practice project work. This is an important part of the educational experience – calling for teamwork, organisation, management and design, developing a range of skills critical to future careers.
This major piece of writing presents the contextual and theoretical framework for your major project. This 6,000-word report develops alongside your project and is a personal piece of work.
This programme is taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. You’ll also be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study. This includes carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, and producing essays or project work.
The following information gives an indication of the typical proportions of learning and teaching for each year of this programme*:
- Year 1 - 41% scheduled learning, 59% independent learning
- Year 2 - 35% scheduled learning, 45% independent learning, 20% placement learning
- Year 3 - 21% scheduled learning, 54% independent learning, 25% placement learning
How you’ll be assessed
You’ll be assessed by a variety of methods, depending on your module choices. These include coursework, examinations, group work and projects.
The following information gives an indication of how you can typically expect to be assessed on each year of this programme*:
- Year 1 - 100% coursework
- Year 2 - 38% coursework, 63% practical
- Year 3 - 38% coursework, 63% practical
*Please note that these averages are based on enrolments for 2022/23. Each student’s time in teaching, learning and assessment activities will differ based on individual module choices. Find out more about how this information is calculated.
Download the programme specification.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
Between 2020 and 2022 we needed to make some changes to how programmes were delivered due to Covid-19 restrictions. For more information about past programme changes please visit our programme changes information page.