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Overview

A creative context to develop sustainable, advanced design practice supported by research and entrepreneurship.

Summary

Study Design at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

MFA Design provides a research-led learning environment and context that offers the opportunity for an individual to develop and advance their specific making, research and design skills at Masters level.

The course supports a range of disciplines including ceramics, graphic design, illustration, jewellery, interaction design, silversmithing and textiles and creates a challenging, supportive environment, where each student is asked to push the boundaries of their current thinking, explore new possibilities, engage in the current debates surrounding design and through this become advanced specialists in their own practice.

Students engage with external organisations, companies and individuals through specific projects, their peers through team projects, and where relevant, students are encouraged to pursue multidisciplinary and cross disciplinary work – solely or in collaboration with fellow students within the wider University or reaching out to external partnerships. Staff are research active, experts in their fields.

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About this course

In this section

About

MFA Design responds to continuing changes in contemporary design practice and challenges the perceived boundaries between the many and varied recognised art and design disciplines.

The course currently supports the areas of: Ceramics, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interaction Design, Jewellery, Silversmithing, and Textiles.

MFA Design was previously known as MFA Multidisciplinary Design. In the redesign of the course, additional staff members have joined the core team, and we now support a range of design disciplines.This richness of knowledge and experience of academic and technical staff enhances the student experience on the program, and opens up additional possibilities for collaboration and innovation, whilst maintaining the rigour in technical, research and development skills required of a masters student.

This change to the course team has also realigned the course to focus on the attainment of advanced, sustainable, skilled practice through research, which is made possible through the technical and specialist facilities available within Belfast School of Art.The course retains the emphasis of entrepreneurship which was a unique strength of the previous version of the program and is built upon tried and tested models developed in conjunction with NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) in recognition of the essential skills necessary for a successful, sustainable practice within the rapidly growing creative industries.

Through ongoing questioning and development during the course a student may identify themselves with a variety of outcomes such as;

Designer Maker – Leading to self employment, professional designer, setting up a SME

Design Researcher – Leading to PhD, research fellowships

Designer Leader – Leading to business leadership or Strategic Thinker within the creative industries.

Attendance

MFA Design is delivered in full-time mode only, with taught delivery scheduled for one day per week. We recognise the changing nature of the student population and wish to offer a program that is accessible to a range of potential students.

However, a full-time commitment to the course is expected, with studios, workshops and library resources available for use throughout the week.

Start dates

  • September 2017
How to apply

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold a degree (with at least 2ii Honours standard) or equivalent or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior learning.

The course currently supports the areas of: Ceramics, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interaction Design, Jewellery, Silversmithing, and Textiles.

The specific requirements for admission are detailed below:

i) Applicants should normally hold a good honours degree in any Design practice, Visual Arts or cognate subject from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council of National Academic Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard.

ii) Interview by portfolio and proposal. Applicants must be able to satisfy the panel at interview that their work is of a standard that will allow them to deal with the intellectual and practical rigours of the programme.

iii) Applications are welcomed from diverse backgrounds however where there is a discipline shift the applicant must represent a coherent rationale for this shift and evidence prerequisite knowledge, skills and experience.

The programme is devised specifically to support continuing lifelong learning for professions in a rapidly changing field. Therefore APL (Accreditation for Prior Learning) will be considered as evidence of exceptional ability appropriate to recruitment to the programme. Applications from professionals with extensive professional, industrial and/or commercial experience but lacking recent or higher level academic qualifications will be encouraged. APL (Advanced Prior Learning) will be considered as evidence of exceptional ability appropriate to the course.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Teaching and learning assessment

The course is delivered through a range of teaching methods. You will be taught in lectures, seminars, group crits, individual and group tutorials and peer feedback sessions. Due to the nature of art and design teaching, formative feedback is given on a regular basis, with summative feedback being provided in written and verbal form after each assessment. You will work independently, and engage in both practical and written research. Access to discipline specific workshops will be available to enable you to develop, experiment and produce work.

Exemptions and transferability

Exemptions will be considered on an individual basis.

Careers & opportunities

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Career options

MFA Design has a very strong employability track record. Graduates from the course have gained employment both nationally and internationally. With the course’s strong entrepreneurial focus, many graduates have gone on to establish their own, successful businesses with many securing substantial venture capital funding.

Our students and graduates are opportunity focused and, during the first six years of the course had secured over £650,000 in project funding. In addition our students and graduates have received international recognition through winning numerous awards and bursaries.

Academic profile

The course team are specialists in their field and are research active publishing, exhibiting and sharing their practice both nationally and internationally. Staff also engage with academic enterprise and scholarship in learning and teaching. Staff have excellent relationships with industry and employers and a range of funding bodies. This experience in all areas informs the learning and teaching on the program.

70% of staff are recognised by the Higher Education Academy as Fellows or Senior Fellows.

Apply

Applications are received throughout the year. All applicants must attend an interview to discuss their portfolio. The majority of interviews take place between January and May, with exceptional late submissions considered between June and September. Interviews end in September preceding the start of the course.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early and to contact the course director with any questions: E: r.dickson@ulster.ac.uk.

Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2017

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
View Ulster University’s 2017 fees policy

Northern Ireland & EU:
£7,050.00
International:
£17,650.00

Additional mandatory costs

Some discipline areas in Belfast School of Art will charge a materials fee from £50-60 per semester. These areas can include Fine Art, Textile Art, Design and Fashion, and Ceramics, Jewellery and Silversmithing.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.

Contact

Student Services Centre

T: +44 (0)28 9536 7202

E: bsart@ulster.ac.uk

Course Director: Ms Rachel Dickson

T: +44 (0)28 9536 7353

E: r.dickson@ulster.ac.uk