Study for a Master of Design at Cranfield

In today’s competitive world, business success depends increasingly on the ability to innovate. Business leaders are already recognising the importance of how creative practice and process can improve product and service development and design thinking in shaping business strategy.

Video: Study Design at Cranfield

At a glance

  • Start dateFull-time: October, part-time: throughout the year
  • DurationOne year full-time, two-three years part-time
  • DeliveryTaught modules 40%, Group projects 20%, Individual research project 40%
  • QualificationMDes, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time

Who is it for?

The course develops creative design literate engineers, scientists and management postgraduates. It is suitable for graduates from a variety of disciplines who recognise the importance of how creative practice and process can improve product and service development.

Why this course?

The aim of this Master of Design (MDes) programme in Innovation and Creativity in Industry is to equip candidates with skills and capabilities in, and knowledge of, fact-based creative design approaches to improve organisation effectiveness. The programme has been developed in conjunction with the University of Arts London (UAL) through the Centre for Competitive Creative Design, which aims to inspire organisations to apply creative design capability and enhance competitiveness.

There is a strong emphasis on applying knowledge in the industrial or business environment and the programme is taught in the context of practical application. Students will develop a working knowledge of the use of a comprehensive range of industry standard ICT tools and practices to formally capture and re-use knowledge, information and data. Students will also benefit from practical experience in creative design practices through the group project (dissertation for part-time students). In addition, the extensive individual thesis project provides industry-led education in creative design applications.

The primary focus of the Centre for Competitive Creative Design is embedding state-of-the-art design-led innovation practice, developed through research and industry collaboration, within business and education to improve commercial performance and develop future innovation leaders

Informed by Industry

Our courses are designed to meet the training needs of industry and have a strong input from experts in their sector. These include:

  • Aspire Measurements
  • BRE
  • KTN Network
  • LA Design
  • ViaDynamics.

Your teaching team

You will be taught by a wide-range of subject specialists from Cranfield with support from industrial professionals who draw on their expertise and industrial experience to provide stimulating and relevant input to the learning experience.

Accreditation

This course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers.

Chartered Society of Designers accreditation logo

Course details

The course comprises eight one-week assessed modules a group design project, which includes individual concept development through collaboration, and an individual design project resulting in a public exhibition.

Group project

The group project experience is highly valued by both students and prospective employers. Teams of students work to solve an industrial problem. The project applies technical knowledge and provides training in teamwork and the opportunity to develop non-technical aspects of the taught programme. Part-time students can prepare a dissertation on an agreed topic in place of the group project.

Industrially orientated, our team projects have support from external organisations. These include: Airbus, Atkins, Altro, Bromford Industries, Benaa Group, BT, Caterpillar, Centre for Process Innovation, Cisco, DPD, Dragon Rouge, Engineering Photonics Centre, Environcom, ERA Foundation, GKN Hybrid Power, HS Marston Aerospace, Ihsan Center, Labinal Power Systems, Maier Group, Novartis, Okaz Organization for Press and Publications, Operations Excellence Institute, Rolls-Royce, Safran Power, SENTi, SPI Laser, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Ultra Precision Centre, and Whirlpool.

As a result of external engagement Cranfield students enjoy a higher degree of success when it comes to securing employment. Prospective employers value the student experience where team working to find solutions to industrially based problems are concerned.

Individual project

The individual design project provides you with the opportunity to enhance your independent learning ability and knowledge by developing solutions to real problems in an industrially relevant area.

The subject of the project is agreed between the student and the supervisor and will normally be based around part of the taught material and/or a company problem.

Assessment

Taught modules 40%, Group projects 20%, Individual research project 40%

University Disclaimer

Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the core modules and some optional modules affiliated with this programme which ran in the academic year 2017–2018. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2018 entry. All modules are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Technology and Prototyping

Module Leader
  • Matthew Collins
Aim

    Specialised module to introduce industry prototyping design processes. This module will also introduce the facilities/workshops available at Cranfield.

Syllabus
    • Basic introduction to Innovation and Technology Readiness Levels.
    • Understand the benefits of ‘good’ requirements engineering e.g. how to capture and write ‘good’ requirements.
    • Roles of consumer research, benchmarking and management in successful new product development, the impact of creativity and innovation methods on new product development, User Centric Design-Driven Design, hands on practice using a market leading software. Concept development manifested in a design proposition.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Identify and write design specification requirements for a new product, service or system.
  • Discuss, plan and build low fidelity prototypes using design best practice and agile innovation techniques.
  • Critically evaluate industrial best practice tools and techniques for converting an idea into commercially viable solutions.
  • Reflect upon the value of technology readiness levels used as an innovation process.
  • Think creatively within a multi-disciplinary team using self and group reflective techniques.

Consumer Trends

Module Leader
  • Dr Fiona Charnley
Aim
    This module introduces the student to new methods for observing and analysing tangible and intangible elements of behaviours, expectations, and associations of customer groups. It intends to provide an insight into how developing a deep understanding of user attitudes and behaviour enables organisations to connect to what is ultimately important to consumers and importantly can help them to design innovative and strategic solutions that are appropriate for consumer use.
Syllabus
    • Market research methods
    • Market sensing
    • Trend analysis
    • Empathic design
    • Lifestyle Analysis
    • Personal cultures
    • Group lifestyle cultures
    • Lifestyles factor abstraction
    • Observation techniques
    • Co-design
    • Data Gathering and Analysis Techniques
    • Life observation
    • Activity Simulation methods
    • Developing prototypes
    • Applying questionnaires
    • Setting up and carrying out a Customer Lifestyle Observation Exercise.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Explain new and established deep insight methods in studying user behaviour
  • Select and apply appropriate research methods to explore customer needs and desires
  • Interpret data to identify sustainable innovation drivers for end-consumers
  • Apply research information to applications within the commercial environment.


Managing Innovation and New Product Development

Module Leader
  • Dr Clive Savory
Aim
    This module presents innovation management as a key strategic competence, and aims to equip students with practical tools and hands-on experience enabling them to contribute to the management and improvement of innovation in industry. Innovation management theory and practice are demonstrated using team based learning and discussions around research, practical examples, case studies and a new product development simulation exercise.
Syllabus
    • Introduction to innovation management as an organisational capability
    • Introduction to the dimensions of innovation: products, services, business processes and business model.
    • Innovation Strategy
    • Technology development and innovation
    • User-centred innovation
    • Business model innovation
    • Service innovation
    • Management of New product development projects.


Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Describe key concepts and issues in innovation and will be able to identify the potential for product service, process, and business model innovation within an organization and/or network;
  • Compare and contrast strengths and weaknesses of an organization in terms of its innovation management and performance;
  • Apply and evaluate key tools, techniques and approaches to managing innovation and new product development
  • Develop the ability to critically select and apply appropriate tools, techniques and perspectives in actual business situations;
  • Judge the challenges in managing new product development

Creative Enterprise and Entrepreneurship

Module Leader
  • Dr Oksana Koryak
Aim

    This module provides a forum for examining mindsets, methods, and managerial activities that are involved in the entrepreneurial process from opportunity recognition to growing ventures. While the most visible outcome of this module is a written business plan, we will cover a wide area of issues related to starting and growing new ventures. The module is intended to expose students to the main issues associated with the dynamic and uncertain environment of new ventures. During the module, students are therefore required to form teams around ideas for new ventures and to develop and present plans to launch their business idea. 

Syllabus
    • The Entrepreneurial Process
    • What is an Opportunity? How is it different from an Idea?
    • What is a value proposition and how can you create value?
    • Pre-Business-Plan Analysis: Industries and Markets
    • The Entrepreneur and their Team: Competences, complementarity, creativity
    • Business Models Analytics
    • Business planning techniques and their application in entrepreneurial ventures
    • Resourcing and strategy in entrepreneurial context
    • Sources of Financing and Valuation Issues in early stage companies
    • Protecting and securing intellectual capital
    • The evolution of the venture and managing growth.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Evaluate new venture opportunities
  • Develop and present a business plan using their understanding of the entrepreneurial process
  • Estimate the financial needs of a venture in the early stages of its development and growth.
  • Formulate pitches for funding directed at different categories of investors.

Design and Brand Management

Module Leader
  • Dr Leon Williams
Aim

    The aim of this module is to introduce students to the concepts and techniques involved in human-centered branding and its strategic role in a company and other organisations. To explore branding as a service experience, and engage students in branding methods used in branding to differentiate, create value and connect to the user. To explore brand in different market sectors and its digitalisation.

Syllabus
    • The principles of human-centered branding and brand development
    • Brand as a service experience, brand and multiple touchpoints
    • Models of brand identity
    • Tools for human-centered brand analysis and development: customer journeys, story-telling, co-creation
    • The process of brand evolution and innovation.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Explain the brand driven innovation approach
  • Select and apply the principles of human-centred branding
  • Select and apply the principles of brand valuation
  • Discuss the principles and techniques for developing and managing brand experience, digital and non-digital
  • Explain the role of human-centered branding in different market sectors
  • Evaluate and apply the principles of human-centered branding and brand valuation
  • Apply the principles and techniques for developing and managing digital and non-digital brand experience.

Whole System Design

Module Leader
  • Dr Fiona Charnley
Aim

    This module aims to introduce students to strategies and tools that enable integrated sustainable product development to take place.  In particular students will gain experience of the real life scenarios in which a holistic approach to designing for improved sustainability is required. Delivering environmental improvements in products requires organisations to take a longer-term integrated view of their product and service policies. To support this an appreciation for a range of tools and techniques, used to guide designers responding to the requirements for more sustainable development of products, services and organisational processes, will be developed.

Syllabus
    On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
    • Introduction to the historical context of design for sustainability;
    • Exploration and critical analysis of multiple approaches to the design of more environmentally and socially responsible products, services and systems;
    • Design for Sustainable Service development and delivery;
    • Application of Lifecycle Assessment tools and techniques;
    • Design for sustainable behaviour: consideration of ethical and societal implications of consumer focused design;
    • Principles and practice of designing for sustainability: material selection, energy consumption, design for disassembly, material recovery, reuse, repair and recyclability;
    • Industry focused case studies demonstrating the adoption of a holistic approach to more innovative and sustainable solutions.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Identify the design trade-offs and explain methods used to address the more sustainable development of new products;
  • Discuss the definitions and scope associated with design for sustainability from different technical, environmental and social perspectives;
  • Critically evaluate the use of life-cycle assessment techniques for the appraisal of product and process development options;
  • Explore and synthesise concepts of design responsibility and the ethical agenda of designing for society;
  • Develop and analyse the link between design activity and organisational strategy as an approach to addressing environmentally and socially responsible design;
  • Identify and utilise case studies from across design disciplines that have adopted a holistic approach to the design of more innovative and sustainable solutions.

Smart Materials and Processes

Module Leader
  • Matthew Collins
Aim

    This module aims to support the professional and personal development of students with a design and engineering background at an MSc level. This module provides insight into the latest cutting-edge design and manufacturing technologies and improves knowledge skills necessary for developing products that will create an impact in the global market. This module is shared by the two courses MSc in Global Product Development and MDes Innovation and Creativity in Industry.

Syllabus
    • Learn about nano and micro-materials technology.
    • Biomimetic.
    • Applied design using smart materials and processes.
    • Design and technology using Additive Manufacturing (focus on Wire and Arc AM with metal)
    • Applied global product patenting and product legislation.
    • Design using robots and metal.
    • Professional presentation skills training.
    • Research task: solving design challenges using SM&P technology.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Select appropriate materials within the context of contemporary design.
  • Identify and evaluate appropriate advanced manufacturing technologies and materials as a basis for new product or service development.
  • Apply design thinking to the use of innovative materials, technologies and processes.
  • Demonstrate new creative design skills in developing advanced product innovations.
  • Apply project management skills to the application of smart materials and processes for innovative design projects.


Project Management Introduction

Module Leader
  • John Algar
Aim

    This is an introduction to the subject. However, it is our contention that projects are the building blocks of strategy. Also, the module provides a logical and simple process by which students may approach their own modules and objectives, and may well be a valuable source of confidence for taking on major elective projects later in the year.

    Project Management Introduction (PMI) demonstrates how management respects no boundaries (either in terms of functional silos – departments, etc. or theoretical disciplines). PMI provides additional opportunities to practice personal communication skills, and generally the module provides a basis for personal development and increased confidence and self-awareness.

Syllabus

    The central aims of this module are to develop an introductory understanding of:

    • The fundamental principles of project management applied in the contemporary environment of enterprise projects.
    • The application of the main techniques and processes of project management in a team-based application of the planning/execution/control cycle.

    On completing this module, students should be able to:
    • Develop an Executive Summary (a concise one page overview of the project) linking the project to higher level organisational objectives.
    • Scope the project by creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
    • Identify key task sequences and the critical path using network (logic) diagramming.
    • Set up a graphical representation of the schedule using the bar chart (Gantt), and track progress against the baseline schedule.
    • Use knowledge of resource availability to adjust schedules (resource levelling) and establish realistic milestones, lead times and deadlines.
    • Recognise appropriate levels of detail for the scoping and scheduling process, the change management, the progress reporting requirements and the delivery.
    • Develop and manage budgets and cash flow for a project.
    • Have used Earned Value techniques to assess achievement and produce forecasts.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Apply the key tools and techniques in project management.
  • Identify, define, scope, schedule, track and bring to completion a project.
  • Apply financial management process in a project management context.
  • Brief and manage consultant project staff on behalf of your organisation.

Fees and funding

European Union students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year and the 2018 to 2019 academic year will still have access to student funding support. Please see the UK Government’s announcement (21 April 2017).

Cranfield University welcomes applications from students from all over the world for our postgraduate programmes. The Home/EU student fees listed continue to apply to EU students.

MDes Full-time £8,500
MDes Part-time £1,635 *
PgDip Full-time £6,500
PgDip Part-time £1,635 *
PgCert Full-time £3,250
PgCert Part-time £1,635 *
  • * The annual registration fee is quoted above and will be invoiced annually. An additional fee of £1,340 per module is also payable on receipt of invoice. 
  • ** Fees can be paid in full up front, or in equal annual instalments, up to a maximum of two payments per year; first payment on or before registration and the second payment six months after the course start date. Students who complete their course before the initial end date will be invoiced the outstanding fee balance and must pay in full prior to graduation.

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A deposit may be payable, depending on your course.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged and can be found below.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.

For further information regarding tuition fees, please refer to our fee notes.

MDes Full-time £19,000
MDes Part-time £19,000 **
PgDip Full-time £15,200
PgDip Part-time £15,200 **
PgCert Full-time £7,600
PgCert Part-time £11,310 **
  • * The annual registration fee is quoted above and will be invoiced annually. An additional fee of £1,340 per module is also payable on receipt of invoice. 
  • ** Fees can be paid in full up front, or in equal annual instalments, up to a maximum of two payments per year; first payment on or before registration and the second payment six months after the course start date. Students who complete their course before the initial end date will be invoiced the outstanding fee balance and must pay in full prior to graduation.

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A deposit may be payable, depending on your course.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged and can be found below.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.

For further information regarding tuition fees, please refer to our fee notes.

Funding Opportunities

To help students in finding and securing appropriate funding we have created a funding finder where you can search for suitable sources of funding by filtering the results to suit your needs. Visit the funding finder.

GREAT China Scholarship
The GREAT Cranfield University Scholarship China is jointly funded by Cranfield University and the British Council. Two scholarships of £11,000 each for Chinese students are available.

The Spotcap Fintech Fellowship

The Spotcap Fintech Fellowship is worth £8,000 for UK students pursuing a postgraduate degree in study related to financial technology.

The Cranfield Scholarship

We have a limited number of scholarships available for candidates from around the world applying for the 2017 intake. Scholarships are awarded to applicants who show both aptitude and ability for the subject they are applying. Find out more about the Cranfield Scholarship

Postgraduate Loan from Student Finance England

A Postgraduate Loan is now available for UK and EU applicants to help you pay for your Master’s course. You can apply for a loan at GOV.UK

Santander MSc Scholarship

The Santander Scholarship at Cranfield University is worth £5,000 towards tuition fees for full-time master's courses. Check the scholarship page to find out if you are from an eligible Santander Universities programme country.

Chevening Scholarships

Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding emerging leaders to pursue a one-year master’s at Cranfield university. The scholarship includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Commonwealth Scholarships for Developing Countries

Students from developing countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK can apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship which includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Future Finance Student Loans

Future Finance offer student loans of up to £40,000 that can cover living costs and tuition fees for all student at Cranfield University.

Erasmus+ Student Loans

This new loan scheme for EU students is offered by Future Finance and European Investment Fund and provides smart, flexible loans of up to £9,300.

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 – Industrial Design Studentships

Around 9 Studentships are offered each year for outstanding engineering or science graduates who wish to develop their capabilities in industrial design and who aspire to becoming leading designers in British industry.

The Richard Diehl Design Award

The Richard Diehl Design Award and Vectorworks Design Scholarship gives students in any discipline of design a chance to win funding of up to $US10,000.

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme

The Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) is a funding programme providing affordable tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time UK/EU students studying technology-based MSc courses.

Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia)

Cranfield offers competitive scholarships for Mexican students in conjunction with Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia) in science, technology and engineering.

Entry requirements

Candidates must possess, or be expected to achieve, a first or second class UK Honours degree in a relevant science, engineering or related discipline; or the international equivalent of these UK qualifications. Other relevant qualifications, together with significant experience, may be considered.

English Language

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. Our minimum requirements are as follows:

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a IELTS for UKVI test.

Applicants who do not already meet the English language entry requirement for their chosen Cranfield course can apply to attend one of our Presessional English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses. We offer Winter/Spring and Summer programmes each year to offer holders.

Your career

Cranfield has an international reputation and track record in industrial research for applied sciences, engineering and management. Cranfield University is recognised internationally as the leading UK educational institution in art and design, named in Business Week as one of the worlds best design schools.

There is a recognised skills shortage in competitive creative design. Graduates of this course are therefore sought after by employers and will be able to secure positions within a range of sectors. Roles are varied, ranging from managers of people to design managers in creative industries. Graduates will possess a combination of science-based skills with creative insight which is increasingly desirable for employers looking to enhance productivity performance in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

2016 03 Cranfield Grey Teaser DesignStrategyLeadershipt 01

I would recommend the course as the Cranfield experience is not something that I believe many other universities offer. The focus on industry means that the course is highly relevant to industry, increasing career prospects and enriching the experience.

Dale Walker, Student

Applying

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at this time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.

Apply Now