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. This course integrates world-class, design-driven innovation, management and research activities through a unique teaching approach. We aim to provide students with up-to-date skills to pursue careers in government, NGOs, environmental and business consultancies and public sector organisations.

Video: Study Design at Cranfield

At a glance

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

Who is it for?

The course is designed to suit creative individuals with business acumen who recognise the importance of how creative practice and process can improve product and service development. It aims to develop creative design literate engineers, scientists and management postgraduates providing tools and techniques to visualise complex data flows and strategic communication processes. It is suitable for graduates from a variety of disciplines.

Your career

Successful students develop diverse and rewarding careers in government ministries, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), environmental and business consultancies, public sector organisations such as environmental protection agencies, and the manufacturing and service industries in the private sector.

Cranfield Careers Service
Our Careers Service can help you find the job you want after leaving Cranfield. We will work with you to identify suitable opportunities and support you in the job application process for up to three years after graduation.We have been providing Masters level training for over 20 years. Our strong reputation and links with potential employers provide you with outstanding opportunities to secure interesting jobs and develop successful careers. The increasing interest in sustainability and corporate and social responsibility has also enhanced the career prospects of our graduates.

Why this course?

Offered by our Centre for Competitive Creative Design (C4D), this masters in Design, Thinking exploits existing expertise within Cranfield’s School of Water, Energy and Environment and School of Management. 

This course is suitable for mid-career professionals in the creative industries sector looking to improve their skills in the strategic, tactical and implementation aspects of the management of creativity and innovation in business.

Informed by Industry

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

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.

Dr Fiona Charnley, Senior Lecturer in Circular Innovation, was named in the Telegraph’s Top 50 Women in Engineering.

Course details

The MDes course comprises five assessed modules in which students engage in creative leadership, strategic design management, design thinking and innovation strategy, technology and prototyping and circular innovation. Modules are delivered in facilities in Cranfield, supported by seminars, workshops and lectures in creative and design agencies, providing a closer link to professional practice. Students also undertake a group project in which they apply their skills to real business challenges, and complete an individual thesis project.

Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) students complete five modules and the group project. Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) students complete five modules.

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.

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.

Recent group projects include:

Individual project

The individual thesis project offers students the opportunity to develop their research capability, depth of understanding and ability to provide world-class solutions to real problems in design strategy and leadership.

Assessment

Taught modules 40%, Group projects 20%, Individual 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 compulsory modules and (where applicable) some elective 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

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.


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.

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.

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.

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 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.
  • 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.
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.
  • 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.

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 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.

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS)

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

A first or second class UK Honours degree 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.

Applying



Apply Now