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Design Histories and Futures, M.A.

  • Anytime
    Application Deadline
  • 15 months
The MA Design Histories and Futures at the University of the Arts London (UAL) practices research into the global story of design and material culture. Students practice critical engagement with the ethics, ideologies and methods of design in its social, cultural, political and technological context.


Whether your aim is to be a practicing design critic or writer, or simply to better understand the context in which your design work sits, University of the Arts London (UAL)'s MA Design Histories and Futures will give you the skills and knowledge you need to develop your writerly practice. And if you're interested in progressing to PhD level, the course offers specialised sessions on developing a research proposal with support from current PhD supervisors at LCC.

Working with colleagues from across the courses in LCC's Design School portfolio, you will understand and reflect diverse practice throughout your work. Not only will you be encouraged to speak with authority, you'll be supported to produce design history with real impact in a range of contexts.

What can you expect?

  • You will develop your writerly practice, which will form the basis for a journal of design criticism, hosted online. Representing the diverse perspectives and ideas you are developing, it will allow you to establish a profile in the field on your own terms.
  • You will have the opportunity to work on a major project that could take the form of archival, curatorial or event-based practice – as well as writerly practice. By the end of the MA, you will have a portfolio of writing and critical design that allows you to speak authoritatively on a host of design contexts and issues.
  • The course is delivered by tutors from across the School’s range of subject expertise. It is led by experienced researchers and practitioners in design and material culture with extensive exhibition and publication profiles in graphic design, performance, comics, information design, subculture, phenomenology, history of art, critical cartography, participatory design and art, urban studies, research methods, design and media activism, feminist media, architecture, queer theory and many others. In addition, you will engage with practitioners and researchers from across the School.


MA Design Histories and Future supports progression into further study and/or research in design and associated fields. With a pathway to research proposal and PhD it is a natural choice for those interested in an academic career in design research. Another key role for graduates will be in the museum, heritage and cultural sectors within or outside of London’s extensive cultural sector. 

The course provides the contextual, historical and critical training for the curators and producers of the future of this expanding field. Finally there’s opportunity to develop a critical practice in writing outside the academy in journals or magazines.

Programme Structure

Courses include: 

  • Transnational Design - Histories, Materials, Practices and Theories
  • Design Criticism
  • Collaborative Unit
  • Archiving and Curating
  • Research Proposal
  • Thesis and Major Project

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 15 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS

    Studyportals Tip: The UK government has confirmed new English-language testing requirements for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more

Academic Requirements

General Requirements

Entry requirements

  • Honours degree in a relevant subject such as: Design, Art, Cultural Studies, Sociology
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required
  • CV
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Study proposal

Tuition Fee

  • International

    19930 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 19930 GBP per year and a duration of 15 months.
  • EU/EEA

    10890 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 10890 GBP per year and a duration of 15 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for London

  • 1137 - 2160 GBP/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, Studyportals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.

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