MA Design – Bath Spa University



Postgraduate degree

    Key facts

    MA Design
    Bath School of Design
    Campus or location
    Sion Hill and Locksbrook
    Course length
    One year full-time.

    Entry requirements

    Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We're generally looking for a good honours degree or equivalent.

    Some courses also require an interview or the submission of a portfolio of work.

    Please contact our admissions team for more information:

    Develop genuine skill, understanding and confidence, and take your practice to a professional level with our MA Design.

    • Reach your creative potential through exciting professional projects and exhibitions.
    • Learn from accomplished design professionals, with excellent academic and technical support.
    • Work in dedicated studio spaces and benefit from excellent workshop and fabrication facilities.

    Due to Covid-19, we have made some changes to teaching and learning for the 2020-21 academic year: we have blended high-quality virtual engagement with in-person teaching on campus when possible. Blended learning will continue to some extent in the 2021-22 academic year and we will continue to keep the situation under review in light of ongoing Government guidance. If you’re planning on joining us in September 2021 we will communicate with you about specific details of how your course is taught nearer the time.

    The boundaries between design, visual communication and visual arts practices are becoming increasingly blurred. Our MA Design encourages a healthy interplay of work and ideas between disciplines.

    This is a practical design course, grounded in professional development and research. We encourage you to work independently and collaboratively alongside students of curation, graphic design, photography, illustration and other Design and Fine Art specialisms to build a strong professional and critical context for your practice.

    On successful completion of the course, your increased confidence and abilities will be clearly evident in the portfolios you’ve developed, and you'll be ready to move into industry or to continue to further study.

    What you'll learn


    Working alongside other postgraduate students from Textiles, Visual Communication, Illustration, Graphics and Fine Art, you’ll develop your own projects while undertaking practice-led research, theory and professional practice modules.

    Specialist tutors and technicians will guide your progress, supporting you to create your own approach and make your design outcomes more successful.

    You'll use subject-specific studios and workshops and have access to specialist software and computers. Our excellent art and design library provides access to books, ebooks, magazines and periodicals and is supported by a dedicated team.

    The year-long Design Master’s culminates in a public exhibition. Our aim is for you to graduate with a broad, informed outlook, a genuine confidence in your abilities and the professional skills necessary to succeed in your chosen specialism.

    Course structure

    This Design Master’s runs over one year and is divided into three trimesters.

    Trimester one
    We encourage playfulness and risk-taking, and ask you to respond to a range of instructions in ways that will allow you to interrogate how you work – without threatening your approach. Right from the start, you'll begin to gather primary and secondary research that will feed into your assessments.

    We introduce a range of key issues in design and communication practice and allow you to explore how your specialist areas relate to the wider field. You’ll also begin to develop your professional practice skills such as marketing, social media, IT, collaborative working and exhibition installation.

    Trimester two
    Maintaining an experimental approach, you'll begin to narrow your focus. Academic staff will help you evaluate your development and refine your work to support the project outcome. You’ll be encouraged to pay greater attention to the way in which your project functions and engages its audience. Technical staff will support you to bring your project to a level appropriate for the assessment submission.

    Trimester three
    A self-directed, double practice module leads to your final Degree Show. You’ll establish a line of enquiry, working to a proposal of your devising, which positions your work within your specialist discipline. You’ll work in the studio with increasing independence to produce a body of work that demonstrates your now advanced knowledge and understanding of your professional practice.

    How will I be assessed?

    Your progress is evaluated by formative assessment (throughout the duration of the course) and summative assessment (at the end of each trimester), through a mixture of exhibitions, verbal/visual presentations, research folders/blogs and written assignments.

    How will I be taught?

    You’ll learn through lectures, talks, taught sessions, individual and group tutorials, and studio critiques and seminars.

    Visiting lecturers, and seminars with external professionals and internationally renowned designers and artists, will help you determine where your current practice sits within the industry.

    Our collaborative structure also means that you’ll learn from each other – for instance, Illustration or Photography students might engage in debates with a range of other Art and Design students.

    Technical Demonstrators, who manage our workshop facilities, provide teaching and support across a wide range of subject specialisms. Your learning is also supported by specialist librarians.



    When permitted, Bath School of Design offers fieldwork opportunities throughout the academic year.

    Work placements, industry links and internship

    Our students have worked with a range of organisations incuding: The Holburne Museum, New Designers, British Ceramics Biennial, Collect, Ceramic Art London, The Contemporary Craft Fair, and Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute.


    Careers opportunities encompass skills such as book design, digital design, branding and typography, and roles include:

    • Art Director
    • Illustrator
    • Graphic Designer
    • Interior Designer
    • Multimedia Artist
    • Animator
    • Set and Exhibit Designer

    Facilities and resources

    Where the subject is taught

    Our Art and Design courses are based at our Locksbrook and Sion Hill campuses.

    You'll have access to:

    • New, purpose-built facilities, specifically designed to encourage creative cross-disciplinary encounters with other artists and designers
    • Specialist Art and Design library
    • Dedicated subject librarian
    • Specialist printmaking, digital print and ceramics workshops
    • 3D digital processes workshop
    • Glaze laboratory
    • University-wide workshops: woodwork, metalwork, photography, audio visual studio, silkscreen, etching and litho, sculpture casting and plastics.

    Locksbrook campus

    Locksbrook Campus is truly a unique and inspirational space, providing a state-of-the-art learning environment for you to flourish. Located next to the River Avon in Bath city centre, the open-plan building has technical workshops surrounded by open, flexible studio spaces, as well as large, open social areas.


    Please note: Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are no longer eligible for the UK (Home) fee status. Please refer to the international student rate.

    UK students full time

    Course fees
    2021/22 entry £8,405
    2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
    2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

    International students full time

    Course fees
    2021/22 entry £15,685
    2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
    2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

    Interested in applying?

    What we look for in potential students

    We're looking for energetic and self-motivated individuals who can work on their own but also see the value in working in collaboration with others. They should enjoy asking questions and solving creative problems.

    Typical offers and subject-specific requirement

    You’ll need a good undergraduate degree in a design, visual communication or art specialism, or its equivalent in terms of learning or experience, and a good working knowledge of design, visual communication or art contexts.

    Fundamentally, you’ll be selected on your ability to thrive on this course, as demonstrated by your portfolio and interview.

    How do I apply?

    Ready to apply? Click the "apply now" button in the centre of this page.

    Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

    Interview and portfolio guidance

    Interviews can be conducted onsite or online with a digital portfolio.

    Want to apply for this year? 

    Many of our postgraduate courses have a limited number of student spaces. To avoid the disappointment of the course being full, we recommend that you apply now.

    Late applications (generally those made after 31 July) will only be considered if places remain on the course.

    Need more information or still have questions? Contact us to discuss your situation.

    Postgraduate Coordinator: Andrew Southall

    Locksbrook Campus image credits: Chris Wakefield, Crescent Photography

    Masthead image: Carolina Sanchez

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