Design for Change

Our programme develops critically conscious and socially literate changemakers, who have been immersed in the thinking, skills, and experience required to facilitate current and future transitions in ethical and ecologically sustainable ways; to become pioneers and leaders in the practice.

With our partners at the Institute without Boundaries (IwB) and through real client engagement students learn to apply the transformative capacity of design through the implementation of powerful, collaborative, contemporary design skills to achieve meaningful co-created solutions which enable progressive change in individuals and communities.

The MA responds to the great challenges of the present and future; social, economic, and ecological which all require new ways of thinking and new ways of doing. Strategic, ethical, radical, just, and purposeful, this programme offers new dynamic ways of engaging with our collective challenges.

What will I be doing?
Employing complex problem solving and critical thinking.
Learning and practicing contemporary and emergent design methods.
Developing systemic understanding of social, economic, and ecological challenges.
Working with external partners and stakeholders (civic and industry) on live projects.
Managing and participating in local & international design workshops.
Applying emergent design methodologies to individual and group challenges.

This course is developed and delivered in collaboration with the Institute Without Boundaries / George Brown College, Canada.

Subjects taught

What modules will I study?
An international collaboration, developed by two established centres of excellence, the curriculum is carefully crafted to allow students to both learn and apply models and theories of design strategy. The modules are complementary, holistic and are designed to prepare the candidate to devise and realise a major design project of their own in the final term; students are introduced to new ways of thinking about our world(s), and are encouraged to challenge dominant frameworks of thought and adopt alternatives. They learn to employ interdisciplinary research methods, both traditional and experimental, with a view to developing their own. Through group projects, value frameworks are collaboratively developed, systems are mapped and explored, and solutions are developed and tested. Throughout the process, students have on-going access to a large list of industry professionals, expert advisors, and faculty.

A major component of the IwB and the MA Design for Change are charrettes. These are multiple-day collaborative design and planning workshops inclusive of all affected stakeholders. There are a number of these charrettes throughout the programme.

Modules include:
Interdisciplinary Research Methods
Applied Design
Design: Context and Theory
Integrated Design Strategies
Communication Design
Professional Studies
Major Project

In term two there is the option for the MA students to travel to Canada to participate in the Toronto International Charrette. This is an annual Institute Without Boundaries event that brings together 200 plus students, faculty and industry experts from organisations around the world. The goal of each charrette will be for participants to design detailed project proposals that respond to the major themes of the current Institute Without Boundaries major project.

Entry requirements

Min Entry Requirements
Undergraduate qualification of 2nd Class Honours or higher at Honours Degree level.

Applicants may be considered provided they can demonstrate Honours Degree equivalence, which can be verified through our RPL (recognition of prior learning) process.

Some prior experience in a cognate discipline is desirable.

Advanced Entry Requirements
Entry to an advanced stage of the MA Programme is available via two pathways

(i) Successful candidates of approved Access/Feeder Programmes (AFPs).
(ii) Applicants may be considered for advanced entry through a combination of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and relevant Industry Experience in the discipline area.

Please contact IADT Admissions for further information on advanced entry.

Application dates

Application Deadline
2024 applications will open in spring 2024.

IADT operates a rolling admissions policy for graduate taught courses, with decisions issued in 4 weeks after a submitted and complete application is received.

An application is incomplete until you provide all required items on the checklist (including the application fee, if applicable).

Generally, courses will remain open to applications until all places are filled.

Portfolio: No


3 Semesters over 14 months

Classes take place on Wednesday evenings online (7pm – 9pm) and on Thursdays on campus (10am – 5pm).


Fees IE/EU Students: €6,000
Fees International Students: €16,000

Enrolment dates

Semesters 1-2: September 2024 - April 2025
Semester 3: September 2025 - January 2026

30 Credits per Semester.

Conferring for this programme takes place in March, after the final Semester.

Post Course Info

Future careers
Graduates will be prepared to work at a strategic level across a broad range of sectors. Recent graduates are employed as service designers, design researchers and design strategists in a wide variety of sectors, in Ireland and abroad; tech companies, financial services, non-for profits; government organisations and their own enterprise or consulting service.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time,Evening,Daytime,Blended

  • Apply to

    Course provider