The Masters in Product Design at Ulster is not simply an interpretation of Product Design as 3D work in the traditional design and engineering context, but it encompasses Service Design Innovation, UX and App Design, Internet of Things (IOT), Smart Product and Textiles, Wearables, User Centred Design, Designer-Maker activities, Social Innovation and Enterprise, Design for Empathy and Interaction Design.
Projects on the Masters course centre around actual need and with an enterprise focus, but underpinned with a research led teaching methodology and discourse. A holistic understanding of design and the 'Design Thinking' and Design Process is evident in a range of diverse projects. The learning and teaching methods – tutorials, lectures, project specific workshops, contemporary reading lists and design tool resources all effectively support students in their learning through a thematically diverse product design curriculum.
The MA Product Design is predominantly about Research, Disruption, Commercialisation and Strategy of Product Design. It has been designed to be different than but a natural pathway for graduates of any traditional practice based Design Program or industry, to elevate Thinking, Strategic Planning, Ethical Testing, Commercialisation and Execution of Design Development Projects.
The course aims to develop critical thinkers, risk takers, resilient , independent, resourceful, flexible and creative designers, intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs to lead and innovate within the Creative Industries. The course gives graduates and industry returners the opportunity to engage with Research knowledge, Design Thinking methods, disruptive ideas and perspectives and creative skills demanded by practice. Students will investigate the larger 'wicked' issues that effect modern society, via disruptive technologies, innovative creative practices, user experience, co-design, ethics, sustainability and potential futures.
The course has strong links to Industry that it nurtures and these flourish from a two way process of being fed by and feeding Industry what it requires, whilst still identifying and future proofing the sector with a strong Research led student that will engage in 'Live briefs' via the University's Research and Impact Office, SMEs, Charities, Government departments and regional funding bodies.
The Diversity in the current academic Product Design team offers a contemporary view of the field and represents the plurality in what product design is today. This view will be recognised in the range of projects offered to students and in the overall Masters curriculum design. The curriculum structure will accommodate this plurality in practice and present opportunities for diverse student responses.
Teaching and learning assessment
The course is delivered through a range of teaching methods. You will be taught in lectures, seminars, group crits, individual and group tutorials and peer feedback sessions. Due to the nature of art and design teaching, formative feedback is given on a regular basis, with summative feedback being provided in written and verbal form after each assessment. You will work independently, and engage in both practical and written research. Access to discipline specific workshops will be available to enable you to develop, experiment and produce work.
Work placement / study abroad
Students are encouraged to take on relevant work placement or internships, but there is not dedicated module on the Masters course.