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Product Design


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.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

The specific requirements for admission are detailed below:

Applicants must hold a degree (with at least 2:2 Honours standard) or equivalent or be able to demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior learning.

i) Applicants should normally hold an honours degree in any Art, Computer Science, Engineering, Design practice, Visual Arts or cognate subject from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council of National Academic Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard.

ii) Applicants will be interviewed along with the presentation of a body of work that can take the form of, but is not limited to, a portfolio and/or show reel and proposal. Applicants must be able to satisfy the panel at interview that their work is of a standard that will allow them to deal with the intellectual and practical rigours of the programme.

iii) Applications are welcomed from diverse backgrounds however where there is a discipline shift the applicant must represent a coherent rationale for this shift and evidence prerequisite knowledge, skills and experience.

The programme is devised specifically to support continuing lifelong learning for professions in a rapidly changing field. Therefore Accreditation for Prior Learning (APL) will be considered as evidence of exceptional ability appropriate to recruitment to the programme. Applications from professionals with extensive professional, industrial and/or commercial experience but lacking recent or higher level academic qualifications will be encouraged. APL will be considered as evidence of exceptional ability appropriate to the course.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that:

(a) they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level.

(b) no exemption shall be permitted from the Masters Major Project.



MA Product Design is delivered in full-time and part-time mode, with full online provision being offered in Sept 2019, taught over one calendar year, with delivery scheduled for one day per week. We recognise the changing nature of the student population and wish to offer a program that is accessible to a range of potential students.

However, a full-time commitment to the course is expected, with studios, workshops and library resources available for use throughout the week.

Careers or further progression

Career options

Graduates from Design at Ulster have gained employment with a wide range of organisations. Here are some examples:

Duku Design
Big Small Design
Movement Biomedical
Zespoke Design
Dolmen Design
Lava Group

Job roles

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles. Here are some examples:

Design for Healthcare
Service Design
System Designer
Quality Control
Design Engineer
Furniture Designer
Designer Maker
TV & Film
Set Design
Prop Maker
Academic & research
Product Development
Packaging Design
Sports Wear

Further enquiries

Student Services Centre
T: +44 (0)28 9536 7202

Martin McGinn Course Director
T: +44 (0)28 9567437
E: 

Application date

Application is through the University's online application system.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2019

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!