Design and Visualisation - MA

Full Time, Part Time
September 2016, September 2017
£6,500 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

On our postgraduate degree in design and visualisation, you’ll learn how to apply design visualisation techniques and strategies for various sectors of the design industry. You will learn how professionally develop concepts to reality using various digital techniques.

You’ll gain valuable transferable skills in design visualisation applied to areas such a product design, interior design, graphic design and various other specialisations depending on your career aspirations.

New for 2017/18

Design and Visualisation

If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.

Sign up for course updatesMore about our new curriculum

What's covered in the course?

This course will enable you to develop the skills and competencies as a design visualiser with an understanding of the design process. You’ll be taught how to make important and critical decisions, how to devise visualisation strategies, design methods and how to use these skills across a range of disciplines.

You’ll learn how to evaluate, choose and apply relevant theories, concepts and techniques to the solution of design and the knowledge that underpins it. This knowledge and transferable skills will help you to succeed in a competitive industry.

The programme incorporates frameworks for reviewing, reflecting, analysing and critiquing existing designs and techniques, and you’ll graduate with a solid understanding of design visualisation, as well as how to apply different visualisation techniques to different situations.

You will study at our City Centre Campus Parkside Building, a five-floor building with space studios and social space for students and staff to engage in creative ideas.

Why Choose Us?

  • Gain different perspectives by communicating with other students from the UK, EU and overseas.
  • The University is an active research centre, and the latest Research Excellence Framework 2014 report found we have doubled the amount of staff producing internationally recognised research.
  • With our accreditations, excellent industry links and practice-based approach, The Faculty of Arts, Design and Media is one of the UK’s most respected institutions.
  • Our engaged, informative study sessions ensure you learn a range of vital skills needed for various design positions.
  • We keep our courses fresh, relevant and cutting-edge, keeping up to date with the latest trends and technologies.
  • Our graduates move on to successful careers where they apply their knowledge to full effect.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 23 November, between 2pm and 7pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

Discover Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Haka Co. Ltd

And in jobs such as:

  • Designer

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students

A good degree in a relevant subject or equivalent qualifications and experience.

International students

For international students an IELTS score of 6.0 or more with no less that 5.5 in the IELTS sub categories is required. Other English language qualifications are acceptable

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £6,500 per year
PT 2 years £3,250 per year
Sep 2017 FT 1 year TBC
PT 2 years TBC

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000
Sep 2017 FT 1 year £12,000

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Stage 1: Postgraduate Certificate

Trimester 1 offers a choice of modules in Realism or Design Systems and Design Visualisation which is an exciting series of fast-paced short projects during which you will experience and complete a comprehensive series of digital visualisation techniques and the exploration of the potential of processes that are not totally dependent on digital technologies: including evolutionary mock-ups, scenario enactment, physical modelling, two- and three-dimensional collage and other animation techniques.

You will study the core module (30 credits)
Design Visualisation - core module
30 credits

This module will enable you to develop methodologies of visualisation in traditional techniques such as 2D Sketching and technical illustration. The module will allow you to explore workshop based techniques in scaled model making techniques using high level 3D model making processes. It is also designed to develop skills in animated or other forms of advanced computer based visualisation techniques that will enhance your knowledge and abilities required to act as a competent digital design specialist in presenting interactive media.

You will learn to develop appropriate methods using software techniques to demonstrate understanding of a service sector or product, selecting and adapting methods as appropriate, and evaluating the effectiveness of the chosen methods as applied in practice.

You will then choose one of the following three modules according to your past experience and career aspirations.
30 credits

This module provides students with a broader and clearer understanding of 'typical' product design outputs and the associated design processes behind them. Drawing from established theories, policies and practice, including case studies, the core principles of product evolution are used to identify and appreciate the key issues that designers are likely to engage with at different stages of a product’s development.

How new ideas, and/or technologies, are ultimately applied at key evolutionary stages of a product's development (during or beyond) also depends upon the designer's individual approach to the design process. Students are therefore shown how to recognise different design processes and then subsequently identify with the appropriate methodologies that suit their own personal approach.

Design Systems
30 credits

This module provides students with the opportunities to engage at an advanced level with the perspectives of commercial markets, design processes and models of design management. These inter‐related 'Design Systems' will be defined by using a combination of theoretical and practical analysis applied to the evolution of contextually specific design sectors.

In doing this, students will define alternative theorems and strategies relating to the construction and deconstruction of design ideas, mechanisms, and processes as part of the student’s own design practice.

Analytic Practice
30 credits

The module primarily develops analytical and evaluative skills, promoting critical awareness within an Area of Practice (AOP). It allows for autonomy of learning in that PDP be responded to through the setting up of competition briefs or self-initiated projects to address unique learning needs.

Stage 2: Postgraduate Diploma

Trimester 2 offers a choice of modules such as Conceptualism or Design Futures and considers research methodologies which can then be incorporated into the planning of your personal project research. Two modules will be shared with product design and interior design Master’s students, depending on your chosen subject area. The personal project will demonstrate your strengths in a chosen range of visualisation techniques, and the potential of those techniques for enhancing the effectiveness of an appropriate design process.

You will study the core module (30 credits)
Personal Project (Research and Concepts) - core module
30 credits

A detailed investigation into the commercial, technical and human factors that apply to your chosen project which you will develop through the tutorial/seminar programme (subject to the approval of the course staff). You will demonstrate mastery of the research techniques applied in earlier modules, resulting in a definitive project brief and either a formal project hypothesis or product concepts for evaluation and development.

The module introduces you to a range of research methods, contexts, procedures and resources appropriate to the level and scope required for research practice. Learning methods developed is applied in the personal project research module.

You will then choose one of the following three modules according to your past experience and career aspirations.
30 credits

This module provides students with the opportunities to engage with alternative notions of ideas and concept generation through deconstructing and then reconstructing new design based narratives. By challenging the expectations and conventions of existing products, alternative directions and product opportunities are possible. Creative thinking will be focused specifically on the near horizon and longer-term future perspectives for specific product design sectors. In doing this, you will define innovative ‘post optimal’ theorems, case studies and trends which can be further explored in relation to your own design process and practice.

Design Futures
30 credits

This module provides you with the opportunities to engage in advanced critical analysis that will aid the mapping of design futures of interior products and interior spaces. Predictive critical thinking will be focused specifically on the near horizon and longer-term future perspectives for specific interior design sectors. In doing this, you will define innovative ‘post optimal’ theorems, case studies and trends which you can explore in relation to their own design process and practice.

Professional Practice
30 credits

The module supports the advancement of your professional standing, through engagement with externally generated briefs and ascribed parameters. It will develop your critical awareness of contemporary practice and advance your subject knowledge. You will be required to demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing solutions at a professional level.

Stage 3: Masters

You will complete a Personal Project.

Personal Project (Practice and Theory)
60 credits

Either the evaluation and development of the product or spatial concepts from the previous module (practice-led), resulting in drawings, models and professional presentation of design features, or the testing of a project hypothesis, resulting in a substantial report supported by research findings or design work (theory-led) and a multimedia presentation of the project outcomes. Even the most practice-based projects must be presented in the context of relevant theory, and theory projects must contain some practical element (balance to be negotiated).

This is a 45-week course divided into three 15-week trimesters. Each trimester is divided into a ten week structured programme followed by five weeks of independent learning and reflection. Trimester 1 will enable you to study a variety of modules, some of which you will share with interior and product design Master’s students.

The taught elements in Trimester 1 and 2 combine to inform and provide new analytical ideals to incorporate within the personal project undertaken at the Master’s stage. The course encourages and includes industrial collaboration and live projects. The personal project will be appropriate to your first degree experience and career ambitions, chosen for its suitability to showcase your visualisation skills.

Assessments will take place during individual/ group presentations at interim stages and at the end of each module. Immediate verbal feedback is given to students during the interim stages and written feedback is given at the end of each module.

Trips and visits

Trips and visits to industry, exhibitions and events vary every year according to the nature of the module aims and objectives.

Student stories – Joseph Stanford

Enhancing your employability skills

Upon graduating you will have the skills needed for a number of roles within the design industry. Your skillset will allow you to apply for jobs in various design professions as well as roles in different visualisation sectors.

You’ll also have the chance to work on live projects with companies such as Ferrari Accessories, Seymour Harris Architects, Triumph Motorcycle and AGA Rangemaster.

Postgraduates earn an average £9,000 more per year than those with just undergraduate degrees*. A postgraduate qualification can really help you stand out from the crowd in today’s competitive job market. By becoming a specialist in your field, you will have the chance to advance thinking in that subject and lead, rather than follow, the latest developments.

* The Sutton Trust, 2015.


Due to the intense nature of the course, placements are not possible during the course.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Graduates from this course can use their acquired knowledge and skills in a variety of jobs including:

  • Design practice – in-house and consultancy
  • Design entrepreneurship – self-employment
  • 3D design visualisation in interior design, architecture, product design, 3D virtual environments for games
  • Education – as teachers/lecturers of design-related topics.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our design and visualisation course is most popular with international students from:

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

Birmingham School of Architecture and Design is based at the state-of-the-art £62 million Parkside Building, a new development on our City Centre Campus within Eastside.

The new building has added an extra dimension to the School. Our campus has extensive studio and workshop provision and cutting-edge equipment reflecting the broad range of study opportunities on offer. The building has been designed to actively promote shared space opportunities, for students to engage with others across the University as part of the learning experience.


In many cases, our main studio and workspace is the city of Birmingham.
We give our students the opportunity to work on many collaborative projects involving the transformation of the city. These include:

  • Working on-site at the £600 million re-development of New Street Station
  • Work on our neighbouring Curzon Building, which forms Phase 2 of the City Centre Campus development
  • Nearby Off-campus Nest Gallery based within Glenn Howells Architects


We have our very own digi.lab, which is used for prototyping and as a learning resource. Here, you can experiment with 3D printing and laser cutting, preparing you to work on our range of larger machines. You will work in a home studio base five days a week, and also enjoy the opportunity to share others’ facilities and space when necessary.

Digital Presentation

At the School, we have placed a large emphasis on digital presentation. We currently have nine plasma screens for such uses, and try to keep our facilities as paper-free as possible.

Staff introduction

Our staff are experts in their chosen fields, and will offer you support and guidance, as well as plenty of industry experience.

Dr Panch Suntharalingam

Course Director for MA Design and Visualisation

Dr Panch Suntharalingam is the course director for MA Design and Visualisation and the lead academic for MA Luxury Brand Management, MA Luxury Jewellery Management, and MA Luxury Product Management. Panch has collaborations with over 17 knowledge transfer partnerships with industry that have employed graduates from this course.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295