Design Management - MA

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

Our postgraduate design management course provides the knowledge and skills to work in, and communicate effectively across design and business disciplines.

This is a multi-disciplinary programme aimed at ambitious designers and non-designers, who want to accelerate their careers by developing personal skills and gain new business and marketing insight.

New for 2017/18

Design Management

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?

The curriculum has a distinctive professional focus and embraces business management, marketing, design strategy, entrepreneurship, innovation, sustainability, design leadership and design practice.

Your focus will also include project management, intellectual property law and finance. There is also a strong emphasis on the development of evidence-based decision making, high level leadership and communication skills.

Why Choose Us?

  • Tailor your programme of study to match your career goals and design discipline
  • Become part of a student group made up of experienced designers and design managers.
  • Have an opportunity to study whilst remaining in design practice via work-based learning.Enjoy a wealth of networking and collaboration opportunities in design during a six-week placement option
  • Choose from one of four pathways: Professional Practice, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Sustainable Design Policy, and Service Design
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 industries such as:

  • Architecture
  • Fashion
  • Graphics
  • Jewellery

In roles working in:

  • Design Consultancies
  • In-house Design
  • Marketing Departments

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

The course is aimed at designers with an interest in developing their business and management skills, and non-designers with an interest in working within design. You are expected to have:


Either a first or second class honours degree in a related subject, or, equivalent qualifications / experience.

A background or proven interest in design or design management.

You should submit a statement outlining your personal goals and how you plan to use the course to achieve these.

International students

International applicants should note that this is a demanding course that requires a high standard of reading, writing and listening skills, full-time students are expected to have a minimum English standard of IELTS 6.5.

Work-based learning students should be fluent in English with a minimum English standard of IELTS 7, they should also be working in a design related position.

Work-based learning

If you wish to study by work-based learning you will be interviewed by the Course Director either in person or via Skype / Google Hangout.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £6,500
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
PT 2 years £6,000 per year
Sep 2017 FT 1 year £12,000
PT 2 years £6,000 per year

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

Research Methods
15 credits

The first module taken by all student is designed to prepare you for the academic requirements of Master’s level study of design management whilst developing research skills of direct relevance to design management practice.

Professional Development
15 credits

Designed to ensure you fully exploit the opportunities provided by the programme, this module involves skills, knowledge and learning style evaluation, personal goal setting and professional development planning.

Business Perspectives
15 credits

This module is designed to provide you with insight into the context that businesses and organisations operate in, how they view and use design, and their relationship with designers.

Design and Innovation Strategy
15 credits

We will examine the roles of design and innovation in achieving organisational objectives. The module brings together the languages of design and business, it considers organisational objectives, how design and innovation deliver value and return on investment is evaluated.

Stage 2: Postgraduate Diploma

Leadership Project
15 credits

This module allows you to explore your interpersonal skills and gain insight into team working, leadership and how to get the best out of individuals working around design, skills essential to a successful career in design.

Design Practice
15 credits

We will explore the professional practice aspects of design including business planning, entrepreneurship, design and innovation processes, project management, sustainability, intellectual property and finance.

Placement / Case Study
30 credits

This module is designed to develop independent study skills based on a design-related topic of your choice whilst exploring the relationship between secondary and primary sources. If you wish to take a placement, the course team will help you negotiate this.

Stage 3: Masters

Major Project / Dissertation
60 credits

This is a major piece of original work in your chosen area of design specialisation. You will decide on your subject with a view to your personal and professional goals, research is designed and implemented with the guidance of an appropriate supervisor.

Course Structure

You can study full-time, part-time or by ‘work-based learning.’ Our UK and EU-based students can commit to the full Master’s programme or start with the Postgraduate Certificate and continue on to the Postgraduate Diploma and Master’s if they wish.

The course offers a choice of four pathways at Master’s level - Professional Practice, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Sustainable Design Policy and Service Design.

Work based learning allows you to accelerate your career by remaining in full time design-related practice during your studies. This is open to all our students provided you are fluent in English and work in design related positions. If you choose this option, you can relate your study directly to the workplace. Developed around personal and work related goals, work-based learning is based on a combination of standard and adapted course modules, involving approximately 15-20 days attendance, attendance is negotiated individually but usually involves a minimum of six visits to the University over two years.

Student stories

Vijaya Jyothsna

I am currently working as the Head of Marketing and Communications for SCIO Healthcare Analytics, a US-based IT company. I am based in Chennai (India) and head a team of designers, marketing analysts and programmers who work on creating and managing online and offline communication collaterals for internal and external communication.

Further studies

Our graduates can go on to study for a PhD in related subjects.

Student stories Nick Irvin

Senior Graphic Designer, Public Sector and Freelance

Nick Irvin was in full-time employment when he was searching for a postgraduate Master’s course, to develop his design knowledge and further add to his career experience. After speaking with people in industry, he enrolled onto the MA Design Management course, where he studied part-time via work-based learning. Nick based a considerable amount of his study around his experiences in employment.

My tutorials were a very important part of my development during the Master’s and I built a great rapport with the lecturing staff. The lecturers are extremely knowledgeable of the industry and of their specialism. They will go out of their way to help and guide you throughout your time at University if you are willing to put in the hard work.

Enhancing employability skills

The Master's in Design Management is designed to enhance your career and employment prospects and can be studied full-time, part-time or by flexible learning while remaining in full-time employment.

Many of our students are already established designers working in architecture, fashion, graphics, interiors, jewellery, media, product, service and design related businesses.

Career opportunities are found in design and brand consultancies, in-house design and marketing departments as designers, design managers, project and account managers, buyers and marketing communication managers.


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

Our graduates also become freelance consultants, set up their own business and pursued careers in research and teaching.

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:

Our course welcomes students from across the world. We have an excellent reputation globally, and have over 20 years’ experience teaching international students. Our international students are also able to take part in the work-based learning option for this course.

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 management 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.

Caroline Norman

Course Director, MA in Design Management

With over 20 years' experience in design and brand consultancy, Caroline's career started as a graphic designer, she progressed into account management and then spent over seven years running design consultancies as Managing Director of Boxer, a division of The Marketing Store Worldwide and Haywood's.

Caroline has worked with a wide variety of client organisations including charities, universities, small businesses and national brands such as Aga Rayburn, British Airways, Golden Bear, Halfords, Nurofen, Southwestern Bell, Swish Building Products, Vantage Pharmacies and Wella UK.

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