MA

Professional Design Practice

Develop your entrepreneurial skills and learn to become a leader of interior and architectural practice

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

This rigorous MA offers a professional award to graduates in Interior Design, Interior Architecture, Architecture or related spatial-design disciplines.

The course will develop your professional knowledge and skills; your understanding of entrepreneurship and business; your practice management and project leadership skills, and will expand your knowledge of setting up and running your own design practice. It will also deepen your understanding of ethical professional design practice and procedures and will help you to develop a practice or sector specialism.

What will I experience?

  • Research projects that will allow you to improve your academic skills and develop a sector or practice specialism; for example: healthcare, sustainable retail design or project leadership;
  • A firm grounding in professional practice and project management for architectural design;
  • Opportunities to work on live projects with real clients, through our Project Office, an in-house architectural practice.

What opportunities might it lead to?

This MA will offer you important tools that will help you to set up, promote and run your own design practice and to further position yourself for employment by developing a practice or sector specialism and by enhancing your practice management skills and project leadership skills.

Graduate may find rewarding careers in the following:

  • Architecture Practice
  • Interior Practice
  • Commercial Design
  • Retail Design
  • Exhibition Design
  • Teaching Academia
  • Project Management
Robert Leslie, MSc Property Development student

I've really enjoyed the excellent sessions by visiting lecturers from different areas of the industry which have brought the real world into the classroom.

Robert Leslie, architecture and property student

Key Facts

Starting 2017

Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time. Start: September
2017 entry requirements
A minimum of a second-class honours degree in Interior Design, Interior Architecture & Design, Architecture or a related subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. A portfolio of professional work may be required. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
Fees

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2017/18 entry: full time: £5,200, part time: £2,600 p/a*

Full-time course is eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan
Part-time course is eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan

International students
2017/18 entry: full time: £12,600, part time: £6,300 p/a*

*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

Contact
admissions@port.ac.uk
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
Department
Portsmouth School of Architecture
Programme specification

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

The course is structured to encompass the breadth of professional design practice from the macro (the broad context of ethical design practice) to the micro (the minutiae of professional design management). The curriculum will include the following modules of study:

  • Project Management: including project leadership, professional design regulations and procedures, law and contract administration, fee bids, professional communications, and approaches to brief writing;
  • Practice Management: including approaches to setting up and running a design practice, business innovation and entrepreneurship, business positioning and branding, business planning and marketing;
  • Topical Research: investigate ethical approaches to design practice, for example sector approaches to ethical design, design management or sustainable design.

Optional modules within the course:

  • Option 1 Materials and Products & Professional Experience and Practice: you will research and develop your understanding of materials and products. The knowledge gained will lead to a more sustained practice-based research project;
  • Option 2 Research Methods & Thesis: you will be provided with opportunities to develop appropriate research skills which can then be applied to the thesis project, a sustained investigation of a topic related to professional design practice.

 


Teaching and Assessment

Lecturers with a broad range of professional experience (in architecture and interior design), research skills, entrepreneurial skill, and expertise in education, will teach you using a variety of methods. Seminars, tutorials and study groups will encourage a vibrant culture of discussion and debate. Teaching will also support you in planning and completing a significant amount of self-directed learning for which you will need to be self-motivated, well organised and possess excellent study skills. 

How are you assessed?

You will be assessed on the course work you complete, this could include: essays, thesis projects, design projects, reflective journals and portfolios. One of the optional units (Professional Experience and Practice) also includes a written examination, which is designed to test your knowledge of professional practice and processes, your ability to apply knowledge in practice and the quality of your professional judgements. 

Rachael Brown

Tutor's view

Rachael Brown
Course Leader MA Professional Design Practice

We are delighted that we are now able to offer this programme to interior and architecture graduates who are interested in developing their leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and their knowledge of ethical and creative professional practice.

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Monitor Facilities & Features


Design Workshops

During your studies, you will be making full use of a number of our workshops. From facilities for working with resin, plastics and metals to screen printing, moulding and casting, you will have the tools to excel in the production of complex and multi-faceted models. Enhancing your practical skills is a high priority on this course.

Design Studios

You’ll have access to superb facilities to help prepare you for professional practice. Our dynamic studios house advanced architectural computer facilities, with Macs and PCs offering the latest design software. Other facilities include:

  • CNC milling machine for building three-dimensional models
  • laser cutting machines which automate the production of complex models 
  • life drawing studios and a virtual reality suite
  • professional printers as well as extensive computing, film and video facilities

Project Office

Offering a range of consultancy services to clients, the Project Office gives you access to real clients and live projects. This is a great means to gain real hands-on experience in order to support your design development and professional capacity. In the past we have overseen or managed major building or design works in the city including the Hilsea Lido, the Isle of Wight Zoo, the University’s own 3rd Space and the Bursledon Brickworks.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

Other costs to consider

There are costs relating to the purchase of drawing equipment, model making, stationery, reprographic requirements and the production of a portfolio. This may be in the region of £100 - £300 each year. We support digital review of some project assessment work to reduce costs.

If you choose to complete a project not supported by existing University resources, you may wish to purchase extra materials or software. These costs will depend on the nature of the project.

For optional study trips you will be expected to pay full costs. Optional study trips to Europe will cost in the region of £300 - £500.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

This professional award will prepare you towards setting up, promoting and running your own design practice. Particular transferable skills will include: ethical practice, practice management, project management and leadership, business enterprise, professional communications and research skills.

The MA will also provide a platform for further study such as a PhD.

Our Schools employment statistics are very high and our post-graduates have found challenging and diverse employment in a range of occupations, including:

  • Architecture Practice
  • Interior Practice
  • Commercial Design
  • Retail Design
  • Exhibition Design
  • Teaching
  • Academia
  • Project Management

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunities
Employment boosting opportunities

You will have opportunities to work with real clients and to analyse live project processes, through our Project Office. You will also have the chance to work on competitions, design-charettes and engage in voluntary work, which will help you to develop your professional Curriculum Vitae.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Apply now

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.

Postgraduate Information Days

Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2017 entry have now finished. If you would like to meet or speak with a member of staff about any courses you are interested in, please email postgraduate@port.ac.uk and we will arrange this for you.

We will confirm the dates of events related to 2018 entry soon. Visit the link below to get a reminder when booking opens.

Get a reminder

Other opportunities to visit

Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm.

We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.

Find out more about our self-guided walking tours

If you are unable to visit us, contact the admissions team – see the 'Key Facts' section above for contact details.

Further information

If you have any further enquiries about postgraduate study at Portsmouth, including advice on the Postgraduate Loan entry, plus scholarships and bursaries available, visit our postgraduate pages.

International Students

Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.