Professional Design Practice MA

Professional design practice students collaborate on a clipboard
Mode of Study
Part-time, Full-time
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start Date
September 2019


If you've studied Interior Design, Interior Architecture, Architecture or a related spatial-design discipline and want a postgraduate course that will develop your professional knowledge and skills, our MA Professional Design Practice degree course will help you achieve your goal.

On this course, you'll unpack principles of entrepreneurship and business, improve your practice management and project leadership skills, and learn how to set up and run your own design practice.

You'll graduate with a better understanding of ethical, professional design practice and procedures, and a practice or sector specialism which will set you apart from the competition.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Develop a sector or practice specialism such as healthcare, sustainable retail design or project leadership
  • Get to grips with professional practice and project management for architectural design
  • Work on live projects with real clients, through our Project Office, an in-house architectural practice
  • Learn everything you need to know about professional design practice, from project management, practice management and topical research, to materials and products, professional experience and practice, and research methods
  • Improve your practical skills in our workshops featuring facilities for working with resin, plastics and metals to screen printing, moulding and casting
  • Use our advanced architectural computing facilities, including Macs and PCs with the latest design software
  • Complete your own personal project on a topic of your choice, related to professional design practice

Work experience and career planning

We'll help you to identify internships, voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies.

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your design skills to work.

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

Careers and opportunities

You'll graduate from the MA Professional Design Practice degree course with the skills you need to set up, promote and run your own successful design practice. You'll also have transferable skills including ethical practice, practice management, project management and leadership, business enterprise, professional communications and research, which will help to further your career.

Career opportunities include:

  • Architectural Practice
  • Interior design practice
  • Commercial design
  • Retail design
  • Exhibition design
  • PhD study
  • Project management

We'll provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment through close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.

Entry requirements​

Entry Requirements

  • A good honours degree in Interior Design, Interior Architecture and Design, Architecture, a related subject, or equivalent professional experience
  • 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

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students

  • Full-time: £7,500 (subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time: £3,750 (subject to annual increase)

International students

  • Full-time: £13,900 (subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time: £6,950 (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. 

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You'll need to cover the cost 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 complete a project not supported by existing University resources, you may need to purchase extra materials or software. These costs will depend on the nature of the project.

You'll need to meet the costs of any optional field trip that you take, around the UK and Europe. These costs are normally in the region of £300 - £500.

​What you'll study

Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 180 credits. For example, 4 units worth 30 credits and 1 unit worth 60 credits.

Units currently being studied

Core units include:

  • Project Management
  • Practice Management
  • Topical Research

Options to choose from current include:

  • Materials and Products and Professional Experience and Practice
  • Research Methods and Thesis

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques


Teaching on this course includes:

  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • study groups

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:

  • Autumn teaching block – September to December
  • Spring teaching block – January to Easter
  • Assessment period – Easter to June

Most teaching takes place during the day, on Thursdays, Fridays and very occasionally on Saturdays. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

How you're assessed​

You'll be assessed through

  • essays
  • thesis projects
  • design projects
  • reflective journals
  • portfolios

You'll be able to get feedback on assessments, so you can improve in future


Apply for this course using our online application form

International students

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study with us, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply. 
Contact information
Programme specification
Subject area
Architecture and surveying
Postgraduate open evenings and events
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