Need to know

Master’s programmes in design are not all about the arts. Rapidly changing technologies and global economic environment underlie the need for a new generation of designers capable of contributing to a sustainable creative future. As a master student, you'll not only work on your own design projects, but also learn about design methodologies, multimedia marketing and the socio-political dimension of design.

A master’s degree in design would be most suitable for anyone looking to make substantial career progress in the field of fashion design, interior architecture, graphic design, game design, media production or industrial design.

Why should I study design at postgraduate level?

Unlike undergraduate courses, master’s programmes in design help experienced designers advance their professional practice by developing in-depth projects for an extended period of time. This is one of the most appealing aspects of a master’s degree in design because designers don't often have this opportunity while working in a commercial setting.

Studying design at postgraduate level, you'll spend time investigating theoretical concepts relevant to design processes, and apply them to your own projects to deliver a design outcome. You'll develop strong analytical skills, which are very crucial to creating innovative art designs.

Does it make sense to study design abroad?

Although the UK houses some of the best design schools in the world, and America continues to dominate the university league table in arts and design, more arts students are heading to new studying destinations in Europe.

The Netherlands has become one of the most popular destinations for art students in recent years. An important factor leading to the country’s popularity is its growing creative industry, with particularly strong profiles in interior architecture, gaming and fashion. The Netherlands is known as a hotbed of creativity and innovation, an ideal learning and working environment for artists. This is the direct result of a strong education system for designers. Some famous Dutch designers are Marcel Wanders, Tord Boontje, Jurgen Bey and Hella Jongerius. They were all trained at Dutch institutions and later have successful international careers.

Eindhoven Design Academy is one of the world’s top universities for arts, design and architecture. Especially, product design and design management are the two most developed art disciplines at Dutch universities. You can study those subjects at Eindhoven University of Technology, Delft University of Technology and University of Twente, all of which have very good relationships with the industry. If you come from a media production background, you might be interested in the Media Design and Communication master’s programme offered at Willem de Kooning Academie.

Another non-traditional yet increasingly popular study destination for design students is the Czech Republic. The country’s rich artistic heritage holds a powerful attraction for many tourists, but it is the transformation in contemporary arts here that creates a very supportive environment for practising designers and art students. The master’s programme Future Design at Prague College is a concrete example of collaboration and outward looking approach in the Czech creative industry.

Alongside with the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, Spain universities offer some very interesting English-taught courses in game design, with particularly strong profile in figure drawing and practical approach to studio art production. Examples include the two programmes MSc in Computer Science and MSc in Digital Art at DigiPen.

Examples of postgraduate opportunities in design

The Netherlands

MA in Interior Architecture and Retail Design, Willem de Kooning Academie

MA in Media Design and Communication,Willem de Kooning Academie

Czech Republic

MA Future Design,Prague College

MA Fine Art, Prague College


MA Digital Arts, DigiPen

Italy and France

MA Fashion Design Collection, Istituto Marangoni

MA Luxury Accessories Design and Management, Istituto Marangoni

What grades do I need to get in?

As in other disciplines, grades are taken into consideration for admission to design schools. However, for master’s programmes in design, your portfolio and professional experience will play a much more important role in your application.

For example, as part of the admission process, Willem de Kooning Academie requires every master applicant to bring a portfolio of at least 20 different artwork samples to an assessment day. Similarly, at Prague College, master applicants are asked to attend an interview where they show a portfolio of creative or written work.