Digital Design Futures MA

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a relevant design subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£14,500 (total)
International fees
£27,500 (total)

Course overview

Masters student trying oculus rift

Gain the theoretical understanding and practical skills needed in the fast-paced and rapidly-evolving area of digital design. You’ll learn about the theories of immersion and neuroscience, and develop hands-on experience working directly with the latest software and hardware through a series of creative projects in our new dedicated studio XLAB. Underpinned by your learning of design thinking and human centred design, you’ll develop your ability to develop systems and solutions for, and with, your target audiences so that your designs best meet their needs.

You’ll also develop an understanding of entrepreneurial thinking that will help you to capitalise on the creative opportunities presented by big data and technologies such as VR/AR, IoT, AI, UX and projection mapping. You’ll explore how VR, AR and AI can enhance creative processes and the new opportunities they help to create.

Through industry and third sector collaborations from around the UK, you’ll be introduced to the varied applications of technology in sectors including branding and marketing, retail and fashion and health education.

As global demand for digital skills rises, this course will provide you with a unique opportunity to challenge yourself creatively and align your skillset with the developing and future needs of industry and society as a whole. You’ll be equipped to forge your career path in the exciting and creative digital design sector.

Specialist facilities

We have plenty of facilities to help you make the most of your time at Leeds. We have an impressive range of resources that you can use to develop your projects.

For those interested in engaging with immersive technologies, we offer standalone Android-based Virtual Reality headsets, enabling VR prototype testing and development of research and design projects. Other excellent research facilities include our eye-tracking measurement system including mobile glasses, which are used to understand how users interact with design. We also have EEG (electroencephalography) equipment to understand how users interact with the world. We have a lighting and colour lab with the latest colour measurement and communication tools to explore the role of colour in the design and retail industry and the effect of light on health and wellbeing.

We also house the M&S Company Archive including documents, advertising, photos, films, clothing and merchandise from throughout Marks & Spencer’s history.

You’ll be able to develop your practice in well-equipped studios and workshops, and have access to the latest design software, as well as some of the latest design technology, such as digital printing, screen-printing, 3D printing, and laser cutting.

Course details

During your first semester, you’ll explore current thinking on design research and a range of research methods with practical application to design. You’ll also discover methods of experiential practice and designing for immersion and engagement which will develop your digital design approach.

You’ll continue to explore immersion and engagement theory and knowledge in your second semester, as well as design speculation.

By the end of your third semester, you’ll have developed and delivered a specialist project focused on a digital design solution.

The Programme Leader for this course is Dr Hosam Al-Samarraie.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Research Methods for Design 20
Design Speculation 40
Designing for Immersion & Engagement 40
Experiential Practice 20
Specialist Project 60

Learning and teaching

You’ll be taught and guided by a diverse team of staff who are leaders in their fields, with a wide variety of research interests and years of experience as design practitioners.

We use a range of teaching and learning methods so you can benefit from their expertise. These may include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, group learning and meetings with your tutor or supervisor. However, independent study is crucial to this degree, as it allows you to develop your skills and explore your own ideas.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Depending on the modules you choose you’ll be assessed by different methods. They may include individual and group projects, project proposals and reports, presentations and reflective reports.


Entry requirements

Bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or higher, or equivalent qualification, preferably in art and design, architecture, product design, computer science, social science, business, healthcare and psychology.

You will need to submit an online portfolio of your digital design work (eg, 3D/2D modeling work, Web/mobile design projects, and other digital design ideas and concepts) when applying for this course.

You are also expected to answer the questions in the supporting statement section of the online application form, including insights about the skills and digital design specialism you wish to gain from this course.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. You could study a part-time online course starting in January, or a full-time course in summer. Find out more about online pre-sessionals.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Application deadline:

We operate a staged admissions process for our courses, with selection deadlines throughout the year.

If you do not receive an offer at a particular stage in the process, you will be either notified that your application has been unsuccessful, or that is has been carried forward to be considered at the next stage.

Please see our How to Apply page for full details and the application deadlines for each stage.

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Design

Contact us

Postgraduate Administrator



UK: £14,500 (total)

International: £27,500 (total)

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

Computers and digital equipment

To ensure you can make the most of your studies at Leeds, you’ll need to make sure your laptop meets the system requirements for your course.

Some of our courses require the development of work using Adobe Creative and other relevant software. As/if required by your programme, the School will provide you with a free Adobe CC account when you arrive. We also use a blended learning model where you’ll need to access course materials and video conference using a computer or mobile device (eg laptop, tablet, smartphone). Costs for a laptop will vary depending on the exact specification. You should expect to pay between £500 - £2,500. You might also consider buying an external drive to back-up your work on a regular basis, which may incur another additional £50 - £150. Alternatively you can choose to store your work using cloud storage or your personal M:Drive, provided by the University.

If you’re buying a new laptop for your studies, then we recommend that you wait until you’re registered as a student so that you take advantage of discounts given to university students. Delaying purchasing also allows you to find out from your programme leader what you need and what you do not need. Depending on your circumstances you can benefit from a laptop loan or further support from our Financial Assistance Fund.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Career opportunities

This course will equip you with the knowledge and skills to succeed in a fast-developing and emerging sector.

On successful completion of the course, you can seek out roles in UI and UX design and evaluation, game design, web and mobile app development in the form of AR/VR.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.