Art and Design MA

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a related subject
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any components
UK fees
£15,250 (Total)
International fees
£30,250 (Total)

Course overview

Two students viewing an exhibition

This multidisciplinary course engages with the myriad possibilities of a fluid approach to Art and Design. Our course values creative research skills and activities and contextual studies as much as creative practice itself. Through a combination of making, reading, and writing, you'll become a critical and creative thinker and practitioner.

You will experience an innovative approach to Art and Design, working across disciplinary boundaries, combining traditional and contemporary approaches between thinking and making, you will develop into creative and critical artists, designers, or hybrids, who are informed by the past, who challenge the present, and who are prepared for the future. Examples of integrated/hybrid Art and Design practices might include, but are not limited to, participatory and community arts/design projects, digital and physical mapping projects, artist books, publication as practice, interpretation of archival and historical materials, speculative design projects, environmental, landscape and place-based work.

The course encourages making, creativity and innovation in tandem with the opportunity to develop your critical, contextual, and theoretical abilities. You will develop your understanding of research methods relevant to Art and Design research-based practices and whatever, your background, you will have the opportunity to develop your creative practice. By the end of the programme, you will have produced a substantial portfolio of work which will demonstrate a distinct and personalised approach to creative practice and will further your future career

You will be supported by a team of experienced artists, designers, academics and technical staff who will help you develop your skills and maximise your potential. You will be encouraged to make use of the School’s dedicated exhibition spaces, other venues on the University campus and across the city.

The MA in Interdisciplinary Art and Design is designed for students from a range of backgrounds including Graphic and Communication Design, Curation, Fashion, Textiles, Fine Art, Photography, Digital Media and more.

Additional highlights

  • teaching led by active Art and Design researchers
  • creative research skills are a key component of the course
  • opportunity to engage with live briefs and art and design organisations, within and external to the University
  • a programme of talks and workshops by practitioners: including artists, designers and researchers

Specialist facilities

The School of Design offers excellent facilities and technical support for developing your creative skills. We have a range of dedicated spaces where you can work independently. We also have several practical workshop studios and specialist facilities: fashion design studio, knit and weave studio, photography studio, digital print workshop, laser cutting and 3D print workshop, printmaking workshop, XLab for Immersive Technologies and 3D workshop. We provide you with access to a team of excellent technicians across the full range of skills who can help you to realise your work to reach its potential.

We have a gallery within the School, as well as other dedicated spaces in which students can show their work.

We also provide a range of other support to enhance the student experience and prepare students for the workplace: free dedicated software, a wide range of technical induction programmes, free access to LinkedIn Learning Tutorials, free camera and video recorder loan, supporting a Degree Show, external promotion, Yorkshire Fashion Archive, visiting speakers from industry or other institutions around the world.

Course details

The School of Design provides a very different educational experience from our competitors. We value research activities and contextual studies and see these as integral to contemporary creative practice. In this interdisciplinary Art and Design postgraduate course you’ll develop a very broad range of creative and critical research skills. ''

There are opportunities to gain deep understanding of the creative and cultural industries. As a creative, whether you end up working in either the cultural or the commercial arena, you will need to create ambitious projects that attract, involve, and engage an audience or users.

In semester 1 you will be introduced to a wide range of creative research skills and simultaneously explore the relation of thinking and making, you will work rapidly in response to a variety of creative challenges. This will start with a lively range of approaches to show within your portfolio. You will also have an opportunity to develop and learn new technical skills in our workshops.

In semester 2 you will develop your personal line of art and design enquiry and will begin to realise your creative voice. You will develop your skills in critical analysis and evaluate your work as you progress. You will develop an awareness of the wider issues within art and design organisations and consider who might be your audience.

In semester 2 you'll also have the opportunity to visit a range of Art and Design organisations within the Yorkshire region.

In semester 3, the Final Major Project module gives you the opportunity to develop a independently driven body of work in tandem with theoretical studies. This semester allows students to create an extensive practice research project that showcases your unique creative skills in relation to their critical and contextual interests for public exhibition.

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.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Art and Design MA in the course catalogue

Compulsory modules

Thinking and Making for Art and Design (30 credits) - This is a key module where synergies and differences between the disciplines are introduced, it will be fast moving and involve making, reading, and acquiring technical skills and reflecting on these. You’ll develop an understanding of art and design thinking, acquire new making skills, and build a portfolio of short projects as a strong foundation for the rest of the course. The module is divided in three main sections: 1) introduction to different models of art and design thinking and making 2) a practice-focused and skills acquisition section; 3) a practice development section

Creative research skills (30 credits) - This module will review current thinking on creative research and explore the integration of research and practice. The module will introduce a range of research principles, skills and methods and discuss the ethical and social considerations for creative research and human-centred design solutions. These approaches form a foundation for the research-led practice students will apply in their specialist projects and projects developed in the specialist modules.

Situating Creative Practice (30 credits) - This is a key module in which you will consider creative practice in its intellectual, social, cultural, economic and aesthetic contexts. This may involve visits to Art and Design organisations, opportunities to work on live briefs both within the university and beyond. This will give you employability and professional practice experience and further your understanding of the cultural and commercial creative industries. The module is divided into three sections: 1) a theoretical introduction 2) a case study 3) a portfolio and report.

Developing Creative Practice (30 credits) -This module focuses on exploratory making and thinking and uses this to develop an independent body of creative work and a contextualised position statement. The module is divided into three sections 1) Positioning your practice: you will establish the area in which your practice is positioned using speculative visual research and consolidating your conceptual concerns. 2) Speculative enquiry: you will develop several creative projects that explore and test your line of enquiry. 3) Making meaning: selecting one of these to develop to confirm the viability within your developing practice.

Final Major Project (60 credits) - As a creative, whether you end up working in either the cultural or the commercial arena, you will need to create ambitious projects that attract, involve, and engage with an audience or users. The Final Major Project module allows you to create an extensive creative practice research project that showcases your unique creative skills. You will be able to show your work in public exhibition. Your work will be developed in relation to your critical and contextual interests and will provide you with material to create a portfolio with which to launch and develop your future career.

Learning and teaching

You will learn through a mixture of lectures, seminars, technical workshops, studio practice feedback clinics and tutorials.

Creative problem solving and Art and Design thinking methods are central our teaching in the School of Design. Your learning will be enhanced by a range of teaching contemporary methods which encourage active learning and are underpinned by inclusive and authentic learning activities, including team working towards exhibitions, mini projects and creative and commercial industry facing scenarios.

We follow a campus based blended learning approach ; you’ll have a range of resources in the virtual learning environment which are accessible at all times, including videos and pre-work to help you prepare. You’ll attend lectures which are carefully designed to invite engagement and participation, seminars enable you to delve deeper into key topics, workshops to learn and access to studios for Art and Design making and there will be tutorials and feedback clinics to discuss work in progress. Your module tutors have dedicated office hours, which means there’s always the opportunity to ask questions.

Collaboration with staff and your peers is the foundation of our teaching and learning, giving students input into their learning journey. Some of your core modules may be studied with students from other design disciplines, here you will benefit from our community of learners, to contribute their diverse perspectives, and to encounter those of others, with global industry practices in mind.

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.


On the MA Interdisciplinary Art and Design programme we embed authentic, diverse and inclusive assessments, and to employ formative assessments for scaffolding students to summative assessments.

Formative feedback will be provided to students through a combination of self-reflection, peer group and tutor feedback in tutorials and feedback clinics. Summative assessments will provide a measure of the extent to which students have achieved the learning outcomes of the modules.

Assessment within each module will vary and include more than one assessment strategy and key strategies include portfolios, essays, reports, verbal presentations, and the Final Major Project portfolio and exhibition.

Authentic assessment means relevant assessment; relevant in terms of contemporary contexts and also relevant to your personal interests and your future aspirations. The authenticity of assessment is an important consideration in how we design assignments and project briefs. This means that we think carefully about the relevance of assessment outcomes; not only in academic terms but also in terms of your chosen career path, skill development needs and the future of work in your chosen discipline. Where appropriate, there will be an element of choice in your assessment. Some projects will allow you to choose the focus and format of your submission

In the School of Design you will be assessed through a variety of methods. For example, these may include visual 2D and 3D responses, portfolios of text and image, blogs, short videos, presentations as well as more traditional essays, reports and exams. Some of your assessments may be based upon collaboration with your peers. This collaboration could be in the development of artefacts, proposals and/or various forms of visual and textual communication in response to problem-based issues.


Entry requirements

You’ll need a bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or equivalent qualification in a design or art degree specialising in one the following subjects: art and design, fine art, fashion design, graphic design, visual communication design, information design, branding, design for sustainability, colour design, sculpture, printmaking, textiles.

You’ll be required to submit a portfolio of recent practical work.

You’ll also be required to respond to the questions in the supporting statement section of the online application form, including details of the art or design specialism you might wish to study as part of the MA Art and Design.

Please note that meeting the entry requirements of this course doesn't guarantee an offer of a place.

Applying from China

Due to the large numbers of applications we receive, we’re only able to offer places to applicants who have attended selected Chinese institutions. With regret, any applications we receive from applicants awarded a qualification in China from an institution that isn’t on this list will be rejected.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any components. 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. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

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.

Documents and information you need

  • A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying (please submit an official English translation if necessary)
  • Evidence of your English language qualifications, if English is not your first language
  • A personal statement in response to the questions asked in the supporting statement section of the application form, which explains why you wish to study this particular course and your career plans
  • An electronic link or pdf to your digital portfolio. The portfolio will demonstrate research, idea development and presentation of final concepts for each project. If any group work is included, the candidate must clearly state this and indicate what their individual role in the project was.
  • Applicants from non-design backgrounds must also have a portfolio – this can include a variety of materials which you feel best demonstrates your creative ability

Watch a video giving advice on your application

Next steps

Applicants may be invited to attend an interview with the programme manager either by phone, Skype or in person.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures receives very large numbers of high-quality applications and regrets that it cannot make offers to all of its applicants. Some particularly popular schools may have to reject many that hold the necessary academic qualifications.

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 Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Design
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UK: £15,250 (Total)

International: £30,250 (Total)

Students will be able to purchase Art and Design consumables through the School of Design shop and should budget for £500.

Additional cost information

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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

Flexibility, resilience and transferable skills are desirable attributes for future graduates. In the School of Design, as well as providing you with research led, industry informed subject-specific knowledge, we aim to equip you with the best possible skills for a variety of future careers. Design thinking, combined with excellent research and criticality skills are increasingly valued across a wide range of sectors; therefore, your degree from the University of Leeds opens opportunities across disciplines and multiple industries, as well as in your programme related specialism.

On completing this course, you’ll have strong creative skills and critical awareness, as well as an understanding of the creative and commercial cultural industries. You’ll have developed skills that make you an independent thinker and maker able to respond to the needs the of our ever-changing workplaces. All of these qualities are highly valued by employers.