Colour MSc

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 any subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£15,250 (Total)
International fees
£30,250 (Total)

Course overview

Female student working in the lighting lab

This Masters course focuses on colour and its application to design and manufacturing. Colour is an inherently multi-disciplinary topic and this unique course gives you the opportunity to understand colour from three related perspectives and develop deep specialist knowledge in one of them.

Whatever your background you will gain the skills and knowledge that you need to develop, implement and evaluate innovative solutions that focus on colour in real-life scenarios. You’ll gain first-hand experience of current needs and trends across a range of sectors, and at the end of the programme you’ll submit a substantial research project that demonstrates the knowledge and skills that you’ve gained in your chosen specialism. Taught by diverse staff with internationally recognised research profiles, you’ll build an interdisciplinary approach to colour in a stimulating environment while being exposed to and involved in cutting-edge research. You’ll gain practical and research skills to prepare you for a wide range of careers.

We have a suite of well-equipped laboratories. You will have the opportunity to use the latest colour measurement and communication tools and understand how these are used in modern manufacturing and supply chains. You will be able to use a lighting laboratory to explore the effect of colour on human wellbeing and performance. You will have access to laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment for making and using colorants for a wide range of materials including textiles and printing. You will benefit from membership of the Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour and our deep relationships with UK and global companies.

Additional highlights

The University of Leeds has a long heritage of teaching and research in the area of colour that goes back to the 19th Century. Today, Leeds is unique in being able to provide the breadth and depth of colour expertise (in design, chemistry and digital imaging) to support students to achieve a deep understanding of theoretical and applied colour.

  • Teaching led by leading Colour researchers and practitioners 
  • Taught within a School with extensive and high-profile colour-related research projects. 
  • Key ‘bigger-picture’ research and thinking skills that gives graduates a competitive advantage. 
  • Industry input and expertise 


We have a suite of well-equipped laboratories. You will have the opportunity to use the latest colour measurement and communication tools and understand how these are used in modern manufacturing and supply chains. You will be able to use a lighting laboratory to explore the effect of colour on human wellbeing and performance. You will have access to laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment for making and using colorants for a wide range of materials including textiles and printing.

You will benefit from membership of the Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour (LITAC), which is a world leading institute researching the global environmental challenges in the textile, fashion and colour industries.

Course details

Irrespective of your proposed specialism you will undertake a common set of core modules. This will give you a solid foundation of theoretical and practical colour knowledge in terms of material colour (where you will learn why and how materials are coloured), digital colour (where you will develop practical skills to understand and manipulate digital images) and design (where you will understand the affective use of colour in design applications). The multi-disciplinary nature of this first semester is deliberately designed to give you a solid foundation knowledge of colour. You will be able to specialise in one of three areas in which you will explore colour design, colour chemistry or digital colour at an advanced level.

All students undertake a foundational module (Colour Materials, Colour Theory and Colour Imaging), a research methods module and will undertake a research project.

You will select optional modules depending upon your pathway.

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.

Compulsory Modules

Colour Foundations (45 Credits) - This module gives you the foundations of colour imaging, materials and theory. You will be introduced to the basics of colorants (dyes and pigments) and methods for coloration. This will include coloration methods for textiles, surface coatings (inks and paints), and polymer systems. You’ll also explore traditional understanding of colour theory through the lens of our contemporary understanding of colour. Topics covered will include colour harmony, colour preference, additive and subtractive colour mixing, colour meaning including an appreciation of colour use in different cultures. Through an introduction to the principles of digital imaging (covering both RGB and CMYK representations), you gain understanding of image file formats, digital display technology, and an introduction to colour measurement. This module will support your future learning in your chosen specialism.

Research Project (60 credits) - You will explore a topic of your choice through practical work and will produce a research output which will evidence your progress throughout the Masters programme and your mastery of your selected topic.

Research Methods (30 credits) - This module provides you with a theoretical framework and a set of practical skills that will enable you to undertake the specialist module and carry out an independent project.

Specialist Modules:

You will choose one 30 credit module from:

  • Colour Design (30 credits)
  • Colour Materials (30 credits)
  • Colour Imaging (30 credits)

Optional Module

In addition to your choice of specialist module you will take an optional module in the second semester. Examples of these include:

  • Cosmetic Science (15 credits)
  • Healthcare Materials and Products (15 credits)
  • Digital Design and Printing (15 credits)

Learning and teaching

You will learn through a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops and practicals with some e-learning and problem-based learning where appropriate. The curriculum is aligned with the Colour Literacy Project’s ( recommendations. The Colour Literacy Project is supported by the two largest global societies for colour professionals (The Inter-Society Color Council and the International Colour Association).

Creative problem solving 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, mini projects and industry facing scenarios. 

We follow a 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 practise design making and tutorials 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 will 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 this course 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. The use of digital engaging tools will also be part of the in-lecture formative assessment. 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 take more than one assessment strategies and key strategies include coursework assignments, laboratory reports, group work, verbal presentations, standard examinations and the Major Research Project.

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, these 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

Normally students will have achieved 2:1 Hons degree in any subject.

A personal statement is an essential part of the application. It should demonstrate your motivation and interest to study this particular programme and indicate your future career plans. 

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 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. 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

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

Contact us

Postgraduate Administrator



UK: £15,250 (Total)

International: £30,250 (Total)

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

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 research skills and critical awareness, as well as a commercial understanding of the potential of colour is a range of applications and sectors. Colour specialists are in demand in a wide range of industries, moreover, you’ll have developed skills that make you an independent thinker to respond to ‘wicked’ ideas, able to respond to the needs the of our ever-changing workplaces. All of these qualities are highly valued by employers.

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.