The Master of Design is an interdisciplinary industry-engaged program that focuses on the role of design in innovation and the global economy. You’ll combine technology, design thinking, conceptual exploration, strategy and communication with practical skills to take your professional and practical design knowledge to an advanced level.

 

Faculty
Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture
Delivery Mode
Face-to-face (includes blended)
Award
Master of Design
Commencing Terms
Term 1, Term 2, Term 3
Duration (Full Time)
2 Year(s)

Overview

This intensive program provides a pathway to advanced industry opportunities, whether you have a background in design and media practice or if you wish to enter these fields from other professional backgrounds. Our degree focuses on integrated and multidisciplinary studios that will underpin the development of professional skills, capabilities and confidence needed for leadership and to dynamically support innovation in freelance, project or design, media and technology business contexts. 

Studio-based courses enable you to focus on a specific area of design and digital media practice or put together a suite of courses from across design, material practice and digital media.

Key features

Specialised Studio Practice
Our program allows you to focus your studio-based courses on a specific area of design and digital media or to put together a broad suite of studio courses. Areas of practice include Graphic Communication, Spatial Experiences, Interaction and User Experience (UX) Design, Visualisation and Visual Effects and Future Making: Materials and Objects.

Contemporary Design Contexts
Alongside your studio-based courses, you’ll establish a strong foundation in integrated technology, design thinking, experimentation, strategy and communication. You’ll develop a deep and critical understanding of the role design can play in innovation, the economy and solving global challenges. 

Why study this degree at UNSW?

  • Adobe Creative Cloud subscription included from the day you start your degree for the duration of your studies
  • Be supported by our diverse, open and inclusive Arts, Design & Architecture community.
  • Learn through research-informed teaching
  • Prioritise career success – UNSW won the Australian Financial Review’s Most Employable Students Award in 2020.
  • Join our School of Art & Design creative community with a dedicated campus and cutting-edge facilities
  • Benefit from strong industry links and partnerships
  • Access world class alumni connections
  • Join a global top 50 university (QS World University Rankings, 2021)
  • Join a community that’s part of the prestigious Group of Eight (Go8) universities
Program Code
9313
CRICOS Code
082198B
Campus
Paddington
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
96
Indicative Enrolments
496

Entry requirements

Depending on the level and nature of your prior qualifications, admission to the Master of Design has three entry points with different duration and units of credit (UOC) required for completion:

  • 2 year program (96 UOC)
    If you have an unrelated Bachelor’s degree in any field and possess experience working in a design related field, you’re eligible and will be considered for admission into the full 2 year program by submitting a portfolio. See further guidance and information below about this process.
  • 1.7 year program (72 UOC)
    If you have completed a Bachelor’s degree in a related field with a record of achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%) you’ll be granted admission into the 1.7 year program. Related Bachelor’s degree programs include Architecture, Design, Landscape Architecture, Interior and Spatial Design, Industrial Design.
  • 1 year program (48 UOC)
    If you have completed an Honours degree in a related field (see above) you’ll be granted admission into the 1 year advanced disciplinary component of program. 

If you’re applying without a Bachelor’s degree you may be admitted into the Graduate Certificate of Design by the Program Director on the basis of a portfolio and relevant professional experience. If you complete the requirements for the Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma with a record of achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%) you’re also eligible for admission into the Master’s program with full credit for courses already completed.

Entry score calculator
If you’re uncertain whether you have the equivalent to a UNSW credit average, you can use the UNSW postgraduate entry score calculator to convert and scale other types of grading schemes into a percentage relatable to UNSW entry requirements.

Portfolio Entry to Master of Design
Depending on the level and related nature of your prior design qualifications and experience, you may be required to submit a portfolio. Portfolio submissions must include the following:

  1. A 10 page A4 digital portfolio of original design work undertaken by the applicant including a critically reflective text.
  2. A cover letter that explains your interest in studying at UNSW Art & Design, and your interest in the degree. The letter should tell us about your interests, achievements and experience and be no more than 400 words.
  3. Verified evidence of professional experience in a design or media-related field, in the form of a written statement of service from an employer, client or commissioning agent verifying the position, role, responsibilities, duration and/or project outcomes of employment, service contract or other professional design engagement.

A two page CV that details your experience in, or related to design including contact details for two referees.

Admission pathways

Our suite of programs is designed to build a pathway that increases your capabilities and expands upon your hard-earned experience. We offer the following options to optimise your time while undertaking postgraduate study and provide alternative entry into further qualifications:

  • Entry into the Graduate Certificate in Design with a bachelor’s degree in any field. Applicants without a bachelor's degree but with a portfolio of work and professional experience may be admitted on a case-by-case basis.
  • Entry into the Graduate Diploma in Design with a bachelor's degree in any field or a Graduate Certificate in Design with at least a credit average grade.

You can articulate into the Master of Design after completing the Graduate Certificate in Design with at least a credit average grade.

English language requirements

 

You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on your educational background and citizenship. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If you’re completing an Australian Year 12 qualification (e.g. NSW HSC or equivalent), you do not need to provide anything extra to prove your proficiency. Your qualification will be used as evidence of your English proficiency.

If you do need to provide evidence of your English proficiency, this will be indicated in your application. You can prove this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

UNSW Global offers courses and programs designed to help you reach the English language level required for entry into your chosen degree. Different options are available depending on your current English language level. Learn more.

Depending on the level and nature of your prior qualifications, admission to the Master of Design has three entry points with different duration and units of credit (UOC) required for completion:

  • 2 year program (96 UOC)
    If you have an unrelated Bachelor’s degree in any field and possess experience working in a design related field, you’re eligible and will be considered for admission into the full 2 year program by submitting a portfolio. See further guidance and information below about this process.
  • 1.7 year program (72 UOC)
    If you have completed a Bachelor’s degree in a related field with a record of achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%) you’ll be granted admission into the 1.7 year program. Related Bachelor’s degree programs include Architecture, Design, Landscape Architecture, Interior and Spatial Design, Industrial Design.
  • 1 year program (48 UOC)
    If you have completed an Honours degree in a related field (see above) you’ll be granted admission into the 1 year advanced disciplinary component of program. 

If you’re applying without a Bachelor’s degree you may be admitted into the Graduate Certificate of Design by the Program Director on the basis of a portfolio and relevant professional experience. If you complete the requirements for the Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma with a record of achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%) you’re also eligible for admission into the Master’s program with full credit for courses already completed.

Entry score calculator
If you’re uncertain whether you have the equivalent to a UNSW credit average, you can use the UNSW postgraduate entry score calculator to convert and scale other types of grading schemes into a percentage relatable to UNSW entry requirements.

Portfolio Entry to Master of Design
Depending on the level and related nature of your prior design qualifications and experience, you may be required to submit a portfolio. Portfolio submissions must include the following:

  1. A 10 page A4 digital portfolio of original design work undertaken by the applicant including a critically reflective text.
  2. A cover letter that explains your interest in studying at UNSW Art & Design, and your interest in the degree. The letter should tell us about your interests, achievements and experience and be no more than 400 words.
  3. Verified evidence of professional experience in a design or media-related field, in the form of a written statement of service from an employer, client or commissioning agent verifying the position, role, responsibilities, duration and/or project outcomes of employment, service contract or other professional design engagement.

A two page CV that details your experience in, or related to design including contact details for two referees.

Admission pathways

Our suite of programs is designed to build a pathway that increases your capabilities and expands upon your hard-earned experience. We offer the following options to optimise your time while undertaking postgraduate study and provide alternative entry into further qualifications:

  • Entry into the Graduate Certificate in Design with a bachelor’s degree in any field. Applicants without a bachelor's degree but with a portfolio of work and professional experience may be admitted on a case-by-case basis.
  • Entry into the Graduate Diploma in Design with a bachelor's degree in any field or a Graduate Certificate in Design with at least a credit average grade.

You can articulate into the Master of Design after completing the Graduate Certificate in Design with at least a credit average grade.

English language requirements


You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on your educational background and citizenship. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If English is not your first language, you’ll need to provide proof of your English proficiency before you can be given an offer to study at UNSW. You can do this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

UNSW Global offers courses and programs designed to help you reach the English language level required for entry into your chosen degree. Different options are available depending on your current English language level. Learn more.

Program structure

The Master of Design offers a customisable structure with flexible entry and exit points and full-time and part-time study options. Depending on the length of your program, you’ll complete the following courses:

2-year program (96 UOC)

  • 5 Core courses
  • 5 Area of practice courses
  • 6 Design in context courses

1.5-year program (72 UOC)

  • 4 Core courses
  • 3 Area of practice courses
  • 5 Design in context courses

1-year program (48 UOC)

  • 3 Core courses
  • 3 Area of practice courses
  • 2 Design in context courses
    • Graphic Communication
    • Spatial Experiences
    • Interaction and User Experience (UX) Design
    • Visualisation and Visual Effects
    • Future Making: Materials and Objects

Full program structure

Each university year at UNSW has three terms and an optional summer study period.

Some courses need to be studied in your first year, so you’re prepared for courses that can only be studied in later years. You can study full-time or part-time. Depending on how you plan your study load, you can fit two or three courses into a term and one course in a summer term.

The Master of Design has two main components: a core of design studio classes and courses in design contexts and the choice to specialise in a design area of practice.

Core studio courses
In the core studio coursework, you’ll learn to integrate technology, design thinking, experimentation, strategy and communication, with a deep understanding of the role of design in innovation and the global economy. Examples of topics explored through the core studio courses include:

  • Art and design research methodologies
  • Communication skills
  • Design history and theory
  • Approaches to design practice
  • Design thinking frameworks

Areas of practice
You’ll choose from the following studio-based courses to either focus on a specific area of design and digital media practice or to put together a broad suite of courses:

  • Graphic Communication addresses graphic design for paper and print, the screen and broadcast, encompassing contemporary typography, graphic design and cross-cultural communication strategies in designing for different audiences.
  • Spatial Experiences engages with the design of processes, services, events and environments, focusing on the quality of the user experience.
  • Interaction and User Experience (UX) Design covers visual communication and user experience across graphics, media and emergent interactives.
  • Visualisation and Visual Effects focuses on the practices of designing for animation, 3D, sound, film, video, illustration and computing.
  • Future Making: Materials and Objects focuses on the making of objects with new materials, digital technologies and craftsmanship. It addresses the integration of technical knowledge and skills with material and contextual understanding. Future making works with ceramics, jewellery, metal, textiles, furniture and lighting.

Below is an example of what you could study in a two-year standard full-time study plan:

First year

  • 2 Core studio courses
  • 1 Area of practice course
  • 1 Area of practice course or postgraduate elective
  • 4 Design in context courses

Second year

  • 1 Core studio course
  • 2 Design studio project courses
  • 3 Area of practice courses
  • 2 Design in context courses

Future careers

UNSW’s Masters of Design graduates are highly sought after across a broad range of professional design disciplines in media and technology industries, global institutions, major corporations, creative and bespoke agencies.

Potential careers

Masters graduates secure employment in areas including:

  • Graphics, media and digital design 

  • UX, responsive design and app development

  • Communications, branding and advertising 

  • Design management and strategy

  • Social innovation and entrepreneurship 

  • Data visualisation and animation 

  • Creative consultancies, design and media studios, design-led businesses 

  • Object, furniture and lighting design

  • Film, television, online and mobile production and post-production 

  • Environmental, spatial, interior and architectural design practices

  • Design for retailing, industry events and expos 

  • Design for exhibitions, galleries and museums

  • Costume, theatre and events design 

  • Design teaching and academia

  • Jewellery and wearables design 

  • Textile, fabric and fashion design

Double degrees

The Master of Design can be combined in the following double degree:

How to apply

Applications must be submitted through our Apply Online portal. We encourage you to submit your completed application as early as possible to ensure it will be processed in time for your preferred term. Some high-demand programs and Faculties with limited places may have an earlier application deadline or commencement date. Find out more.

Ready to start your application?

For most international students, applications are submitted via our Apply Online service. We encourage you to submit your completed application as early as possible to ensure it will be processed in time for your preferred term.

Some high-demand programs with limited places, may have an earlier application deadline or may have an earlier commencement date. For more information visit our international applicant information page.

Ready to start your application?

Fees & Scholarships

2021 Indicative First Year Fee
$30,960*
2021 Indicative Fee to Complete Degree
$62,160*

There is a limited number of Commonwealth Supported Places available for this degree. The indicative tuition fee for domestic postgraduate students shown is for fee-paying students, not students in Commonwealth Supported Places. To find out more about the student contribution amounts for Commonwealth Supported Places visit Postgraduate Commonwealth Support.

*Fees are subject to annual review by the University and may increase annually, with the new fees effective from the start of each calendar year. The indicative fees listed here are based on an estimated average and are for tuition only other fees and charges are not included. The amount you pay will vary depending on the calendar year to enrol, the courses you select and whether your study load is more or less than 1 Equivalent Full Time Student Load (8 courses per year). Indicative fees are a guide for comparison only based on current conditions and available data. You should not rely on indicative fees. More information on fees can be found at the UNSW fees website

Indicative fees to complete the program have been calculated based on a percentage increase for every year of the program. Fee increases are assessed annually and may exceed the indicative figures listed below.

2021 Indicative First Year Fee
$37,200*
2021 Indicative Fee to Complete Degree
$76,880*

*Fees are subject to annual review by the University and may increase annually, with the new fees effective from the start of each calendar year. The indicative fees listed here are based on an estimated average and are for tuition only other fees and charges are not included. The amount you pay will vary depending on the calendar year to enrol, the courses you select and whether your study load is more or less than 1 Equivalent Full Time Student Load (8 courses per year).

Indicative fees are a guide for comparison only based on current conditions and available data. You should not rely on indicative fees. More information on fees can be found at the UNSW fees website.

Indicative fees to complete the program have been calculated based on a percentage increase for every year of the program. Fee increases are assessed annually and may exceed the indicative figures listed below.

Indicative fees to complete the program include tuition plus an estimate of study-related costs of approximately $1,000 per year. To find out more about other costs, visit UNSW International.

Scholarships


At UNSW, we award over $83 million in scholarships each year. We pride ourselves on rewarding excellence and making university accessible to students from all walks of life. Whether you’re a domestic or international student, our range of scholarships, prizes and awards can support your journey.


  • Top 50
    Worldwide

    QS World University Rankings, 2022.

  • Most
    Employable Graduates

    AFR Top 100 Future leaders Award.

  • Leading
    Innovation

    #1 Australian uni attended by start-up founders.

The student community collectively inspire and encourage my individual career goals.
ADA alumni Shirelle Altona

Shirelle Altona

Current Student

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