Reasons to choose the programme

You’ll develop the skills to address complex real-world challenges, critically addressing challenges related to social, technical and environmental change. 
You’ll benefit from taking part in our annual field trip, which will build upon an intensive session of workshops, site visits and engagement in the field.
Join a growing and interdisciplinary field of Design that is speaking specifically to the socio-political, economic and environmental issues of our time.
It may be possible to undertake a work-based dissertation and apply your new skills in real world applications. 
By the time you graduate, you’ll have the skills and expertise to propose, plan and develop critical and creative projects, which will demonstrate how change can be fostered, developed and delivered

Arno Verhoeven talks about the programme
Edinburgh College of Art

"Our programme is ideal for students who are looking to broaden their existing specialist approaches from a range of disciplines with new and appropriate 21st century design skills."


Design for Change is an exciting programme which seeks to address complex, global challenges such as disruptive technologies, ageing populations, economic instability, conflict and displacement and environmental degradation through design-led interventions.    

As a student, you will develop the skills to ideate, communicate and deliver propositions for change founded on inclusive design-led interventions driven by tactical, critical, strategic and creative approaches.   

Our programme is ideal for students who are looking to broaden their existing specialist approaches from a range of disciplines with new and appropriate 21st century design skills which can be applied across a variety of intellectual and creative contexts, including sociology, engineering, business, anthropology, geography, and especially design itself.  

    Programme Structure

    Teaching will take place across two semesters through a series of Design Labs, which provide thematic focus to open project briefs.   

    Through these Design Labs, you will be encouraged to make innovative use of analytical design research methods, apply contemporary synthetic approaches to producing and prototyping design-led insights and to develop bleeding edge forms of communication, presentation and dissemination of design knowledge and future propositions for design-led interventions.   

    Design Labs are complimented by optional courses, which you will select from a range of subjects across the School of Design, Edinburgh College of Art and allied academic disciplines within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.   

    The programme culminates in an independent dissertation embracing your own, situated and practical interventions to real world challenges interrogated through the first two semesters.  

    It may be possible to undertake a work-based dissertation and apply your new skills in real world applications.  

    Upcoming online information sessions

    to be confirmed

    Potential New Programmes

    We would like to hear your views on potential new postgraduate opportunities in ‘Design for Body and Mind’ and 'Post Digital Craft'. Please fill out our short surveys.

    Design for Body and Mind Survey
    Post Digital Craft Survey


    The professional knowledge, skills and abilities developed on this programme will prepare you for a rewarding career as a designer, strategist or consultant within a variety of private sector organisations including design studios, government or NGOs. We also encourage students to consider future careers in academia, in emerging fields of inquiry, including digital humanities, developmental studies, and emergent forms of design study and practice as academic researchers. 

    How to apply and entrance requirements

    If you'd like to study on a postgraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through EUCLID, our online application system. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to:

    • see detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
    • get information on what to expect after you apply
    • find out about study modes, start dates and fees
    • find out if, and how, you need to submit a portfolio, showreel or research proposal
    • find out where to go for further advice and guidance

    Take me to the University of Edinburgh website on how to apply for postgraduate study

    Alumni profiles


    Dr Rachel Joy Harkness

    Lecturer, Design Ecologies, School of Design

    Programme Director, Design for Change [MA]


    Tel: 0131 6515753

    Scholarships and bursaries

    Andrew Grant Postgraduate Scholarships

    • Deadline: 1 March 2023
    • Value: £10,500
    • Eligibility: Scholarships available for one academic year of postgraduate Masters study at Edinburgh College of Art.

    John L Paterson Postgraduate Design Scholarship

    • Deadline: 13 March 2023
    • Value: £8,000 tenable for one academic year and will be deducted from your tuition fee with any remaining funds being awarded towards living costs
    • Eligibility: Available to applicants with UK/Overseas status who apply for admission to the MA Design for Change programme. Applications for full-time study only will be considered.


    Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

    Tel: +44 (0)131 650 4086