The PhD in Design is for those students with prior advanced knowledge of and qualifications in a Design discipline who want to pursue a rigorous, in-depth study of a specific topic under specialist supervisory guidance. We welcome prospective students with a strong idea of what they want to research and how they will carry it out. A willingness to engage with primary-source material and to interpret this alongside existing literature in the field are essential attributes in those wishing to undertake this programme. The student’s aim will be to make an original and substantial contribution to knowledge in the chosen area of study.
Undertaking an MPhil or PhD in Design offers you the opportunity to become part of a dynamic and varied research community. We have students engaged in a wide range of research projects covering, deepening and extending the disciplines that make up the School of Design.
We encourage students to explore both discipline-specific areas, and interdisciplinary programmes of research, and as such, supervision may be provided by a range of academic staff from across Design and beyond. We welcome both practice and research led approaches to research.
Whichever area your research engages with, you will elect to carry out a practice-based programme of research, or a standard MPhil/PhD. The first offers you the opportunity to work through and submit a practical portfolio and textual output, while the standard approach requires a fully text-based output. Both routes can be studied at PhD-level over three years full-time, or six years part-time. At MPhil-level full time study is two years, or four years part-time.
Research is central to the School of Design, providing MPhil and PhD candidates with a rich variety of staff research interests, and we specialise in areas including: animation practice and theory; illustration; place, body and environment; design, craft and digital technologies; immersive technologies, interaction and gaming; materiality and making; design informatics and computational crafts; narrative; design anthropology; design history and theory; contemporary film theory and practice; design for healthcare and wellbeing; design management and service design; design for change (transition and transformation); cultural and heritage studies; sustainability and the circular economy; and participatory and co-design approaches.