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University of Sunderland

100% online MDes Design

Inspire, create and innovate with an MDes Design from a global university

Apply By 20 August 2024
To Start 3 September 2024
  • 180 credits
  • Complete within 24 months
  • £6,780 total fees
  • 5 star QS Teaching Rating (2023)

Why Sunderland?

  1. 100% online MDes within 24 months
  2. 5 star rating for teaching, inclusiveness, employability and facilities*
  3. Top 50 UK University**
  4. 70% of university research rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’***
  5. 7th in the UK for social inclusion****
  6. £6,780 total fees, option to pay £565 per module
*QS World University Rankings 2023
**Guardian University Guide 2024
***Research Excellence Framework 2021
****The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024

Impress and inspire employers and take your next steps in design

Designers work to enhance and enrich a wide variety of projects, enhancing the appeal and function of objects, processes and systems. Release your inner creative and help businesses engage their users with the University of Sunderland’s 100% online MDes Design.

This course is studied by students in the UK and from around the world, and the design issues it tackles are similarly global in nature. It is designed to challenge your thinking, so you can critically evaluate a wide range of information and ideas to use as a basis for your own approaches, methods and design thinking.

Through a dynamic curriculum that blends theoretical frameworks, historical contexts, practical exercises, and case studies, you will develop the skills and acumen needed creatively tackle design challenges. You will also expand your design abilities across a wide range of materials, software, techniques and processes, learning how to choose the best media and approach for each design job.

Finally, you will be encouraged to think about your career path throughout, and demonstrate the skills learned in a portfolio of creative work designed to help you secure your ideal job.

A fully flexible 100% online MDes Design made for you

This course is purposefully built to help busy working professionals gain the skills and capabilities needed to develop as designers, with fully online teaching and no need to attend campus.

It offers the flexibility of asynchronous learning on a wide range of digital devices so you can study as you’re able – anywhere and anytime – around important life commitments including work, family and friends.

You can study full-time to fast-track your career progress or take the time you need around your day to day activities with a part-time learning path.

You can also get your studies started within weeks, even if outside the traditional academic year, with six start dates per year.

What will you study?

This course aims to develop skilled ethical designers with an understanding of how design can positively impact society and the world. You will gain a systematic understanding of design knowledge and critical awareness of current challenges and new insights at the forefront of contemporary design practice.

As a graduate, you will know how to position and promote your own work, using your knowledge of the creative industries to understand how the sector is evolving and confidently recognising possible career paths and potential demand for your creative projects.

Key knowledge and skills taught on this course:

  • How to generate creative ideas and apply them to design concepts
  • Develop creative brand awareness concepts using research
  • Ethical design issues including sustainability, inclusive design and social responsibility
  • A body of work showcasing original ideas, skills and knowledge application
  • Producing creative and technically advanced materials to generate paid work
  • Strategic design thinking and design leadership and management
  • Knowledge of movements, styles, theories and design history
  • Knowledge of how a ‘design manifesto’ influences design practice

Outward-looking and prepared to teach a global village of online learners

We’ve been educating students internationally for more than 40 years and have a global reach that extends across campus locations in Hong Kong, Sunderland and London, as well as partnerships in the Caribbean, Greece, Kenya, Malaysia, Lanka, Oman, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tashkent and Vietnam. This diversity ensures our students benefit from collaborating and learning through the lens of a variety of perspectives, while building broad professional networks.

Our international community makes up a high percentage of our overall student cohort and we have distance learning students across the globe. We’re also a leader in UK widening participation and have been awarded 7th in the UK for social inclusion (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024).

Our expertise, our cutting-edge technology and our vast experience delivering excellent online learning experiences to global students is key to what sets the University of Sunderland and our online MDes Design apart.

Admission requirements

Applicants must be of age 19 and above and should have or be about to complete:
And have
  • At least a UK 2.2 honours undergraduate degree in a design or related subject (or international equivalent)
  • A third-class honours degree or an ordinary degree (without honours) in a design or related subject (or the UK equivalent) together with a minimum of 2 years appropriate work experience
  • The work experience must be at a graduate level, in a relevant field of design, which may include voluntary work, placements, internships, project management etc
  • Applicants who do not hold a recognised degree will be asked to provide evidence which demonstrates a minimum of three years’ relevant organisational experience
Software requirements for studying this course
    Students will need their own access to some software licenses. (The University could provide guidance with the students pricing)

  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Microsoft 365
  • Clo3d (MDes Design with Fashion Design)
  • ToonBoom Essentials, Advanced or Premium (MDes Design with Animation Design)
  • Maya (MDes Design with Animation Design)
  • 3D Studio Max (MDes Design with Animation Design)
  • Maxon One Student (Cinema 4D, ZBrush, Red Giant, Red Shift, Capsules, Training, etc) (MDes Design with Graphic Design)


Total course fees
Per 15-credit module fee

If you are based in the UK, you may be eligible for a government-backed postgraduate loan to cover the full costs of the course.

In addition, if you have successfully completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Sunderland, you are eligible for a 10% tuition fees reduction on our postgraduate programmes.

You pay tuition fees for each module taken, either module-by-module or in full at the start of your course.

If you pay module-by-module, you will pay in instalments of £565.