Design Management MA

Study level: Postgraduate
Students sitting around a table looking at a design drawing

This course intends to help you develop skills in leadership, and management of creative practice and associated practitioners, as well as the capabilities to support effective outcomes and operations in businesses, where creative activity is part of the overall strategy.

Year of entry



Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode



1 year full-time
2 years part-time
16-24 months (with professional experience)

Course code


Start date

September 2024
January 2025
May 2025

Course overview

This profession helps businesses to optimise their innovation, new product development and stakeholder insights. It will attract students from all creative disciplines as well as those from business and marketing.

  • The situation of the course within a creative environment will help you to engage and collaborate with practical insight and to have a good understanding of the design development process.
  • You will engage in a mixture of creative design (through peer collaborations with design students) and the practice of management and leadership processes to equip you to lead creative design within a commercial environment.
  • You are provided with multiple options for the expression of creative explorations, including academic writing, oral and visual presentations, digital portfolios and online content.
  • Key features of the course are the opportunity for working with live client projects, international travel experiences2, and where possible, Collaborative Online International Learning projects (COIL) with collaborating study institutions2.
A star in the centre of a rosette.

Rated Gold Overall

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2023

Five stars in a speech bubble.

5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

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Top 5 Student City in England (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2025

Why you should study this course

This postgraduate course has been designed in collaboration with industry practitioners and prepares you to manage creative design practice, practitioners and processes in a corporate context across a broad range of creative and manufacturing industries.

  • You may have opportunities2 to work with professionals from the creative design industry to develop your expertise in various user contexts and professional settings – from graphic, fashion and communication design to consumer and industrial product design.
  • The curriculum embraces business management, marketing, design strategy, entrepreneurship, innovation, sustainability, design leadership and design practice. It seeks to develop your knowledge of management processes, including project management, milestone reporting, decision-making and budget management, as well as core business practices in areas like intellectual property and finance.
  • Upon successful completion of this course, you should have the technical knowledge needed to function effectively in the professional environments in which design is applied, leading creative designers and cross-functional teams who take new products from initial concept to final outputs. Our facilities4 enable you to familiarise yourself with industry-standard software and equipment used in the design industry.
  • Inspired by staff who will share their experience of design with companies who have included Philips, Canon and Samsung (staff may be subject to change), you will have the opportunity to work on briefs set by industry teams who will then comment and advise on your work. This should help build your confidence to communicate and defend ideas and outcomes throughout all phases of the design process – to stakeholders including managers, marketers, engineers, facilitators and production managers.

What you'll study

Managing creatives and the creative process in collaboration with other functional teams requires a broad skill set, including technical know-how and leadership characteristics.

Established techniques of leadership and management will be taught alongside access to the college’s wide range of creative activities. Creative practitioners are increasingly being regarded as multi-disciplinary within the design industry. The course focuses on challenges and creative culture, as well as a deeper understanding of design processes, evaluation and expectations.

This course explores a mix of creative design, management and leadership processes to equip you with the skills and expertise that could be used to lead effective creative design which may have commercial value within industrial, retail or service sectors. It is structured around the three themes of communication, collaboration and creativity.

During semester one, you’ll explore creative processes and contexts, and provide a theoretical and practical introduction to academic standards of research and ethics which are core to level 7 study. In semester two, you will critically develop your specialist practice/interests and start to question your personal boundaries and creative activities. You will work closely with peers and consider their own practice in a professional context. During semester three you will work on your self-directed specialist Final Project.


With professional experience option

The professional experience opportunity2 enables you to apply for optional professional experience in semester 1, which, upon successfully securing an opportunity, will extend the duration of your master’s to either 16, 20 or 24 months. The professional experience provides an opportunity for you to develop expertise and experience in your chosen field with the aim of enhancing your employability.

Please note that the optional professional experience modules incur an additional tuition fee, which for 1 semester of professional experience is £1,333.33, for 2 semesters of professional experience is £2,666.67, and for 3 semesters of professional experience is £4,000.

Professional experience may also be subject to additional costs, visa requirements being met, subject to availability and/or competitive application. Professional experience opportunities are not guaranteed but you will benefit from the support of our Talent Team in trying to find and secure an opportunity. Find out more about the professional experience option.

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

Your learning journey will be wide-ranging, developing your work to have integrity, resilience and be authentic in its production and delivery. The learning that you will undertake will include sessions that are led by staff, group projects, guided learning and directed skill sessions.

This course can be offered on a part-time basis. Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Request further information about part-time study.

Teaching contact hours

The number of full-time contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around 11 contact hours per week in the first year.

Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 22 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.

The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods include:

  • Group work
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Projects
  • Coursework
  • Individual assignments

The Coventry University assessment strategy aims to ensure that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

International experience opportunities

We currently have strong connections with industry and other universities in Europe, and Asia.

Collaborative learning may include exchange lectures by Coventry Faculty and visiting course leaders and tutors from our link universities on-site in the UK and abroad. Many of our courses run Collaborative Online International Learning projects allowing you to develop cultural connections with students from other universities from around the world2.

Please note that all international experience opportunities may be subject to additional costs, competitive application, availability and meeting applicable visa and travel requirements are therefore not guaranteed2.

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2024/25entry.

A 2:2 undergraduate degree or higher grade in a creative subject, management, business or related subject area.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

Typical entry requirements

Applicants should ideally have a 2:2 undergraduate degree or higher grade in a creative subject, management, business or related subject area.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with at least 5.5 in each component area
  • If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
  • For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience)   Request fee information
EU £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience) per year with EU Support Bursary**
£18,600 | £22,600 (with prof. experience) per year without EU Support Bursary**
Not available
International £18,600 | £22,600 (with prof. experience)   Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.

We offer a range of international scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees3 cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU Support Bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.


Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities in a dedicated environment4.

The Delia Derbyshire complex includes a hyper studio designed for cross-disciplinary projects and immersive studios with cutting-edge virtual reality and mixed-reality technologies.

Student using the facilities in the digital design workshop

Design workshops

Our digital and printing workshops bring your ideas to life through different media4. You’ll find a high-powered laser cutter, 3D printers, scanners and traditional print-making and making workshops for etching, silk-screen printing, relief printing, ceramics, metalwork and woodwork, as well as a generously stocked letterpress room.

Student in a Mac studio

PC and Mac suites

Maximise your learning in our cutting-edge computer suites4. You'll have access to PCs and Macs running the latest industry-standard software needed for your course, including graphic design packages such as Adobe Creative Suite.


Student and lecturer working in studio

Studio-centric working

In the School of Art and Design, we structure our teaching and assessment methods to replicate the creative industry's ways of working, as we aim to create a studio-centric working environment.



Careers and opportunities

Upon successful completion of this course, you will have knowledge of:

  • design management and associated disciplines whilst engaging with themes, insights and contexts at the forefront of your field of study or professional practice
  • experimenting with creative techniques in your own practice in order to help pioneer imaginative proposals or advance scholarship in design management
  • skills required to create complex ambitious artefacts and projects for diverse audiences and contexts, encouraging critique, analysis and synthesis
  • collaborating and participating in cross-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary engagement across peer groups, disciplines, courses, communities and international contexts
  • critically reflecting on your personal skills and achieving your goals in the context of a continuously and rapidly changing and globally significant professional design management environment
  • developing a creative and independent approach to research, learning and analysis and applying this to different contexts within and beyond the fields of design and design management.

On the course, you can expect to gain comprehensive knowledge of both creative design and management processes, designed to prepare you for leadership and decision-making positions within product design agencies, manufacturing companies, design consultancies, research and development departments, research institutions and government bodies. Specific careers might include acting as a design team leader, design project manager, design researcher and design policy maker. Potential professional roles could include design manager, creative producer and account manager.

Professional enhancement is central to our ethos; we place emphasis on the development of evidence-based decision-making, high-level leadership and communication skills. This is the reason we also encourage collaboration with industry practitioners and work on ‘live’ project briefs (subject to availability).

You will graduate as professionals capable of managing creative teams who can produce innovative new product solutions and who are increasingly sought after in the UK, Europe, the USA and particularly in the major developing economies.

Where our graduates work

Our graduates can be found working with top UK and international design-led companies: DCA in Warwick, Cambridge Consultants, PDD and Seymour Powell in London, Kinneir Dufort Design Ltd in Bristol, Princess Yachts, GE, Dyson, VAX, Ryobi, WPP, Lego, JMDA, Jaguar Land Rover and many other household names.

How to apply