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

May 2024

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 process 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, poster design, video outcomes, 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.
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Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

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5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

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Top 5 UK Student City (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2023

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 practice 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 skillset, including technical know-how and leadership characteristics.

Established techniques of leadership and management will be taught alongside access to the faculty’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, we’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.


  • You will have the opportunity2 to work with students across the postgraduate disciplines within the School of Art and Design and internationally, to enable you to develop a broader understanding of the context for your practice, encouraging you to dynamically engage with external collaborators and apply your ideas in ‘real world contexts'.


  • You will explore the global, economic, cultural and social context in which design management works. You can expect to equip yourself with key market research skills and tools of strategic analysis in order to be able to develop commercial competitiveness within organisations. You should also develop an awareness of the role of different commercial functions, such as marketing and corporate social responsibility, and learn how to synthesise this knowledge to work as an effective leader in the creative industries.


  • This module asks you to consider the professional contexts of your discipline. It explores the ways in which creativity, innovation, problem-solving and entrepreneurship intersect in creative practice. It employs real-world examples to enable you to think about professional practice, employability, portfolio development and approaches to communication.


  • The module prepares students for careers either as a freelance creative or in multi-national corporations. You will develop an awareness of project management within the creative industries, explore the function of different teams and learn to appraise differing stakeholder perspectives.


  • This module explores the changing world of work which you will enter after study. New technology and the changing global economy mean that jobs and skills are changing and evolving quickly and will continue to do so. This is an exciting and new world, and this module is designed to empower you to realise your potential in it. This module provides tools for you to develop into changemakers, thrive in a changing world of work and participate in creating a better future for society. You will be guided through a process of reflection that explores four possible futures for the world of work and how to situate your own professional identity as the future of work changes through their careers. This module is designed in collaboration with The RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), and upon successful completion you will receive RSA digital badging.


  • This module requires you to implement the first part of the plan defined in the module 'Design Management Final Project’. The outcome will be a personal project brief or initial creative directions inspired by the data, discourse or analysis. The output of this module can be presented in a negotiated form that has equivalency to a 3,500 word investigatory or exploratory report.


  • The module requires you to independently plan, develop and apply strategies of data gathering, data analysis and data interpretation. You will produce an extended and original collection of work relating to your own aspirations (e.g. responding to service design, product design, design engineering, entrepreneurship). You will apply skills and knowledge of tools and strategies to provide a creative design management response to the business decisions, brands, organisation, strategies and innovative approaches to design success.


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.

In response to COVID-19, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2023/24 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. 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 2023/24 entry.

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

2023/24 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience)   Not available
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 fees 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.


The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is joining two of our school’s completely refurbished Art and Design buildings and adding a range of new facilities, which is planned to open in 2023. The new Delia Derbyshire building complex will include a hyper studio designed for cross-disciplinary projects; immersive studios with cutting-edge virtual reality and mixed-reality technologies. Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities in a dedicated environment4.

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: therefore 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

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2023/24 contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.