Design Management MA

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

As a Design Management student you will develop skills in the leadership and management of creative practice and associated practitioners, with the capability to support effective outcomes and operations in businesses where creative activity is a part of their 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 2023

Course overview

As a Design Management student you will develop skills in the leadership and management of creative practice and associated practitioners. It will provide you with the capability to support effective outcomes and operations in businesses where creative activity is a part of their overall strategy. This is an increasingly valuable and widely applicable profession as it helps business 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 them to lead creative design within the commercial environment.
  • You are provided with multiple options for the expression of the 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 institutions.
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Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Why you should study this course

This postgraduate course has been designed in collaboration with industry praticioners and prepares you to manage creative design practice, practitioners and processes in a corporate context across a broad range of creative and manufacturing industries. Potential professional roles could include design manager, creative producer and account manager.

  • You may have opportunities 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 including 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.

Although my master's degree happened in the middle of the pandemic and the classes were mostly online, I loved the experience. I always had a good relationship with professors and colleagues, I always felt very well received and integrated, I never lacked support and I always felt enthusiastic and motivated to work. I can say with certainty that the Coventry University community is very welcoming.

Ana Reis Duarte, Design Management MA, September 2021
Ana Reis Duarte

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 1, 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 2, students will critically develop their specialist practice/interests and start to question where personal boundaries and creative activities. Students will work closely with peers and consider their own practice in a professional context. During Semester 3 students will work on their self-directed specialist Final Project.


  • You will have the opportunity 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 partners and apply your ideas in ‘real world contexts'.


  • You will explore the global, economic, cultural and social context in which design management works. You will be equipped with key market research skills and tools of strategic analysis in order to be able to develop commercial competitiveness within organisations. You'll 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 requires you to select a series of topics related to intercultural and transnational communication, professional development and management/leadership to provide you with both a theoretical and practical framework to help build key skills.


  • 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 studied on a full-time or 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. Please request information about studying this course part-time.

Teaching contact hours

Part of university life is undertaking self-directed learning. Across the course of the week you will have non ‘taught’ time that allows you to work independently to apply the skills you have learnt in taught or facilitated sessions to your projects or assignment briefs. This is particularly important in the school of art and design as it allows you to engage and develop your practice.

This self-directed learning allows you to monitor and self-evaluate your development and how to manage this time to best impact your creative work. SDL is key to designing and making as it is a process that takes discipline and repetition. This mode of learning underpins an art and design community of practice approach.

Approximately a third of your time will be taken up with scheduled taught sessions whether that is individual, seminar, group and in the remaining hours you will be applying that learning to your ongoing assignments. Every learner is different and will manage their learning journey to their strengths and aspirations.

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 the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2022/2023 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.


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.

You will be assessed using a variety of methods which could vary depending upon the module. In the School of Art and Design we design our assessment methods to replicate the creative industry ways of working. This ensures that you have the chance to learn skills for future career opportunities.

Assessment methods may include reports, practical coursework and presentations as part of individual assignments or group work elements.

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.

I recently completed my MA in Design Management with distinction from Coventry University. When I took an admission for this course, I was little apprehensive as I was returning to academia after working in the industry for 15 years. But all the professors and my batchmates were very supportive. The course was very well structured and delivered to high standards even during the Covid pandemic. Overall, I had a wonderful learning experience here.

Preeti Patankar, Design Management MA, September 2021
Preeti Patankar

Entry requirements

A good 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.

Applicants should ideally have a good 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

2022/23 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK £10,600 per year Request fee information
International £16,950 per year 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.

  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.


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. These will include a hyper studio designed for cross-disciplinary projects; immersive studios with cutting-edge virtual reality and mixed-reality technologies4. Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities in a unique environment.

Student using the facilities in the digital design workshop

Design workshops

Our digital and printing workshops bring your ideas to life through different media. 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 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 suites. 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 shape our teaching and assessment methods to replicate the creative industry ways of working. This includes working in a studio-centric working environment.



Careers and opportunities

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

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

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

On the course, you will gain 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.

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)2.

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

  • 1Accreditations

    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 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. Due to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    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 2022/23 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.

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