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Master of Design for Services


The landscape of design is changing. Design has historically focused on the form of artifacts; Design for Service focuses on the relationships and interactions between people, artifacts and activities. Healthcare providers, local government, law enforcement and business have increasingly become involved in using design in the conception and development of services.

Our innovative course is multidisciplinary and multicultural, attracting talented students from a range of different design disciplines from across the world.

Closing date: For entry Sept 2014, apply before 18th July 2014, if you need a visa to study in the UK

Why study Design for Services at Dundee?

The challenges of today's world mean that designers need to see the big picture, communicate clearly and work with others to innovate. Our Master of Design for Services Programme supports students from a range of different design, healthcare, education, business and other areas to discover, define and develop your skills to position yourself to make an impact on the world.

You will use new tools and methods to explore new contexts in which your skills can be applied – or enhancing your existing professional skills with design thinking.

We have been working in the area of Design for Services for several years, and in 2012 renamed our long established Master of Design Programme to Master of Design for Services to reflect this.

This video was created by students on the Design for Services course working with Service Design company, Nile as part of their course work.

To find out more, read our Master of Design for Services blog

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

This course draws upon Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design's (DJCAD) diverse, unique and internationally acclaimed research. In the RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) DJCAD was rated as the top institution in Scotland for research in art and design, and one of the best in the whole of the UK.

We have also been described as "the outstanding Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, regarded as one of the top colleges in Britain." (Sunday Times University Guide, 2008).

Aims of the Programme

The programme aims to:

  • enable you to work with people who use, deliver and commission services to co-design experiences which are pleasurable, efficient and effective.
  • equip you with the skills to research, develop, evaluate and communicate service design solutions
  • develop skills to observe and understand the current situation, visualise change and prototype the future

To learn more about the course, and to see examples of some of the projects students have worked on, and careers that they have gone into, please visit our Design for Services slideshow.

Who should study this course?

Applicants may come from all areas of design: product, interaction, graphics, 3D, jewellery, interiors and architecture and we also welcome applicants from healthcare, education, business, social services and other areas where a design can be applied to improve services.

Recommended reading

We recommend the following introductory reading if you would like guidance on what Service Design is before applying for our Master of Design for Services:

Related courses

Teaching & Assessment

This course is taught by staff in Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.

Members of staff include:

The start date is September each year and the course lasts for 12 months of intensive study, research and design practice.

Programme Content

You will initially work on set project briefs to try out new methods of working and thinking, before focusing on your individual project proposal.

Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to attend workshops, lectures and seminars from nationally and internationally renowned speakers from design, ethnography, business and a range of other disciplines.

Individual modules may be taken by arrangement for credit and CPD.

Semester 1

Design Research

20 credit module led by Professor Mike Press

This module provides students with an understanding of how research contributes to design practices. Masterclasses and project work provide the skills, knowledge and critical understanding for students to creatively apply relevant research methods to a critical design investigation. Students learn methods and approaches to communicate research outcomes effectively using a variety of media.

People, Design and Services

20 credit module led by Fraser Bruce

This module introduces students to the tools and principles of design for services through lectures and hands on project work. Students work with a range of stakeholders to visualise the current service offer and co-create new service offers which are presented back to the clients. Visiting lecturers include Professor Colin Burns, (Designer and former Head of IDEO, London)

Strategic Design Thinking

20 credit module led by Professor Tom Inns, Dean of DJCAD

Workshops explore innovation, strategy, design processes, branding, ethics, stakeholders and creativity resulting in a futures portfolio.

Semester 2

Mindful Design Practice

20 credit module led by Hazel White, Master of Design Course Director

A programme of workshops, seminars and tutorials support students as they develop their design project for Masters. Students undertaking research interviews and pilot studies with the key stakeholders in their project. Projects can be self-generated or selected from the 'challenge bank' - live projects provided by project partners who have included telecoms companies, healthcare providers, local government and business.


20 credit module led by Fraser Bruce

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the tactical and strategic use of prototyping in academic and commercial practices and to be able to differentiate the two in problem finding/solving situations. Students will investigate through research and practice how creative practitioners and researchers can use prototypes and prototyping methods to drive forward innovation and ingenuity.

Design Futures

You will have a choice of one of three 20 credit modules:

Masters Placement: students have previously undertaken worked with Deutsche Telekom's T-labs, Berlin, Charities, Healthcare Providers and Technology and Design Companies undertaking research, design or project management work.

Strategic Information Design: this module explores the changing information design landscape and will provide you with insight into the use and application of both traditional visualisation and communication techniques and new and social media.

Teaching + Learning : an opportunity to apply theory and practice through teaching practice at DJCAD under the guidance of the School of Education at the University of Dundee.

Semester 3

Realisation and Communication

In this 60 credit module you will complete your Masters research and design project and disseminate through presentation, web and other appropriate means.

Previous projects include:

The FastID Forensic Jewellery Identification System developed for use by INTERPOL.

RIP + MIX, a toolkit of Design Methods developed for Deutsche Telekom, Berlin to engage everyone involved in bringing products to market in the initial design stages of product development.

i Giveadam, a service system which connects blood donors and services using a mobile app and web based interface to encourage blood donation through social networking.

Spoonful of Movies is an educational tool to teach children storytelling through film editing techniques.

ReTent - a system to encourage music festival goers to re-use their tents.


Methods of Assessment

Course work, including team project work, exploratory and finalised practical work, and written work.


Our students leave to design for public and private companies, run commercial and social enterprises, study for PhDs and become lecturers around the world.

Lauren Currie graduated in 2009 with an MDes. She is now the co-director of Snook, a social innovation and service design outfit based in Glasgow.

Qin Han is a User Experience Architect at LBi, London. She was recently behind the organisation of one of the biggest global service design events: Global Service Jam - with over 70 attendees at the London event creating and prototyping 'Superhero' services in 48 hours.

Maria Mclennan, who graduated in September 2011, has fought off stiff competition to secure a fully-funded three-year PhD Studentship conducting research into Forensic Jewellery Identification systems, which she began researching as part of her Masters Degree. Maria's research will be supervised by world-renowned Forensic Anthropologist Professor Sue Black at the University of Dundee's Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification and designer Dr Sandra Wilson.

Entry Requirements

We welcome applicants from backgrounds in Design, Healthcare, Education or Business. Graduates from other disciplines, or those without an undergraduate degree but with relevant work experience, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirement

EU and International students visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country.

IELTS of 6.0 (or equivalent), if your first language is not English. Please check our Language Requirements page for details of equivalent grades from other test providers, and information about the University of Dundee English Language courses.

English Language Pre-Sessional Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional programmes and Foundation Programme(s) which are designed to prepare you for university study, the 24 week and 10 week programmes provide additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and 0.5 IELTS respectively. Successful completion of these programmes guarantees progression to various degrees at the University of Dundee as long as you hold a relevant offer. The 30 week (one Academic Year) Foundation Programme(s) allow applicants who have not met our typical academic entry requirements, and require additional English Language support by up to 1.0 to 1.5 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

Fees and Funding

Academic Year Home/EU Overseas
2014-15 £3,800 £13,500

Sources of Funding

Scholarships are available for home, EU and international students taking this course. Please visit our Scholarships webpage to find out more.

SAAS tuition fee loans are available for this course for students who meet the eligibility criteria. Visit our SAAS tuition fee loan webpage for more information and links.

Living Costs

  • Dundee is ranked as one of the most affordable places for students to live in the UK, and the cost of living is around 15% cheaper than the UK average.
  • Increasing numbers of students are successfully undertaking part-time work to supplement their income. You can get advice from our Careers Service, both about job opportunities and how to find a suitable study/work/life balance. EU and international students are also allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.
  • As a student in Scotland, you have free access to the National Health Service. Visits to doctors and hospitals, as well as prescriptions, sight tests and dental checkups, are available free of charge.

Your Application

Our students come from a range of backgrounds – design, business, healthcare, education – from around the world – Greece, Poland, Cyprus, Bahrain, China, Czech Republic, Romania, South Korea, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland. They are interested in learning and applying service design methods to complex challenges. ‘Service Design’ programmes all have their own approach – our application process is designed to discover whether our programme and your aspirations match.

There are three steps:

Step 1: Read

If you are new to this area, we recommend you browse the following introductory reading to get a better understanding of designing for services.

Step 2. Talk

Following the introductory reading, if you think designing for services is for you - contact course director, Hazel White to arrange an informal 30 minute chat by Skype or phone. You can ask Hazel anything you like, she will ask you:

  • How you heard about the programme
  • What insights you made from the literature on the reading list
  • How you would explain 'designing for services' to a stranger in less than a minute
  • Any experience you have of writing academic papers,reports, or essays
  • If you have any previous experience of Service Design
  • What you hope to get from 12 months of study
  • What particular skills and experience you will bring
  • If you do not have an IELTS score of 6.0 or over, we would like to know the date of your English proficiency test.

Step 3. Apply

Apply online via UKPASS

You must read the information regarding how to upload relevant documents to UKPASS before proceeding with your application.

Closing date

For entry Sept 2013 apply before 19th July 2013, if you need a visa to study in the UK. We would also recommend this date for UK students to ensure consideration as we have only 20 places on the programme.

Course Contact

Tracey Drummond
Postgraduate Secretary
Duncan of Jordanstone College
of Art & Design
University of Dundee
Perth Road

Telephone: 01382 385 363 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 385 363 (from outside the UK)

Fax: 01382 386 937 (from the UK)
Fax: +44 1382 386 937 (from outside the UK)


Course Director

Hazel White MA (RCA)