MA(RCA)/MSc Innovation Design Engineering (IDE)
Duration: 21 months full-time
Start date: October 2017
Location: South Kensington
ECTS: 180 credits
This course is now open to applications for 2017 entry.
A cutting-edge, creative product development course, which involves experimentation, design, engineering and enterprise activities.
About the course
The Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) programme is a leading-edge creative product development course, which involves experimentation, design, engineering and enterprise activities.
The degree programme has now been running for over 30 years, and has produced some of the world’s leading designers working in companies such as Philips, IDEO, Apple, Sony and Samsung.
A significant proportion of graduates go on to set up their own enterprises on leaving the programme. Recent examples include Omlet, Bare Conductive and Concrete Canvas.
In multidisciplinary teams or as individuals, participants work at the centre of complex and demanding projects with an emphasis on prototyping and proving design and enterprise propositions.
The course is managed jointly by the School of Design at the Royal College of Art (RCA) and the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial.
Successful completion of the 21-month course leads to the award of the MA (Royal College of Art) and MSc (Imperial College London).
Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.
In the first year, students embark on a range of taught modules, workshops and master classes to develop skills and experience.
Each of these focuses on a particular aspect of IDE and involves practising design skills, as well as research activities both within product development itself, and in exploring user and broader social issues. In each module you will undertake a design project to a brief, sometimes set and sometimes of your own devising.
The work periods become progressively longer as they deal with more complex problems, and you practice the transferability of the core skills in different design settings.
Students joining the programme have a diverse range of existing skills, and the tutor input ensures that the modules allow students to be challenged and learn whatever their backgrounds. As students find their feet as innovation designers, the intensity of taught skills is reduced and by the third term students are working on longer project modules.
Emphasis is placed on generating imaginative ideas, and on testing prototypes through three-dimensional modelling and feedback from potential users, design and other experts.
During the first year students elect into one of two learning strands:
- Disruptive Market Innovations: DMI is core IDE territory and is about delivering innovative products to the market that work.
- Experimental Design: EXP is for design innovation at a fundamental level, which may incorporate the exploration of new technologies, new product categories or new contexts.
The learning strands are to allow students to excel at a particular approach to design or to expand their abilities through exploring a way of working unfamiliar to them. The strands are lightly embedded into the programme, especially in the first year, and there is plenty of collaboration between these strands over two years.
The programme of work in the second year consists of two projects:
- Group project, which is a team based activity
- Solo project, which is conducted on an individual basis
Students choose the theme of these projects themselves. The Solo project runs throughout the year (albeit thin at first), and the Group project runs during the autumn term and a brief period in the spring term.
The Group project is assessed early in the spring term at the Work in Progress show, and the Solo project is assessed at the end of the year in the Degree Show as part of the Final Examination.
The Solo project also forms the subject of a report involving a full description of the project development and results – this is completed and handed in to be assessed towards the end of the summer term.
Critical & Historical Studies
The RCA provides a unique environment for postgraduate art and design students to reflect upon their own practice, and to engage with students from their own and other disciplines. The role of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS) is to support the studio programmes in enabling these critical engagements to take place. The modules offered by CHS to first year studio-based MA students propose an intellectual framework within which they can begin to establish a coherent relationship between theory and practice.
In the autumn and spring terms there are a series of College-wide seminars and lectures. The autumn term series will relate to your particular discipline (though it is possible to elect to join a series being offered to students on other programmes) whereas the spring term series will be more broad-based and cross-disciplinary in nature.
In the spring and summer terms, a CHS tutor will give you individual tutorials to support the development of a dissertation which is submitted at the start of the second year. The dissertation should be between 6,000–10,000 words in length – this is a major piece of work and you will be not be able to submit for the Final Examination until you have passed this assessment.
Minimum academic requirement
The minimum academic requirement is a 2.1 Honours degree or higher in any subject, however you must also show aptitude or great potential in design or technology-led innovation. In exceptional circumstances applicants without this degree qualification will be considered (for example, excellent professional experience or outstanding creative or technical abilities).
Some applicants with business or other commercial backgrounds are also considered. Mature candidates with industrial experience are particularly welcome.
The application process and entrance examination (see below) is administered by the Royal College of Art (RCA).
Entrance exam part 1: All candidates are required to submit a portfolio of work to be assessed by the programme team. See the RCA's website for guidance on the portfolio.
Entrance exam part 2: Selected applicants are invited to the programme for an entrance examination which comprises of an interview (15 minutes in duration, with staff and a student representative) and a creative exercise (one hour).
Read the entry requirements in full on the RCA's website before you apply. Application is via the RCA's online application system.
English language requirements
All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.
For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.
Fees and funding
Students on this programme pay tuition fees direct to the RCA. In addition to the standard RCA postgraduate masters fee this programme is subject to a supplementary fee (£2,000 pa) because of the higher costs involved in delivering a programme in three countries.
The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.
If you are a Home or EU student who meets certain criteria, you can apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £10,000 from the UK government for programmes beginning in October 2016. The loan is not means-tested, and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.
Funding from Imperial
We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Try our scholarships search tool to see what you might be eligible for.
For more information on the Postgraduate Master's Loan scheme and other funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.
How to apply
All applicants must apply online.
You apply directly to the Royal College of Art (RCA) who jointly deliver this course with Imperial College.
There is information on how to apply available on the RCA website.
We advise that you apply as soon as possible and check the RCA website for information on the closing date of this course to avoid disappointment.
An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.