Healthcare and Design

Key information

Duration: 2 years part-time
Start date: October 2017
ECTS: 90 credits

South Kensington
St Mary's
Royal College of Art

Course Director
Prof. the Lord Ara Darzi

Open to applications
You are strongly encouraged to apply before 1 August 2017
View entry requirementsApply nowRegister your interest


This new course is designed to equip students from a wide range of professional practice backgrounds with the tools and techniques to instigate and lead innovation in healthcare systems, services and spaces.

In doing so, we’ll provide you with a greater understanding of the UK health system and the systemic challenges it faces to remain sustainable.

You’ll also gain an understanding of behavioural economics and how to apply that to design projects in order to maximise impact. This includes understanding the role of physical products and the environment in shaping people’s behavior.

Some of the skills covered by the course include the ability to:

  • develop a business case and business model for an innovation, considering market and financial analysis
  • apply different theoretical models of innovation, explaining why some innovations succeed and others fail
  • rapidly research, manufacture and prototype a solution to a healthcare challenge

The course draws on the complementary knowledge and expertise of Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art (RCA), and will be delivered at Imperial’s campuses in South Kensington and St Mary’s, as well as at the RCA campus in South Kensington.

This MSc runs alongside an MRes degree awarded by the Royal College of Art. Imperial’s course has been designed for clinicians and healthcare professionals, while the RCA’s MRes is aimed at design professionals.

Both courses build on the partnership between Imperial and the RCA, which comes to life in the HELIX Centre – a design studio in St Mary’s Hospital bringing designers and clinicians together for the first time to solve healthcare challenges.

A key aim of the HELIX Centre is to drive more innovative approaches to healthcare service delivery with better design and planning, more efficient use of resources and greater focus on patient need.

The majority of taught modules (six out of eight modules) are shared between this course and the RCA’s MRes course for design professionals.

There are two introductory modules designed specifically for each cohort to introduce the principles of design and healthcare respectively.


Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.


Core modules – Year 1

You take all of the modules below.

  • A Health Business Toolkit (Imperial)
  • A Health Research Toolkit (Imperial)
  • Introduction to Design and Innovation (RCA)
  • Introduction to Design Led Innovation in Healthcare (RCA)

Core modules – Year 2

You take all of the modules below.

  • Design dash (Imperial)
  • Designing for Behaviour Change (Imperial)
  • Innovation (Imperial)
  • Leadership (Imperial)

Research project

Your research project accounts for one-third of your overall mark, and you are supervised by Imperial with the option of a second supervisor from the RCA.

You will be encouraged to undertake this research project in your workplace. To manage this we may use ‘subject experts’ within your workplace to provide additional support.

Teaching and assessment


You will experience a variety of teaching methods appropriate for a part-time degree, with some teaching taking place on campus and some online and at home.

Face-to-face teaching

Your face-to-face teaching takes place in each module during a series of intensive sessions lasting one-week.

You will be exposed to world leading experts and facilities, both at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art.

Teaching methods include:

  • Case-based discussions
  • Interactive lectures
  • Practical sessions
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

E-learning and blended learning

You experience e-learning and blended learning alongside face-to-face teaching. These methods enable you to advance your learning, achieve learning outcomes and demonstrate your progress.

  • Group discussion boards
  • Other relevant module-related materials 
  • Pre-module activities


  • Individual presentations
    These are a follow up to your group work.
  • Written assessments
    Including critical reflection, literature review, or topical essay.
  • Research project
    A 10-15,000 word report plus 15 minute oral presentation with questions.


As a part-time course taken over over two years, you have eight individual weeks of intensive teaching (four blocks of two weeks).

Tuition fees and funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

For more information on the funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees (Home and EU students)

2017 entry
£12,200 for full course

Tuition fees (Islands and Overseas students)

2017 entry
£30,600 for full course

Postgraduate Master's loan

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. The loan is not means-tested, and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.


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.

There are a number of external organisations also offer awards for Imperial students, find out more about non-Imperial scholarships.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.


We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

For advice on the requirements for the qualifications listed here please contact the Department (details at the bottom of this page).

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. If the requirements for your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page for guidance on which qualifications we accept.


Minimum academic requirement

Normally, a 2:1 UK Bachelor’s Honours degree, with either a clinical background or other healthcare experience.

Applicants who do not meet the academic requirements above but who have substantial relevant industry experience may be admitted following completion of a Special Qualifying Exam (SQE).

International qualifications

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification. 

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications. For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirement (all applicants)

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.

How to apply

All applicants must apply online.

You can usually apply for up to two courses, although your second choice will only be considered if your first-choice application is unsuccessful.

Although courses will remain open until they are filled, applicants for this course are strongly encouraged to apply by 1 August 2017. Early applications allow us to communicate important information around key dates with applicants directly.

If you need a visa to study in the UK, we advise that you apply by 1 July 2017 to ensure that your visa is processed and approved prior to the start of the course.

You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.

Offer holders will need to pay a deposit to secure your place. This will be deducted from the balance of your tuition fees.

For full details on the online application process, or to start your application, please visit the How to Apply section of our website.

ATAS certificate

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

Further information

Surgery and Cancer

Contact us

Susan Farrell

Imperial students

Applying for your visa

Visit the International Student Support website for information on applying for a visa.

Imperial students


Use our search tool to find scholarships from Imperial, plus non-Imperial scholarships.