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MSc Digital Design

Develop digital design skills to understand and solve real world problems and societal challenges

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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At York, MSc Digital Design teaches you key design skills and theoretical expertise that can be applied across diverse societal and industry contexts. 

Use digital design to tackle big challenges: how AI-aided design could tackle local climate change challenges; supporting inclusion and diversity in cultural heritage; creating intuitive digital experiences to support better mental health, and more.

You don't need a background in design. You'll gain practical experience in our bespoke multimedia complex - including screen-based interactive prototyping tools, graphic design, creative AI, 3D-modelling and printing - and develop your understanding of theoretical and research approaches. 

Throughout your course, you'll develop team working, project management and communication skills. Build your portfolio by collaborating with external partners including charities, decision makers, research institutes and cultural organisations.

Enhance your employability through masterclasses with industry professionals. You'll be well-equipped to embark on careers in user experience, product development, research, creative arts and design across a variety of sectors.

"My studies at York are the foundation of my career in UI and UX design. It provided me with diverse and essential skills across design, research, development, and the humanities. Allowing me to seamlessly collaborate with product and development teams across industries. I am now Lead UI UX Designer at Time Machine Capital² Limited."

Leia, BSc Interactive Media 

Course content

You will study 180 credits over the duration of your course, including core modules, option modules, and an independent design project.

  • Semester 1 - two core and one option module
  • Semester 2 - one core and two option modules
  • Summer Semester - 60 credit independent design project


Core modules

  • Design Methods
  • Digital Design Skills
  • Research Through Design

Option modules

You'll have the opportunity to study three option modules from the School of Arts and Creative Technologies. Examples may include:

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.

Research project

  • Independent Design Project

During the summer semester, you'll work on your extended independent design project. You'll be supported through group tutorials and by a supervisor aligned to your chosen topic. You'll be assessed on the quality of your design artefact/s and an accompanied critical report.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Employ a range of established and emerging design methods and approaches, and apply and evaluate their effectiveness in real-world contexts and projects
  • Demonstrate working knowledge and expertise in digital design skills across a range of platforms and technologies (e.g. graphic design, interactive media, physical computing, VR/AR)
  • Collaborate confidently and professionally as part of a team with colleagues, end-users, decision makers, and interested/affected groups and non-academic partners and clients to design and co-design solutions for real-world challenges
  • Understand the role, impact, opportunities and significance of digital design as applied to creative arts and technologies with knowledge of end-users and stakeholders’ requirements
  • Apply and extend digital design skills and methods to creative arts and technologies, developing interactive, novel prototypes to address real-world challenges
  • Communicate complex design concepts, prototypes, and their underlying principles and research confidently and clearly to professional audiences, using appropriate means (e.g. graphic, immersive, interactive, aural, written).

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900

Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You'll learn through a mixture of lectures, design workshops, technical practicals, individual and group tutorials and masterclasses with visiting professionals.

The course involves working with external partners on project briefs. You’ll get opportunities to hone your critical thinking and design skills in live projects and work with local communities and external clients. Module assessments enable you to build up your portfolio, supporting your future career ambitions.

You'll be assigned a member of our teaching staff who will act as your personal supervisor. They are there to give advice on academic matters as well as other areas of University life. For your independent design project, you'll also be assigned a supervisor who may be a different member of staff.


Our £30m media complex houses exceptional facilities and equipment to support practical learning and is central to our teaching.

Teaching location

You will be based in the School of Arts and Creative Technologies on Campus East. 

Most of your contact hours will be in the School with some additional teaching on Campus East.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

The programme is assessed through a combination of design artefacts and interactive prototypes, reports, and essays. The module options are set to encourage you to choose topics of  interest and select the assessment methods that are most suitable to you.

Careers and skills

This course helps to develop your employability by equipping you with skills in design theory and practice applicable across job markets. 

Career opportunities

  • User Experience Designer
  • Service Designer
  • Engagement manager
  • Digital content producer
  • Digital data manager
  • User Researcher
  • Digital marketing
  • Social media manager
  • Immersive experience designer/developer
  • Civil Service Fast Stream
  • Government and third sector research and policy roles
  • Further study with a PhD

Transferable skills

  • Critical analysis, thinking and evaluation
  • Digital research and methodologies
  • Project design, planning and management
  • Investigative research
  • Collaborative working
  • Intellectual independence and independent working
  • Communication skills
  • Time management and people skills

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent with a demonstrable interest in Design. We will also consider your application if you have a 2:2 and significant relevant professional experience.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component
Cambridge CEFR B2 First: 176, with 169 in each component
Oxford ELLT 7, minimum of 6 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 70 with a minimum of 65 in each component
KITE 459-494, with 426-458 in all other components
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Pass with Merit in each component
PTE Academic 61, minimum 55 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation online. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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