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Postgraduate research

Design

PhD

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What is Design PhD?

A design research degree offers you the opportunity and time to explore innovative research practice through original, critical works. You’ll have the choice to work on your own design, or with staff on international and external projects in collaborative research in our ongoing practice-based projects.

You’ll make research connections that allow you to explore new concepts and meanings in design. For doctoral study, there’s a key need for design to offer experimentation within environmental, social and sustainable futures in the subject and your discipline.

We understand your research may change as you make new connections and as relevant modes of thought and action become important to you through the course of your research. We’ll work with you as you find the appropriate practice for pursuing your research and related form for consolidating and disseminating your findings.

Research areas

You’ll be supported by staff whose specialisms include:

  • sustainable technology
  • the relationship between music and landscape
  • alternative methods of representation
  • augmented aurality and digital tools for sound representation
  • biophilic design for improving health and wellbeing
  • digital and traditional
  • the theory and practice of illustration in advertising and design
  • representational drawing and painting techniques
  • the atelier system
  • colour theory.

This research contributes to the research priority area Being Human: Past, Present and Future and Creative Practice as Research.

Get Design PhD course updates and hear more about studying with us.

Entry requirements

    • MA or MSc by Research/MRes: at least a 2.1 honours degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject area

    • PhD: a master’s degree or equivalent in a subject area relevant to the proposed research topic

    • We actively encourage applications from students from a range of diverse backgrounds who demonstrate appropriate research experience and achievement

    • Candidates who do not possess a master’s degree that includes research methods training at an advanced level are required to complete research methods training

    • All applicants will be interviewed to ascertain experience, aptitude and current level of innovation, creativity and critical thinking. The interview will also be an opportunity to identify an appropriate supervisory team

    • EU and international students need IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in any other component) or equivalent

Course modules

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Fees and costs

See the further details of fees and potential extra costs when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.
Start date Location UCAS code Fee (UK)
per year
Fee (international)
per year
Oct 2021 Distance Learning £3,333 £6,667
Oct 2021 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham £3,333 £6,667
Feb 2022 Distance Learning £3,333 £6,667
Feb 2022 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham £3,333 £6,667
Oct 2022 Distance Learning
Oct 2022 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham
Feb 2023 Distance Learning
Feb 2023 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham

Industry links

You’ll be encouraged to take your work outside the immediate context of the School of Arts and the university. You can travel to interview or meet with key figures from the sector you’d like to work in, or to attend networking events relevant to your career goals.

During your studies we’ll encourage you to dedicate time and effort into developing your network of contacts – as well as aiming to present your work in public and academic spaces as your work evolves.

Develop your ideas

Challenge your own practice and ideas in a community of practitioners and academics – with a deep commitment to discourse and exchange around their subject and field(s) of knowledge.

International student smiling

Present your ideas

The School of Arts can help you with opportunities to present conference papers and participate in seminars, public exhibitions and other forms of critical exchange – all as part of your research process.

The exterior of The Design Centre

Practice as research

We’re dedicated to PaR (Practice as Research) and Design Thinking principles that move the work of the designer from the 20th Century artisan who responds to stimulus into the 21st Century design creative where your actions are at the centre of cultural change.

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"I feel completely supported and part of a community"

“My supervisors have provided invaluable leadership to carry me through my PhD, not with praise and cajoling remarks, but instead, through honest evaluation and their confidence that I have the wherewithal to carry out the work.”

Shelley Campbell, research student

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