• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length2 years full time (60 weeks)

MA Material Futures

The intersection of craft, science and technology.

Material Futures is a two-year Masters course dedicated to exploring how we will live in the future through trans-disciplinary practice and expert collaboration.

Our aim is to actively re-think the future

Through collaboration, risk-taking and blurring the boundaries between craft, science and technology we aim to look beyond existing disciplines to anticipate our future needs, desires and challenges for the 21st century.

We encourage a wholly multi-disciplinary approach to design

Taking materiality as the starting point of the design process, literally the things we can touch, feel, interact with and observe, we integrate high and low technological materials and processes to respond to the environment around us. Our students explore and come from a diverse range of disciplines, mostly, but not limited to, the worlds of fashion, architecture, industrial, communication, textile, critical, digital and speculative design.

Research is intrinsic to our design process. We advocate research-driven design

We believe that it is only by observing and analysing how we live today that we can begin to consider and explore how we can live more sustainably tomorrow. Considering the current and future context of design decisions is key to our ethos, combining social, political, scientific and economic inquiry and insights to help inform future design scenarios and speculations. 

This course is part of the Jewellery and Textiles Programme.

Reasons to apply

  • You’ll be exposed to new materials, processes, technologies and design methodologies and use materiality as a platform to critically interrogate, explore and make sense of how we should occupy a more sustainable future.
  • You'll develop experimental design work alongside innovative design proposals and work collaboratively with MA Industrial Design, MA Design Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery and MA Communication Design students to critically interrogate the complexity of the global and local context of your work.
  • Our graduates continue to forge highly successful futures, whether it be working in the creative industry, setting up their own studios, or going onto further study or research roles within academia.
  • We practice a wholly multi-disciplinary approach to design, not only recruiting students with a whole host of different backgrounds and skills, but also introducing them to the very best practitioners from the worlds of science, technology, craft and design.
  • Our graduates go on to do amazing things, working not only at the very forefront of the creative industries, but also in the leading laboratories, research centres and creative startups across the globe.

MA Material Futures students trying out traditional coracle making workshop in the Brecon Beacons.

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Yesenia Thibault Picazo| The Anthropogenic Specimens Cabinet

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Zuzana Gombosova | Invisible Resources

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Anne Vaandrager | Independant Labour

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Hanan Alkouh | Sea Meat Sea Weed

Amy Radcliffe | Scent-ography – A Post-Visual Past Time

Charlotte Nordmoen | humanMade

Course Catalogues

Course detail

About the course

Material Futures is a two-year Masters course at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, dedicated to exploring how we will live in the future.

Through hands on making we explore emerging sciences and technologies, new processes and materials as well as current trends and behavioural insights to generate new design scenarios, speculations, artefacts and applications that will help contribute to a more sustainable tomorrow.

Some of the key themes we interrogate include trend forecasting and future insights, future crafts and materials, the convergence of science and design and smart or interactive materials. The course is divided into two units across two years. 

Course structure

Unit One - Design Challenge

Unit One offers and intensive and reactive learning experience, students are exposed to a broad variety of new ideas and technical processes through a combination of workshops, lectures, experts and individual project briefs. Providing a bombardment of new ideas, processes and skills, students are challenged to deconstruct their previous experience and expertise and instead adopt an open, experimental and multi-disciplinary approach to design. We value working with industrial partners and usually incorporate at least one live project in Unit One.

Unit Two - Design Futures

Unit Two is designed to allow students to reflect on their experiences within unit one and consider their own design agenda and desired role within the creative industries. By combining the new processes and methodologies introduced to them in unit one, as well as their previous skills and experience, students formulate a single project proposal. All Unit Two projects are directed by a single research question, driven by the student’s personal definition of Material Futures in the context of a more sustainable future. Collaboration is key to unit two and all students pursue external support from established practitioners and experts to help validate and strengthen their final projects.

Our graduate's projects explore the entire spectrum of materiality, from analogue craft processes to smart and interactive technologies and sciences.

MA Material Futures Programme Specification 2018/19 (PDF, 365KB)

Industry collaborations

We try to work with at least one paying client on a live brief each year. These projects are carefully considered to provide students with not only valuable commercial experience, but also to expose them to those industries and practitioners who are pushing the boundaries and who are at the very forefront of their associated disciplines.

Working on a live project could involve working with a laboratory and a new science, creating new insights for a cutting edge research and development department or creating a new artifact or film for an exciting commercial client.

Such collaboration could lead to the purchase of your intellectual property. All paid projects are conducted within a carefully developed legal framework, which includes student agreements to protect your work and help you realise its commercial value.

Once you’ve graduated, you may be picked as part of a small team to work on a live creative brief, organised by our Business and Innovation department, under the supervision of an experienced tutor. This can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline and has resulted in graduates being hired by clients.

Staff

Acting Course Leader: Kieren Jones
Research Tutor: Professor Carole Collet
Visiting Practitioner: Agi Haines
Visiting Practitioner: Attua Aparicio Torinos
Contextual Studies and Thesis Tutor: Dr Stephen Hayward
Academic Coordinator: Chloe Griffith
Graduate Teaching Assistant: Marta Giralt 

How to apply

When to apply

Applications for MA Material Futures can be submitted within the below two deadlines. Please be aware that the majority of places and scholarships are awarded in round one.

Round one
21 December 2017: Online application deadline
6 January 2018: Portfolio submission deadline
25 – 26 January 2018: Interviews

We aim to notify you of the outcome by 5 February 2018.

Round two
23 April 2018: Online application deadline
28 April 2018: Portfolio submission deadline
21 – 25 May 2018: Interviews

We aim to notify you of the outcome by 4 June 2018.

We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadlines above subject to spaces available.

Required information for all postgraduate courses

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form: 

General Information

  • Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses);
  • Current English language level;
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details;
  • Employment history; 

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should answer the following questions (suggested word count for each question is 100 words):

  • Biography (what experience would you propose to bring to MA Material Futures personally?).
  • Why have you chosen to apply for MA Material Futures rather than another Masters course?
  • What do you understand ‘Material Futures’ to mean?
  • Tell us about the most interesting innovation, project or piece of research that you have come across recently.
  • Describe something you believe will have an impact on the future of design (this could be something social, economic, environmental or a breakthrough in science, for example).

If you do not complete all the required information or upload the necessary documents, we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.                                             

Apply to MA Material Futures

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

Portfolio Review

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio (up to 20 pages) through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Portfolio criteria

Your portfolio should demonstrate:

  • Strong design and technical skills;
  • A personal approach to developing a design concept (including research, design development and final outputs);
  • A knowledge and understanding of materials;
  • A creative approach to visual communication and presentation.

Following a review of your application and portfolio, you will either be invited for an interview or your application will be rejected via the UAL Applicant Portal.

Interview

  • If you currently live in the UK, you will be invited to attend an interview at college.
  • If you currently live outside the UK or unable to attend the interview in person, we can arrange a skype interview for you.

Interview criteria

In addition to the skills demonstrated in the portfolio and in the written statement, the applicant’s potential ability will be assessed using the following criteria during the interview:

  • The ability to discuss your portfolio, through verbal or written means, demonstrating a critical perspective of your work;
  • A clear understanding of your design context and an engagement with issues that affect your industry;
  • The ability to have an informed conversation about your role as a designer;
  • Motivation, commitment and understanding of the ethos of the MA Material Futures course.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry. 

2018/19 entry

You can apply to this course using our online application form – the link to this is below.

When to apply

Applications for MA Material Futures can be submitted within the below two deadlines. Please be aware that the majority of places and scholarships are awarded in round one.

Round one
21 December 2017: Online application deadline
6 January 2018: Portfolio submission deadline
25 – 26 January 2018: Interviews

We aim to notify you of the outcome by 5 February 2018.

Round two
23 April 2018: Online application deadline
28 April 2018: Portfolio submission deadline
21 – 25 May 2018: Interviews

We aim to notify you of the outcome by 4 June 2018. 

We reserve the right to close applications earlier than the deadlines above subject to spaces available.

Required information for all postgraduate courses

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form:

General Information

  • Personal details (including legal full name, date of birth, nationality, addresses);
  • Current English language level;
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details;
  • Employment history;

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should answer the following questions (please note the suggested word count for each question is 100 words):

  • Biography (what experience would you propose to bring to MA Material Futures personally?).
  • Why have you chosen to apply for MA Material Futures rather than another Masters course?
  • What do you understand ‘Material Futures’ to mean?
  • Tell us about the most interesting innovation, project or piece of research that you have come across recently.
  • Describe something you believe will have an impact on the future of design (this could be something social, economic, environmental or a breakthrough in science, for example).

If you do not complete all the required information or upload the necessary documents, we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.                                             

Apply to MA Material Futures

Alternatively, international applicants can apply through an overseas representative in your country.

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal.  Please do log into your applicant portal as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, as well as allowing you to contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

Immigration History Check (for International Applications only)

Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application and portfolio review. 

What happens next

Portfolio review

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio (up to 20 pages) through UAL’s online portfolio review system. 

Portfolio criteria

Your portfolio should:

  • Strong design and technical skills;
  • A personal approach to developing a design concept (including research, design development and final outputs);
  • A knowledge and understanding of materials;
  • A creative approach to visual communication and presentation.

Following a review of your application and portfolio, you will either be invited for an interview or your application will be rejected via the UAL Applicant Portal.

Interview

  • If you currently live in the UK, you will be invited to attend an interview at college.
  • If you currently live outside the UK or unable to attend the interview in person, we can arrange a skype interview for you.

Interview criteria

In addition to the skills demonstrated in the portfolio and in the written statement, the applicant’s potential ability will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • The ability to discuss your portfolio, through verbal or written means, demonstrating a critical perspective of your work;
  • A clear understanding of your design context and an engagement with issues that affect your industry;
  • The ability to have an informed conversation about your role as a designer;
  • Motivation, commitment and understanding of the ethos of the MA Material Futures course.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal. 

Deferred entry

Please note that CSM does not accept application for deferred entry.

 

Entry requirements

An applicant will be considered for admission who has already achieved an educational level equivalent to an Honours Degree.

This educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • A relevant Honours Degree or an equivalent academic qualification;
  • Three years relevant professional experience.

Applicants who do not meet the standard course entry requirements may still be considered if the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might be demonstrated by:

  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be shown to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • A combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning that, taken together, can be shown to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is:

IELTS Academic 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the 4 skills (on one single test).

For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

What we look for

We are looking for people who are highly driven and passionate about design and who keep informed about the material, ethical, moral, social and political issues that affect the creative industries today as well as how they locate themselves and their work within a global context of design. 

Selection criteria

Applicants will be selected on the basis of the following criteria. These criteria are assessed through a review of the Personal Statement, Portfolio and Interview. Interviews are only arranged on the basis that the personal statement and portfolio.

You should provide your own vision of Material Futures; i.e. think about what will influence the way we design and live in the future. The personal statement should evidence:

  • The ability to discuss your portfolio, through verbal or written means, demonstrating a critical perspective of your work;
  • A clear understanding of your design context and an engagement with issues that affect your industry;
  • The ability to have an informed conversation about your role as a designer;
  • Motivation, commitment and understanding of the ethos of the MA Material Futures course.

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for 2018/19: £5,550 per year. Please note that fees for second year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

ELQ 

Home/EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, would will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 (called the 'ELQ' fee). Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held. If you have a query regarding the ELQ fee, please use our course enquiry form.

International fee

Tuition fees for 2018/19: £13,890 per year.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

MA Material Futures has established various links with industry in London and beyond, allowing students to work on international design projects and initiatives. MA Material Futures itself has contributed much to debate around design, both through the media and by organising and delivering papers at international conferences.

MA Material Futures students are expected to establish their own network of contacts and develop collaborations within industry as part of the development of their Masters project. Employers have included Adidas, Distance Lab, Banff New Media, Castelbajac, Donna Karan, Etam, Hussein Chayalan, Line Consultants, Louis Vuitton, Margiela, Media Lab Europe, Nicole Farhi, Speedo, Ted Baker, Design Lab, Trend Union and Nissan Design Europe.