Doctor of Philosophy PhD
Based in Newcastle
3 Years Full Time
5 Years Part Time
Knowledge and expertise are essential to progress, and research is the lifeblood of progress. Our PhD in Design allows you to push the boundaries of design learning and practice, testing accepted wisdom and discovering new thinking and processes within your chosen field.
Within the School of Design, PhDs are supported through our eight research themes. While you can propose a research topic yourself, we prefer applications for research that match our research expertise and interests. Our eight research themes are organised into three groupings that span much of design research, so we can supervise a wide range of Design PhDs.
PhD students are supported by a comprehensive range of resources. The University has an excellent library. All Schools in the university run seminar programmes that PhD students can attend. The School of Design has outstanding workshop facilities for practice-based research. PhD students focussed on design innovation can benefit from our unique Centre for Design Research (CfDR), one of the largest design research organisations in the UK University sector. Their exciting mix of live projects with industry and the public sector lets PhD research draw on live projects.
Your course in brief
As a full time student you first develop the research proposal in your application into a robust and viable research plan, for Project Approval, with a tight focus, appropriate methodology and realistic plan for completion. You then spend two years carrying out your research under the supervision of a team of supervisors, with annual reviews by independent colleagues. The remainder of your time will be dedicated to writing up your thesis, submitting it, and defending it in an oral examination. Part time students spend up to 4 years on carrying out their research after developing their proposal.
Design PhDs should combine an appropriate mix of research about, for and through design. Research that is primarily about design falls within the scope of our Making Connections research grouping. Research that is primarily for or through design falls into the scope of our Making Sense research grouping. Research that is primarily through design falls within the scope of our Making Changes research grouping. Each grouping brings together 2-3 related research themes, and each theme covers a range of research topics.
Making Connections: Making and Design Issues themes, with topics of research interest
Making - Exploring 'Touch' in Design. Luxury and Craft; Contemporary Craft Practice; The Role of Craft in Design
Design Issues - The Idea of Design; The Mystery of Design; Exploratory and Experimental Design Research Methodologies; The Future of Design Practice; Distributed Design Practice; Design and Globalisation; Design's Evolving Role within Society; Design Activism; The Politics of Bringing Design to Market; Cultural Characteristics of Design; Hybrid Design Practice; The Erosion of Conventional Design Disciplines; Post-Disciplinary Design Practice; The Non Designer
Making Sense: Experimental media, Active Material and Insights themes and their topics Understanding and Explaining Objects
Experimental Media - Interactive and dynamic digital media and their potential; interactive multi-media installations and environments
Active Materials for Living - design-led experimentation with printable, paintable and programmable materials that are capable of being made intelligent, drawing on advances in science, technology and engineering
Insights - Applications of knowledge and approaches from the human sciences, arts and humanities to grand challenges of the 21st Century; Design for All; Designing for an Ageing Society; Universal Design; Human-Centred approaches to Design; Experience Sketching, Prototyping and Evaluation, Resilient and Sustainable Lifestyle Design; Designing for Worthwhile User-Interactions; New Practices in Seeing and Thinking; Critical Interaction Design
Making Changes: Design Value Innovation, Social Innovation and Design for Social Equity
Design Value Innovation - Design Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Design Management
Social Innovation - Design Against Crime; Service Design; Cultural Products and Services
Design for Social Equity - Ethical Fashion, Creative Entrepreneurship in the Global Economy
By the end of your PhD you will have;
- Made a significant contribution to new knowledge in your industry
- Developed appropriate design research skills through an in-depth programme of personal research and scholarship
- Produced high-quality research outputs
All of these demonstrate independent critical scholarship, creative inspiration and critical judgement via research projects, research outputs and through your PHD thesis.
Who would this course suit?
To successfully complete a design research PhD, you need to be able to read widely and critically, plan and carry out high quality design research (including practice-based elements) discuss and defend your research with candour, expertise and confidence, and communicate the design and outcomes of your research to the standards expected within a specific global research community.