PE7037 - Design Management Thesis

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What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn to advance your Research Through Design and take a directional approach to your personal design management study.

Specifically, you will develop your reflective practice and reach insights and analytical conclusions in your chosen field of study as outlined in your Personal Development Plan (PDP).

In doing so you will synthesise the learning from the first and second carousel to create a Major Design Management Thesis. This will evidence an analysis of advanced academic research, debates, and exploratory practice in the production of theories that demonstrate real world discipline specific value within an industry context.

As a postgraduate learner nearing the completion of your degree you will be expected to take an increasingly autonomous approach to your studies at this stage in developing, embedding and clarifying personally developed research themes theories and experiences that will be realised through a design thesis detailing your engagement with your PDP and reflection on your learning.

As such your thesis will evidence your advanced design practice and written communication of theories and concepts appropriate at Masters level and relevant to both your chosen pathway (as described below) and more specifically your PDP.

This module is the culmination of the MA Design Management programme, which will give you the knowledge and tools to orchestrate design thinking and process at a strategic level in organisations. You will build a meta view of transferable design knowledge that will enable you to recognise the value of design within organisations and to provide effective leadership and management of design roles. You will learn to navigate complexity, and develop your understanding of how to build and manage organisational growth through brand, new product and service opportunities and strategic innovation.

Ultimately, the module will enable you to take control of your design direction and align your own passion and motivation with the value you create for business and society. You will learn to hone your capabilities, refine the focus of your design contribution and create your ideal future professional self.

On completion you will have the skills and abilities to make a positive impact in the design industry, and the knowledge and experience to be able to make purposeful contribution to the world.

How will I learn on this module?

By studying this module and undertaking the accompanying Personal Development Plan, you will learn through a combination of tutorials, seminars, tutor-guided independent learning and student independent learning. Through tutorial support and studio-based feedback, you will be expected to take responsibility for your own creative development and learning for this self-directed project. You will have formative feedback throughout the module, with peer evaluation forming an important activity, giving you an opportunity to reflect upon feedback prior to submission.

You will use your Personal Development Planning (PDP) and Action Research Template (ART) to record what you have done and what you want to achieve. This will enable you to recognise your personal contribution in your field of interest. Your PDP will describe both what you will do and the nature and value of the related capabilities that you intend to develop. Your PDP will inform the planning section of a typical action research cycle (as described by your ART) of planning, researching, action (designing), observation, evaluation and reflection. Your PDP will become more focussed and detailed this semester as you formulate and guide your direction of study with the aim of aligning your motivation and endeavour to realise your personal aims.

You will evidence your engagement with your PDP through a design management thesis that reaches analytical conclusions. Your achievement of the module learning outcomes may be demonstrated either through the submission of a reflective design thesis or project that may describe a proof of concept or a finalised product.

The supportive modules from carousels one and two will aid your research activities for this self led module to identify knowledge, methods and concepts that will provide the grounding for your personal investigated topic.

Collaboration within the University and externally with professional networks, manufacturers and organisations is inherent in the module design and delivery and will enable you to implement design work into the commercial environment. The professional communities and networks you build will enable you to engage with, or return to, the workplace with greater impact.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

A range of approaches are adopted to accelerate your learning in this module.

During the first week of this module, you will receive information about the module and Teaching & Learning Plan. The teaching and learning plan (TLP) sets out
• Learning outcomes and overall module and programme aims
• Teaching, learning and assessment strategy
• Teaching schedule
• Directed reading references (text and journals) and core texts for the module
During this module your module tutor will provide academic support including:
• Delivering on—line materials
• Providing guidance in relation to assignments
• Development of key resources, made available through the VLE
• Assessing assignments and assess or review any other agreed summative or formative outputs as appropriate

You will be supported by a thesis supervisor who will guide you through this independent study.

Where appropriate, students may also be directed to engage with Study Skills +, or other resources offered through the University Student Support Services such as Dyslexia Support.

The Library is open 24 hours a day and E-Learning Portal houses all your module documents including your timetable. These services can be accessed on a range of devices

The module will also have an e-reading list, which directs you to specific reading for each session. This includes direct access to repositories, journal articles and other academic sources. You will also be provided with access to a significant set academic research sources via the Northumbria University library portal.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding (KU):
1. Evidence your personal development underpinned by a clear direction and depth of knowledge. Through your study articulate the value of your knowledge in relevant contexts
2. Demonstrate an understanding of advanced research methods and employ appropriate methods in context to collect, analyse and synthesise data.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities (IPSA):
1. Present a portfolio of design management knowledge & experience and engage in an investigative and developmental dialogue with relevant academic and professional groups and communities
2. Through your enterprise create and justify a genuinely valuable resource for business and/or society
3. Demonstrate innovation in your own work and recognise creativity in others. Organise and interpret complex issues and evidence mastery of design problems and design solutions.

Personal Values Attributes (PVA):
1. Demonstrate an ability to work independently and collaboratively, to organise your thesis effectively and to reflect on the outcome of your study.

How will I be assessed?

Formative feedback will be given during tutorials when on-going work, drafts and plans will be presented by students for review. This cumulative formative feedback will help you to prepare for a final submission consisting of a design thesis of 15,000 words that demonstrates the student’s mastery of and contribution to new knowledge in relation to their subject.

Your submission will be of an original and innovative nature and will demonstrate advanced scholarship in the communication of a personally investigated topic that reaches an analytical conclusion.
Summative feedback will include assessment of your submission against module learning outcomes and assessors comments.





Module abstract

This module represents the culmination of the MA Design Management programme and provides the platform from which you will engage with in-depth reflection, analysis and synthesis based upon your study, practice outputs, processes and experiences.

As such you will be expected to take an increasingly autonomous approach to your studies at this stage in developing, embedding and clarifying personally developed research themes theories and experiences that will be realised through a design thesis detailing your engagement with your PDP and reflection on your learning.
You will demonstrate advanced scholarship in the communication of a personally investigated topic that reaches an analytical conclusion. It is expected that outcomes will be of an original and innovative nature ensuring findings are at the forefront of the discipline and future zeitgeist.

You will produce a Design Management Thesis of 15,000 words and PDP representing the culmination and consolidation of your study and it’s impact in practice, it is expected that you will make a contribution to new knowledge in relation to your subject.

Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years Distance Learning

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location Design Building, City Campus East

City Newcastle

Start Academic Year 2020/21: October 20, January 21, April 21, July 21

Fee Information

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