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Graduate Studies

MA Service Design

Service designers create solutions for complex systemic and societal challenges, developing experiences that address the needs of a diverse range of stakeholders. The MA Service Design teaches the application of design methods, tools and thinking to sectors such as healthcare, technology, finance, transportation and education. The MA Service Design is a 12 month, studio-based taught masters that empowers candidates from fields such as design, business, sociology, systems thinking, education, banking, technology and the public sector to shape the services of the future through design thinking and doing. The global service economy is growing rapidly and accounts for more than 70% employment in all OECD countries, presenting exciting possibilities for design. The new MA in Service Design is the first of its kind in Ireland. Through a series of live projects, students will engage with complex economic, technological, political and social issues, creating new service solutions that revolutionise everyday experiences.

Service Design is increasingly recognised as a vital skillset to help address the challenges of the new experience economy, and the course seeks to meet the new demands of industry and wider society. Projects, activities and workshops will expand on methods and principles from human-centred design and design thinking, applying these to the development and delivery of new consumer and public services, transform-ing user experiences. Upon completing their studies students also have the opportunity to undertake a further semester of work and graduate with an additional qualification of a Graduate Certificate in Design Enterprise or in Design Research & Innovation.

What to Expect

The MA Service Design operates across a range of design disciplines and methodological approaches and contexts. It combines core taught elements in research and critical studies, with advanced studio practice. The aim of the MA is to create a design culture that thrives on new ideas, new ways of doing things and new areas of exploration. We encourage our students to experiment and take risks in order to carve new understandings of Design and make technical innovations within, and across the service design sector. In challenging the purpose, methods and ambitions of contemporary service design practice and research, students will identify opportunities and develop their own creative careers. The MA provides the opportunity for students to engage in an interdisciplinary educational experience, working alongside postgraduate students from across the School of Design. We encourage our students to explore contemporary themes that connect all the design disciplines. Building on the knowledge and skills developed at undergraduate level and professional practice, students encounter new contexts in which to develop their skill-sets and deepen their knowledge of design through a range of projects, before undertaking a major project.

Opportunities to Engage

The programme will reflect the evolving field of service design and continue to develop industry links offering relevant career pathways. This will be supported by a visiting lecture programme of leading industry and creative practitioners. The programme has the option of a further 30 credits of study in Design Internships or Design Incubation and Enterprise. Additional modules enable students to undertake industry placements, working in a real-world design environment; or pursue further research to support the commercialisation of their design work, providing an incubation support system for students.

Programme Team:

Dr. Caoimhe Mc Mahon

Caoimhe holds a degree in Industrial Design (NCAD), an MSc in Design Ethnography (University of Dundee), and a PhD focusing on how design research methods can be sustainably embedded in practicing design teams. Following a period in industry designing equipment for children and young adults with special postural needs, and involvement in design research across several FP7 projects, Caoimhe now lectures in Service, Product and Interaction Design in NCAD. In her recent work she has applied research through design methodologies to examine the theory and practice of design, particularly focus-ing on prototyping and prototype evaluation at the later stages of the design process.

Professor Alex Milton, MA, PG Cert, FRSA, FIDI

As a design practitioner, educator, researcher, curator and author, Alex has promoted an interdisciplinary approach to design. As the Programme Director of Irish Design 2015 (ID2015), Alex successfully devised and delivered a government backed programme that helped put Irish design on the global map, establishing a platform for the continued development of design in Ireland through strategy, policy and innovative initiatives.

After Your Degree

The taught masters programme provides an in-depth, professionally informed pro-gramme of study and studio practice. As a consequence of the range of skills acquired MA Service graduates have access to a wide range of national and global creative opportunities in a range of sectors in the rapidly expanding discipline of Service Design. The School of Design actively participates in the EU-funded Erasmus+ programme, which offers recent graduates the opportunity to avail of internships in high profile design companies within the European Union.


The programme is open to graduates with an honours degree award of 2.2 or higher, or an equivalent academic or professional qualification in a related discipline. The College also takes into consideration prior learning and experience. English language: Students who have not been educated through English must show proof of achieving IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 in the writing section on the Academic Version) or an equivalent score in another recognised English language assessment.

MA Service Design

Duration: 1 year
90 ECTS credits/Taught Masters

Apply now:
Programme Contact

Professor Alex Milton:
Caoimhe Mc Mahon:


To find out more about the entry requirements, application process and tuition fees visit –