MA / MDes Exhibition Design

Postgraduate, Full-Time

Explore and re-think the form and function of prevailing design practice and shape your ideas and concepts on this research led, critically informed course.

  • Napier code:

    54762MM

  • Course type:

    Full-Time

  • Duration:

    1 year (3 trimesters)

  • Award:

    MA / MDes

  • Location:

    Merchiston campus

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Course introduction

The MA/MDes Exhibition Design brings together a range of design disciplines to explore the interpretation and presentation of images, objects, spaces and experiences, both virtual and physical, for a range of audiences and user groups.

You’ll undertake specialist modules in exhibition design, lighting design and design interpretation. You'll shape your own ideas, concepts and theories through a self-directed major project informed by design research and critical enquiry.

This course is well connected with the local exhibition design practices industry and Scotland’s vibrant museum, heritage, tourism and events sectors.


exhibition design
Playing with facts, fictions and truths you’ll be encouraged to think that we need not confine ourselves to the world as it appears. Instead, the course stresses the capacity of texts, objects and spaces to playfully precipitate new ways of thinking about the social world.

In exhibition, design interpretation and lighting modules you'll develop specific design skills which will inform and enable highly developed outcomes in your self-directed major project. Collaboration with practitioners from other areas is encouraged.

This is a one year full-time course starting in September and is split up into three trimesters.

You have the option of taking an MA or MDes award, depending on whether you complete a dissertation or design project report in your final trimester.

Working with specialist tutors, the major project allows you to create and develop design outcomes for exhibitions, museum and heritage interpretation and/or site specific installations.

We have a strong studio culture supported by our multidisciplinary staff team of academics and industry-based practitioners, allowing for cross-disciplinary critiques, collaborations and partnerships which may continue into professional life.

You’ll develop creative, professional, strategic and contextual knowledge and skills and apply design thinking to a range of creative outcomes and design interventions.

Subjects Include

  • Design Research Methods
  • Spatial Lighting Design
  • Exhibition Design
  • Interpretative Design
  • Major Design Project
  • For MDes Degree - Design Project Report
  • For MA Degree - Design Dissertation

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

With a physical and digital portfolio demonstrating industry-ready skills, graduates can apply for design jobs, freelance work or establish entrepreneurial ventures.

You may also wish to continue study to MPhil or PhD level.


The entry requirements for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at a 2:2 or above in an art & design related subject, or evidence of industry experience in an appropriate discipline.

All candidates are interviewed with a portfolio of creative work or technical/business projects. Applicants from overseas can be interviewed by teleconference with an online portfolio.

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We are committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.


Tuition fees
Students from 2017/18 2018/19
Home/EU £3,750 tba
Overseas £12,620 tba

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships