MA in Design for Change

21 Sep 2023
 - 13 Jan 2025
Course Code


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Blended: Wednesdays, 7pm – 9pm (online) + Thursdays, 10am – 5pm (in-person)


90 (Level 9 Award)


€7,000 (for EU students)

What is Design for Change?

Our Design for Change MA aims to give designers and non-designers alike an in-depth knowledge of integrated design strategies and the critical skills to leverage design in the pursuit of positive organisational, social, and environmental impact.


Our course develops critically conscious and socially literate changemakers, who have been immersed in the thinking, skills, and experience required to facilitate current and future transitions in ethical and ecologically sustainable ways; to become pioneers and leaders in the practice.


Developed with George Brown College in Toronto, this MA is now affiliated with the Brookfield Sustainability Institute which works with industry and government partners.
The course also works with projects through IADT’s Public Design Lab


With our partners at the Brookfield Sustainability Institute (formerly the Institute Without Boundaries) and through real client engagement, students learn to apply the transformative capacity of design through the implementation of powerful, collaborative, contemporary design skills to achieve meaningful co-created solutions which enable progressive change in individuals and communities.


The MA responds to the great challenges of the present and future; social, economic, and ecological which all require new ways of thinking, being, and doing. Strategic, ethical, radical, just, and purposeful, this course offers new dynamic ways of engaging with our collective challenges.

What will I study?

An international collaboration, developed by two established centres of excellence, the curriculum is carefully crafted to allow students to both learn and apply models and theories of critical design strategy.


The modules are complementary, holistic and are designed to prepare the candidate to devise and realise a major design project of their own in the final term; students are introduced to new ways of thinking about our world(s), and are encouraged to challenge dominant frameworks of thought and adopt alternatives. They learn to employ interdisciplinary research methods, both traditional and experimental, with a view to developing their own.


Through group projects, value frameworks are collaboratively developed, systems are mapped and explored, and solutions are developed and tested. Throughout the process, students have on-going access to industry professionals, expert advisors, and faculty.


A major component of the Brookfield Sustainability Institute and the MA Design for Change are charrettes. These are multiple-day collaborative design and planning workshops inclusive of all affected stakeholders. There are a number of these charrettes throughout the course.


Modules include:

• Interdisciplinary Research Methods
• Applied Design (Design Futures, Ecological Design, + Social Design)
• Critical Design Philosophies
• Integrated Design Strategies
• Communication Design
• Professional Studies
• Major Project


You will be assessed through class engagement and two assignments in each module, and through your participation and review in a group design charette (online or in person).

International Travel

In Semester 2, there is the option for the MA students to travel to Canada to participate in the Toronto International Charrette.

This is an annual Institute Without Boundaries event that brings together 200+ students, faculty and industry experts from organisations around the world.

The goal of each charrette will be for participants to design detailed project proposals that respond to the major themes of the current Institute Without Boundaries major project.

Future Careers

Graduates will be prepared to work at a strategic level across a broad range of sectors. Recent graduates are employed as service designers, design researchers and design strategists in a wide variety of sectors, in Ireland and abroad; tech companies, financial services, non-for profits; government organisations and their own enterprise or consulting service.

Dates + Times

The course runs over 14 months, in 3 semesters (30 ECTS per semester):
Semesters 1 and 2: 21st September 2023 – 25th April 2024
Semester 3: 9th September 2024 – 13th January 2025


Weekly Schedule is:
Wednesdays: 7pm – 9pm (online)
Thursdays: 10am – 5pm (on campus)


Conferring is expected to take place in March 2025.

What are the Entry Requirements?

Undergraduate qualification of 2nd Class Honours or higher at Honours Degree level.

Applicants may be considered provided they can demonstrate Honours Degree equivalence, which can be verified through our RPL (recognition of prior learning) process.

Some prior experience in a cognate discipline is desirable.


Entry to an advanced stage of the MA Programme is available via two pathways:

(i) Successful candidates of approved Access/Feeder Programmes (AFPs).
(ii) Applicants may be considered for advanced entry through a combination of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and relevant Industry Experience in the discipline area.


EU students: €7,000 in total, payable as €4,500 in 2023/24 and €2,500 in 2024/25


International Students: €16,000


CFA and Kilkenny Arts Office Bursaries:

Kilkenny Arts Office has joined forces with CFA to offer bursaries this Autumn to Kilkenny based artists seeking to gain new qualifications and skills to expand their practice. The bursaries range from €500 to a maximum of €2,000. Find out more HERE


How do I apply?

2023 Applications are now open. Please apply HERE


IADT operates a rolling admissions policy for graduate taught courses, with decisions issued in 4 weeks after a submitted and complete application is received.


An application is incomplete until you provide all required items on the checklist (including the application fee, if applicable).


Generally, courses will remain open to applications until all places are filled.

Contact IADT

Please email any queries to Elena Somoza, IADT Creative Futures Academy Co-ordinator, at


You can also visit Design for Change – IADT


CFA Scholarship

A CFA scholarship encourages the participation of learners from sections of society that are significantly under-represented in higher education by offering one free place on all of our CFA short courses.

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