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University of Oxford Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :20 Jan 
International :20 Jan 
EU :20 Jan 

MSt History of Design (Part-Time)

 Course Level
Masters / PG
 Type
Part Time

 Duration
1.75 Years
 Start month
October

 Tuition fee

International
19335 GBP
National
7400 GBP
EU
7400 GBP

Application fee

International 75 GBP
National 75 GBP
EU 75 GBP
Department
Department for Continuing Education
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
2

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About this course

The MSt in the History of Design is a master's degree offered part-time over two years, taught on one Saturday a month. The programme focuses upon design and decoration produced in Europe and America since 1851. Students progress from a grounding in material and historical analysis to dissertation research.

Focussing on design in Europe (including Britain) and America from the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition to the present, this course explores the fascinating histories of objects and environments created amidst the advent of modernity. The syllabus examines a variety of forms of design and craft: graphic design, decorative arts, industrial design, fashion, design for performance and display, the designed space of interiors, the built environment and landscape.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

Academic Requirements

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in cognate humanities subjects such as history (history of art, visual and material culture; modern social and economic history, etc), modern languages, literature, studio practice, etc as well as design-related forms of social sciences (cultural theory and film studies) and engineering.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.7 out of 4.0.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact theNational Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Substantial professional experience in relevant fields, or work in an African country, will be taken into account.

Other appropriate indicators will include:

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.
 

Performance at interview(s)

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

A short list of candidates will be selected by the admissions panel. These candidates will be called for a 45-minute interview with two members of staff from the University, usually within the month after the application deadline. Around 80% of applicants are usually called to the interviews from which the offers of a place are made. In years with very high numbers of applications, this proportion will be necessarily lower. The interviews are held in person at Rewley House, except for candidates who cannot travel from abroad who will be interviewed either on the telephone or through Skype.

In the interview, each candidate is asked to choose a photograph of a designed object or site from a set of images provided by the admissions panel and to speak about it for around 10 minutes. The candidate’s response offers useful indicators as to their skills in visual and material analysis, basic subject-specific knowledge of the history of modern design since 1851, and general articulacy about the themes and research methods of the discipline without previous preparation.

Publications

Publications are not expected.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

This history of design course is aimed at candidates who wish to develop a critical understanding of the history of design.

The admissions panel is looking for adult students who have particular interest in studying the history of modern design, eager to enhance their understanding of the subject through researching material and textual evidence in depth. They will also look for evidence of a high level of commitment, independence and the ability to discuss and to analyse aspects of the subject critically. Evidence of recent written work which deploys visual evidence and critical scholarship (accurately referenced) is also required.

Above all, they are looking for the capacity for intellectual growth and development. Admission will be based on information provided in the application form and at interview. The final decision on admission to the course rests with OUDCE.

Previous undergraduate study in cognate humanities subjects such as history, visual and material culture, modern languages, literature, studio practice etc may be an advantage.

Professional experience in the design, heritage and museum sectors, cultural media etc may also be an advantage.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

You must supply suitable evidence that you meet the English language requirement for your course (or, if eligible, you can request a waiver of the requirement), if:

  • your first language is not English, or 
  • your first language is English, but you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

Score requirements
The University applies either a standard or a higher level of required ability in English depending on the course. The level you will need is shown on each course page.

The University only accepts certain standardised tests, with results at or above the following scores:

IELTS Academic 
Institution code: 0713

  • Standard level scores 7.0 Minimum,6.5 per component 
  • Higher level scores 7.5 Minimum,7.0 per component 

TOEFL iBT 
Institution code: 0490

  • Standard level scores - 100 Minimum component scores Listening: 22,Reading: 24,Speaking: 25,Writing: 24
  • Higher level scores - 110 Minimum component scores Listening: 22,Reading: 24,Speaking: 25,Writing: 24

 

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

  • Standard level scores - 185 Minimum 176 per component
  • Higher level scores - 191 Minimum 185 per component

 

Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE)

  • Standard level scores - 185 Minimum 176 per component
  • Higher level scores - 191 Minimum 185 per component

All of these tests are accepted for both admissions and visa purposes; you will not be required to provide additional evidence of your English language ability in your visa application. Whilst UKVI may accept lower minimum scores for visa purposes, the University still requires you to meet these minimum scores.

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course.

You do not need to submit an English language test result at the same time as your application if you have not yet taken a test or received your results; your application will still be considered by the academic department, provided that all other required documents have been submitted. Any offer of a place will be conditional on you submitting English language test results at the required level by a deadline set by the department in their offer letter. 

The University will verify all IELTS and TOEFL results directly with the test provider. If you have uploaded a CPE or CAE, you will be asked to supply the original document if you are admitted to the course. 

Asking for a waiver of the requirement
At the discretion of the academic department, the requirement to provide English language scores may be waived if you have completed, or are currently completing, a degree-level course that is:

  • full-time
  • at least nine months long
  • undertaken at a recognised institution where the medium of instruction and assessment throughout the course is entirely in English.

To request a waiver, you need to write a letter or statement giving the reasons for your request and upload it to your application. If successful, you will not be required to supply English language test results as a condition of any offer made.

If you are still completing your course and you are offered a place and a waiver of the requirement, you will usually need to provide evidence that you have successfully completed your course as a condition of your offer by a date set by your department in your offer letter (no later than 31 August and generally earlier). If you are due to complete your course after this deadline, you will usually be expected to submit results of an English language test meeting the University's usual requirements.

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

Core themes of the course include the rivalries between historicism and modernity; internationalist and nationalist tendencies; handicraft and industrial processes; consumption and sustainability; critical debates about makers and audiences in advice literature and aesthetic writing.

The development of a framework of interdisciplinary interpretative skills useful to understanding the history of design is a core aim. By providing grounding in the analysis of the techniques and materials deployed in creating objects or sites, the programme enables you to grapple with material evidence which enriches this distinctive field of historical research. The analysis of the historiography of political and aesthetic debates articulated by makers, critics and historians about design, its forms and purposes locates how these objects and sites embody historical memory, identity and ideology.

Teaching and learning takes a variety of forms in this programme. Three Saturdays each term are devoted to lectures and seminar group discussion. In keeping with the Oxford ethos, individual tutorials with the Course Director and independent research in the intervening month are also a central element of the course as well as site visits, both to the University of Oxford's unique museum and library collections and to those nearby in London and the regions. Formal assessment is by means of analytical essay and dissertation writing, underpinned by informal assessment methods such as termly oral presentations by yourself to the group about your independent research.

Year 1 assessment

  • Michaelmas term: Materials and techniques case-study essay (2,500 words)
  • Hilary term: Historical methods and sources essay (3,000 words)
  • Trinity term: Research project (5,000 words)

Year 2 assessment

  • Michaelmas term: Advanced paper option extended essay (5,000 words)
  • Hilary term: Advanced paper option extended essay (5,000 words)  
  • Trinity term and summer (to September): Dissertation (15,000 words)

Check further details on University website

How to Apply

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

The following documents are compulsory for all applications:

  • three references (letters of recommendation)
  • official transcript(s) of previous university-level degrees
  • CV/résumé
  • statement of purpose and/or research proposal (upto 2 pages)

You may also need to submit one or more of the following, depending on the course:

  • academic written work
  • portfolio (eg of artwork, performance recordings)
  • GRE results
  • mathematics admissions exercise
  • evidence of proficiency in a language essential to the course, eg Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

  • Official transcript(s)
  • CV/résumé
  • Statement of purpose/personal statement:upto 500 words
  • Written work:One essay of 2,000 words 
  • References/letters of recommendation:Three overall,generally academic 

All your documents must be in PDF, JPG or PNG format

  • Files must not be sent as Word documents. If you are not sure how to convert your files to PDF format no larger than 4MB (for upload to your application form)
  • Documents larger than 4MB are acceptable, but they are larger than the capacity of the upload facility in the application form itself. Instead, create a PDF with the following statement and upload it to the relevant document slot in your application:"My document is over 4MB and will be sent separately."
  • After you submit your application, send the document via ouroversize document form by the deadline you are applying to.in English (unless otherwise permitted by the department)
  • Documents you have written yourself, such as a personal statement, research proposal or written work, must be written in English unless otherwise permitted by the department. An English translation by a third party is not acceptable unless explicitly permitted by the department. These documents must be entirely your own work, except where clearly indicated, and may be checked using plagiarism detection software as part of the admissions process. Further information on this requirement is available in our guidance on plagiarism.
  • Official transcripts which are not issued in English should be translated by either a professional translator, the relevant issuing body of the original document, or an authorised notary. 
  • accessible, clear and legible
  • easily identifiable
  • Please clearly indicate your name as well as the type of document, eg research proposal, on the document.
  • You should not upload documents which are not required for your course, eg degree certificates.
  • Please do not send original and/or paper documents unless specifically requested. If you are offered a place, you will later be asked to send the original(s) of any official documents sent as a digital file in your initial application.

Check further details on University website

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