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In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely. 

This course will be available for students to study remotely during 2022 if they are unable to undertake face-to-face study. Please note that some units of study that are not essential to completing the degree may not be available to be studied remotely. For the latest updates on course availability, visit the COVID-19 information page.

About this course

The Master of Design provides new skills for industry leaders of tomorrow. The Design Innovation specialisation will introduce you to the principles, practices and methods of design-led innovation and inquiry, equipping you with the tools and techniques to lead in a rapidly evolving business landscape. The degree places an emphasis on “design for innovation” as a capability-enhancing skill that can be applied across a range of contexts to address complex global issues.

You will gain a holistic understanding of design-led innovation approaches and learn how to apply them in a practical industry setting. Throughout the degree, you will be engaged in both analytical and creative thinking, and acquire broad skills in communication, information literacy, inventiveness and critical thinking. 

Commonwealth Supported Places

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) are available for postgraduate study for eligible domestic students. This means that your course fees are subsidised by the Australian Government and you pay a student contribution amount (SCA). CSPs are limited in number and are allocated based on academic merit.


Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Applying for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP)

There is no separate application required to apply for a CSP. Once you apply for admission, if you are successful in securing a CSP, you will receive notification via an offer of admission.

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is not guaranteed as there are a limited number of CSPs available for postgraduate courses. The number of available CSPs for a course can change each semester/year. CSPs are also not automatically awarded for course transfers and upgrades.

CSPs are awarded for the duration of a course based on academic merit determined by the University and eligibility criteria specified by the Australian Government. Learn more about CSPs. If you do not qualify for a CSP you may be offered a domestic fee-paying place.

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 31 January of the commencing year

Semester 2 - 15 July of the commencing year

We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February) or Semester 2 (August)

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 15 January of the commencing year

Semester 2 - 25 June of the commencing year

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines may apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February) or Semester 2 (August)

What you'll study

This program includes foundational core units, advanced core units, capstone units and electives you can take with different faculties. The Design Innovation specialisation enables you to deeply engage with design thinking and innovation methods to develop an understanding of how to interact in an increasingly dynamic and competitive business environment. You will complete core units enabling you to leave this course with both a theoretical and practical understanding of how to initiate, lead and mange innovation through design within your own organisational setting.

Download an indicative course progression table for the Master of Design (Design Innovation).

Units of Study

Completion requirement

1.5 years full time for one specialisation. We also offer this program in part-time mode to meet the needs of students already working in the industry.

You may also choose to exit with a Graduate Diploma after completing 48 credit points.

Capstone (compulsory project)

The Design Innovation specialisation includes a capstone project exploring industry-based design problems or situations, and enables you to interact with professionals from the design industry. The capstone unit allows you to specialise in a particular area or topic by completing a Design Innovation Research Project, or you can complete an industry-based research project through a Design Research Internship. You can also choose to complete your capstone research project along with a Design Dissertation to gain deeper knowledge of research and practice in research methods.

The capstone options therefore are:

  1. Design Innovation Research Project (12cp), or
  2. Design Research Internship (12cp), or
  3. Design Innovation Research Project and Design Dissertation (24cp)

Assumed knowledge

No previous experience or knowledge in design is required.

Admission requirement

Available places will be offered to qualified applicants in the order in which complete applications are received, according to the admissions criteria listed below.

  • a bachelor's degree from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification with a weighted average mark of 65, or
  • completion of the requirements of the embedded graduate diploma with a weighted average mark of 70.

In exceptional circumstances the Dean may admit applicants without these qualifications but whose evidence of experience and achievement is deemed to be equivalent.

Credit for previous study

For more information about the University’s credit policy, please see the Credit for Previous Studies page.

Career Pathways

Graduates of the Master of Design (Design Innovation) will be prepared to perform roles in organisations that incorporate design skills and design innovation into their ways of doing business. These roles include

  • design manager
  • digital innovation director
  • chief customer officer
  • chief design officer.

The world is changing, and university education needs to change too

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.