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In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely for students commencing their studies in Semester 1, 2021.

This course will be available to study remotely for students commencing in Semester 1, 2021. Please note that some units of study that are not essential to completing the degree may not be available to be studied remotely.

Note: The University intends to offer as many units of study as possible in a remote as well as face-to-face learning method of delivery in Semester 1, 2021 and subject to ongoing border closures and public health orders impacting attendance on campus, in Semester 2, 2021. However, some units of study and courses require students to study in-person at the relevant University of Sydney campus/es and host locations for placements and will not be available remotely. 

About this course

The Master of Design provides new skills for industry leaders of tomorrow. The Strategic Design specialisation will introduce you to the role of design for achieving a strategic advantage in the marketplace. In this degree, you will learn how to use design as a method for developing products, services and systems that meet social, environmental or commercial goals within business, organisations and technology contexts.

You will explore design principles, tools and methods that can be implemented to influence strategic decision and direction, as well as what it means to be a design leader and the impact that design leadership can have within organisations. You’ll 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. 

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 11 February 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 (March) and 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 - 31 January of the commencing year

Semester 2 - 30 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 (March) and 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 Strategic Design specialisation enables you to learn how to identify existing problems, challenges, customer needs, behaviours and attitudes within an organisation and turn those into design-led opportunities for positive strategic change. You will focus on developing a deeper understanding of strategic design and leadership by designing products, services and systems that can be initiated within a practical organisational setting.

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



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 Strategic Design 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 Strategic Design 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. Strategic Design Research Project (12cp), or
  2. Design Research Internship (12cp), or
  3. Strategic Design 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 (Strategic Design) will be prepared to perform roles in organisations that incorporate design skills and strategic design into their ways of doing business. These roles include:

  • strategic designer
  • design manager
  • digital strategist
  • chief design officer.

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

Domestic students

International students

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