Design Innovation & Service Design

Key Facts


Programme Overview


M.Des in Design Innovation & Service Design. All GSA degree programmes are validated by the University of Glasgow. Established in 1451, the University of Glasgow is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities and a founder member of Universitas 21, an international grouping of universities dedicated to setting worldwide standards for higher education.


The assessment combines written work, visual and project material produced both by groups and individuals. The assessment formats are designed to develop analytical thinking, creative synthesis and a rigorous capacity for reflection and self-evaluation. There is an emphasis upon collaborative studio working combined with individual exploration and analysis of theoretical positions and discourses.

Innovation School Website

Studio environment and access to GSA technical resources and other facilities.

Indicative Additional Costs
Individual departments levy material fees as indicated on this page. You should budget for each year of your programme of study and should allow for costs over and above your fees and maintenance, particularly if expensive materials or projects are chosen.

Head of School
Dr Gordon Hush

Programme Leader
Jonathan Baldwin

Lecturer, Subject Leader & Programme Coordinator
Dr Iain Reid

Research Methods Lecturer
Dr Mafalda Moreira

Programme Overview

Building on concepts and methods from disciplines such as interaction design, user-centred design and innovation management, Service Design emerged as a new generation of designers began to apply methods and processes from those disciplines to the design of services and their often immaterial experience. The discipline continues to grow as the complexity of challenges organisations face increases and the transformation from manufacturing to an experience economy progresses. At GSA, Service Design is taught as a means of applying design processes to complex problems, combining artefacts and interactions to experiences for the design of services that exist, unfold and evolve in both space and time.

People focus

Services surround us, and our engagement with them can be a frustrating or rewarding experience. As a human-centred design discipline, the focus is on people - what they do, how they do things, why and when they seek to engage with the world around them through private or public sector services. Throughout this programme, you will find an emphasis upon the social value of service design, as well as its economic importance. The role of Service Design is to put human experience and aspiration at the heart of the design process as it addresses the world of services by ensuring that designed experiences are meaningful and targeted towards users’ needs and abilities. Consequently, we have worked with NHS Scotland, the Scottish Government and Highlands & Islands Enterprise, as well as commercial and private sector organisations.

The M.Des Design Innovation and Service Design seeks to equip students with the thinking, tools and processes of service design so that you can drive innovation in the conception, design and delivery of services and service experiences.

Latest thinking and live projects

This programme exposes students to the latest thinking and debates within the service design community as well as innovative design practices through a combination of theory-informed lectures and exploratory studio projects. Live projects provide students with a rich experience of design innovation through collaborations with private and public sector organisations. The learning experience is further enhanced by direct input from leading service design professionals. 

An international studio

Students benefit from strong links with other academic institutions across Europe and internationally (USA, India and China). The course is taught in a truly collaborative studio setting that brings together students from around the world, e.g. UK, China, India, South Korea, Japan and South America.

Career destinations

Graduates who completed the course have entered international agencies, been offered service design roles across a range of sectors and set up their own successful service design businesses, such as Snook.


GSA welcomes applications from candidates with a keen interest in systemic change, a collaborative approach to the design process and who bring the perseverance required to approach complex challenges. We encourage an inter-disciplinary learning environment and welcome applications from a variety of disciplines. The selection process is not exclusively based on a portfolio or evidence of previous design work.