MA Service Design AD431

Looking to advance your skills in service design and make a meaningful impact in sectors such as healthcare, technology, finance, transportation and education? Look no further than the award-winning MA Service Design programme, offered as a 2-year part-time course. There is a Postgrad Futures Scholarship available for one student in 2024.

Watch our Postgrad Futures Week Webinar here!


Duration: 2 Years

Starts: September 2024 - classes on Thursdays 9.30am-4.30pm

Credits: 90

Postgrad Futures Scholarship 2024

The Postgrad Futures Scholarship is a half EU tuition fee bursary awarded on academic merit.

To apply for the Postgrad Futures 2024 scholarship, applicants should submit a 500 word document explaining why they shoudl be awarded this scholarship by 31 May 2024.  Email

What to expect

Our programme is designed to teach students the application of service design methods, tools, and thinking in real-world contexts. Through a series of live design projects, students will engage with complex economic, technological, political, and social issues, creating new service solutions that revolutionise everyday experiences.

One of the key strengths of our programme is the opportunity for students to learn from and be mentored by industry experts from across the public and private sectors. Our guest lecturers include designers from leading companies such as Snook, BNP Paribas, Verizon Connect, Fjord, Optum, Pfizer, Scottish Government, Novartis and many more.

You will develop a deep understanding of the Service Design process, from research and ideation to prototyping and implementation. You will learn how to apply design thinking to identify and solve complex problems, and how to communicate your solutions effectively to stakeholders.

Our graduates go on to work in a variety of industries and sectors, from healthcare and finance to transportation and education. They are equipped with the skills and knowledge to make a real impact in their chosen fields and to drive positive change through service design.

If you are passionate about Service Design and want to take your skills to the next level, then look no further! We look forward to welcoming you to our community of talented and motivated designers.

Mapping Workshop w/Tim Macarthur, Avanade : Marie Salova, MA Service Design 19/20
Mapping Workshop w/Tim Macarthur, Avanade : Marie Salova, MA Service Design 19/20

Opportunities to engage 

The part-time MA provides the opportunity for students to engage in an inter-disciplinary educational experience, working alongside postgraduate students from across the School of Design.  We encourage our students to explore contemporary themes that connect all the design disciplines. Building on the knowledge and skills developed at undergraduate level and professional practice, students encounter new contexts in which to develop their skillsets and deepen their knowledge of design through a range of interdisciplinary projects, before undertaking a major project within their chosen design discipline.

A number of modules has been design specifically with the collaborations in mind,: 

  • The Design Studio Major Project consists of a live studio project undertaken with a project partner. Following sign-off on the Major Project Proposal at the end of Year 1, students will complete a research phase, extract meaningful insights, create and visualise concepts, and develop & test service solutions.
  • During the one week breakout in Year 2 'What’s the Mater?' project students will be divided into teams and tasked with a live project brief from the Mater Hospital. Responses to the allocated brief must be grounded in human-centred research and insights. 
  • In the Design Capstone module Learners will undertake a project with an external partner and reflect back on their experience. 
  • For the Collaborative Design Studio module learners undertake a live industry project working with stakeholders to devise, prototype and text service design concepts and solutions in ‘the wild’


There will be no examinations or thesis required for the MA Service Design. Work is continuously assessed through project-based submissions and presentations. For the Major Project (MA) students will produce a Design Rationale document as a companion to their service design studio practice.

Work related project-based learning

MA students will have the opportunity to pursue a project of their choice for the Major Project in Trimester 6. This project could be related to a service design opportunity in a student's current place of work, a personal interest, or as a response to a brief negotiated with a mentor/project partner

Indicative Timetable

The MA is delivered in a blended format - this is to afford the student cohort the convenience of online learning, and the opportunity to also connect and collaborate together in-person. 

The 24 month PT MA will require one day a week contact (one in-person day in NCAD per month, the other sessions are on-line). Trimester 1 Year 2 will contain one week-long in-person design sprint.

Minmum Academic Qualifcation 

All applicants are expected to present an approved Bachelor degree at minimum level of 2nd class honours (2.2).  The degree can be from any discipline.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum academic entry requirements may be considered on the basis of prior work or learning experience (RPEL). Candidates may be required to pass a qualifying examination set by the relevant department before being accepted to a Masters degree programme. Attendance at selected undergraduate lecture courses at NCAD, together with related written work may be prescribed. 

You may apply for the programme if you are currently completing your Undergraduate Degree. NCAD will review the rest of your application If necessary, we can make you a Conditional Offer. When your degree is completed and you send us final transcripts we will upgrade this to a Full Offer

Checklist of Supporting Documents 

  • A Statement of Interest - 500 words framing your reasons for applying to the programme. Please indicate a subject/discipline area that you believe can best advance your practice.   

  • A recent CV

  • Certified transcripts of previous programmes followed

  • Certified copies of degree/ certificates and/or other appropriate third level qualifications bearing the official stamp of the institution.

  • Reference 1 (Academic - Head of School/Department preferred)*

  • Reference 2 (Tutor or Current/Recent Employer)

    • Some referees prefer to submit the reference directly to the college. If this is the case, please instruct your referee to email a standard reference to

    • Please make sure all references contain the letterhead and the institution contact email address for the referee.

  • Portfolio/Evidence of previous work

    • This may not necessarily be design work but must demonstrate experience in a relevant field eg. customer service, service design, innovation, service industry eg. food service/tourism/public sector/healthcare/banking

    • For example: a 1 or 2 page case study outlining a project or approach you have undertaken in work, college or a personal project. Please describe any research undertaken, key insights/opportunities identified, and solutions/improvements created if applicable. A combination of either writing, images or diagrams/mapping is appropriate.

When uploading documents please make sure you clearly label them using the Description Box like in the example below 

English Language Requirements

All programmes in NCAD are taught through English. International Applicants are asked to provide proof of their English Language Proficiency.

Full details of acceptable tests and the standard required can be found at the following link English Language Requirement.

We encourage our students to experiment and take risks in order to carve new understandings of design and make technical innovations within, and across Service Design. Graduates have gone on to secure roles as Service Designer, UX Researcher, CX (Customer Experience), Experience Designer, Design Strategist, Development Analyst, and Facilitator in public and private sector organisatiosn such as The Mater Hospital, Deloitte, Accenture,  IBM,  Context Studio, Maynooth University, and EyeVu.

In challenging the purpose, methods and ambitions of contemporary service design practice and research, students will identify opportunities and develop their own creative careers.

Postgrad Futures Scholarship 2024

There is a Postgrad Futures Scholarship based on merit for one 2024 student.  Apply by 31 May 2024 to with a 500 word document on why you merit the scholarship.


For information on tuition fees please follow this LINK

There is an applciation fee of €55


Step 1: Click on Apply Now button below | Step 2: Fill in your details

Step 3: Upload your Supporting Documents

  • You can also submit your application even before you upload the necessary documents. 

  • You can not add new documents after you have submitted. 

  • Additional documents can be sent to and we will upload them on your behalf. 

Step 4: Pay the application fee & submit your application to NCAD

  • If you are applying for multiple Postgraduate Programmes then you are only obliged to pay the application fee once.

    • Complete your application as far as the fee payment page

    • Click save + exit

    • Email and let us know you are ready to submit and we will submit the application on your behalf. 

  • NCAD Graduates are not required to pay the application fee. 

    • Complete your application as far as the fee payment page

    • Click save + exit 

    • Email and let us know you are ready to submit and we will submit the application on your behalf. 

Contact the course leaders: 

Dr Caoimhe McMahon,

Contact NCAD Admissions