Design Practices (MDes)

Designers need to gain new knowledge and find a specialised area of their own.


The Master of Design (Design Practices) is a hands-on, studio-based specialism directed at students who want to deepen their innovative abilities, who are curious about design and business integration, and who enjoy the creative form challenges of making objects and ideas that improve people’s lives. Designers with a Bachelor’s degree in product design, fashion design, interaction design, architecture, product engineering, interior design or communication design may find Design Practices to be a logical next step in their professional development.

Brief introduction of the School in your language:
Portuguese/ Spanish

  • Application Timline - Sep 2017 Entry
  • Applications start: 22 Nov 2016
  • Info Session: 14 Jan 2017 
  • Absolute application deadline: 30 Apr 2017 


This specialism focuses on design as a strategic tool for the consumer economy. Interdisciplinary projects embrace business strategy and brand development, identifying opportunities for innovation and user experience. This full-time international programme responds to the world’s industrial and technological transformation with a focus on China. The development of a high level of research, analysis, strategic vision, aesthetics, and technical mastery in development, fabrication and commercialization of design prepares students for leadership roles.

See also: Employers of MDes graduates


This specialism seeks to join practical strategies for innovation with formal aspects of design development, by making design through:

  • real-world project development
  • teamwork approaches to problem solving
  • cultural considerations as well as business & technology
  • customers’ needs and goals
  • design entrepreneurship and brand creation

Learn more about: International academic collaborations

Our students are not only trained to develop products, they are also taught to create solutions for clients along with business strategies and related products and services.

Programme structure

Primarily a studio experience, some projects will be sponsored by leading companies with real business context provided as the base for collaborative workshops. This is a full-time, intensive one-year programme. Theory and method subjects are delivered during weekends over four consecutive weeks each. A "capstone project" concludes the year with an experience that synthesizes learning in a real world setting.

Common Core Subjects (compulsory) (1 credits)
SD5400 Vision and Change (1 credit)

Specialism Core Subjects (compulsory) (32 credits)
Theory/Method Subjects (9 credits)
SD5018 Research and Analysis for Design (3 credits)
SD5104 Branding: From Local to Global Strategies (3 credits)
SD5202 Innovative Products and Services Development (3 credits)

Workshop Subjects (23 credits)
SD5401 Value Strategies for China (4 credits)
SD5405 China Lifestyle Transformation (4 credits)
SD5406 Design Experience (4 credits)
SD5409 Capstone Research (4 credits)
SD5410 Design and Make Capstone Project (7 credits)

Electives* (3 credits)
These will be drawn from regularly occurring subjects within the MDes Scheme, including:
SD5011 User Oriented Design: Theories, methods and Applications (3 credits)
SD5012 Future Contexts for Design (3 credits)
SD5014 Consumer as Producer: Critical Trends in Product Development and Consumer Culture (3 credits)
SD5015 Globalization and Design (3 credits)
SD5019 Design Criticism and Visual Arguments (3 credits)
SD5020 Special Topics in Contemporary Design (3 credits)
SD5021 Chinese Traditions and the 21st Century (3 credits)
SD5112 Strategic Design: Regional Case Studies (3 credits)
SD5113 Strategies for Sustainable Product-Service Systems (3 credits)
SD5163 Managing Value Creation (3 credits)
SD5201 Collaborative Design and Technology (3 credits)
SD5215 Introduction to Ergonomics (3 credits)
SD5216 Introduction to Intellectual Property: Fundamentals and Strategy (3 credits)
AF5340 Finance and Accounting for Design Business (3 credits)
MM5761 Marketing Management (3 credits)

* Remarks: Not all elective subjects are offered every year. Time table will be provided by individual MDes Specialism before academic year begins. Student should refer to MDes Scheme Definitive Scheme Document and may consult Specialism Leader when choosing electives.

Class delivery mode & duration

Classes are normally held during daytime on weekdays except for three subjects, which will be delivered during weekends. Each of these weekend subjects requires three weekends spread over 4–5 weeks.

Normally it takes 1 year to complete the specialism.

Specialism leaders

Ernesto Spicciolato — Senior Teaching Fellow, DArch (Firenze)

Ernesto Spicciolato

Born in Italy, graduated at the University of Architecture, Florence, in 1983.

Ernesto won the National Architecture Competition “Plebiscito and VII Novembre Squares”, Castel di Sangro, 1989, (1st prize); and the 2nd prize at the International Architecture Competition “New York Waterfront”, New York, 1988, in collaboration with Andrea Branzi. He collaborated with Makio Hasuike Design Office from 1987 to 1990, designing for: Ariston, Gedy, Indesit, Lamy, Maxer, Merloni Termo Sanitari, MH Way, Mobil Girgi, Villeroy & Boch. With Santina Bonini he founded office in Milano in 1990. The office based its work on active research in the fields of the new technologies, evolution of artificial materials, utilization of natural material for industrial products, social evolutions. His works are in the permanent collection of Cooper Hewitt Museum (New York), Museo del Design della Triennale (Milano), MOMA Museum of Modern Art (New York), and Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris). Among the others, he designed for Bic Italia, Colombo Design, Covo, Dae-Young Computer, Gedy, Glas, LG Chemicals, LG Electronics, Viceversa, Zanussi-Rex.

Fred Han — Assistant Professor, MDes

Fred Han

Fred Han started his professional career as a car designer and worked for General Motors and Ford Motor Company in the US. During the period, he participated in designing several production vehicles such as Cadillac STS (Interior), Pontiac Torrent (Exterior) Ford Mustang (Exterior), and Ford Focus (Interior). With the solid experiences of automotive design in global companies, he expanded his career to Product Design. He Joined Philips Design in Hong Kong and worked with Consumer Lifestyle Product Business Unit. His distinguished designs within diverse projects have won IF Product Design Awards and CES Innovation Awards. He holds a position of Design Strategy Advisor for TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings LTD. As an external expert, he advises the company on establishing the consumer focused design &market strategy, and directs a design team of 30 designers.

As an academic faculty member, Fred Han has been actively researching areas of Transportation System Design in Social Innovation, User Experience Focused Design Strategy.

Teaching staff

Recent collaboration partners


Entrance requirement

A Bachelor’s degree in design or the equivalent in a related discipline and professional experience in design is preferred.

A complete application includes

  • Application form
  • Portfolio (refer to FAQ for requirements and submission)
  • Evidence of degree or other qualification
  • Letter of intent
  • Three letters of recommendation (Academic/ Profession)
  • English language competency (minimum score: TOEFL 550 / IELTS 6.0 / iBT 80)

Applicants who are native English speakers with qualification from a university where the language of teaching is English are not required to provide such test score.

In the case of international students, the interview will be conducted via video calls on Skype.

  • Number of credits: 36

  • Normal Period of Study: 1 Year (full-time)

  • Tuition: HK$144,000 (local) / HK$158,400 (non-local) Initial Programme Fee: Local student HK$16,000 (4 credits x HK$4,000)/ Non-local student HK$44,000 (10 credits x HK$4,400)

Financial Aid

Three types of financial aid are available: (1) Scholarships, (2) Continuing Education Fund and (3) Extended Non-means-Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS). Only local residents are eligible to apply for (2) and (3). 

Find out more about Scholarships here.

Some subjects in MDes scheme are included on the Continuing Education Fund (CEF) list of reimbursable courses for local residents. For further information on CEF or reimbursable courses list, please visit CEF official website

Extended Non-means Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS) offers interest-bearing loans to eligible students for covering tuition fees. For details of the scheme, please refer to the Government’s website.

Type of VISA (for International Students)

People’s Republic of China and foreign nationals may join the full-time programme provided either they apply for and receive a Student VISA; or they may join the part-time programme if they are holding a valid work permit or dependent VISA from the Hong Kong Administrative Region Immigration Department. School of Design will provide assistance in this regard.


Should you require further assistance, feel free to contact us by email at or by phone +852 3400 3440.

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