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:
ArabicBahasa Indonesia


The admission of Design Practices (MDes) has been suspended, and we will not be offering this programme this September. For those who have applied to this programme, you should have heard from our Academic Secretariat on the follow-up arrangement.  We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

  • Application Timeline - Sep 2018 Entry
  • Applications start: 26 Sep 2017
  • First Round Review deadline: 12 Dec 2017
  • Application deadline: 30 Apr 2018


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 commercialisation 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:
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)
SD5021 Chinese Traditions and the 21st Century (3 credits)
SD5022 Special Topics in Contemporary Design I (3 credits)
SD5023 Special Topics in Contemporary Design II (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 the academic year begins. Students 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

Philippe Casens — Assistant Professor

Philippe Casens

Throughout a professional collaboration with italian designers and architects like Andrea Branzi, Clino Trini Castelli, Pierluigi Cerri, Isao Hosoe, he has experienced different approaches and methodologies within the field of industrial production, of interior design and their communication.
Working in Domus Academy since 1995, coordinating the master in product design course, the car design and mobility course he has participated to several research seminar, collaborating also with the DARC (Domus Academy Research Center).

Since 2003, under the name disopradesign, with other collaborators, he has been developping an outsourcing activity ranging from design innovation to project, research and architecture.

Since August 2015, he has taught at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design.

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.

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
  • Letter of intent
  • Three letters of recommendation (Academic/ Profession)
  • Evidence of academic qualification, i.e. Official Full Transcripts and Degree Certificates 
  • Portfolio (refer to FAQ for requirements and submission)
  • IELTS/ TOEFL report*

* If you are not a native speaker of English, and your Bachelor's degree or equivalent qualification is awarded by institutions where the medium of instruction is not English, you are expected to fulfil the following minimum English language requirement for admission purpose: A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 80 for the Internet-based test or 550 for the paper-based test; OR An overall Band Score of at least 6 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

All admissions must go through the interview process. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview in person (for local applicants) or over internet video calls (for non-local applicants). 

  • 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

No scholarship is available for non-local students for 2018/19 admissions.

For local residents, two types of financial aid are available through the Government's Student Finance Office: (1) Continuing Education Fund and (2) Extended Non-means-Tested Loan Scheme (ENLS).

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.

Request Information