Start date - Full-time: October, part-time: throughout the year

Duration - One year full-time, two-three years part-time

Delivery - Taught modules 40%, Group projects 20%, Individual research project 40%

Qualification - MDes, PgDip, PgCert

Study Type -  Full-time/Part-time

Design, Strategy and Leadership  (MDes)

Successful use of strategic and tactical design can impact on business performance, generate and sustain growth, and improve productivity and competitiveness (Design Council, 2011). This course integrates world-class, design-driven innovation, management and research activities through a unique teaching approach.

Informed by Industry

Our courses are designed to meet the training needs of industry and have a strong input from experts in their sector.

Key Features

Who is it for?

The MDes course comprises eight assessed modules in which students engage in creative leadership, strategic design management, financial and business planning, design thinking and innovation strategy. Modules are delivered in facilities in London, supported by seminars, workshops and lectures in creative and design agencies, providing a closer link to professional practice. Residential elements will be delivered at Cranfield. Students also undertake a group project in which they apply their skills to real business challenges, and complete an individual thesis project.


Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) students complete eight modules and the group project. Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) students complete six modules.


Why this course?

This masters in Design, Strategy and Leadership exploits existing expertise within Cranfield’s School of Water, Energy and Environment and School of Management. 

This course is suitable for mid-career professionals in the creative industries sector looking to improve their skills in the strategic, tactical and implementation aspects of the management of creativity and innovation in business.  

Your teaching team

You will be taught by industry-active experts from Cranfield School of Management, with an established track record in design and innovation, supported by guest speakers from industry.


Course details

This course comprises eight assessed modules, a group project and an individual project.


Group project

The group project experience is highly valued by both students and prospective employers. Teams of students work to solve an industrial problem. The project applies technical knowledge and provides training in teamwork and the opportunity to develop non-technical aspects of the taught programme. Part-time students can prepare a dissertation on an agreed topic in place of the group project.

Industrially-orientated, our team projects have support from external organisations. These include: Airbus, Atkins, Altro, Bromford Industries, Benaa Group, BT, Caterpillar, Centre for Process Innovation, Cisco, DPD, Dragon Rouge, Engineering Photonics Centre, Environcom, ERA Foundation, GKN Hybrid Power, HS Marston Aerospace, Ihsan Center, Labinal Power Systems, Maier Group, Novartis, Okaz Organization for Press and Publications, Operations Excellence Institute, Rolls-Royce, Safran Power, SENTi, SPI Laser, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Ultra Precision Centre, and Whirlpool.


As a result of external engagement Cranfield students enjoy a higher degree of success when it comes to securing employment. Prospective employers value the student experience where team working to find solutions to industrially based problems are concerned.


View our Manufacturing, Materials and Design 2015 Manufacturing Group Projects

Watch video: Paul Ewers, Visteon Engineering Services, talks about his involvement in the Manufacturing Group Project at Cranfield University.

Watch video: Manufacturing MSc students talk about their experience of the Manufacturing Group Projects at Cranfield University.


Individual project

The individual thesis project offers students the opportunity to develop their research capability, depth of understanding and ability to provide world-class solutions to real problems in design strategy and leadership.



Taught modules 40%, group projects 20%, individual project 40%.

To find out more detailed information on the course and how to apply visit Cranfield Website