Disability, Design and Innovation MSc

London, Stratford (UCL East)

Become a pioneer in disability innovation and join a community of people who care about disability inclusion in this one-of-a-kind MSc programme. This degree blends research, engineering, and design skills with the societal context of disability. You will learn how to tackle complex problems faced by people with a range of disabilities and develop relevant skills to work in this rapidly expanding field.

UK students International students
Study mode
Full-time
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
£19,300
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
£37,500
Duration
1 calendar year
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree (or international qualification of an equivalent standard) in engineering, social sciences, or other relevant subject areas, or over three years' experience of working in international development, UX/ product design or assistive technology development, or clinical settings. For applicants without an engineering background, completion of an online preparatory short course is compulsory. This will be delivered over the summer preceding enrolment and will help prepare applicants for the technical components for the programme.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree


An MSc programme at the leading edge of disability innovation, this degree will enable you to become a specialist in accessible and assistive technology and inclusive design.

Hosted by UCL Computer Science and delivered in collaboration with Loughborough University London (LUL) and the London College of Fashion (LCF - part of University of the Arts London), this programme brings interdisciplinary knowledge together to help you create meaningful solutions. You will join other students from incredibly diverse backgrounds to consider the interaction of everything from computer science to policymaking, to understand and respond to real issues. You will learn how to place stakeholders at the centre of your research, while developing your knowledge in a range of specialist areas, such as specific programming language and design thinking.

Taught at the brand new, purpose designed UCL East campus in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, this programme brings you a modern learning environment that embraces an ethos of community and innovation. UCL experts who helped design accessibility into every aspect of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park also teach on this MSc programme, while this one-of-a-kind location brings you a living case study of design and innovation.

As well as learning from our world-renowned academics – some of whom are responsible for making the London 2012 Paralympic Games the most accessible games ever – you will hear from guest speakers from international organisations with which the leading academics collaborate closely. As the flagship programme of the UCL Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub) – the official WHO Collaborating Centre for research on Assistive Technology – you will also become part of one of the largest networks for disability innovation, which is responsible for working on disability innovation projects in 35 countries with more than 70 partners.

With its unique curriculum, hands-on approach, real-world focus, and content delivery from leading academics and industry experts, the Disability, Design, and Innovation MSc equips you with a unique way of thinking about disability inclusion to find solutions in all aspects of the disability space.

Who this course is for

The programme is intended for students who want to contribute to a fairer world through disability innovation. One of the strengths of the programme is its diversity, which values students from computer science, occupational therapy, user experience design, international development, human computer interaction, product design, neuroscience, diplomatic service, medicine, disability activism and many other disciplines.

What this course will give you

UCL is ranked 9th globally in the latest QS World University Rankings (2024), giving you an exciting opportunity to study at one of the world’s best universities.

The Disability, Design and Innovation MSc is run by UCL Computer Science, Loughborough University London, and London College of Fashion at the ground-breaking UCL East campus, which brings together an interdisciplinary ethos, connections to the community and cutting-edge facilities.

UCL Computer Science is recognised as a world leader in teaching and research. The department was ranked 1st in England and 2nd in the UK for research power in Computer Science and Informatics in the UK's most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2021). You will learn from leading experts with an outstanding reputation in the field.

As a graduate of this programme, you will benefit from being part of the GDI Hub community, with its experience, ethos, and the combined knowledge necessary to identify barriers and improve design thinking in the disability context.

You will have the ability to research and design disability innovations and apply your skills in both low fidelity and high-fidelity prototyping. You will understand the challenges of developing technologies in different contexts, and gain in-depth knowledge about accessible and assistive technology, interaction, design thinking, international development, and marketing and business strategies.

As a graduate, you will be able to apply technology, engineering design and systems thinking to difficult problems and apply theories of appropriate technology production to disability-focused projects.

Helping to address the needs of the world’s one billion disabled people, this degree equips you with the technical, contextual, and entrepreneurial skills needed to thrive in the field of disability innovation.

The foundation of your career

Students graduating from this MSc will have the skills and expertise required to pursue careers in inclusive design and innovation, global policy and research, disability rights, international development, accessibility and assistive technologies or develop their own start-ups.

Some of our alumni also continue their journey in academia - to pursue PhD study or a professional career in academia - or working with us at the Global Disability Innovation Hub.

Employability

As a graduate of the Disability, Design and Innovation MSc, you will bring a variety of in-demand skills to future employers.

You will understand the great complexities of disability inclusion. This ranges from the theory of disability to access issues related to assistive technologies, and the intrinsic links between disability and poverty.

Not only will you be able to innovate with technology to create solutions through research and practical engagement, but you will also learn about innovating in fields such as policymaking to address specific aspects of disability inclusion. Learning design thinking and communicating research methods, you will be better able to articulate problems as well as proposed solutions. In this degree, you will work directly with people with disabilities and innovators from different countries, helping them with specific research problems through your assessed work.

The hands-on experience this degree offers gives you an opportunity to become a pioneer in the disability innovation and assistive technology fields. The process-led skills you will take away can be applied to many workplaces. With employers across all sectors currently expanding their disability inclusion and accessibility teams, as a graduate you can expect to thrive in roles in United Nations agencies, governments, international development organisations and the start-up world.

Networking

As a UCL student, and later as a graduate, you will be exposed to a number of networking opportunities both in-person and online. Join illuminating guest lectures and a chance to meet academic experts and visionary entrepreneurs, or meet new and interesting people from across the globe at social evenings for new students and alumni.

Teaching and learning

The programme’s core curriculum is typically delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, and lab classes, as well as directed and self-directed learning supported by teaching materials and resources, published through each module’s online virtual learning environment. Each module employs a teaching strategy that aligns with and supports its intended learning outcomes.

You will be assessed through a range of methods across the programme, which will vary depending on any optional or elective module choices. The programme’s core curriculum is typically assessed by methods including coursework, lab work, individual and group projects, class tests, written examinations, oral assessments, and, in all cases, culminating in a final research project/dissertation.

Contact time takes various forms, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, project supervisions, demonstrations, practical classes and workshops, visits, placements, office hours (where staff are available for consultation), email, videoconference, or other media, and situations where feedback on assessed work is given (one-to-one or in a group).

Each module has a credit value that indicates the total notional learning hours a learner will spend to achieve its learning outcomes. One credit is considered equal to 10 hours of notional learning, which includes all contact time, self-directed study, and assessment.

The contact time for each of your 15 credit taught modules will typically include 22-30 hours of teaching activity over the term of its delivery, with the balance then comprised of self-directed learning and working on your assessments. You will have ongoing contact with teaching staff via each module’s online discussion forum, which is typically used for discussing and clarifying concepts or assessment matters and will have the opportunity to access additional support via regular office hours with module leaders and programme directors.

Your research project/dissertation module is 60 credits and will include regular contact with your project supervisor(s), who will guide and support you throughout your project. You will dedicate most of your time on this module to carrying out research in connection with your project and writing up your final report.

Modules

The Disability, Design and Innovation MSc is a one-year programme.

In term 1, you will study topics in research methods, making and computing skills, design thinking, and future global technologies for disability and development.

In term 2, you will study topics in applied business and marketing strategy for disability developments, undertake group project work, and choose from specialist optional topics, which include inclusive design and environments and disability interaction, accessibility and assistive technologies. You will also begin preparation for your final research project/dissertation.

In term 3, you will focus on your final research project/dissertation.

Compulsory modules




Loughborough University: Design Thinking

Loughborough University: Collaborative Unit

London College of Fashion: Applied Business and Marketing Strategy for Disability Developments


Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Disability, Design and Innovation.

Fieldwork

There will be fieldtrips as part of Inclusive Design and Environments (COMP0153) (subject to UCL safety regulations).

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Department of Computer Science

Join us for a live online information session to hear from Computer Science staff. We will cover areas such as the general admission process, careers support, and industry links/placements. There will also be an opportunity for you to ask staff and current students any questions you may have. Two sessions will run for this event. These sessions are the same and are repeated to cater to people in different time zones.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £19,300
Tuition fees (2024/25) £37,500

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

All full time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £2,000 for this programme. All part-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £1,000.

Students will require a modern computer (PC or Mac) with minimum specifications 8GB RAM and 500GB SSD storage. A computer with the stated specifications is estimated to cost £500 or greater.

Students will also require low-fidelity prototyping materials (e.g., sketchbook, pencils, foam board, Lego) and optionally, Arduino kit and basic electronic components depending on the topic of each student's final research project/ dissertation. It is anticipated that this will cost no more than £300.

The department will be understanding about local availability and student resources.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For more information about funding opportunities for UCL Computer Science taught postgraduate programmes, please see the department's scholarships webpage.

The Snowdon Trust provides financial awards to disabled students to access further and higher education in the UK. For information about how and where to apply, please visit their website directly.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

UCL East London Scholarship

Deadline: 20 June 2024
Value: Tuition fees plus £15,700 stipend ()
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

UCL Friends & Alumni Association scholarship for Machine Learning

Deadline: 3 June 2024
Value: $20,000 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

Next steps

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we wish to learn:

  • why you want to study Disability, Design and Innovation at taught postgraduate level
  • why you want to study Disability, Design and Innovation at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver. Your application will be judged entirely on the evidence you provide.

Due to competition for places on this programme, no late applications will be considered. Students with visa requirements or applying for scholarships are advised to apply early.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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