Digital Service Design MSc

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Teaching & Assessment
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria

Postgraduate Open Evening

Wednesday 25 May 2016, 4-7pm

Come along to our Postgraduate Open Evening to find out more about the programme and research areas that interest you, meet our staff and enjoy some refreshments, and even see if we can offer you a place.

Find out more and book now.


About the Course

What is digital service design? It’s the art of building customer experiences with a strong digital element. 

This new multi-disciplinary course is designed to help graduates develop cutting-edge user experience design techniques for designing digital products and services. The course features close integration with leading digital companies to help you develop deep knowledge of both design theory and practice as well as to equip you for employment in the digital sector.

The course has been designed in collaboration with Wilson Fletcher, a leading digital design studio, to closely mirror current professional practices. In the course, you will have the opportunity to apply for an industry internship in your third term and to base your dissertation around this project




Brunel’s MSc course in Digital Service Design prepares you for roles in the fast-growing digital industry by providing a programme led by industry experts and practitioners.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Generate ideas and turn them into viable concepts and working prototypes.
  • Work in multidisciplinary teams in a studio setting and take responsibility for your work.
  • Problem-solve and design for both user and business needs.
  • Understand the skills, tools and methodologies necessary to develop compelling strategies, products and services.
  • Design and develop experiences, products and services of high quality with digital media at their core.
  • Demonstrate a critical and practical understanding of the issues relevant to digital service design and their use in the context of modern industry and commercial environments.
  • Have a thorough and clear understanding of the methodologies and professional skills necessary for effective digital service design in a business environment.
  • Reflect – critically and in-depth – on relevant aspects of the state-of the art of both the practice and theory of digital service design.


Student Recruitment Coordinator
Department of Computer Science
Brunel University
Tel +44 (0)1895 265939

Course Content

Typical Modules

Digital Design Methodologies

You will be introduced to digital service design. You will be taught by industry experts and will learn methodologies and approaches currently used as best practice. You will learn how to select and apply the most appropriate method for any given project or challenge.

Part of this module will be the opportunity to engage with a three-week internship with a digital design team/project/company. This will help you to develop core design and communication skills, as well as how to work effectively in multidisciplinary digital teams.

Example topics include:

  • market and user research methodologies
  • journey mapping
  • design thinking
  • storytelling
  • designing omni-channel experiences
  • portfolio building.

Digital Innovation

You will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to implement digital business models and technologies that help organisations to capitalise on business opportunities.

Example topics include:

  • understanding and justifying change
  • change management
  • digital business models
  • managing technology risks
  • ethical issues in change.

Systems Project Management

This module will help you develop a critical awareness of the central issues and challenges in information systems project management.

Example topics include:

  • traditional project management techniques and approaches
  • the relationship between projects and business strategy
  • the role and assumptions underpinning traditional approaches
  • the ways in which the state-of-the-art can be improved.

Digital Service Applications

This module will develop upon the methods and skills learned in the Digital Design Methodologies module studied in term one, with the added context of a variety of projects based on real-world briefs.

Example topics include:

  • prototyping
  • understanding product life cycles and building effective roadmaps
  • product design
  • how to move design into production
  • behavioural design.

Research Methods

This module looks to support students in developing and using the skills necessary to design a scholarly piece of research work to address an identified problem area within a chosen field of study. This module will introduce methods of data collection and analysis when conducting empirical research, in both private and public sector environments. Example topics include:

  • questionnaire and interview design
  • qualitative and quantitative analysis

This module is essential preparation for the dissertation.

Data Visualisation

You will learn how to visually present insight drawn from large data sets to communicate your findings. You will gain an understanding of human visual perception, data visualisation methods and techniques, dashboard and infographic design and augmented reality. An emphasis is also placed on visual storytelling and narrative development.

Example topics include: 

  •  understanding human visual perception
  •  data visualisation methods and techniques
  •  dashboard and infographic design
  •  augmented reality
  •  visual storytelling and narrative development.


Your dissertation is an opportunity to showcase your enthusiasm and subject skills to potential employers, and also serves as valuable experience and a solid building block if you choose to undertake an industry-based dissertation project.

You will be encouraged to critically examine the academic and industrial contexts of your research, identify problems and think originally when proposing potential solutions.

As preparation for the dissertation, you will be given a grounding in both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis to enable you to conduct empirical and/or experimental research.

Some of our digital design partners may offer final project opportunities.

Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.

Special Features

Quality internships

You will have the opportunity to apply for an internships with a high-profile company, examples of which include:-



The Guardian


Marks & Spencer

Tribal / DDB


Mace & Menter




Virgin Media




The Guardian

RMA Consulting

Wired UX Ltd



Hugo & Cat

Telegraph Media Group

As well as providing internships and visiting lecturers, they will form the foundation of a network of industry contacts that will be invaluable when you enter into the world of employment.

  • You will work on a number of individual and group practical projects based on real-world briefs.

  • You will develop the technical, interpersonal, creative and strategic skills needed to succeed in the digital service design industry.

A cutting edge programme

You will explore areas of design and rapid prototyping, innovation methodologies, interview and workshop facilitation, journey mapping, customer research methodologies, project management and how to develop and present actionable recommendations and much more.

Teaching and Learning

The course is delivered by a team of academics and design professionals.

You will be taught by our lecturers and practising researchers, consultants and designers through a mixture of lectures, seminars, lab sessions, guest lectures from industry experts, talks and workshops.

Our industry partners come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have experience working on high-profile projects at companies like Wilson Fletcher, Marks & Spencer, The Telegraph, W12, Virgin Media, BBH, IDEO, Friday, SapientNitro, RBS, Hugo & Cat etc.

The course is led by Course Director Dr Steve Love and Dr Alessio Malizia, who both have strong research backgrounds in digital service design and human-computer interaction. They will use this experience to provide you with theory-based teaching that is based on up-to-date research in this exciting area.

How will I be taught?

  • Lectures – These provide a broad overview of key concepts and ideas relating to your course and give you a framework from which to carry out in-depth study.
  • Studio workshops – These are normally standalone, three-hour sessions in which students can develop, understand and practice using industry-standard equipment.
  • One-to-one – You will always have a personal academic tutor who will provide both academic and pastoral support. You will have one-to-one supervision for your dissertation project. If you go on an internship, you will also be allocated an industrial tutor who will help you to set objectives, monitor your progress, and provide further support if needed.

Other features – guest speakers from prominent organisations, research seminars and external site visits are also a feature of this course.


You will be assessed through a combination of coursework, examination and dissertation. You will also produce a portfolio of evidence for the Digital Design Methodologies module. Examinations are held in May.


You will be allocated an industrial mentor who will provide guidance on a range of non-academic issues such as CV writing, preparing job applications and job interview practice.

You will also have access to a network of contacts in companies not normally available to students who are undertaking similar courses at other institutions.


Graduates will be equipped to work in leading digital design agencies and consultancies as well as innovative blue-chip companies that have design departments. Fields you might go into after this course include:

  • App development
  • Copywriting
  • Digital design
  • Digital product design
  • Digital project management
  • Front-end development
  • Information architecture
  • Interaction design
  • Product management
  • Research
  • Service design
  • Strategy
  • User experience design
  • UX architecture.


This course is focused on employment. The content is based on the latest research, but you will have significant practical opportunities as the course features two three-week internships (one in term one and one in term two). Placements will be found within the following companies as well as other digital design companies: Wilson Fletcher, ORM, Hugo & Cat, DDB, Furthermore, BBH, The Guardian, M&S, W12, Friday, UsTwo. 

Selected students will also have the opportunity for a company-sponsored dissertation project in term three.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2016/7 entry

UK/EU students: £9,400 full-time

International students: £17,200 full-time

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements

A UK first or second class (2:1) Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised in any discipline. An interest in technology, human computer interaction, communication and design is required.

Applicants with other qualifications with industrial experience (that is relevant to the subject area) may be considered and will be assessed on an individual basis. Industrial certifications may be taken into account. Such applicants may be required to attend an interview .

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.

Page last updated: Monday 16 May 2016