module specification

DN5025 - Professional Practice 1 (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Professional Practice 1
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
228 hours Guided independent study
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio A portfolio of research and personal professional presentation material
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

In this module you will research and discover the professional ways of working in your field. Design is an extremely diverse field and commercial practice takes many forms, it is therefore vital to understand the various routes and opportunities for employment and self-employment that exist, and how to promote yourself effectively.

Key to this is understanding that you are preparing yourself to enter the field of design in the future. Changes to practice, markets, constraints and opportunities happen rapidly and sometimes in ways that are hard to foresee. Consequently it is necessary to have the broadest and most current awareness of the contexts for your future design practice possible. These contexts may be economic, legal, ethical, and regulatory, equally they may arise from social sentiment or simply fashion. Whatever the reason, you need to put yourself in the best position possible to be an adaptable practitioner, able to respond rapidly and effectively to changing circumstances.

You will be asked to survey and research in depth the current and potential future professional structures, career paths, and sector-specific ways for working for your discipline. You will also investigate how commercial practice is changing in response to technological developments, environmental imperatives and social, legal and cultural contexts.

You will start to consider how your interests, talents and ambitions can best be served in your preparation for entry to employment or self-employment and will begin to construct a distinctive professional identity in your portfolio, cv, website or other means of disseminating your creative identity to potential future clients and employers.

The presentation and communication of the outcomes of you research, information gathering, and findings will demonstrate your understanding of industry practice vital for professional success in designing and making. You will deliver presentations in appropriate disciplinary forms gaining confidence in presentation, collaboration and decision-making including team working.

Prior learning requirements

Pre-requisite: DN4020 Research and Visual Communication
Available for Study Abroad? NO


A series of lectures, seminars and workshops will develop knowledge and analysis of contemporary commercial companies and projects, providing a practical framework through which to evaluate and learn from discipline-specific examples. The syllabus will typically include explanations of industry-standard methods and strategies for procurement and production.

You will research and build a database of relevant, especially new and forthcoming, materials, technology and processes that will now or in the future be deployed in the design and manufacture of products, plus methods of research, analysis and professional presentation for ‘real world’ dissemination. You will consider how the competing interests for a designer in your profession can best be navigated to the greatest advantage and least disadvantage of all users and participants.

Your work, including case and precedent study, will be recorded through a detailed diary, workbook or log and you will start to build towards presentation of yourself as a creative practitioner, using industry exemplars as guides.

(LO1 – 5)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching provides the guidance and foundation to ensure that independent study is effective in addressing the module’s learning outcomes and assessment tasks.

In-class activity makes use of varied student-centred approaches such as active, flipped and blended learning, so that a range of learning strategies is deployed, and individual learning styles are accommodated. Information is provided through a range of means and sources to minimise and remove barriers to successful progress through the module. The course team seeks to embed the University’s Education for Social Justice Framework in fostering learning that is enjoyable, accessible, relevant and that takes account of the social and cultural context and capital of its students.

Activities foster peer-to-peer community building and support for learning. Reflective learning is promoted through interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, receive help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including written reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-based learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal and career development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, to the standard expected at Level 5, you will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding

1. demonstrate your understanding of the professional practices, organisational structures and skillset requirements of companies in your discipline, evidenced through research of current commercial practice;

Cognitive and Intellectual Abilities

2. understand and negotiate the issues arising from competing interests, including the commercial, ethical, environmental, cultural or social aspects of design;

Transferable skills

3. plan and record your research, information gathering and analysis in well-organised and accessible formats;

Subject Specific Skills

4. effectively communicate your findings using discipline-specific conventions for written, verbal and visual presentations;

Professionalism and Values

5. evidence your professionalism through proactive engagement, team working and communication with others.