Graduate Diploma of Design

Develop and apply strategic processes, creative tools and research for innovation in design.

Whether you have an academic background in a design-related field or a totally unrelated degree plus 3 years’ professional experience in design, this Graduate Diploma of Design will extend and deepen your skills.

Available on our Sydney-Ultimo campus, this is not just a stand-alone qualification. The Graduate Diploma of Design puts you on the path to a Master of Design and candidates who do not have at least an undergraduate qualification must complete the Graduate Certificate of Design to be eligible for entry.

To qualify for the Graduate Diploma of Design, you must complete 5 core subjects and 3 of the elective subjects.


Key Study Outcomes:

About the School

Billy Blue College of Design courses are delivered by Torrens University Australia Ltd, ABN 99 154 937 005, RTO 41343, CRICOS 03389E.

Read more about Billy Blue College of Design

Billy Blue College of Design

Course Delivery

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Workload and Assessment

No. of timetabled hours per week:

Torrens University Australia operates on a trimester system comprising of 3 study periods per year.

It is expected that each subject, whether studied online or on-campus, will involve a combined total of 120 hours of structured and self-directed learning, which equates to approximately 8.5 hours a week for subjects over a 14-week trimester.

Contact a Course and Career Advisor for more information on full-time and part-time workloads.

Typical assessment includes:

  • Practical assignments

  • Research projects

  • Presentations

Subject Information

The practice of design has always been profoundly shaped by the particular economies in which it has been embedded. The demands placed on both human and non-human ecologies by 20th century growth based economies, are evidently unsustainable. Increasing acknowledgment of ecological stress upon the planet, in tandem with the economic instability of the first decades of the 21st century, have given impetus to a rethinking of our assumptions about the economy. Over the past decades a number of critical thinkers have proposed new approaches to the economy. What are the implications of these potential economies for design? How might more sustainable approaches to the economy open up new possibilities for design? What might be the role of design in the transition to a different economy?

This subject explores the potential of design thinking as a generator of innovative and entrepreneurial strategies, practices and designed things through interdisciplinary innovation challenges, and developing entrepreneurial outcomes of varying scale and context. Students are required to radically cross-boundaries of their known discipline to contribute to diverse projects through the application of corporate and academic research and development methods. Students inherently cooperate within complex systems, responding to client requirements and considering the effect of their choices on outcomes throughout the process.

The subject provides a suite of topics for postgraduate designers in the areas of interaction, strategy and enterprise, new technologies, design method. Common topics explore related conceptual challenges and questions of visual expression in the quest to develop useful, usable and resonant designs. These include understanding and articulating the importance of ‘user experience’, the role of design in humanising information, the aesthetic and conceptual dynamics of effective communication, strategic thinking, and aspects of design management, branding and communication.

The quest to find more sustainable ways to inhabit the planet is complicated by human entanglement in practices, systems and subcultures that are in themselves unsustainable. Designed things constantly reconfigure these entanglements; seemingly modest design interventions can have profound and ongoing effects, both intended and unintended. Designing for more sustainable human worlds, therefore, requires reflective awareness of the ways in which design can reconfigure the ways of being human. This studio-based subject investigates the ways that different kinds of designed things shape what it is to be human, whether they be gadgets, equipment, interfaces or environments. Drawing upon contemporary philosophies of technology and theories of practice, the studio provides critical tools to support designing that engages richly with the complexity of human experience and culture. The emphasis of the studio is upon understanding what should be valued, and what can be let go, in the quest to be both more sustainable and most fully human.

This subject introduces students to contextual design-research practices using emergent technologies to elicit aspects of the contexts for which designers design. The technologies used enable these contexts to be explored through audio, visual and textual dimensions. Students gain skills in the analysis of ethnographic research data using grounded theory and phenomenography, in addition to visual research methods. Such design research practices foster understanding of, and connection with, the contexts that designed things participate in, enrich, and often transform. The emphasis of this subject is on understanding through making, as the process of data analysis enables the researched context to ‘talk back’ to the designer. Outcomes include designed communications that convey the particular understanding of context that each student has arrived at through their research process.

This subject introduces students to philosophical and theoretical lenses for interpreting the various contexts of reception within which their designs will be encountered, engaged with, experienced or consumed. “Connecting Texts, Deciphering Context” focuses specifically on ‘connecting texts’ as a stimulus to design understanding. In this subject students engage with texts that are, or have been, influential in shaping ways in which designers think about the worlds that designed things enter into and subsequently redefine. A range of differing texts, including theoretical, literary and designed texts, and texts utilising different media, are introduced.

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