Short course

Design and design thinking

Make your mark in online education. This 8-week, specialised Postgraduate Micro-credential short course explores design thinking and the different approaches to design from a theoretical and applied perspective in the context of learning environments.

Start date
October 2024
Eight weeks
We charge a tuition fee. Fees are £850
Digital education

Design and Design Thinking is an introductory short course in design delivered by the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, which allows for theory and practice to be implemented in a wide range of educational practices.

Learn about the role and skills of the designer, and examine the processes and perspectives they use to develop designs and designed artefacts which can be applied across a wide range of learning environments.

Once you have finished this 8-week course, you will be awarded an official University of Birmingham Postgraduate Micro-credential certificate (worth 10 academic credits) and a transcript. You will be able to use these academic credits to apply for advanced entry to the University of Birmingham’s full Online PGCert Design for Learning Environments qualification.

Why study Design and design thinking at Birmingham?

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

  • Define the contemporary field of design thinking and critically evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Explore classic and contemporary philosophies of design, defining design and the designer in your own context.
  • Evaluate and use design and learning frameworks, processes and theory to describe activities and actors involved in the design process from idea to use.
  • Identify and critically evaluate the ethical implications of design and innovation decisions alongside desirability, feasibility and viability.

Ready to apply? Request further information and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss the application process with you.

Find out more about this programme

Entry requirements

In order to be eligible for the Design and Design Thinking Postgraduate Micro-credential short course, you will need to possess (or be predicted to obtain) an upper second-class degree or equivalent from a UK university or recognised international institution.

You may also be eligible to apply with a lower second class degree plus 2 years’ work experience in design, computing or education, or no degree plus 5 or more years’ work experience in the above areas.

Standard English language requirements also apply. If English is not your first language, you must also have an up-to-date English language test certificate. We accept Academic IELTS certificates with a grade of 6.5 and no less than 6.0 in any band. Other forms of English language certificates are accepted. Please discuss this with a recruitment coordinator.


The cost to study this online course is £850*. This must be paid in full before enrolling.

The fee includes any online resources, including full access to the online learning platform, course materials and required digital reading materials. The fee does not include any personal expenses for new technical equipment or office supplies.

For more information and to speak to a Recruitment Coordinator, fill out our form.

If, after completing the course, you wish to transfer to the full Online PGCert Design for Learning Environments programme, please speak to your Student Services Co-ordinator. You will need to re-submit an application as you will need to re-submit an application.

* Prices are subject to change each academic year.

How to apply

Click on the ‘Apply now’ button and create an account. You will be directed to an application specifically designed for the Micro-credential in Design and Design Thinking. Submit your application and supporting documentation online. Your supporting documents include:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé: Demonstrate your academic and work experience in addition to any other skills that may support your application.
  • Academic qualifications: Submit your most recent degree certificate from your previous institution – if any – so that we can verify your education.
  • Evidence of language (if applicable): If English is not your first language, supply an up-to-date English language certificate which meets the entry criteria – as detailed in our standard entry requirements section.

If you would like any feedback or advice about your application, our recruitment team would be happy to help. You can fill out a request for information or call +44 (0)800 032 7101.

Terms and conditions – what you need to know

View a full transcript of the above video.

Our Design for Learning Environments Postgraduate Micro-credential short courses will allow you to focus on specific areas in order for you to develop your career in the way that you want to.

Each course is designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge to design programmes of learning which will meet the needs of a wide range of learners and organisations in an expanding field.

We have taken an innovative interdisciplinary approach with our Design for Learning Environments courses, incorporating aspects of design, technology, education, the social sciences, data science and digital development to provide you with a rich diversity of perspectives.

You will work with academics, active practitioners and designers of learning environments from the fields of education, computer science, theoretical physics and engineering - each bringing their own unique disciplinary perspectives to instructional design.

Why choose a Postgraduate Micro-credential short course?

  • Expand your expertise at a top-100 University1
  • Boost your CV in just eight weeks
  • Develop the specialist skills you need for your career goals through an immersive online learning experience
  • Learn from an interdisciplinary teaching team including designers, researchers, educationalists and technologists
  • Gain an introduction to our Online PGCert Design for Learning Environments and get a taster for online learning
  • Earn a Postgraduate Micro-credential certificate worth 10 masters credits
  • Study around your existing commitments with 100% online learning

Learners will be fully registered University of Birmingham students and will be entitled to normal University services (including library and digital resources).

Your future starts here

Call +44 (0)800 032 7101 to speak with a Recruitment co-ordinator.


  1. QS (2019) World University Rankings. QS Top Universities [online] Available at: [Accessed 07.12.2020]

Meet your instructors

Dr Tim Jackson

Dr Tim Jackson, Reader

Tim teaches Design and Design Thinking module (part of the  PG Cert Design for Learning Environments programme). He is a Reader and also lectures in electrical engineering, digital electronics and electrical machines within the School of Engineering. He joined the University of Birmingham in 1997 and is the lead for digital education in the University’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Tim has authored an award winning MOOC ‘Electrical Engineering, Sensing Powering and Controlling’ and his current research interests  include students’ use and perception of feedback and learning environments. He has led funded cross-disciplinary theatre work to help schoolchildren explore the significance of science and engineering in society and their personal lives. Within science and engineering, his previous research interests were in the analysis of electromagnetic properties of novel materials including superconductors, nano-structured magnetic materials and ferroelectrics.

Dr Jackson's profile