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Professional Diploma in Service Design 2024

Next Intake: 18th September 2024-17th May 2024 2 trimesters (8 Months duration)
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50% online and 50% in person

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Non-Members Rate: €2,200
Design Skillnet Co-Funded Rate for members of 100 Archive, ICAD, IAPI and IDI: €1,452


Gain a Professional Award in Service Design.

The Professional Diploma in Service is a co-creation between Creative Futures Academy at NCAD and Design Skillnet offering subsidies to eligible candidates*.

Service designers create solutions for complex systemic and societal challenges, developing experiences that address the needs of a diverse range of stakeholders. The Professional Diploma teaches the application of design methods, tools and thinking to sectors such as healthcare, technology, finance, transportation and education.


A range of Exit awards have been designed into each offering to reflect diverse learner needs. The programme actively facilitates mobility within the college and across Creative Futures Academy and provides articulation into a variety of postgraduate programmes and career pathways.

Completion of 5 credits = Exit Award: Professional Certificate – Service Design
Completion of 20 credits = Exit Award: Professional Diploma – Service Design

Information Sessions

Apply for the Professional Diploma in Service Design via NCAD.


The programme seeks to empower students from fields such as design, business, sociology, systems thinking, education, banking, technology and the public sector to shape the services of the future through design thinking and doing. The global service economy is growing rapidly and accounts for more than 70% employment in all OECD countries, presenting exciting possibilities for design. Through a series of live projects, students will engage with complex economic, technological, political and social issues, creating new service solutions that revolutionise everyday experiences.


Service Design is increasingly recognised as a vital skillset to help address the challenges of the new experience economy, and the course seeks to meet the new demands of industry and wider society. Projects, activities and workshops will expand on methods and principles from human-centred design and design thinking, applying these to the development and delivery of new consumer and public services, transforming user experiences.


The programme encourages participants to integrate research, creative practice and contemporary methods, theory and contexts.


The modules seek to prepare students with the practical and theoretical means to develop contemporary service design practice and theory within a specialist award, while benefitting from a broader interdisciplinary creative discourse and community of practice.


Successive modules allow participants to develop their specialist practice, their professional, technical and organisational skills and their knowledge and application of critical contexts to:


  • EXPAND creative thinking to support a change of perspective across and beyond the sector.
  • CONNECT with social and cultural change to create impact.
  • BUILD sustainable communities of interest that grow without discipline.
  • INCUBATE agile creative practitioners, businesses and organisations that can change the social, cultural and economic worlds.
  • POSITION change from a communication and content-led place.
  • ALIGN learning and teaching to a change-led view of the world, society, economies and sectors in and beyond Ireland.
  • ENGAGE with emerging technology, tools and practices to create continual change in the creative sector.


The programme aims to:

  • provide participants with appropriate skills and knowledge that can be applied to their professional development as a creative practitioner;
  • develop participant’s knowledge and skills to prepare them for further life-long learning;
  • assist participants in developing their own practice in relation to contemporary creative practice and discourse.


Opportunity to engage

The Professional Diploma provides the opportunity for students to engage in an interdisciplinary educational experience, working alongside postgraduate students from across the School of Design, including the MSc Medical Device Design and MA Interaction Design.  We encourage our students to explore contemporary themes that connect all the design disciplines.  Building on the knowledge and skills developed at undergraduate level and professional practice, students encounter new contexts in which to develop their skillsets and deepen their knowledge of design through a range of interdisciplinary projects, before undertaking a major project within their chosen design discipline.


Students will have the opportunity to pursue a project of their choice in Trimester 2. This project could be related to a service design opportunity in a student’s current place of work, a personal interest, or as a response to a brief negotiation with a mentor/project partner.


Future Careers

Students are encouraged to experiment and take risks to carve new understandings of design and make technical innovations within, and across Service Design. Graduates have gone on to secure positions in the fields of Service Design, UX, Experience Design, CX and Strategic Design.


In challenging the purpose, methods and ambitions of contemporary service design practice and research, students will identify opportunities and develop their own creative careers.


The Professional Certificate in Service Design Programme will begin on September 18th, 2024 and end on May 17th, 2024.

The Professional Diploma in Service Design will be delivered across 2 trimesters (Sept to May – 8 Months), at a rate of 10 credits per trimester.


Wednesday mornings 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

In-person at NCAD and online.


In Trimester 1 it will require a commitment of 6 x 3 hours sessions plus a one week-long in-person design sprint (4th-8th November 2024, onsite in Mater Hospital).


In Trimester 2 the commitment will be 12 x 3 hour sessions.


The programme will be delivered in a blended format – this is to afford the student cohort the convenience of online learning, and the opportunity to also connect and collaborate together in-person.





Teaching Staff from NCAD School of Design as well as visiting Lecturers

Dr Caoimhe Mc Mahon

Programme Director

Caoimhe is a designer researcher and lecturer who has worked in industry and academia in Ireland, the UK and Europe. Highlights have included designing equipment for children and young adults with special postural needs for James Leckey Design, and undertaking a design research project on the topic of older people and games with Intel Ireland. She currently lectures in Product Design, and is completing a PhD which explores how practicing design teams evaluate medium-fine prototypes in the wild.

Jennifer Groarke

Jennifer Groarke works as a lecturer in both Interaction and Product Design at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

“I am interested in people, technology and design! Throughout my career I have designed several products from tables and lamps, to websites, mobile apps and chatbots!”

Joanna Crawley

Joanna Crawley will answer any questions relating to your application.


Visiting industry speakers will include:

  • Hazel White – Open Change
  • John Lynch – Context Studio
  • Sinem Lacin – Pfizer
  • Lynsey Duncan – Intercom
  • David Cooke – Newswhip
  • Tim Macartur – Novartis
  • Dhruv Sharma – Scottish Government
  • Anne Dhir – Sparck
  • Filip Szymczak – Optum



Design Skillnet is delighted to collaborate with NCAD’s Creative Future Academy to offer a special partnership rate for this programme.


Design Skillnet Subsidy

This Diploma has been co-created in partnership between Design Skillnet and CFA@NCAD. Co-funding of 34% of the programme fee (€748)* is available via Design Skillnet to successful, eligible applicants*, bringing the fees to €1,452.



Non-Members: €2,200

Design Skillnet Co-Funded Rate: €1,452

*To be eligible for this co-funding you must be a current member of IDI, ICAD, IAPI or 100 Archive, working in the private or commercial semi-state sector in the Republic of Ireland and be successful in your application to NCAD for a place on the programme. The programme fee is payable by December, 31st 2024.
Not a member? Email info@idi-design to find out how to join.
For queries re Design Skillnet co-funding email
If you have graduated within the past 3 years you may be eligible for IDI graduate membership at the special graduate price of €30. Standard/Full (non-graduate) membership of IDI costs €197 per annum plus a one-off €50 application fee.



Apply for the Professional Diploma in Service Design via NCAD.

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