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International Master Program in Design & Health

This unique international taught Masters programme addresses the impact of the built environment on health, wellbeing, and quality of life. With an exclusive mode of delivery and involvement of esteem
ed intercontinental contributors, this interdisciplinary Masters offers continued professional development to practitioners from a range of professional backgrounds. With contributions from internationally recognised academics, scholars, and practitioners from around the world, you will aim to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of the fields of public health, psychology, health management, architecture, design, economics and their interactions. You will learn to apply knowledge and information regarding human characteristics and behaviour to the built environment. The programme will be delivered from locations across Europe (such as Scandinavia and Italy), providing opportunities to travel and to experience the application of health and design theory and research in practical ‘real-world’ examples. The programme has the full support of the American Institute of Architects, Academy of Architecture for Health.

This programme will appeal to people from professional disciplines in health, design, architecture, planning, and construction. Individuals likely to benefit from this course will have a desire to gain a cross-disciplinary perspective of health and design, be willing to travel and experience different cultures and outlooks, and be receptive to a blended learning approach including lectures, seminars, virtual learning environments, group- and independent-working. This programme will equip you with the knowledge and skills to apply the principles of research-based design to your own professional discipline.

Originally scheduled to start in September 2012, the programme has been postponed until further notice as The International Academy for Design & Health seeks a new University partner to deliver the programme.

Programme objectives
The main objectives of the programme are:
• To provide theoretical knowledge in basic public health, health promotion, quality of life and practical solutions to improve the human condition from a healthy environments perspective.
• To provide the participants with knowledge and skills on health, wellbeing and quality of life as well as the principles and practice of health promotion by psychosocially supportive design.
• To highlight the value and success of healthy built environments around the world and to introduce some practical applications.
• To provide knowledge of how design may affect human health and well-being as well as the economic impact of environmental design, health and stress in organisations and in society at large.
• To provide a solid foundation for further studies and research on the relationship between design and health, wellbeing and quality of life, and its socio-economic impact.

Structure of the course
The two-year programme includes four core units covering: (1) health, wellbeing, and quality of life; (2) design for healthy environments; (3) impact of design on health and economy; and (4) research methods in design and health; together with a final dissertation unit in which you will undertake a research project of your choosing in the field of design and health. This programme will provide you with a firm foundation of theoretical understanding, knowledge, and skills, on the principles and practice of research-based design, health promotion by psychosocially supportive design, socio-economic implications of design, and the value of design to individuals, organisations, and society. The programme content covers the health promotion implications of design in a full range of private, public and institutional settings, including: healthcare, elderly care, housing, education, the work place, and urban environments. The programme will have a mixed-mode delivery with four residential one-week blocks (rotating through different global locations) of face-to-face delivery (including specialist guest speakers, lectures, group work, seminars, and site visits). Each unit is supported by an interactive online platform, which offers access to further learning resources and activities, tutorials and discussion forums. You will be assigned a personal online tutor. All units will be assessed via coursework.

What will I study?
This unit provides participants with opportunities to develop their knowledge of health theories including health psychology, health promotion and psychosocial health models. Students will be provided with the historical background and theory of health, well being and quality of life (QoL). The unit will cover the methodological issues involved in the measurement and assessment of these constructs, appraisal of QoL measures, quantitative and qualitative approaches, concepts involved in scale development (reliability and validity), and assessing QoL in specific groups and environments.

This unit aims to provide you with a contextual background for designing healthy living and working environments. It will introduce you to a range of design precepts, and legislative barriers and affordances that guide the delivery of healthy and sustainable environments. The unit aims to develop your understanding of the considerations required in the practice of designing healthy environments with multifaceted stakeholders from health, planning, and implementation, involving design, construction, and services consultants. You will also consider the impact of applied research to inform real-life solutions to the design of healthy environments. Throughout this unit you will consider theoretical perspectives alongside practical implications, the complexities of delivering healthy environments, and evaluate existing and new designed environments through the use of case studies, and assessment of user occupation and interaction.

In this unit you will evaluate and critically appraise models of post occupancy evaluations, and examine methods used within health economic evaluations. By the end of the unit you will be able to justify appropriate data collection techniques for financial related outcomes such as direct and indirect operational costs, maintenance and income generation. You will assess the validity, reliability, applicability, and credibility of techniques for measuring the impact of design. The unit will facilitate you to conceptualise a case problem and identify and suggest assessment tools for a range of health, behavioural, social and economic outcomes that reflect the needs of all users and the local community.

This unit aims to develop your skills and abilities to investigate, understand, and interpret research issues in design and health. It will cover the philosophical and ethical underpinnings of research paradigms and a range of quantitative and qualitative techniques. Through this unit you will develop skills in critical appraisal and evaluation of research studies. By the end of this unit you will be able to evaluate the appropriateness of different research methodologies in the context of a variety of settings, interpret and explain statistical results from quantitative research, describe different approaches to analysing qualitative data, design a research study based on a well-formulated research question, and explain the principals behind conducting ethical research and good research governance. The unit will be assessed via research proposal (which will be tailored towards your chosen dissertation topic).

You will undertake and report research into a specific topic within your chosen area of design and health, using the skills and knowledge developed during the programme. The research will either involve an original and critical exposition of existing knowledge within your specialist field or an empirical research project. This unit will be assessed via a 15,000 word dissertation.

Who should apply?
This programme offers professional development for individuals on a range of career paths in different sectors (for example: health and allied professionals, architects, designers, urban planners, commissioners of building and design works) and settings (such as hospitals, care homes, schools, work places, housing, and urban environments). Individuals interested in the application of design and health principles and research will benefit from this programme. This programme will enhance career prospects by equipping participants with an interdisciplinary understanding of the research and design of healthy environments. Participants will be equipped to apply such understanding to their own endeavours in research-based design and in the evaluation and appraisal of other work in the field.

Entry requirements
The minimum entry qualification is a bachelor’s degree with lower second class honours or equivalent qualification from a broad range of disciplines including engineering, sciences, public health, design, industrial design, economics, architecture, psychology, medicine, nursing and allied health professionals, construction, planning, business studies, environmental science and property studies. Applications from individuals with equivalent professional experience are also welcomed.

Fees, finances, and how to apply
Tuition fees will include accommodation during the residential blocks, hospitality, site visits, and online and face-to-face tuition. Students will need to cover the costs and make arrangements for their own travel for each residential block. Students are encouraged to seek sponsorship from their employers for this professional development course.

The program is organised in five units:
U17838 Health and wellbeing, Quality of Life 30 credits
U17839 Design for Healthy Environment 30 credits
U17840 Impact of Design on Health and Economy 30 credits
U17841 Research Methods in Design and Health 30 credits
U17842 Dissertation 60 credits
Total 180 credits

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