PDA in Service Design (Online)

Course Content

Service Design enables employers to improve existing services. It encourages the use of techniques such as prototyping to encourage creative thinking and thereby deliver new ideas and systems more effectively. Implementing service design processes will deliver an improved and ever-evolving customer experience. In this high-tech world, customers expect more and companies which consider customers the most and cater for their demands will win the market share. This award focusses heavily on designing for the customer experience. It takes learners through the tools and methods of service design to support research and collaboration with users, through to developing co-design projects which would create valuable improvement within the learner’s workplace.

Our courses are designed for you to learn how to design around your customers.  Trying out proven tools on real-life challenges, you’ll develop practical skills you can apply tomorrow in your work place.  You’ll leave with the know-how and confidence to run service design projects and drive change in your workplace.

Learners must complete the four mandatory units to achieve the PDA in Service Design:
Service Design: Tools & Methods; 
Service Design: User Research;
Service Design: Co-Design;
Service Design: Project. 
Each unit equates to 40 hours of study.

You will :
Develop a knowledge of the fundamental tools and methods used throughout the service design process and the ability to apply these in their own professional domain.

Develop skills in user research by implementing methods to identify the needs of service users and undertaking a small-scale user research project.

Explore how co-design can be developed as an approach that involves service users collaboratively in the service design process.

Understand and apply the techniques of prototyping, increasing confidence in service design.

Demonstrate an ability to design, plan and deliver a co-design project.

Describe and explain how various user research and service design tools are selected and used in the project.

Communicate and reflect on the project process and outcomes.

Study Options

There are two study options :


Study online and attend three, two-day, on-campus boot camps.  The boot camps run on :


September Cohort

January Cohort

Service Design : Tools & Methods

17 & 18 Sept

21 & 22 January

User Research

22 & 23 October

25 & 26 Feb


26 & 27 November

31 Mar & 01 April


The boot camps are delivered on site at Dundee & Angus College

The boot camps runs from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm, refreshments and lunch are provided

Attendance at the boot camp (14 hours) is included in the 40 hours nominal study to complete each Unit

You will receive a course workbook and access to an online resource including videos (with optional English subtitles)

You can join the Service Design Academy online community offering support from tutors and peers


Our online learning courses allow you to experience the Service Design Academy wherever you are in the world and include :

Options to meet with your tutor online at times to suit you both

Options to meet with your peers online

Access to an online workbook and resources including videos (with optional English subtitles)

Working to a live brief set and supported by your tutor

Practical assignments

Personal feedback

You can join the Service Design Academy online community offering support from tutors and peers.

This course is not eligible for fee waiver but you could be eligible for a part-time fee grant from SAAS to help towards the cost of your tuition fees.  For more information visit:  http://www.saas.gov.uk/part_time/ug/funding_available.htm

Further information available at http://sda.ac.uk/ 

Entry Requirements

Entry to this qualification is at the discretion of the Service Design Academy. However, it is recommended that the candidate has a standard of communication skills in English equivalent to SCQF level 5. Each learner will be assessed on an individual basis to ensure they have a realistic chance of achievement.

Method of Assessment

The evidence required for each Unit will be created under open-book conditions over a period of time.  You will complete either complete a small project - presenting evidence of the process and outcomes or collate a portfolio of evidence on the subject.

There are many opportunities for e-assessment in these awards, for example:

  • collation of e- presentation portfolios according to a given brief
  • collation of photographic and/or video content to support open book assessment
  • Tools for collaborative project management to evidence outcomes
  • Formative Quizzes
  • Use of blogs, to evidence outcomes

Future Prospects

There are currently no specific progression routes in Scotland for Service Design. However, the achievement of the PDA in Service Design should allow learners to develop in generic qualifications, for example, Management or Project Management or progress to further study in Business Process Management within Further or Higher Education.

The Service Design Academy intends to continue to develop further training programmes and qualifications, and there may be opportunities for more specialist progression to and from the PDA in Service Design.

Course Overview
  • Study Type

    Work-based/Flexible Learning

  • Campus

    Off Site

  • Start Date

    10 Feb 2020

  • SCQF Level


  • Duration

    15 Weeks

  • Subject Area

    Service Design

  • Course Fee


  • All course fees are reviewed annually, and subject to change. Published fees apply to the courses mode of delivery.

The course application is currently closed. You can find out more information about this course by making an enquiry.

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