Professional Development Award (PDA) in Service Design

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 four 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:

Blended Learning:

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

  • The boot camps are delivered on site at The Service Design Academy
  • The boot camps run from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm (GMT), 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.

Target Audience

This PDA is aimed at several client groups, particularly those already in employment who are looking at change and change management within their organisation, and those who are interested in performance improvement and enhancement with both public and private sectors. It is also aimed as a top-up to those graduates who have a qualification in a specialist subject, as service design methodology can be applied to any sector.

This course will suit non-designers working in service industries as well as professionals interested in creative problem-solving approaches. This is relevant for those who wish to engage service users and communities in decision making through creative processes, and is most appropriate for those who already work professionally with such groups.

Entry Requirements

Entry to this qualification is at the discretion of the 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.


You will receive a Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Certificate : PDA in Service Design


The course fee for the PDA in Service Design (4 Units) is £2,600

Nice to Know

  • The PDA in Service Design is made up of 4 SQA unit credits
  • It comprises 32 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7
  • Each Unit equate to 40 hours of study
  • Courses are in English