Student looking at an product design mock up intended for a child.

BA(Hons)

Product Design

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
2018/19
Course code:
W241
Applications:
UCAS
Level:
Undergraduate
Tariff points:
112
Department:
Architecture and the Built Environment
Campus:
Frenchay
Duration:
Three years full-time; four years sandwich
Delivery:
Full-time; sandwich
Programme leader:
Luke Haslam-Jones
Key fact:
Learn from tutors and professionals with extensive design experience and graduate ready to join industry or start your own creative venture.

Page last updated 3 October 2017

Introduction

Why study product design? 

We have reached a point where many products work well and meet our everyday physical needs - but how well do they satisfy and enhance our lives on an emotional level?

There is always a need for highly skilled designers who can explore questions like this.

Product design is an area that rewards those who take risks, challenge conventional thinking and design products, services and user experiences that surprise and delight.

Why UWE Bristol?

BA(Hons) Product Design will help you develop your creativity.

If you often look at the things around you and think 'this could have been made so much better', then this course will show you how to go about it.

Develop an empathetic, intuitive understanding of people and how we use and respond to products. Learn about form, ergonomics and materials. Learn from friendly tutors with extensive industry expertise and work on a series of projects in our well-equipped Design Studio.

Gain advanced skills in concept sketching and 3D form, verbal and visual communication, model making, computer-aided design (CAD) and the business of design.

Work on design briefs for a range of industry clients. Past organisations have included Jaguar Land Rover, Dremel Bosch, Omlet and Virgin Marussia Formula 1. Take part in exhibitions and grow your network at industry presentations.

Graduate with the skill and confidence to create innovative products and build a successful career in the creative industries.

Where can it take me?

As a graduate, you'll be ready to go into industry or start your own business venture.

Career opportunities are available in service design, graphic design, brand consultancy, user experience design, brand and retail design, design research, marketing and packaging design.

Many graduates are inspired to launch their own products or establish themselves as freelance design consultants. Take a look at our online yearbook of student projects from our architecture and product design courses.

Accreditations and partnerships:

Structure

Content

The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Year one

You will study:

  • Product Design Studio 1
  • Design Communication
  • Objects and Experiences
  • Graphic Design
  • Design in Context.

Year two

You will study:

  • Creative Product Design Studio 2
  • Product CAD
  • Engineering for Designers
  • Aesthetics and Product Language
  • Materials and Processes.

Placement year (if applicable)

If you study on the four year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work or study placement after year two. We'll help you develop your portfolio and CV so you can secure a placement, and support you as a mentor throughout.

Depending on which you choose, you'll either complete a placement learning or learning and development module.

See the Placements and Fees sections for more information.

Final year

You will study:

  • Individual Project Product Design
  • Product Design Studio 3
  • Design Research Methods
  • Design Futures.

Plus one optional module from:

  • Industrial Placement
  • Design in Practice.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

Our lecturers all have years of professional practice within the design industry. Along with an emphasis on hands-on learning, this gives the course professional practice focus that will prepare you for your career in design.

The course is project-led and taught mainly in studios. Apply your new skills and knowledge to diverse projects that solve human-centred problems through design practice.

Get intensive one-to-one mentoring with tutors for practical guidance on your work. Attend guest lectures with professional designers and receive help with your CV and interview skills from our partner organisations.

Lay a foundation in professional design skills including 3D design, sketching, concept generation, presentations, computer-aided design (CAD) and practical workshops. Gain an understanding of people and their complex emotional relationships with products.

Learn about human-centred design, co-design and innovative design processes, materials and manufacturing and form and aesthetics development.

Work on a range of studio projects with real companies (Brabantia, Dremel, Bloodhound and Piper Moto). Research, develop and create a product that will demonstrate your skills in the design area you'd like to grow in.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Showcase your work

Showcase your final year projects to family and friends, as well as regional employers at the annual degree show.

Take a look at some of our students' exhibits on Tumblr and in our online showcase and the Graduate Yearbook 2016-17.

Graduates also exhibit at the New Designers exhibition in London, where awards and media interest are a springboard for careers. 

Percentage of time spend in different learning activities, per year.

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check
135%65%0%100%
229%71%0%100%
326%74%0%100%

Assessment

You'll be assessed mostly on your project work and the presentation of a portfolio of design and development studies. Four modules include conventional exams as a form of assessment.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

Percentage of time spend in different assessment methods, per year.

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check
13%91%6%100%
216%84%0%100%
30%76%24%100%

Features

Professional accreditation

This degree allows you to become a member of the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED), giving you professional recognition, access to events and opportunities on their website.

Placements

Students who get work experience tend to graduate with better degrees. Experience also hones your skills, industry knowledge and professional network, making you highly employable on graduation.

We have placement opportunities in the UK and Europe, US and China. Past students have worked for in-house design teams, consultancies and manufacturers such as Opel cars, Disney, Omlet, Kinneir Dufort, Trunki, Mathmos and Mira Kohler.

You'll get help to find your placement and support throughout from department staff and our award-winning careers service.

Fieldwork

We arrange day trips so you can visit study locations and meet people that can inform your work. We also arrange residential field trips locally, nationally and internationally.

Study facilities

Learn in modern, well-equipped department facilities that simulate industry.

Study and collaborate on group assignments in our dedicated Project Room. Brainstorm concepts in our dedicated Ddesign Sstudios.

Develop CAD, model-making, design and drawing skills in integrated studios.

Make models and prototypes and use 3D printers, laser cutters and computer numerical control (CNC) routers in our Pproduct Ddesign Wworkshop.

This mix of traditional and highly creative learning environments enables you to learn essential knowledge and real-world skills, standing you in good stead for your professional career.

Get a tour of where you'll study with our current design students.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Careers

Careers / Further study

After graduating, you'll find career opportunities all over the world.

Potential creative roles include product design, service design, interiors and retail design, marketing and brand consultancy, user experience, graphic or web design, teaching, and exhibition and packaging design.

Many graduates have launched their own products or established themselves as freelance design consultants.

We have strong links with local companies who provide graduate jobs. Most of our graduates go straight into product development roles for design consultancies or join in-house design teams for manufacturers and major brands.

Watch how studying at UWE Bristol led James to win an RSA award for his toaster design.

Get inspired

Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.

We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.

Visit our employability pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

See also:

Prospects - careers in manufacturing

Fees

Full time course

FeesAmount (£)
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594

Full time course with placement year

FeesAmount (£)
International-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year12750
International-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594
International-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1594
International-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year11156

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year300

Supplementary fee information

Your overall entitlement to funding is based on how long the course is that you're registered on. Standard funding is allocated based on the standard number of years that your course lasts, plus one additional year.

You'll apply for funding each year that you study and Student Finance will take into account how long the course is in each year that you apply. So if you register for the four year course and then transfer to the three year course, the number of years you can apply for funding will change. Student Finance will reassess your funding based on how many years you have been in study, not just those years for which you received student finance.

Always seek advice before taking any action that may have implications for your funding.

Learn more about funding.

Additional costs

This refers to items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs.

Entry

Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 112
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C/4 or above in English Language and Mathematics or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • A-level subjects: Art or Design and Technology. You can include points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) towards overall tariff. You must have at least two A-Levels.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: One of the following BTEC Diplomas: Art and Design; Creative Media Production; Production Arts.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; to include 15 Level 3 credits at merit in Art or Design and Technology.
  • Baccalaureate IB: To include a pass in higher level Design Technology or Visual Arts

Entry requirements

This course is for those without specialist mathematical and scientific expertise and education beyond GCSE but who, nonetheless, have a strong interest in technology and desire to pursue a career in this area.

If you don't meet the entry requirements of this course, you may be eligible for Foundation Year entry into this or other related degree courses.

You are welcome to apply if you have successfully completed an Arts Foundation course.

In addition to the 'typical offer' given here, please read the general information about entry requirements.

Advice on submitting portfolio

Once UWE Bristol has received your UCAS application, we may ask you to give us access to an online portfolio. Once we have received the links (URLs) to your portfolio, Product Design lecturers will review this, along with your application. We may also ask you for a telephone interview, to discuss your application and portfolio in more detail.

What to include in your portfolio:

Your portfolio should be a selection of your artwork, drawings, sketchbook pages, photographs, models and design work. This should reflect the range of your abilities, creative process and interest in the course you have applied for. 

  • Your portfolio should include both finished and in-progress work, to show your working process (e.g. sketchbook work or development sheets).
  • This should include an introduction or cover page followed by your best or most recent work, as the first project included.
  • It should also include hand drawing, in the form of both observational and ideation sketching.
  • You can include your coursework, sketchbooks, photographs, drawings, paintings, models, prototypes, sculptures, digital artwork, websites, links to videos or anything else that supports your application.
  • Your portfolio is likely to be predominately made up of the Art or Product Design projects you have undertaken on your current or most recent course of study. We are also very interested in seeing projects, interests and passions outside of your school work.
  • The portfolio should visually communicate who you are, also showing what excites and interests you, along with what you consider to be good design, and why.
  • Staff are interested in how your ideas and development work, as these a much better idea of how you think than the finished design alone.
  • If you feel you need some extra content, you could set yourself a 'one-hour design challenge'.
  • In general, a portfolio is about visual rather than written communication. Try to minimise writing; where necessary add a title and a few sentences for each image, explaining the project to a viewer.
  • Presentation is very important: a portfolio should be well organised, clear and well-presented.
  • Amount: Your online portfolio should showcase approximately ten to 15 projects spread over 15 to 20 pages (equivalent to A3 or larger).

General portfolio advice:

Your portfolio should show a high level of commitment to your studies and evidence of fundamental design skills. We are looking for enthusiasm for your chosen subject, strong visual communication skills, evidence of problem-solving, clear working procedures to indicate the development of your ideas, experience in a range of different media and materials (2D and 3D) and an awareness of contemporary designers and the history of design.

For more advice and examples, we advise that you ask your current teacher or lecturer for assistance and web-search keywords such as "Product Design portfolios", "Industrial Design portfolios" or "How to make a product design portfolio". You should not feel intimidated by the high levels of skill and design ability shown in professional portfolios online, as we do not expect applicants to match professionals. (This is what you come to university to learn!)

It takes a lot of time to prepare a good design portfolio and making one is a great learning opportunity, as it showcases your ability and is very rewarding.

We look forward to receiving your application.

Drew Batchelor MEng(DIC) MA(RCA)

Programme Leader BSc(Hons) Creative Product Design

Programme Leader BSc(Hons) Product Design Technology

How to apply

Read more about undergraduate applications.

For further information

Unistats

UWE Main Campus

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