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


Product Design

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Architecture and the Built Environment
Three years full-time; four years sandwich
Full-time; sandwich
Programme leader:
Luke Haslam-Jones
Key fact:
Learn how to become a highly skilled creative problem solver with an understanding of people, from tutors with extensive professional experience.

Page last updated 11 September 2017


Why study BA(Hons) Product Design?          

In the 21st century, 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?

Why study our course?

This course will help you to develop your creativity. You will gain the confidence and ability to take design risks, challenge conventional thinking and design innovative products that surprise and delight. You will develop an empathetic, intuitive understanding of people and how we use and respond to products, as well as an advanced knowledge of form, ergonomics and materials.

Learning from friendly tutors with extensive industry expertise, you will work on a series of projects in our Design Studio. As well as enhancing your creativity, these will help you develop advanced skills in concept sketching and 3D form, verbal and visual communication, model making, CAD and the business of design.

Real world experience

As you progress, you will work on design briefs for live projects for a range of industry clients. In previous years, these have included Jaguar Land rover, Dremel Bosch, Omlet and Virgin Marussia Formula 1. You will have the opportunity to take part in exhibitions and grow your network at industry presentations.

Where it can take you

On graduation, you will have the skills to succeed in industry or your own business venture. Career opportunities are available across the creative industries in areas including: service design; graphic design; brand consultancy; user experience design; brand and retail design; design research; marketing; and packaging design.

Accreditations and partnerships:



The core of the course throughout all three of your years will be the Design Studio modules, where your new skills and knowledge will be applied to diverse projects that solve human centred problems through design practice. Intensive one-to-one tutoring with tutors and practising designers will bring leading edge thinking and practical guidance to your work.

Year one

Your first year will lay a foundation in the skills for a professional designer, through tutorials and design projects including: 3D design, sketching, concept generation, presentation skills, CAD skills, practical workshop skills and gaining an understanding of people and their complex emotional relationships with products.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

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

Year two

In the second year, you will develop an understanding of human-centred design, co-design and innovative design processes, advanced CAD, materials and manufacturing, and advanced form and aesthetics development.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

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

Optional placement year

A quarter of students undertake a placement year working in the design industry. We will provide you with assistance to develop your portfolio and CV in order to gain the placement and will then support you as a mentor while on placement.

Final year

Your final year will involve you in working on a range of studio based projects, often with real companies (Brabantia, Dremel, Bloodhound and Piper Moto), on real briefs, to tight deadlines. This will then culminate in an individual major project to research, design and develop a product, along with a portfolio of wider projects to market you in an area of the product design or the diverse creative technology industry, where your passion for design will continue to grow.

You will study the following compulsory modules:

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

In addition, you will study one optional module from the list below:

  • 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

The design lecturers for this course all began teaching at UWE Bristol after years of professional practice within the design industry. This gives the teaching an emphasis on professional practice that will prepare you for a career in design.

The Product Design degree places considerable emphasis on hands-on project based learning.

For more details, see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

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

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check


Assessment is based predominantly on project work and the presentation of a portfolio of design and development studies. Four modules use assessment including conventional examinations.

For more details, see our full glossary of assessment terms.

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

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check


Professional accreditation

This degree has been accredited as fulfilling the requirements for membership of the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED).


Students who complete a work placement are more likely to graduate with a better degree and obtain higher quality work on graduation. This means that, as well as helping hone your professional skills, industry knowledge and network, a placement will make you highly employable on graduation.

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


To help inspire you to learn more about the state of the art in design, we will arrange annual field trips to destinations such as Barcelona or the Milan Design Festival.

Study facilities

Our facilities are designed to simulate industry and stimulate creativity. Here, you will:

  • brainstorm concepts in our dedicated design studio
  • learn industry-standard CAD software in modern computer labs
  • make models and prototypes, using 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC routers, in our product design workshop.

Watch this video, where our Product Design students show you around where you'll be studying.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.

Learn from industry

To give you industry insight, we will arrange for professional designers to present guest lectures. We will also arrange for employers to provide you with help with CV writing, portfolio reviews and interview techniques.

Showcase your work

Our students regularly showcase their 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.

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


Careers / Further study

On graduation, there are career opportunities available all over the world. These are in a range of creative professions including: 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 also been inspired to launch their own products or establish themselves as freelance design consultants.

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

Award-winning Careers Service

Our award-winning careers service will help you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity, plus support for entrepreneurial activity and access to employer events.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and initiatives nurturing talent and innovation, you will have opportunities to gain valuable real world experience, allowing you to graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Visit our Employability pages to find out about careers, employers, real world experience and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

Be inspired

Watch how studying Product Design Technology led James to win an RSA award for his pioneering toaster design.

Useful links

Prospects - Careers in Manufacturing


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

The additional costs listed are those you could reasonably expect to incur during your studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Further information about fees and funding.


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. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of 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

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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