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


Product Design (with Foundation Year)

Please note the tariff points stated for this course are indicative. The tariff points for 2018 will be published by August 2017.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Architecture and the Built Environment
Full-time; sandwich
Programme leader:
Wendy Colvin
Key fact:
This course has been designed to give you an understanding of design at a variety of scales and to raise awareness of the context and fundamental principles which affect the design process.

Page last updated 12 June 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?

The products of design surround us, from the everyday objects we use to the spaces we occupy both inside and outside. There are many design disciplines which practice at a variety of scales to form our human environment. The factors influencing design decisions and the design process are similar to each of these disciplines. 

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 and 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.

You will have the opportunity to refine your design skills at a variety of scales and the course will assist you with raising your awareness of the historical, cultural, mechanical and environmental factors which influence 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 years are the Design Studio modules where your new skills and knowledge are applied to diverse projects which solve human centred problems through design practice. Intensive one-to-one tutoring with tutors and practising designers brings leading edge thinking and practical guidance to your work.

Foundation year (Year zero)

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Foundation Project in Sustainability
  • Foundation Design Communications
  • Foundation Design Studio
  • Foundation Design History
  • Foundation Engineering for Designers.

You will study the Foundation year alongside students from our other Architecture and Product Design courses, and so you may be able to transfer to a course in one of these areas at the end of the Foundation year.

The normal expectation is that you must pass all Year zero modules before progressing to Year one.

Year one

This year builds the skills of a professional designer, through tutorials and design projects including: 3D design, sketching, concept generation, presentation skills, CAD skills, practical workshop skills and 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

This year develops 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 take a placement year working in the design industry. We will provide our students with assistance to develop their portfolio and CV, getting the placement and support them as a mentor whilst on placement.

Final year

The final year works on a range of studio based projects, often working with real companies (Brabantia, Dremel, Bloodhound and Piper Moto), on real briefs, to tight deadlines. Culminating in an individual major project to research, design and develop a product. Culminating in a portfolio of projects to market the graduate in an area of the product design, design or the diverse creative technology industry where the graduate"s 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 of the following optional modules:

  • 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

Teaching methods are varied depending on the module; lectures, project work and tutorials all have a part.

The teaching staff provide a friendly, enabling environment for learning. They are also actively engaged in research or professional practice, ensuring that you learn directly from the latest academic and business developments.

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


Assessment is achieved through a balance of coursework and examinations. Examinations are held in either January or May/June. Coursework will be a variety of essays, reports, surveys, design projects, teamwork or progress tests.

You are encouraged to do 'formative work' to prepare for assessments: this does not count towards your marks but the feedback which you receive will help you to improve your performance. Support is available for students who have difficulties with numeracy, IT, literacy and study skills.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

This course is accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED).


Students who do a work placement are more likely to graduate with a better degree and get higher quality work on graduation. So 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, 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.


Annual field trips to destinations such as Barcelona or Milan Design Festival inspire students to learn more about the state of the art in design.

Study facilities

As well as UWE Bristol's extensive library and online resources, you can access a wide range of specialist facilities:

  • Work on individual or group assignments in our well-equipped Project Room.
  • Develop your design portfolio and sketch ideas in integrated studios.
  • Examine materials and structures in concrete, environmental and earth sciences labs.
  • Access support for photography, digital imaging, filming and sound recording from our audio-visual group.

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

Learn from industry

To give you the inside track on industry challenges and opportunities, we organise regular presentations from visiting professionals.

Boost your skills

There are lots of opportunities for you to meet and socialise with like-minded students. We have thriving Architecture societies, which arrange regular lectures, socials and field trips. Some of our students get involved helping develop the infrastructure in third world countries through initiatives like Engineers without Borders.

Showcase your work

Our final year students regularly showcase their work at the annual Plan and Make degree show.


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 helps 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 James' video about how studying Product Design Technology at UWE Bristol led him 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 that students could reasonably expect to incur during their 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: 88
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C or above, or Grade 4 under newly reformed GCSE grading, in English Language and Grade D or above, or Grade 4 under newly reformed GCSE grading, in 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: No specific subjects required. Points from General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of one A-Level.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; no specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

We welcome applications from students who do not have the entry requirements outlined. The university will consider applications on the basis of evidence of personal, professional and educational experience which indicates an applicant's ability to meet the demands of the degree.

Students who expect to achieve a higher tariff score may also be interested in our BSc(Hons) Product Design course.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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