BA (Hons)

Product Design

Joe Parker
  • UCAS code(s): W243 / W241
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2018
  • Course duration: 3 / 4 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

This creative course concentrates on the design of innovative products, systems and services, including consumer goods, electronic gadgets, sustainable products, sports and healthcare equipment, packaging and transportation.

This course is a designer-centred programme, encouraging you to develop your own individual style, vision and philosophy. Through a range of diverse and stimulating projects, you will explore many aspects of product design, from the understanding of user needs to the exploration of design through commissioned work.

Why study this course?

  • NTU is ranked among the top 150 universities in the world for Art and Design (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2017).
  • Benefit from our Building Blocks financial package, supporting you throughout your time at NTU and enabling you to make the most of your studies. As well as money towards the cost of your course materials, you’ll also benefit from study trips and live projects, included in the cost of your course fees, free personal protective equipment (PPE) and a pre-paid printing allowance.
  • Benefit from excellent employability prospects. 99% of our BA (Hons) Product Design students are in work or further study, just six months after graduating (DLHE 2015-2016).
  • Our course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD), recognising the quality and relevance of our course content.
  • Gain vital skills and experience in the workplace by undertaking a one-year placement.
  • Gain design inspiration with trips in the UK and abroad included in your course fees. Previously students have travelled to Berlin as part of their studies.
  • Work on project briefs from companies such as DFS, Alliance Boots, Speedo, Paul Smith and Nestle.
  • Learn how to use a range of design tools and techniques in our industry-standard facilities, including metal, concrete and timber workshops, supported by expert technical staff.
  • Turn your ideas into a viable business with help from The Hive, NTU's purpose-built Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a support centre to help students create, develop and grow their own businesses.
  • Have the option to study abroad for a semester as part of the European Project Semester (EPS) programme.
  • Exhibit your work at our Degree Shows and at national events such as New Designers in London.
  • Add to your CV and challenge yourself by taking part in competitions and national events, producing innovative and exciting designs to complex briefs.

How does this course differ from our BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design and BSc (Hons) Product Design courses?

Accredited by:

Chartered Society of Designers logo
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Find out about studying BA (Hons) Product Design at NTU
Hear our student Rebecca talk about her experience of studying Product Design

What you'll study

Through a range of diverse and stimulating projects you will explore many aspects of product design, from the understanding of user needs to the exploration of design through commissioned work. You will develop a range of key communication skills using a range of media and methods from drawing, model making and building.

  • Year One

    Design Practice 1 (80 credit points)

    • This module is largely based on individual design project activity, with some elements of collaborative work with other students. It contains three elements: Product Design Projects, Design Communications, and Materials and Technology, and it aims to develop your design activity skills and promote communication as a tool to support your design processes.
    • You will undertake a number of exciting product-inspired design projects, involving the expression of your creative and technical talents. You will be expected to undertake research to inform and support your design activity.
    • You'll learn how to use a range of techniques to communicate your ideas, including computer-aided design (CAD); hand drawing skills; modelling; and verbal, electronic and written presentations.
    • You'll develop your knowledge and awareness of a range of material properties and production processes, introducing you to to the principles and applications of technology. You'll also develop your awareness of environmental issues, sustainability, and ethical sourcing.

    Design Studies 1 (40 credit points)

    • This module will introduce you to the study of issues and ideas – exploring design from political, technical, social and economical perspectives.
    • You'll develop your knowledge and comprehension of historic, contemporary and future influences in product design, promoting imagination and creativity in your design problem-solving and development.
    • By studying the design debates throughout history and in current times, you'll explore your development as a designer, and reflect on where you've come from, what and how you'll develop while you're here, and where you aim to go.
    • This module has three key themes: a study of contemporary and historic design debates; an independent project looking at a theme such as the role of the the designer, gender, or consumerism; and a research article – an opportunity for you to reflect on your thoughts about design and your role and philosophy as a designer.
  • Year Two

    Design Practice 2 (80 credit points)

    • Building on the skills learnt in Year One, this module consists of three elements: Product Design Projects, Professional Practice, and CAD and Communication.
    • The Product Design Projects element incorporates a varied range of design projects. These projects promote your understanding of the process of designing in preparation for professional practice. Projects will be set by the design industry and by academic staff, focusing on user needs and characteristics, the market, product manufacturing, and commercial awareness.
    • The Professional Practice and CAD and Communication elements of the module will help you to develop and utilise skills to produce sketches, renderings, models, test rigs, prototypes, simulations, and virtual solutions.
    • The module will also consider issues associated with professional practice, such as intellectual property rights. As you move toward the end of the second year you will prepare, construct and evaluate a professional portfolio and CV.

    Design Studies 2 (40 credit points)

    • In this module you will discuss the nature of design in the modern world, considering how you and your work relate to the culture of design.
    • The module is concerned with aspects of design from historic and contemporary practice to emerging technologies, the design counter-culture, and the internationalisation of design. There will be opportunities for you to debate, discuss and critically investigate issues, forming your own well-grounded opinions.
    • You'll also be prompted to prepare for your final year of study, identifying an area of personal interest related to design that you will study in more depth. This module will raise your awareness of design principles, cultural and philosophic topics, and give you a solid grounding and an analytical framework from which to explore the multifaceted world of design.
  • Year Three

    In your third year, you'll have the opportunity to take a year-long, full-time placement. This year in industry will offer you hands-on experience, adding invaluable knowledge and skills to your CV. Many students return to their placement company after graduation, having developed a useful network of contacts within the industry.

    Recent placement destinations have included Lego (Denmark), The Walt Disney Company, Adidas, Urban Outfitters and Nestlé, working in roles such as toy designer, junior designer, assistant designer, and Disney Design and Creative Intern. The majority of placement roles include salaries, with some students earning up to £16,000 for their year.

    Successful completion of the placement year leads to an extra qualification – the Diploma in Professional Practice.

  • Final Year

    Design Practice 3 (80 credit points)

    • Within this module you’ll complete a minor project and major project. Your proposal of work will focus your thoughts and plans for what you intend to learn, develop and produce during the module. The minor content of this module is formally taught, but the major – your own negotiated activity – is not formally taught.
    • You'll develop the application of your skills, knowledge and understanding of design methodologies to the creative realisation of products, and develop an understanding your own practice in a professional context.

    Critical Theory (40 credit points)

    • The module has two elements, the first of which gives you the opportunity to explore a subject of your personal interest and choice, and to research and present findings on a range of topical, relevant subjects of significance. Topics should be of a personal interest and challenge you to source information, to maintain a sustained argument, and to be critical and reflective.
    • For the second element, the major project, you'll work on a project for the duration of your final year, demonstrating your ability to design and develop a realistic product design.

    Exhibiting as part of the Degree Shows

    In your final year, you'll be invited to display your work as part of NTU's Degree Shows. The events are an opportunity for all final year students studying across NTU's Art and Design-based courses to showcase their work to our network of industry professionals and prospective employers, invited specifically for this purpose.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

Our course is accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD), recognising the quality and relevance of our course content.

How you’re taught

  • Based on 40-hour weeks during term time, approximately 18 hours per week is spent in scheduled learning. Course content is delivered through lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory sessions and workshops.You will also be involved in self-directed project work with the support of NOW, our virtual learning environment.
  • Outside of timetabled sessions, you will need to undertake self-directed independent study. This will include preparing for lectures, researching, completing coursework, developing a portfolio, and directed reading to expand your knowledge.
  • This course is supported by external professional practitioners, ensuring that your learning is continuously enhanced through exposure to real world perspectives.

Trips and study visits

  • The delivery of the course is enhanced by fieldwork and site visits. Recent trips have included visits to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the V&A, amongst others across the UK.
  • During your second year you'll go on a week-long European study trip, the cost of which is included in your course fees. In recent years students have travelled to Paris, Berlin and Porto as part of the course.

BA Product Design visit Nestle

BA (Hons) Product Design students visit Nestle.

Competitions

As well as working on briefs as part of the course, our students have won national competitions including the BPMA Student Design Innovation Awards, the Chartered Society of Designers Awards, and the Student Starpack Awards. As part of the W’Innovate Awards, our students’ designs have been purchased and will soon be on the shelves of Wilko stores nationwide.

Assessment methods

You’ll be assessed through coursework, which will consist of projects, reports, presentations, essays and a portfolio.

Year OneCoursework100%Practical work0%
Year TwoCoursework100%Practical work0%
Year ThreeOptional placement year
Year FourCoursework100%Practical work0%

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

Year OneLectures/seminars/workshops37%Independent study63%
Year TwoLectures/seminars/workshops26%Independent study74%
Year ThreeOptional placement year
Year FourLectures/seminars/workshops44%Independent study56%

Explore local and international design, with inspiring trips in the UK and abroad included  in your course fees.

Careers and employability

Our course is designed to prepare you to succeed in the design industry, through work placements, working on real projects from industry, input from industry professionals, and regularly updated course content. 100% of our full-time BA (Hons) Product Design students are in work or further study, just six months after graduating (DLHE 2015-2016).

Where do Product Design graduates from NTU work?

NTU has a strong product design alumni community with many graduates working in senior positions in leading national and international companies.

Graduates from this course include design engineers, product designers, CAD designers and visualisation managers. Recent destinations include Sony, Mothercare, Games Workshop, Nestle and LEGO.

Our Employability team

Our expert Employability Team will work closely with you at every stage of your career planning, providing personal support and advice. You can benefit from this service at any time during your studies and for up to three years after completing your course. Find out more about the service.


Excellent placement opportunities

NTU is ranked first in the UK for the number of year-long placement undergraduates studying design-related courses (HESA 2015-16).

By choosing our sandwich (4 year) route, you’ll be able to take a year-long work placement during your studies, giving you the opportunity to gain real experience in industry. The majority of our placement students receive a salary.

Tom Watlow, BA (Hons) Product Design, on placement with Roundhouse Design

Where can I work on placement?

Students typically gain placements in product design companies across the UK and abroad. Recent destinations have included Disney, Hasbro, Nestlé, Tesco and Philip Watts Designs.

There are a wide variety of jobs available within the industry. The majority of our students have worked as packaging and design interns and in product development roles.

Professional qualification

Successful completion of the 36 weeks leads to an extra qualification of Diploma in Professional Practice, which will further enhance your CV.

99% of our BA (Hons) Product Design students are in work or further study, just six months after graduating (DLHE 2015-2016).

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBC; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM; or
  • 112 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications; and
  • GCSEs – English and Maths grade C / 4.

Interview and portfolio

As part of the application process, you may be invited to attend an interview. As part of this you'll need to bring along your portfolio for assessment.

For more information about what we look for during an interview, and some useful tips for your portfolio, download our BA (Hons) Product Design portfolio and interview document.

The UCAS Tariff

The UCAS Tariff was changed in 2017. In the new Tariff, the numbers awarded to qualifications are very different. So, whereas previously a B at A-level was worth 100 points, in the new tariff it is now 40 points. Sound confusing? Don’t worry. We’ve created this calculator to help you work it out.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions team or call +44 (0)115 848 4200.

If you hold international qualifications, take a look at the alternative qualifications we accept for this course.

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBC; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM; or
  • 112 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent qualifications; and
  • GCSEs – English and Maths grade C / 4.

Submission of work

For more information about what we look for in your portfolio, download our BA (Hons) Product Design work submission document.

The UCAS Tariff

The UCAS Tariff was changed in 2017. In the new Tariff, the numbers awarded to qualifications are very different. So, whereas previously a B at A-level was worth 100 points, in the new tariff it is now 40 points. Sound confusing? Don’t worry. We’ve created this calculator to help you work it out.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions team or call +44 (0)115 848 4200.

How to apply

You can apply to this course through the UCAS application form.

Ready to join us? Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Selection for this course takes place through UCAS application form.

Application deadline

This course starts in September and applications should be submitted by the UCAS deadline on 15 January.

Applications received after this date will only be considered if places are still available, after all applications received by the deadline have been assessed.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember that we can only make a decision based on what you tell us, so include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades.

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It's your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place in just 4,000 characters. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you're applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Submission of work

As part of the application process, we may ask you to bring a creative portfolio along to an interview. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your potential as a designer. For more information about what we look for in your portfolio, download our BA (Hons) Product Design interview and portfolio advice guide.

Non-standard applicants

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the entry criteria but hold relevant work experience. We will assess applicants of this nature on an individual basis. If you are a non-standard applicant, you will still need to apply to us using the UCAS form.

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions team or call +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Application for this course is through the UCAS application form.

Ready to join us? Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Selection for this course takes place through the UCAS application form.

Apply as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here, you need to plan this into your application.

Application deadline

This course starts in September and applications should be submitted by the UCAS deadline on 15 January.

Applications received after this date will only be considered if places are still available, after all applications received by the deadline have been assessed.

Non-standard applicants

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the entry criteria but hold relevant work experience. We will assess applicants of this nature on an individual basis. If you are a non-standard applicant, you will still need to apply to us using the UCAS form.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember that we can only make a decision based on what you tell us, so include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades.

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It's your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place in just 4,000 characters. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you're applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Submission of work

As part of the application process, we may ask you to submit a digital creative portfolio; this is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your potential as a designer. For more information about what we look for in your portfolio, download our BA (Hons) Product Design portfolio advice guide.

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page. Good luck with your application.

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students, which are full of advice and information about to the University.

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions team or call +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our staff at the International Development Office, or speak to one of our official NTU representatives in your country.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. Take a look at our fees and funding pages for lots of handy advice and guidance.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service by calling +44 (0)115 848 2494.

Our Building Blocks financial package: supporting you throughout your studies

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our modern library, industry-standard workshops and study spaces, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

As a student at the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, you’ll also benefit from our Building Blocks financial package, which aims to help minimise the additional costs of study, while you’re here at NTU.

What you’ll receive

  • Free travel and accommodation for all of the mandatory field trips, exhibitions and events included on your course, including overseas trips (where offered).
  • £100 print and materials credit for each year of your course (for a maximum of three years). You’ll be able to spend this at our Bonington art shop, fully stocked with a wide range of art and design materials at student-friendly prices, and at our School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment workshops and print facilities.
  • All of the materials needed for induction workshops and activities, working within our workshops and laboratories.
  • Free personal protective equipment (PPE), which usually includes hard-wearing boots, googles and high-vis vests, to keep you safe on site visits and while working in our workshops.
  • Access to the free professional body accreditation, as appropriate for your course.
  • £20 pre-paid printing allowance for use at the NTU Print Shops, and library photocopiers.

You’ll need to cover the cost of your own books, standard drawing and writing equipment and consumables. However, our City Campus library is home to four floors of books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! Our library team work closely with our academics to ensure that our library collection closely matches the topics you’ll be studying, to provide relevant resources for you to use, free of charge.

Our Students’ Union shop and Bonington art shop are great places to pick up drawing and writing equipment at reasonable prices and are located right in the centre of our City Campus. Where optional overseas visits are offered, you will need to meet the cost of these.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. Take a look at our fees and funding pages for lots of handy advice and guidance.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service by calling +44 (0)115 848 2494.

Our Building Blocks financial package: supporting you throughout your studies

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our modern library, industry-standard workshops and study spaces, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

As a student at the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, you’ll also benefit from our Building Blocks financial package, which aims to help minimise the additional costs of study, while you’re here at NTU.

What you’ll receive

  • Free travel and accommodation for all of the mandatory field trips, exhibitions and events included on your course, including overseas trips (where offered).
  • £100 print and materials credit for each year of your course (for a maximum of three years). You’ll be able to spend this at our Bonington art shop, fully stocked with a wide range of art and design materials at student-friendly prices, and at our School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment workshops and print facilities.
  • All of the materials needed for induction workshops and activities, working within our workshops and laboratories.
  • Free personal protective equipment (PPE), which usually includes hard-wearing boots, googles and high-vis vests, to keep you safe on site visits and while working in our workshops.
  • Access to the free professional body accreditation, as appropriate for your course.
  • £20 pre-paid printing allowance for use at the NTU Print Shops, and library photocopiers.

You’ll need to cover the cost of your own books, standard drawing and writing equipment and consumables. However, our City Campus library is home to four floors of books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! Our library team work closely with our academics to ensure that our library collection closely matches the topics you’ll be studying, to provide relevant resources for you to use, free of charge.

Our Students’ Union shop and Bonington art shop are great places to pick up drawing and writing equipment at reasonable prices and are located right in the centre of our City Campus. Where optional overseas visits are offered, you will need to meet the cost of these.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418