BA (Hons)

Product Design

Katy Thomas
  • UCAS code(s): W243 / W241
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2019
  • Course duration: 3 / 4 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

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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. 100% of our BA (Hons) Product Design sandwich students are in work or further study within six months of finishing their studies (DLHE 2016-2017).
  • 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 Nestlé.
  • 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

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 Fundamentals (40 credit points)

    • This module provides the fundamental skills and knowledge that you'll need as design professionals. This module is largely based on individual design project activity, with some elements of collaborative work with other students. It contains three elements: design projects, design communication, and design process and practice.
    • You'll undertake a number of exciting product-inspired design projects, involving the expression of your creative and technical talents. You'll 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 effectively, including computer-aided design (CAD); sketching; modelling; presentation drawings, images and rendering, 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, ethical sourcing, and critically explore the historic, contemporary and future influences in art and design.

    The Developing Product Designer (40 credit points)

    • This module builds on the Design Fundamentals module, continuing the practical design culture through studio-based activities and lectures.
    • You'll further your knowledge of and skills in design communication, through digital tools including 3D CAD modelling, and sketch modelling, as well as develop your skills through presenting this information in front of your tutors and peers.
    • You'll broaden your project portfolio by undertaking a range of design projects individually or as part of a team. The design activities will develop your understanding of how to frame appropriate solutions through a variety of different processes and approaches.
    • You'll explore the importance of the commercial context of design, users and markets, which are integral to, and for, designers. You'll examine aspects related to design for the future to widen your understanding of contemporary issues that influence culture and society and their relationship with design.

    Applied Product Design Practice (40 credit points)

    • This module focuses specifically on context and identity of design, and how to apply these alongside design processes and relevant design methodologies that are attributed to the creative perspective of product design.
    • You'll expand your understanding of the subject beyond the traditional remit of product design, as a 3D field, to consider services, systems design, and digital prototyping, and explore and apply these within your work. Research will inform and support this design activity.
    • You'll consider your own position as a future designer, the opportunities available for designers, and develop your own identity within this field. Building on your design communication skills, you'll explore design for production, and technical report writing skills.
  • Year Two

    Professional Practice (60 credit points)

    • This module is designed to prepare you, as a designer, for industry. By the end of the module you'll have developed a professional portfolio and CV that represents your design capability and awareness. The module is broken down into three elements: professional projects, professional context, and professional communications.
    • You'll work on a range of different live briefs from industry, and competition work, focusing on user needs and characteristics, the market, product manufacturing, and commercial awareness. You'll develop and utilise advanced communication techniques to produce sketches, renderings, models, test rigs, prototypes, simulations, and virtual solutions for real industry scenarios.
    • You'll contextualise your design studies, in terms of the future of the industry and your place in it. You'll learn about key design management techniques, and how to effectively manage your projects and time, working as an individual and part of a team.

    Product Design: Context and Identity (60 credit points)

    • This module will build on the knowledge, skills and attributes learnt in the first year of your studies, and develops them to give you confidence to progress as a product designer. The module is broken down into three elements: product design projects, global contexts, and contemporary design practice.
    • You'll work on design briefs, some from industry clients, to real time deadlines. You'll consider significant issues designers face in practice such as user centred design, ergonomics, digital design, and changing culture and commercial markets.
    • You'll explore the global impact of sustainability, cultural challenges, resources, and material usage, and examine different perspectives on the design profession through your project work.
    • You'll gain an understanding of the relationships between the designer, clients, and users, and further your creative problem solving skills through project work. You'll consider various environmental factors that influence design, including economic, social, and aesthetic elements.
  • 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.

    You'll also have the opportunity to undertake a European Project Semester during your third year with one of our partner universities. This option allows you to spend half a year studying abroad, and the other half gaining work experience on placement.

  • Final Year

    Design in Practice (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.

    Design in Context (40 credit points)

    • This module gives you the opportunity to explore a subject of your personal interest and choice. It challenges you to source and research information, be critical and reflective, and present findings on a range of topical, relevant subjects of significance.
    • You'll either do this through a dissertation - a critically reflective piece independent from the rest of your studies, or as a thesis - a critically reflective piece directly linked to your self-directed project in the Design in Practice module. Whichever route you choose, your topics are individually negotiated and agreed with tutors through a learning agreement.

    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/workshops46%Independent study54%
Year TwoLectures/seminars/workshops43%Independent study57%
Year ThreeOptional placement year
Year FourLectures/seminars/workshops20%Independent study80%

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 BA (Hons) Product Design sandwich students are in work or further study within six months of finishing their studies (DLHE 2016-2017).

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 2016/17).

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.

100% of our BA (Hons) Product Design sandwich students are in work or further study within six months of finishing their studies (DLHE 2016-2017).

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.

Use our helpful UCAS tariff calculator to convert your qualifications and grades into points, so you can find out if you meet the course requirements.

Other requirements

All applications welcome

We welcome applications from prospective students with a range of qualifications and experience, and all are assessed on an individual basis. For applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria can still be considered providing they have relevant experience to complement any qualifications.

All applicants will need to apply through UCAS and will be expected to present a creative portfolio if invited to attend an interview.

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.

Use our helpful UCAS tariff calculator to convert your qualifications and grades into points, so you can find out if you meet the course requirements.

Other requirements

All applications welcome

We welcome applications from prospective students with a range of qualifications and experience, and all are assessed on an individual basis. For applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria can still be considered providing they have relevant experience to complement any qualifications.

All applicants will need to apply through UCAS and will be expected to present a creative portfolio if invited to attend an interview.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS.

As part of your application, you’ll submit a personal statement. Tell us about your ambitions, skills and experience. You have 4,000 characters to impress us – here’s how to make your words count.

We’ll also ask you to provide a submission of work online.

Your portfolio is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your potential as a designer. Take a look at our portfolio advice.

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.

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.

  • For a step-by-step guide on making an application to the University, please visit our how to apply page.
  • For advice on applying for a visa, please visit our visa information page.

Application deadline

This course starts in September 2019 and applications should be submitted by the UCAS deadline – 15 January 2019.

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*.

*Please note that this guidance is for 2018-entry and should be used as reference only. Any updates to work submissions will be communicated as soon as possible when confirmed.

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