BSc (Hons)

Product Design

Nathan Gibbons
  • UCAS code(s): W244 / H715
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2019
  • Course duration: Three years full-time, four years with a placement

Our BSc (Hons) Product Design course concentrates on the underlying technology of product design, with projects that combine both form and function. The course concentrates on the design of products for manufacturing, digital, industrial, electronics and medical applications, placing technology and scientific advancement at the core of the design process.

You'll develop your knowledge of materials, and explore new and emerging technologies, including mechanics and electronics. Through commercial projects with industry you’ll reflect, model, test, modify, develop and improve your ideas.

Why study this course?

  • You'll benefit from excellent employability prospects. 100% of our BSc (Hons) Product Design sandwich students are in graduate level employment within six months of finishing their studies, earning an average graduate salary of £25,800 (DLHE, 2016-17).
  • Learn how to use a range of design tools and techniques in our state-of-the-art laboratories and industry-standard workshop spaces, including 3D printers, design and test laboratories, electronics workshops and CAD design suites.
  • 92% of our BSc (Hons) Product Design Sandwich students are satisfied with their student experience (National Student Survey, 2018).
  • Our course is accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED), recognising the quality and relevancy of our course content and enabling you to become members of the IED throughout the duration of your studies.
  • Gain vital skills and experience in the workplace by undertaking a one-year placement.
  • Explore local and international design, with inspiring trips in the UK and abroad included in your course fees. Previously students have travelled to Berlin and Prague as part of their studies.
  • Take part in live design projects with briefs from real clients. Previous clients have included SAPA, McGee and PepsiCo.
  • 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.
  • Add to your CV and challenge yourself by taking part in competitions such as the Engineers Without Borders Challenge, producing innovative and exciting designs to complex briefs.

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

  • Our BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design course specifically focuses on furniture and homeware product design.
  • Our BA (Hons) Product Design course concentrates on the design of products, systems and services including consumer goods, electronic gadgets, sustainable products, sports and healthcare equipment, packaging, and transportation.

Accredited by:

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What you'll study


Through a range of diverse and stimulating projects, you'll explore many aspects of product design, from the understanding of user needs to materials selection.

You'll develop key communication skills, using a range of media and methods from drawing, to 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 Design Technologist (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 and 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 consider the key factors related to technology-focused product design, including materials selection and manufacturing aspects 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 Design Technology (40 credit points)

    • This module will focus specifically on technology and its application in design, contextualising product design under technical perspectives. You'll be introduced to the basic principles and applications of technology and understand how they affect the development of products and systems.
    • You'll expand you understanding of machinery relative to resistant materials and production, electronics, electrical systems, and pneumatics.
    • 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.
  • 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.

    Applied Materials and Technology (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 within the industrial and commercial parameters associated with the profession.
    • You'll work on design briefs related to global perspectives and sustainability, some from industry clients, to real time deadlines. You'll be expected to realise the full format of a designer's outputs, including technical reports, technical drawings, CAD work, sketches, renderings, models, test rigs, prototypes, and simulations, to an industrial and commercially accepted standard.
    • You'll learn about the importance of designing for manufacture and how process choice can enhance product properties. You'll develop your knowledge from Year One to realise commercial, economic, social, and aesthetic elements of design.
    • Your work will be underpinned by a knowledge of theoretical and practical insights, including electrical and electronic systems, mechanical systems, robotics, and programming. These will be considered alongside cost implications.
  • 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 Triumph Motorcycles, Aevena (USA), Demand, and Bentley Motors Ltd, with more students working in roles such as design intern, design engineer, product design intern, industrial designer, and many more. The majority of their roles include salaries, with some students earning up to £20,000 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.

Course specification

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

Our course is accredited by the Institute of Engineering Designers (IED), 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 perspective.

Nico Sunandar

Nico Sunandar, BSc (Hons) Product Design

Trips, projects 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, enabling you to explore international design approaches. This year students have travelled to Prague as part of the course; previous trips have been to Amsterdam and Berlin.

Assessment methods

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

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

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 BSc (Hons) Product Design sandwich students are in graduate level employment within six months of finishing their studies, earning an average graduate salary of £25,800 (DLHE, 2016-17).

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.

Recent graduate destinations include Dyson, Triumph, TATA, Cummins Ltd, Jaguar Land Rover, Solid Solutions, AECOM, Brett Martin, Harkess-Ord and Accuride.

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 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 have the opportunity 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.

As well as working on briefs as part of the course, our students have won national competitions with Starpack, the Engineers Without Borders Challenge, and Innovation in Plastics.

Alex Bordino, BSc (Hons) Product Design, working a new design for fire helmets with Nottingham Fire and Rescue Service

Where can I work on placement?

Students typically gain placements in product design companies across the UK and abroad.

Recent destinations have included Solid Solutions, HJC Design, Nestlé, Bosch, Games Workshop, Tesco and Vauxhall. There are a wide variety of placement roles available within the industry and the majority of our students have worked as designers or in design engineering roles.

Professional qualification

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

100% of our BSc (Hons) Product Design sandwich students are in graduate level employment within six months of finishing their studies, earning an average graduate salary of £25,800 (DLHE, 2016-17).

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.

All applications welcome

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

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.

All applications welcome

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

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.

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.

Apply through UCAS.

Ready to join us? Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying.

  • 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.

Your application

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

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.

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.

What's included in the course fees?

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.

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.

What's included in the course fees?

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.

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