Immerse yourself in the future of sustainable product design on a course that’s driven by the major challenges facing humankind today. Develop your skills as a designer and critical thinker, identifying your own niche and career direction.
You’ll explore the social, environmental and ethical aspects of product design, learn how to create products with a lifetime far beyond what’s typical, and consider how to create positive changes in human behaviour to improve sustainability.
Develop digital design and manufacturing skills with access to cutting-edge 3D printing and CNC technologies.
Get hands-on in the workshop to prototype your ideas through a broad range of materials and processes.
Harness your creativity to design innovative solutions that address global sustainability challenges.
Design and create your own projects, either independently or with an industry partner.
Proactively build your network and develop career pathways, with opportunities to meet industry practitioners.
Take optional study week trips to events such as the Milan Design Fair and Stockholm Furniture Fair.
What we're looking for
We want someone who:
Understands drawing/mark-making, including composition, colour, form, graphical presentation, creative exploration and development.
Knows about 3D/product design practitioners or other artists and designers, and can relate this knowledge to their own work.
Understands the design process, including concept development, the investigation into materials and production methods, and technical skills.
Has research and analytical skills.
Shows commitment and enthusiasm for the subject, as well as motivation, communication skills and creative thinking.
What our graduates do
Our graduates have taken on careers ranging from in-house toy designer for Hamleys to product designers for Tangerine and Lowe Alpine, to a consultant for Environmental Resources Management.
What you'll learn
As part of this future-focused product design course, you’ll learn how to become a practitioner with a strong understanding of truly sustainable products. You’ll develop a broad range of creative and prototyping skills and critical thinking, to bring ideas to life through the design process. Your work will reflect your own experiences and interests, developing a personal direction towards the designer you want to become. You’ll nurture strong networks within the course and the wider design industry, which will support your ongoing development as a designer.
You’ll develop creative and conceptual skills by exploring major modern issues, the visual language of sustainable design, and its critical and theoretical processes. We’ll help you professionally communicate your ideas by teaching you drawing, model-making and 3D computer-aided design (CAD) skills, and introducing you to fundamental manufacturing technologies. You’ll also have the chance to go on local, national and international trips to exhibitions and events like the Milan Furniture Fair.
Design PrinciplesIntroduces core aspects of product design practice that affect the form and function of objects for people. Ergonomics, anthropometrics, semantics and aesthetics are discussed and practised through a series of design workshops and studio-based team projects.
Form & Materials Developing CAD skills to create dimensioned drawings of 3D designs that are translated into real materials. Practical skills are honed through a series of workshops using hand- and machine-based processes using wood-based materials.
Design EthicsIntroduces ethical contexts by examining key global issues such as food and water, energy, housing, population and resources that are informing design debates for sustainable change. Thematic human-need-based studio projects are aimed at developing innovative design solutions.
Material CapitalIntroduces strategies and tools for informing sustainable material and manufacturing selection. Practical skills are developed in forming and fabricating with metal and plastic materials, through a series of product deconstruction and technical processes workshops, in order to create prototypes.
You’ll study inclusive design and human-centred research, before collaborating on projects with industry partners. This will build your teamwork skills and uncover possible product design career paths. You’ll also develop your CAD and digital manufacturing skills and debate the contexts, concepts and ethics of the industry. Focusing on the business of design, you’ll explore what’s involved in producing a product – from intellectual property to cost and profitability. And you’ll have the chance to study abroad in countries like Finland, Iceland and the Netherlands.
Focusing on the business of design, you’ll explore what’s involved in producing a product - from intellectual property to cost and profitability. And you’ll have the chance to study abroad in countries like Finland, Iceland and the Netherlands.
Digital PrototypingWorking with digital resources such as 3D printing, CNC milling and 3D scanning technologies to create digital data and produce advanced prototypes. Digital collaborative working is introduced and tested through design projects.
Inclusive DesignIntroduces the principles of inclusive design and Human Centred Design (HCD) strategies. You’ll learn primary research methods such as observation, shadowing, simulation and empathy. We’ll also cover data collection techniques, recording and documenting research findings, as well as evaluation strategies.
Design for ManufactureYou’ll explore multiple manufacturing processes and industries to experience and understand various production methods at volume. Design projects examine how similar production techniques can be employed at an industrial scale and at a range of volumes, from one-off commissions to batch and mass production.
Design NetworksPlaces you at the centre of live projects with industry to support the design of innovative products or services. Your design skills will be tested in real contexts through project partnerships and mentoring with external organisations. This module will also equip you with business skills focused on Intellectual Property and design protection.
You’ll explore current and original design opportunities, develop your ideas through tutorials and team discussions, and turn your concepts into prototypes using skills like digital manufacturing. By delivering one-to-one and group presentations, you’ll focus on professional practices and management. There’ll be opportunities to gain real-world experience by working with external project partners and to make potential work connections through external networks, project partners and start-ups.
There’ll be opportunities to gain real-world experience by working with external project partners and make potential work connections through external networks, project partners and start-ups.
Design DriversYou’ll develop and articulate critical rationales and professional practice skills that underpin the final year of study in studio design practice modules. Ethical, moral and social challenges are researched to create critical thematic drivers that are articulated through a written essay.
Design VisionsThis module underpins the inspirational and contextual drivers for the final year of study. Research is applied in and to real-world contexts, providing insights that inform and guide the creation of personal design briefs and the creative process.
Design FuturesThe final and largest module of the undergraduate programme will provide you with the time and support to develop resolved design outcomes to a professional standard through advanced prototypes and communication materials.
The modules above are those being studied by our students or proposed new ones. Programme structures and modules can change as part of our curriculum enhancement and review processes. If a certain module is important to you, please discuss it with the Course Leader.
How you'll learn
On top of regular project work, you’ll take on live projects with local and national organisations, supported by lectures, demonstrations, seminars and tutorials. You’ll also evaluate your own and other students’ work in a small learning team, and attend masterclasses and workshops on career planning and business skills.
Continuous assessment with no formal examinations.
Visual, verbal and written assignments, and your final-year projects.
You’ll learn from practising designers, researchers, journalists and academics, as well as our visiting professors like Sir Kenneth Grange.
Some members of staff only teach on specific modules, and your course might not feature every member.
High-spec workshops and exhibition space.
Rapid prototyping equipment.
CAD/CAM equipment including laser cutters, CNC milling and routing machines.
A range of digital printing capabilities, plus industry-standard 2D and 3D software.
Sustainable auditing and lifecycle design (LCD) software.
How to apply
Apply via UCAS
Ready to join us? If you're applying through UCAS Apply and Track, you'll need to reference the university and course codes below.
University code: F33
Course code: W250
Applying as an international student?
International students can apply for a course through UCAS, via an agent or directly with the university.
We consider all applications on their own individual merit and potential. We invite all applicants to an interview day or audition to give them the opportunity to demonstrate this along with what inspires and motivates them in their field. Applicants will also be able to show their portfolio or give a performance depending on the course. We welcome applications from all subject backgrounds, whether you’ve specialised in STEM, the arts or humanities.
As a guide our typical offer at an undergraduate level is 104 – 120 UCAS Tariff points, primarily from Level 3 qualifications such as but not limited to A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma or a Foundation Diploma.
For applicants whose first language is English, we require you to have or be working towards GCSE English Language Grade 4 (C), or equivalent.
If English is not your first language you will need to meet the same standard which is equivalent to the IELTS Academic 6.0 overall score, with at least 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. We accept a range of in-country equivalencies and approved tests.
If you need a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you’ll need to take an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). You can read our English Language Requirements for more information.
UK/EU applications: 15 January 2020 (for equal consideration)
Late applications will be considered if there are places available.
International fee payers can apply throughout the year. But we recommend applying as early as possible, to make time for visa and travel arrangements.
Tuition fees 2020-21
£9,250 - full-time UK/EU
£16,000 - full-time international
Tuition fees are set annually and are subject to review each year. The University may, therefore, raise tuition fees in the second or subsequent years of a course, in line with inflation and/or the maximum permitted by law or Government policy. Students will be notified of any changes as soon as possible.