Product Design

BA (Hons)

2018 entry

From abstract ideas through to designs and the development of prototypes, product designers respond to a wide range of different scenarios and cultural contexts.

Their work follows a journey from initial drawings through to the development of a product specification for the manufacturing industry, and can incorporate design for both one-off editions or for high-volume production with international distribution.

Here at UCA, your experiences will closely mirror those of a product designer working in industry. You’ll be taught in specialist workshops where you can develop your own ideas using processes from within the sector.

Our School of Crafts & Product Design has leapt an impressive 24 places in The Guardian's 2017 university league table.

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Length of study:

Three years full-time


September 2018


UCA Farnham

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Course overview:

On our BA (Hons) Product Design course, you’ll have access to the latest CAD and digital technologies to help you shape your vision and, by taking advantage of the wide range of materials here, you can make your own design concepts into high-quality prototypes.

Learning from our team of professional product designers with significant international experience, you’ll develop a deep knowledge of industry manufacturing techniques. We’ll set you projects that challenge you as a designer, honing your design, making and presentation skills.

As the course progresses, there’ll be an additional focus on professional development, helping you to establish your own creative identity and unique design profile.

Based at our Farnham campus, our extensive facilities will be at your fingertips – professional design studios, industry-standard CAD programmes, rapid prototyping and engineering facilities, and extensive model-making workshops.

Our course holds strong connections with both London-based design studios and larger manufacturers, enabling our students to take on rewarding work placements and live project briefs from companies such as Kenwood DeLonghi, iGuzzini, Atrium Lighting, Alexander Rose Furniture, Quinine Strategy Consultants and Therefore Design.

Our product design graduates successfully land roles with blue chip companies such as Samsung, Apple, and Nike; with design studios like Frog Design, McClaren, and therefore; with advertising and marketing agencies; and many other creative design studios.

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Course content - 2018 entry

We’ll introduce you to a range of product design examples for everyday use, creating and modelling your own new product design ideas. You’ll examine how the materials, form and structure are important parts of design trends, together with recent technologies that can be developed through to final design prototypes.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Product Maker and Materials Lab

    The primary purpose of this unit is to introduce Product you to the act of making and embed it as the most fundamental skill requirement and means to experimental research.

  • Product Practice Process 1

    You'll be quickly orientated within the Product practice context by introducing the fundamental discipline specific making skills and knowledge that provide your learning foundation and inform the design process.

  • Product Practice Process 2

    You'll be introduced to further fundamental discipline specific Product skills and knowledge and to test and develop this learning within given Product practice design brief contexts.

  • Contextual Frameworks

    You'll be introduced to a range of historical and contemporary contexts that serve to locate crafts and design practices within wider social and cultural frameworks, and to promote contextual research as a fundamental aspect of creative practice. Through a series of illustrated thematic lectures, the unit will articulate a range of theoretical and practice-based positions in order to expose the rich diversity of approaches to crafts and design, and to consider aesthetic decisions in relation to wider contextual fields.

You’ll build on design experiences gained in Year 1 with a more commercial approach, with project briefs covering the complete design process, from concept to manufacture. Design themes will cover many different contexts, cultures and business communities. You’ll also undertake live product design briefs with a major design studio, factories or competitions to develop your design concepts.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Product Ideation and Insight

    You'll activate your creativity and stimulate a fluent output of ideas and insights. This is undertaken in an abstract context to encourage a freer and more speculative approach.

  • Product Practice Exploration 1

    You'll explore and develop individual design identity and interest through engagement with Product design project briefs within set topical themes. Briefs require engagement from inception to resolution incorporating all stages of the design process.

  • Product Practice Exploration 2

    You'll extend and develop your exploration of individual design identity and interest. This is undertaken through engagement with industry facing Product design project briefs, set within specific topical themes. Live competition brief options will feature, with organised industry collaborations and work placement possibility also available subject to confirmation.

  • Contextual Perspectives

    This unit introduces you to a range of contextual, theoretical and critical perspectives that encourage an involved and insightful appreciation of crafts and design practices as expressions of meaning and value. With an emphasis on crafts and design as discourse, and drawing on a range of research methods and thematic content, the unit will seek to highlight relationships between creativity, production, mediation and consumption, promoting analysis and evaluation as essential aspects of creative research and resolution, and encouraging a positional approach to studio practice that identifies objects as experiences.

  • Study Abroad (optional)

    This optional unit is designed to broaden your educational experience and to deepen your understanding of cultural diversity.

Students in the School of Crafts and Design have the unique opportunity within UCA to add an additional year of study at an overseas institution (either at a higher education establishment or workplace).

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Study Abroad Year

    This optional year is designed to broaden your educational experience and deepen your understanding of cultural diversity, enabling you to study within a different cultural context and gain fresh perspectives.

    Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience. Living in another country, you'll experience new places, people, cultures and possibilities. You'll develop initiative, independence, motivation and, depending on where you go, a working knowledge of another language – all qualities employers are looking for. You will return to complete your degree with all the benefits of the International Year experience behind you.

You’ll develop your own design profile ready for launch onto the world design stage. Early conceptual development establishes your themes and research for the final major project. Product design for batch manufacture will give you the opportunity to work with local factories, to understand production processes and business strategies. To launch your design career, you have the chance to exhibit at national design exhibitions, with major design industry visitors and sponsors.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Product Practice Portfolio

    The purpose of this unit is to prime you in complete readiness for constructive engagement with your future prospects upon graduation. It helps to facilitate the transition from student to early stage professional practitioner or adjacent destination.

  • Product Practice Position 1

    You'll commence framing an individual Product practice position. In order to achieve this two routes of pursuit are offered (i) research / exploratory prototyping and testing (ii) research to resolution.

  • Product Practice Position 2

    You'll finalise framing an individual Product practice position and realise a self-initiated, graduate major project that realises individual potential.

  • Contextual Research and Critical Reflection

    You'll conceive, develop and construct a personally meaningful portfolio of contextual research that informs, augments and reflects upon practice, towards the provision of structured narratives that critically engage with a range of contextual and theoretical frameworks and serve to support the positioning of individual practice in relation to past, present and possible future endeavours.

Course leader

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

Our Product Design degree benefits from strong connections with both London-based design studios and larger manufacturing companies, generating many opportunities for rewarding work placements and live project briefs. Our industry links include:


  • Iguzzini Lighting
  • Kenwood DeLonghi
  • Philips
  • Alexander Rose Furniture
  • Quinine
  • Ab Rogers
  • Tangerine
  • Therefore
  • Atlantic Transport Development.


Product Design graduates successfully land roles with blue chip manufacturing companies such as Samsung, Apple and Nike, design studios like Frog Design, Tangerine, Design Works and Therefore, advertising and marketing agencies, and many other creative design studios. These are predominantly international and can often include significant travel opportunities.

You may also like to consider further study at postgraduate level.

International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

How to apply - 2018 entry

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Entry requirements - 2018 entry:

As a leading creative arts university, we want to attract the best and most creative minds in the country – so we take a balanced approach to candidate assessment, taking both individual portfolios and exam results into account. 

That’s why your portfolio is an especially important part of your application to study with us – and we can help. Our academics can offer you expert advice on how to showcase your creative work and build a portfolio that will make your application stand out. More advice on how to create an exceptional portfolio is also available here.

Entry requirements

Along with your portfolio, the standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 280 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject.
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level, see more information about IB entry requirements.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2)

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

Your portfolio

Your portfolio can include any area of creative interest, but we’d particularly like to see product design projects or models, drawings and other design examples such as collage, graphic design, photography and three dimensional models – as well as written work, such as short essays or project reports.

More portfolio advice

Fees & finance

Uncover all the costs involved, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations.

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