Product Design BA/BSc(Hons) 2017-18

This course also available for 2018-19 entry

Want to join us in September? You can now apply via Clearing

About the course

This course aims to help you to become an enterprising professional designer, capable of realising the value of your creative design ideas. You'll have the opportunity to develop the technical know-how to identify problems, develop ideas both physically and digitally and produce finalised, commercially aware designs for mass production. The signature of this course is its strong emphasis on commercial product design, based on our long-established industry links which result in valuable exposure to real design challenges set by businesses or design organisations. These projects offer a potential for you to showcase your creative talents and produce design solutions that could be licensed or win prestigious design awards. In the 2015 National Student Survey (NSS) 100% of students who responded said they were satisfied overall with the quality of this course.

UCAS code:

Start date:
18 / 09 / 2017


3 years full-time
4 years inc. placement year

Course type:

Full Time inc. placement year


Clearing helpline:
03301 232 277

Course content

You'll have the opportunity to develop a range of design skills and competencies such as product sketching, physical model making, rapid prototyping, digital visualisation and animation, backed up with rigorous research, a programme of new product development and manufacturing understanding.

Both the BA(Hons) and BSc(Hons) routes of the course share a common first year programme. Then you'll be able to choose, with advice from staff, which pathway to follow before the start of Year 2. Both routes include an optional, but strongly recommended, work experience year or application to the University's enterprise year, after your second year and before starting your final year. Your final year will help you to research and try to identify a commercial opportunity for a new product innovation that addresses a social need, and over the course of the year resolve technical, market and user issues to deliver a comprehensive solution that ideally develops original intellectual property.

Inspirational field trips to destinations of educational and cultural significance are a component of the course and will be funded by the University.

Year 1 - BA(Hons) and BSc(Hons)

Core modules:

Creative Thinking for Product Design

This module will introduce you to the creative thinking processes used in 3D Design and their application through project work. Design projects will enable you to explore and develop design proposals using a range of methods, practical skills and specialist knowledge. The module will introduce workshop practice and provide experience and techniques in 3D realisation. (100% design portfolio).

Digital and Visual Communication

This module introduces you to an array of techniques, methods and technologies for the exploration, communication and representation of designed 'products'. You will gain knowledge and understanding of the practical skills required to produce both traditional and digital, 2D & 3D presentations/ representative imagery. (100% Design Portfolio).

Design Context Studies

This module will enable you as a designer to understand how design interfaces with the world, and how knowledge of social and future trends can guide the innovation process and how market, business and manufacturing forces direct design decisions and outcomes. A portfolio of design-centred activities relating to social, business and manufacturing contexts will demonstrate your knowledge and understanding. (100% design portfolio).

Year 2 - BA(Hons) and BSc(Hons)

Core modules:

Commercial Product Design

The module aims to develop your practical and design methodology skills in preparation for your final year of study. It uses industry level projects to help improve creativity and problem solving capabilities. It also aims to establish a professional approach to your design work and presentations. The module will help you to develop your conceptual, cultural, technical, specification and design resolution skills. 50%/50%.

Professional Practice Awareness

This module introduces you to the issues relating to contemporary design practice and develops your understanding of the responsibilities of becoming a designer. Principles of self-promotion are introduced as well as the enhancement of professional design skills to improve employment prospects. A well-planned design portfolio with evidence your knowledge, understanding and design competencies. (100% portfolio)

Plus either:

BA(Hons) core modules

Behavioural and Cultural Issues

This module allows you to consider the ways in which designers and consumers receive and deconstruct information to make decisions about creating, buying and using industrially designed products. With specific reference to product design we will introduce to you: semiotic analysis, object analysis, questionnaire design, focus groups, user observation, user empathy and empirical research.100% portfolio.

Materials, Manufacturing and Digital Technologies

This module explores the relationship between design, materials, manufacturing and digital technologies. It will enable you to extend your technical and digital knowledge base and provide you with an opportunity to make informed judgments on appropriate design for manufacture techniques and the communication of visual/technical information to a professional standard. You’ll be asked to produce a portfolio of project work consisting of design for manufacture and computer generated tasks to demonstrate your competencies. (100% portfolio).


BSc(Hons) core modules

Advanced Computing and Technology Studies

This module aims to develop your understanding of specific computer aided engineering packages and introduces Finite Element Analysis (FEA), simulation and photo-realistic rendering and animation techniques. It will introduce you to the technological issues relating to function and costs and assist to develop your understanding of manufacture and engineering analysis crucial to the success of products manufactured on a volume basis. 100% assignment.

Innovation Detail Design and Specification Development

This module will help to provide you with a strong understanding of the need for innovation, focusing on the process of new product development. It will also help you to develop your understanding of the direct relationship between quality, reliability and design detailing, product development and the importance of communicating technical information in both written and drawing forms. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed through a group case study report and a practical manufacturing exercise. 50% group report/50% practical exercise with associated report.

Year 3 - optional placement year - BA(Hons) and BSc(Hons)

Work Placement

You should spend a total of 48 weeks in a suitable work placement between the end of Year 2 and the beginning of Year 4. This period can be made up of one period with a single company/organisation or several periods with various companies/organisations. The placement will be monitored and you will be assessed on your performance during the work placement.

Final Year - BA(Hons) and BSc(Hons)

Core modules:

Major Project - Product Design

You will have the opportunity to build upon and test research development in THD1381 Responsible Research and Innovation. You will be supported in channelling your creative and intellectual skills, either as an individual, or as part of a collaboration or interdisciplinary team, to create, innovate, original or highly professional proposition(s) appropriate to your discipline through, for example, sketchbooks, design sheets, design outputs. You will be supported in realising the potential of your major project in the form appropriate to your intentions, and asked to produce design artefacts that act as a group of coherent summative statements. (100% design project).

Responsible Research and Innovation

This module aims to establish and inform your major project. Within it you will be asked to identify a theme/subject/issue relevant to your practice.
The module will re-emphasise the importance of in-depth research, within which you will be encouraged to demonstrate originality, pro-activity and innovation.
You’ll have the opportunity to define the context and parameters of this module through negotiation and ongoing dialogue with your tutors. (100% portfolio).

New Product Development Report

This module enables you to complement your major project by undertaking an in-depth market/technical analysis and evaluation of your finalised design. You will be encouraged to extend and apply your knowledge of manufacturing, production and specification design to your design practice: products, environments, buildings, materials etc. You’ll be asked to demonstrate critical analysis and evaluation of market, technical, manufacturing and economic aspects relating to your design solutions. 20% presentation / 80% project package.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.

We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.

Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.


The course offers an optional one-year (48 weeks) work placement after the second year, in the UK or abroad. This will give you the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience, insight into your chosen career and open up your graduate employment prospects. Our Placement Unit and academic staff have excellent industry links and can support you in applying for and finding your placement(s), as well as during your placement year.

Students on the course have recently taken up placement opportunities with companies including: Playground Markings Direct - Cheshire; Paul Stott - Skipton; Disruptive Marketing - Leeds; Portfolio Display - Halifax; Wizards - Romania; 3M Buckley Innovation Centre - Huddersfield; and Modus Furniture - Somerset.

Alternatively, if you are a student from within the UK or the EU, you could consider starting your own small business by applying for the Enterprise Placement Year in conjunction with the University's Enterprise Team. The University's Duke of York Young Enterprise Centre (DOYYEC) could support you in realising the true commercial value of your intellectual property through a creative enterprise start-up. You'll have the opportunity to benefit from business advice, mentoring and networking sessions. You can find out more information on the Enterprise Placement Year here.

You can find out more information on placements here.

Career opportunities

85% of graduates from this course go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating. The broad nature of the course, coupled with experience gained in industry, has resulted in a high graduate employment record within a wide range of organisations. Previous graduates of this course are now working in roles with well-known companies including Dyson, Pentland, Hozelock and New Balance*, as well as Lego. Outside the practice of design itself, students have gained employment as design engineers, digital visualisers and become design managers.

*Source: LinkedIn

Teaching and assessment

37.3% of the study time on this course is spent in lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops etc. You'll be supported in developing your skills and understanding of the subject through project work, presentations and model making. You'll be assessed both individually and in groups through methods such as presentations of design-project work, and written assignments and reports.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results.Feedback on final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Huddersfield is the UK's only university where 100% of the permanent teaching staff are fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*

*Permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching.


You'll be based in Queen Street Studios; a self-contained building which, as well as housing modern and well-equipped studio space, also offers the latest 3D technologies. This includes dedicated high-performance computer aided design (CAD) and 3D computer visualisation facilities, laser cutters with steel-cutting capabilities, 3D workshops for rapid prototyping, plus high definition and multi material 3D printers for the creation of 3D models. You'll also have access to the Digital Print Centre, our specialist facility capable of printing on a variety of media. All of this is supported by our expert technical staff.

In addition to having full access to the facilities during University opening hours, you'll also be able to access some of the specialist software licensed to the University from your own computer, whilst away from the campus out of studio opening hours. This means you won't have to invest in expensive software packages during the course. The speed of your access is determined by the specification of your computer and access may be limited if all computers in Queen Street Studios are being used.

How much will it cost me?

The full-time undergraduate tuition fee for 17/18 entry is £9250.

Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance. Please note that tuition fees for subsequent years of study may rise in line with inflation (RPI-X).

If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Please email the Student Finance Office or call 01484 472210 for more information about fees and finance.


You'll need to supply some of your own materials during the course, such as sketch pads and basic drawing equipment. We also recommend you purchase an external hard drive to back up your work.

The University will provide basic materials to enable you to produce sketch development models and hand fabricated photo-realistic representations. For some projects, you may choose 3D printing as an alternative to making models by hand, or produce a 3D animation. You'll need to cover the cost if you choose 3D printing, and costs can range between approximately £10 and £300 depending on the size, output quality and complexity of the model. However we offer a range of 3D printers to meet your quality needs and budget; from desktop printers through to advanced machines. You could look to secure external sponsorship to cover the full cost of larger 3D prints, especially in your final year.

The approximate cost of equipment/materials per student in recent years, including an average amount of 3D printing, has been approximately £260 in the first year, £365 in the second year and £500 in the final year. These costs may vary based on the materials you choose and the approximate costs are given as a guide only.

Further study

Progression to a postgraduate course is dependent on successful completion of your undergraduate studies, there may also be minimum qualification requirements such as a first class or higher second (2.1) degree. Please check the course details to confirm this.


If you're an international student (including EU) you can check if you meet our entry requirements (both academic and English language) by visiting our country pages.

If you do not meet the entry requirements you can consider completing a degree preparation programme (if you are from a country outside of the EU) at the University's International Study Centre (ISC). You can call the ISC on +44 (0) 1273 339333 to discuss your options. You can also complete the online application form or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers.

If your English language is not at the required level (IELTS 6.0 overall), we have a range of Pre-Sessional English programmes that you can enrol on before starting your degree course. You will not need to take an IELTS test after completing one of our Pre-Sessional English programmes.

Research community

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to industry. For more information, see the Research section of our website.