This undergraduate product design degree course focuses on the design and development of creative, contemporary and innovative products, considering user centred design, social context and commercial understanding.
The course is the ideal choice if you're interested in a career as a product designer/developer. You will learn a range of research and design methods alongside continual practical skills development. Live student projects take place throughout the course, enhancing your employability, communication skills and professional practice.
You will examine the process of designing and developing functional and desirable products, examining how social and cultural factors influence design decisions. You will develop knowledge and understanding of design in response to collaboration, professional practice and commercial and economic considerations.
By working on live projects you will explore how businesses operate at a commercial and technological level. The course shares common modules with BA (Hons) Furniture and Lifestyle Products, and BA (Hons) 3D Designer Maker, introducing you to a variety of specialised design briefs.
You will experience key aspects of the design process through theoretical study and product design relationships to scales of manufacture, in particular design for mass market. Engaging with making from the outset enables you to fully realise design concepts and create convincing models and prototypes.
You'll also benefit from the insight of guest speakers such as Chris Lefteri, Materials Expert and Author and Industrial Designer and co-founder of the materials council – Ian Hunter.
There aren’t many people who can say they have worked on a Hollywood blockbuster! So not only is it a major claim to fame, but it was a unique experience that only we have on our CVs and I felt confident that we would stand out because of it. Jordan Brocklehurst
Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 11 June 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.
Please note: we are currently reviewing our entire course provision for 2017/18. Details will be included in your registration email.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
Portfolios are not mandatory for any undergraduate course within the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design if you are a UK-based home student. However, if you'd like to provide a portfolio before or on your applicant visit day, you may do so electronically or physically (however we would prefer electronically). Find out more details here.
A portfolio is required for International applications. Find out more details here.
280 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2016/17|
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||BBC at A-Level or 280 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A-Levels|
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2. Must be in a relevant subject pathway|
|BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years)||D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points|
|BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)||DMM - 280 UCAS points|
|BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years)||D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points|
|BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design||Distinction|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||28 points overall|
|Irish Leaving Certificate||280 UCAS points - Higher Levels|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||280 UCAS points|
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points|
|If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2016/17|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||28 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2016/17 year, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.
To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:
280 tariff points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBC or above)
be predicted DMM profile at BTEC level
You will also be required to attend an interview.
If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.
UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2016||FT||3 years||£9,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2016||FT||3 years||£12,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.
The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.
All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
These skills building combined modules are core modules across all 3D Design courses.
After completing year one, you will be eligible for Certificate of Higher Education (120 credits).
Design Methods and Visualisation (term one)
Design Evolution (term one)
These specialist modules take place in terms two and three and have some common lecture content with other courses.
Material Technologies (term two)
Form, Function and Feeling (term two)
Global Trends (term three)
Design Roots (term three)
After completing year two, you will be eligible for Diploma of Higher Education (240 credits).
Design Principles and Processes (term one)
Design Communication (term two)
User Needs and Professional Experience (term two)
Design Ethics (term three)
After completing year three you will be eligible for Honours Degree - Pathway Specific (360 credits).
Competition and Collaboration (term one)
Signature Project (Contextual Research and Analysis) - term two
Signature Project (Development and Realisation) - term two and three
Taught by experienced designers, makers and academics, this course combines practice with theory to give you a fully rounded learning experience.
Extensive workshop facilities will help you to realise your proposals, creating functional and commercially viable designs. This hands-on approach allows you to understand the opportunities and limitations of materials and construction methods.
You’ll be taught alongside students on BA (Hons) Furniture and Lifestyle products and BA (Hons) 3D Designer Maker courses.
The modules outline the year and programme structure for all 3D Design courses.
|36||Time in lectures, seminars and similar||MidnightBlue|
|64||Time in independent study||RoyalBlue|
The course benefits from strong international partnerships. The Product Design course is taught in Hong Kong at third year in parallel to the UK programme, providing exciting collaborative opportunities. National and international visits introduce new cultural perspectives. Trips to Barcelona, New York, Prague and Milan have taken place over the last few years.
Jordan Brocklehurst is a conceptual designer. In the short time since graduating, he has worked on a design for an attraction at Thorpe Park and, along with two other students from his course, was asked to create a costume for Hollywood Blockbuster Thor: The Dark World.
If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.
It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.
You have the opportunity to further your studies after finishing the undergraduate course with a postgraduate degree like MA Product Design, MA Design and Visualisation, or MA Design Management at the School of Architecture and Design.
Trips take place during the course – ranging from an induction week trip to the London Design Festival to factory visits with local and regional companies where you can explore manufacturing in context.
Founding his Own Company
All-England ski racing champion Matt Aitkenhead has achieved phenomenal success since graduating from the BA (Hons) Product Design Degree.
His career has gone from strength to strength, with his designs being sought after by companies all over the world.
One of the largest automotive accessory distributors have agreed to take the product, which is being sold in the UK by Tesco, Asda, garage forecourts and many others.
The practical and vocational nature of the programme will prepare you for progression into a variety of sectors of employment from junior designers and CAD visualisers to independent design consultants and product designers and developers.
Professional practice and employability throughout the course is encouraged through internship opportunities, industry collaborations and national and international competitions.
We have worked with organisations including: Triwall, RBS Ltd, Tektura, Hartman, Petainer, Hi Macs, Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency, Touchstone Trust, and Burbidge & Son to name a few.
As a winner of the RSA Student Design Awards, Oliver Liddard won a paid Severn Trent Water Internship worth £2,500.
The brief for the project was Water Water Everywhere and students were asked to design an attractive and engaging product, service or system that addresses water management in the urban environment.
Oliver’s winning project was called Rethink Sink: a household sink with a tipping bowl that reminds users how much water they use by keeping the water in the bowl and then tips so that water can be decanted into another bowl and reused for another purpose.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Recent graduates are working in a variety of design sectors including consultancies, furniture manufacturers, rotational moulding design, theming design and creation, shop fitting, interior design and many more.
Whilst studying, students have the opportunity to apply for a ‘workshop monitors’ position, providing basic technical support to fellow students using the workshops, ensuring they are used in a safe way and helping the technical team with general housekeeping duties. This is a great opportunity if you are practically minded.
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.
The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.
So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.
Overall measures: ranked positions
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.
Birmingham School of Architecture and Design is based at the state-of-the-art £62 million Parkside Building, a new development on our City Centre Campus within Eastside.
The new building has added an extra dimension to the School. Our campus has extensive studio and workshop provision and cutting-edge equipment reflecting the broad range of study opportunities on offer. The building has been designed to actively promote shared space opportunities, for students to engage with others across the University as part of the learning experience.
In many cases, our main studio and workspace is the city of Birmingham.
We give our students the opportunity to work on many collaborative projects involving the transformation of the city. These include:
We have our very own digi.lab, which is used for prototyping and as a learning resource. Here, you can experiment with 3D printing and laser cutting, preparing you to work on our range of larger machines. You will work in a home studio base five days a week, and also enjoy the opportunity to share others’ facilities and space when necessary.
At the School, we have placed a large emphasis on digital presentation. We currently have nine plasma screens for such uses, and try to keep our facilities as paper-free as possible.
Home to the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, School of Fashion & Textiles and School of Visual Communication, the five-floor site is packed with workshops, studios and social ‘collision spaces.’
Workshops include the very latest in industry-standard equipment reflecting the broad range of study opportunities on offer.
You will have access to the new water-jet cutting equipment, Vicon 3D - an external tracking motion capture facility, and Gypsy, an exo-skeleton-based motion capture system to extend the many possibilities for production of 3D animation and films.
There’s also a comprehensive range of tools and machinery in the wood and metal workshops, including Water-jet cutting, 3D printing, laser cutting and a suite of wood machines, metal fabrication and extensive ceramics, plaster and glass facilities.
You will also have access to Vicon 3D - an external tracking motion capture facility, and Gypsy, an exo-skeleton-based motion capture system to extend the many possibilities for production of 3D animation and films. You will get to use photographic studios allow you to develop the presentation of your product & furniture outcomes.
You can use the latest in high-tech digital print, plus a range of other facilities including:
We are committed to showcasing the best student concepts and collections in exhibitions and on catwalks that include New Designers and Birmingham Made Me, London Fashion Week, London Free Range.
You will be taught by well-established art and design professionals who provide a remarkable range of expertise and industry insight.
Dean is a visiting lecturer – teaching second and third year students across Product Design, Furniture and Lifestyle Products, and 3D Designer Maker courses. Dean has worked as a Senior Product Development Manager for IKEA in Sweden and China, as well as product development manager for Kingfisher PLC and is currently managing director for a successful utilities company.