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Product and Furniture Design - BA (Hons)

  • UCAS Code: W243
  • Level: Undergraduate
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Study mode: Full Time (3 years)
  • Location: City Centre

Studying with us in 2021/22

It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Our Product and Furniture Design course focuses on the design and development of creative, contemporary and innovative products and furniture, considering user centred design, social context and commercial understanding. Throughout your degree, you will be encouraged to explore materials, techniques and processes in relation to scales of manufacture, from one-off bespoke design to design for standardised mass production.

You will learn a range of research and design methods alongside continual practical skills development. Live student projects take place throughout the course to enhance your employability, communication skills and professional practice.  

What's covered in the course?

You will examine the process of designing and developing functional and desirable products and furniture, examining how social and cultural factors influence design decisions. You will develop knowledge and understanding of design in response to collaborative, professional, commercial and economic considerations.

Alongside research and design development skills, you will also increase your practical knowledge through extensive hands-on exploration. Engaging with making from the outset enables you to fully realise design concepts and create convincing models and prototypes. Underpinned with strong contemporary design thinking, you will explore the breadth of scales of manufacture across product and furniture design to be able to position yourself within a global industry.

By working on live projects, work placements and collaborative projects, you will explore how businesses operate at a commercial, technological, ethical and sustainable level. Second year students recently worked with Philips, developing user-centred lighting applications and third year students exhibited and sold work at Minima: one of Birmingham’s key contemporary design showrooms. You’ll also benefit from the insight of guest speakers from across the design spectrum from designer makers to industrial designers and product and furniture developers

Why Choose Us?

  • Students are satisfied with this course! We scored 100 per cent for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2019 (rating from graduates of previous course title: BA (Hons) Furniture and Lifestyle Products).
  • From Barcelona to New York, study trips and international opportunities provide new cultural perspectives and shared common experiences.

  • You’ll have the chance to join the student-led Society of 3D Design to take part in collaborative opportunities, creating a community between different disciplines of 3D design.

  • You’ll develop design communication and visualisation skills using recognised industry standard programmes such as SolidWorks, Adobe Creative Suite and AutoCAD.

  • You will develop practical skills throughout the programme through extensive workshop practice and develop skills in rapid prototyping and digitally driven techniques.

  • Live projects and industrial collaborations provide you with invaluable real world experiences and hone your communication and professional development skills.

 

Talk to the Course Director

If you would like to ask any questions about the course, you are welcome to email the Course Director on jason.nicholson@bcu.ac.uk . Alternatively, you can register for our next open day.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our Open Day for this course will take place in March 2021. Register now and we will contact you when the booking form goes live.

Register your interest

This course is open to International students

Architecture and Design Right Column

Discover Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Luma-iD
  • Evac+Chair
  • MacMaster Design
  • Zioxi

And in jobs such as:

  • Industrial Designer
  • Design Engineer
  • Product Designer
  • Furniture Designer
  • Research and development assistant

First prize at the Young Furniture Makers 2019

BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design student Nina Naversnik won the Young Furniture Makers Design Award for her desk lamp ‘Lucy’.

Nina's prestigious award 

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Essential Requirements

112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels.


In addition to qualification applicants will also need a good portfolio.

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
IELTS Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
LEVEL 3 (and above) QUALIFICATIONS
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • BBC / 112 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.
AS and AS VCE Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design & BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture - Construction, Planning, Built Environment and Art and Design subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • BA (Hons) Art and Design, BA (Hons) Fine Art, BA (Hons) Jewellery and Objects, BA (Hons) Horology - Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • BA (Hons) International Jewellery Business - Arts, Media and Business subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • BA (Hons) Graphic Communication, BA (Hons) Illustration, BA (Hons) Photography, & BA (Hons) Design for Performance - Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
DMM
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
  • Distinction
  • Can be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 112 UCAS Tariff Points
International Baccalaureate Diploma

Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall

Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers) Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects.
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma DMM
Scottish Advanced Higher
  • Achieve a minimum of 112 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades CCD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of CD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers).
T-Levels
  • Merit overall
  • Design, Surveying and Planning T Level considered for BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design & BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture courses
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts Merit overall
Other qualifications

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.

Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

In addition to qualifications, EU and international applicants will also need a good digital portfolio.

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS

Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

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).

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

Don’t meet our entry requirements?

You could apply for a foundation course or a course at our International College. These routes have lower entry requirements and act as the bridge to a full degree. To find out more, please select your status:

Home student International student

  • UK students
  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • £13,200 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK students

UCAS

UK 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.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

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.

3) Through UCAS

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.

Portfolio Guidance

The following direct entry students will be required to submit a digital portfolio at the point of application.

  • EU/international students
  • Mature students or those coming from a non-traditional academic background

This can be submitted via your applicant portal. Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement 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:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

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.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Additional costs

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.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Worried about personal statements?

Worried about personal statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

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.

Year one

First-year modules introduce key principles, processes and methods. 

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits)

Modules include:
20 credits

Studio and workshop based activities will introduce you to a range of fundamental design principles to broaden and improve your knowledge and understanding of the design process. You will explore a variety of issues, guidelines and general design considerations that are relevant for designers.

20 credits

The module introduces you to some of the critically defining key events and precedents that have influenced and shaped historical and contemporary design. This module engages with the key design ideologies of the 20th and 21st Century, developing an understanding of the principles of design analysis, critical analysis, academic writing, questioning and debate.

20 credits

This module introduces students to fundamental elements and key methodologies of visual expression and communication. Through drawing and image building assignments, students will develop a comprehensive range of 2D and 3D skills in order to develop a visual language to respond effectively and creatively to design tasks and formal briefs.

20 credits

The design process relies on a rich understanding of the nature of materials; their physical properties, inherent qualities, and how they can be manipulated (processed). This module seeks to embed an understanding of material and process technologies that will enable you to design with specific parameters in mind and appreciate the limitations of what you are designing with. This will encourage you to embrace material qualities as part of the design process, and actively explore the creative application of current and future technologies.

40 credits

This module will introduce basic principles and considerations when designing for various scales of manufacture, helping you to develop an awareness of the impact of economies of scale on design thinking. The module will introduce fundamental strategies in designing for different markets and you will explore the relationships between scale, context and implementation.

Year two

Employability-focused modules during your second year year enhance industry knowledge and experience. 

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits)

Modules include:
20 credits

The main focus of this module is to enable you to develop more advanced CAD skills (SolidWorks) and use these in relation to the design process. As your skills develop you will be expected to utilise and correctly synthesise the SolidWorks program in line with industry recognised production methods and techniques. This will enable you to develop and realise designed concepts using digital technologies and to effectively communicate design intentions within the context of manufacturing and industry.

40 credits

This module will apply the ‘user-needs’ design philosophy as a framework to enable you to build upon and synthesise core design skills introduced at level 4 of the programme.

Design Synthesis will engage our students in the appropriate observational and analytical approaches required to develop user-centred design outcomes. The module will address the philosophy behind human-centred design and will encourage you to develop your own reasoning by putting the ‘needs and requirements’ of the ‘person/client/user’ at the centre of the process.

40 credits

This module will give you the opportunity to ‘focus’ your studies through self-directed practice, researching a personal area of interest and creating outcomes that reflect your developing knowledge of Product and Furniture Design. This gives a guided introduction to the largely self-initiated study you will experience in level 6.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

20 credits

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available.

For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined project to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.

20 credits

This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation. It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner with an aspect of your subject area, which contributes to the development of employability skills within the supportive infrastructure of the University. Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other courses. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the Creative Industries.

20 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and ADM Careers+.

 
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year three

Modules in your final year encourage individual direction through live projects/competition and a self-written major design project.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits)

Modules include:
20 credits

This module seeks to familiarise you with the initial stages of client contact in terms of responding to a brief and analysing an opportunity/problem. You will produce and evaluate appropriate innovative concepts with a view to selecting the most suitable for presentation back to the client/organisation as a series of options.

The source of the briefs for the module may be a competition such as the Royal Society of Arts or a live client company contact. In all cases, the briefs would be industry facing.

40 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.

60 credits

This module provides the opportunity for you to undertake a major self-directed design project derived from the major project research undertaken in the previous module Major Project. In consultation with academic staff you will be responsible for the planning and implementation of a programme of work that will enable you to showcase the skills you have attained throughout the course.

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.

Studio activities and projects

Final year BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design students recently exhibited and sold their work at Minima; one of Birmingham’s key contemporary design showrooms. The fifteen selected students work in the collection included table-top products, desk and pendant lighting designs, furniture and homewares.

The students’ final pieces were created in response to a brief that tasked them with designing and making a collection of innovative and desirable objects or artefacts that could be sold in either John Lewis, Made.com, Heal's, WallpaperSTORE, or Not On The High Street. The designed objects also needed to fit within the retailer’s ethos, beliefs, style and approach, and fulfil the necessary requirements to be sold within their retail spaces.

Speaking afterwards, Level 6 Co-Ordinator and Lecturer Richard Underhill said: “As aspiring designers, our students aim to create objects which can be touched, lived with and worn. Being able to show their work within a collective of designers is a powerful experience; it’s a boost of energy to any designer to be celebrated and seen.”

See what they created


Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers

In 2019, three students were given the opportunity to take part in the yearly Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers Tour. The four-day tour takes students around North West furniture businesses to see how the industry operates.

“I am very grateful to my tutors and the Furniture Makers Company for providing such an educational and valuable experience. Every day was a chance to learn about different methods of production within the furniture industry, this opened my eyes to the range of job opportunities that are out there. I had many interesting conversations about the current furniture industry, what is predicted for the future, portfolio advice and general career tips. It was extremely heartening to see the shared concern about the sustainability of furniture manufacturing within the UK.

We were all impressed by the companies we visited and the steps which have already been taken to reduce environmental impact, in addition to the acknowledgement that there is more to be done. The industry tour also allowed the meeting of like-minded people – everyone was enthusiastic about design and really friendly. It was great to share ideas and projects and we still keep in touch now.”

Emma Jones – Second Year Student 


Students continue collaboration with Philips Lighting

Product and Furniture continued our industry collaboration with Philips Lighting during 2018 -19. Once again students were tasked with exploring Philips Lighting cutting edge technology and applying it to the ‘user centred’ design framework.

The focus of the project centred on the work space, with significance placed on new working practices and environments such as, co-working spaces. STEAMhouse was used as a live ‘co-working’ environment. Part of the objective was to understand both the cultural significance of co-working spaces/studio practice environments and home office environments and the various activities carried out within them. Students also explored and utilised a range of Philips Lighting technologies, which could enhance either the co-working / studio practice or home office environment itself and/or enhance and add value to the users experience of the co-working / studio practice / home office environment.

Throughout the project key members of staff from Philips Lighting provided students with feedback as well as technical guidance. The project also provided students with the experience of pitching and presenting their ideas to an established global company, which enriched the overall project from a student perspective.

Overseas Opportunities

You can apply to study abroad at one of our partner universities worldwide as part of an exchange programme as part of your degree. You can also apply to study or work abroad with Erasmus+ (within the EU) you may benefit from a grant that can contribute to some of the costs during your stay overseas.

Further Study

You can further your studies with a postgraduate programme. The University offers a range of relevant courses, including MA Product and Furniture Design, MA Interior Architecture Design, MA Design Management and MA Design and Visualisation. 

Search all our architecture and design postgraduate courses here.

Trips and visits

A key element of being a designer is exploring different cultural environments and capturing design inspirations from new sources. BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design students recently spent a fantastic study week in Barcelona, providing them with further first-hand experiences of iconic designs from Europe. Closer to home, students have also visited the Centre of Alternative Technology in Wales, covering aspects of sustainability from environmental building to organic growing.  

Enhancing employability skills

The course has a vocational emphasis and is focused on employability. Throughout your study you will engage with real briefs, collaborative opportunities and external industry links. You will develop skills in a broad range of working approaches, from synthesising and applying problem solving and creative thinking skills, to 3D computer modelling, where you will use the latest industry standard software.

Extensive workshops support modelling and prototyping skills, and you will create high-quality outcomes using a wide range of materials, techniques and processes. The course supports personal development as a creative, knowledgeable designer, maximising the potential to obtain positions in national and global companies. 

The course develops skills and experience in and around the subject of scales of manufacture, from bespoke, one-off and batch production to standardised mass production. The interdisciplinary nature of design engages relationships across a broad spectrum of specialist areas of study, and we nurture this philosophy through collaborative and professional practice approaches. 

Placements

This BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design course offers you the opportunity to gain invaluable work placement experience during the second year of the course, through modules and industry collaborations.

The Faculty also offers a specific optional work placement module, which can be taken up in your second year. The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes as well as subject and transferable skills through experience in the work place, and tasks course participants to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. Students are normally expected to arrange their own placement, with support from academic staff and BCU Careers.

As part of the work placement module, students have the opportunity to attend specific sessions, which relate to the development of their digital presence, portfolio content and presentation, and the formulation of CV’s and covering letters for potential work placement providers and future employers.

We also have a continually evolving and expanding data base of industry partners within and outside of the West Midlands, who have collaborated with the course on various projects and have taken on students within their practices, either whilst students continue to study on the course, during the summer break or once their academic studies are completed.

Testimonials

Many of our graduates return to where they spent time on placement during their second year. 2019 graduate Jodie Mairs undertook a placement at MacMaster, and returned as an employee after graduation. 

Speaking about the work placement afterwards, Jodie said:

“My placement at MacMaster Design during my second year was a valuable experience. Being in a real life working environment taught me many things including efficacy without compromising quality, and gave me the opportunity to exhibit at 100% Design during London Design week.

The placement proved so important when wanting a career as a maker, as you never stop learning. It gave me more confidence going into my final year and resulted in a full time position at MacMaster after graduation.”

More about our placement opportunities...

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

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.

Our Graduates

Courtney Dilks, graduated in 2016
Furniture & Home Accessories Designer at Dunelm

“I am currently working on the Design team at Dunelm head office. My categories include Furniture, Dining, Gallery and Home Décor. I absolutely love my job, every day is different! The Design team work on a 6 month basis which involves lots of research, setting the key Trends, presenting, lots of trips out and abroad including the Far East and of course a lot of designing and development. The most exciting part of my job is receiving samples that I’ve designed and seeing them in store. A very rewarding role!” 


Mario Georgescu, graduated in 2016
CEO, Danube Footwear

“I love skateboarding. For my dissertation I made my first pair of skate shoes. It was then when I realised along with my partner Lidia that we need to make a fully-fledged skateboarding brand. It’s been almost three years, with ups and downs, from which we learned a lot about entrepreneurship and even more about the footwear industry. We are proudly producing in Romania limited edition batches of premium quality footwear. We are actively pushing the local skateboarding community and wish to inspire as many to push themselves to become a better skateboarder and, of course, a better person.”


Dan Dixon, graduated in 2016
Owner of Blue Whale Design

"The School of Architecture and Design at BCU equipped me with the skills I needed to start my multidisciplinary design studio; Blue Whale Design. Since graduating and setting up my business, I have had the pleasure of working with clients including Vans, Timberland, The North Face, H&M and Marks & Spencer, amongst a host of other brands. I thrive on variety and working as a freelancer has allowed me to experience multiple design disciplines; from brand experiences to premium lighting installations to pure end user product design – I could not have achieved this without BCU's engagement in my growth as a designer."


Helen Martin, graduated in 2016
CAD Technician, Dunster House Ltd.

“I currently work for the UK's leading designer, manufacturer and designer of timber garden buildings and climbing frames. My role involves designing the 3D models using Autodesk Inventor, helping to construct prototypes in the workshop, creating production manuals for the factories and installation manuals for the customers. I have worked on everything from sheds and garden offices, to play systems and rabbit hutches. It's very rewarding to see each project from concept to completion!” 


Hanz Raman
Freelance industrial designer

"My creative approach to product design is backed up with extensive analytical thinking skills learnt at BCU. My primary focus begins with the user which then continues to a holistic methodology throughout the entire design process. My experience in design spans from working as a freelancer as well as for design houses and design consultancies. I have presented my work at numerous events including; the London Design Festival, and London Design Fair - and have been recognised for a number of awards, including: The Design Museum's Design of the Year, NASA Tech Briefs, World Design Impact Prize, and INDEX Design to Improve Life Award." 


Thom William Madoc Hughes, graduated in 2017
Design Engineer, SBFI Group

"I am currently producing commercial furniture for control rooms and specialist offices, using the skills I acquired from BCU every day e.g. Computer Aided Design, production methods, organisational and people skills. I had the chance to do paid work in the workshops at BCU, learning skills such as laser cutting and 3D printing, wood working and manufacturing techniques. I also got a chance to take a trip to Hong Kong, presenting my project to real industry experts and a chance to commercially prototype the design. By the time you leave a BCU design course you are not just a graduate, you’re a designer."


Product and Furniture Design graduate takes his work worldwide

Alex Round, a 1st class graduate from BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design, has designed ground breaking safety features for ambulance trolleys carrying neonates, a term for a newborn child, in the UK and worldwide.

The UK Neonatal Transport Group statistics show that there are approximately 16,000 transfers of premature and ill babies each year. The transfer of neonates is a stressful process that could contribute to long-term health complications caused by excessive movements of the neonate during acceleration and deceleration or in the event of a crash of up to 40MPH.

Find out more

Firewalking

BCU Graduate+

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.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

Graduates can progress to a diverse range of design professions, ranging from product developer, exhibition and event designer, furniture contractor, industrial designer and independent designer maker.

External Examiner quote

‘Birmingham’s course is extremely important as it is one of very few providers of skilled people for industry. For this I would like to give the course an exceptional commendation.’

‘This course also gives its students great opportunities. Tutors are all industry aware people who care about the industry readiness of their students which is also evidenced by the fact that year on year students go straight into some amazing jobs.’

Dr Lynn Jones – External Examiner for BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design

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:

Our international students

Our course is popular with students from around the world, particularly China, Hong Kong, Brazil and Malaysia.

David's story

Chinese student David Wang recently graduated with First Class Honours, specialising in Product Design. The course allowed David to develop his knowledge and understanding of the subject, but also allowed him to develop interpersonal and communication skills.

David developed a final range of products using structural bamboo, demonstrating cross-cultural connections with urbanisation, material use and lifestyle patterns. All prototypes were made by hand in the extensive, on-campus workshops, and he also had access to the Birmingham School of Jewellery workshops for some silver component parts.

Julia's story

Brazilian student Julia Damiati Rezende developed a significant portfolio of work during her studies on the second year of Product Design. We welcomed Julia from the Brazilian scholarship programme Science Without Borders. As well as completing the second year of the BA, Julia has continued to work with postgraduate staff and students, developing her conceptual approach to design. She is currently researching Arts, Design and Behaviour: Convergences Between Body and Digital Technology.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

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

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.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our product design course is most popular with international students from:  

Brunei Flag

Brunei

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You’ll be based in the multi-million pound Parkside building – part of our City Centre Campus – with technology and facilities that reflect advanced professional practice. We offer facilities which will accurately reflect the work environment you will enter after graduating. These include Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and a computer-generated Virtual Building Site, creating real life scenarios for you to work on.

While based in The Parkside Building, you will get sharpen your CAD and digital visual communication skills, prototyping and digital production, while also having access to a range of specialist software, workshops, computer and project learning laboratories, and a social learning space.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • Design studios
  • Computer and project laboratories
  • Social learning space
  • Café
  • Meeting point

From industry-standard software, to our workshops and studio spaces, everything you need will be at your fingertips from day one. Working with our expert technicians, you'll be supported from concept through to completion. 

Making

Workshop facilities are integral to the programme and you will have access to an extensive range of prototyping equipment, including wood machining equipment, metal fabrication, CNC router, four axis milling, waterjet cutting, plaster, ceramic, glass workshops, 3D printing, laser cutting and etching, plastic forming, and ply moulding. A large range of hand and power tools also support model making and prototyping for Product and Furniture Design.

Our staff

Our teaching staff bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the programme, both in terms of design and prototyping. Many are engaged in design across the scales of manufacture, with significant experience in design for mass market as well as designing for commission and low volume production.

See a full list of our staff

JasonNic

Jason Nicholson

Product and Furniture Design Course Leader

From a career journey beginning in metalsmithing and related products, Jason has a wide experience in various product design sectors – in particular furniture and lighting design.

He has taught across a range of specialist courses, focussing and developing ‘making’ as an integral part of the design process. A ‘hands-on’ member of staff with extensive experience of techniques and processes in wood, metal, plastic and glass.

He has experience of design and production of exhibitions and the production of commission work for a variety of clients. Has worked in prototyping for installation and seating design, collaborating with academics and designers on a number of projects.

Jason has exhibited work nationally from the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths to the Victoria & Albert Museum.His current research interests are in the ‘symbiotic relationship between analogue and digital processes’ and he currently teaches and coordinates the first year of the Product & Furniture Design course.

Read Jason's full profile

Wayne Pottinger

Product and Furniture Design lecturer

Wayne Pottinger is a lecturer and coordinator of the level five (second year) Product and Furniture Design course. Before joining Birmingham City University Wayne established his own design practice alongside Natalie Cole. Pottinger and Cole’s practice designed and developed products for retail and their objects were stocked in well-respected furniture and product retailers in the UK and abroad.

The practice utilized local manufacturers in the West Midlands to produce elements of their objects, as well as producing elements in house using their studio workshop. This approach formed a central strategy for the practice and has given Wayne a depth of knowledge regarding manufacturing processes, methods and techniques.

As well as the development of furniture and products, the practice also undertook projects in design sectors such as interior design, exhibition design, one off furniture commissions and public installations. The practice has also worked with several organizations such as the Crafts Council, Crafts Space and local authorities.

These experiences are now being transferred to design students participating on the Product and Furniture Design course.

Read Wayne's full profile