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.
The programme acknowledges and contributes towards Birmingham’s vast industrial heritage and geographical position, maximising professional links, trade fairs and its transportation network.
MA Product and Furniture Design challenges perceptions around 'alternative living', exploring what else might be possible in a world already full of things.
You’ll be prepared for a successful career in a wide range of product design related roles.
You will also benefit from studying in a large, diverse and dynamic postgraduate community brought together through a well-equipped workspace at our City Centre Campus.
Our course, which is part of one of the largest arts, design and media faculties in the UK, has been established for over 40 years and has an excellent reputation.
Learn from our successful collaborative projects with renowned organisations such as Marks and Spencer, Cadbury, Pashley Cycles, Triumph Motorcycles and Saint-Gobain PAM.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Concerns is an annual publication by Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. In this issue, you can view final year student work and read more about the activities within the School.
You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,906 available for postgraduate study.
A good Honours Degree in Product Design or a closely related three-dimensional design discipline, or equivalent qualifications.
Applications from European or International mature students (+21) with alternative quailfications and/or substantial work experience will be considered on their merits/portfolio.
Good quality language skills are essential as this is a taught MA and all project work requires accurate and appropriate communication in English language.
Non-English speakers ideally should have IELTS 6.0 overall. However, applicants may apply with lower IELTS if they successfully participate in the BCU Pre-sessional English Language courses that are delivered just before the main programme begins.
As a minimum, applicants should have a portfolio demonstrating their critical thinking, technical abilities and creative process in a range of media.
Portfolios can be either posted or sent digitally (e.g. in the form of an easily accessible website link, PDF or PowerPoint format and not larger than 10Mb).
Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.
Starting: Sep 2021
Starting: Sep 2021
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.
The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.
This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.
You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.
Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.
Applicants should have a portfolio demonstrating their critical thinking, technical abilities and creative process in a range of media. Portfolios can be either posted or sent digitally in the form of an easily accessible website link, PDF or PowerPoint format and not larger than 10Mb in file size.
Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.
Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.
Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.
Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?
You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
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.
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.
On receipt of your application form, your application will be considered and you may be called for interview. After interview, if you are considered suitable for the course you will receive an offer of a place.
We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
Did you know that you can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,906 for some courses and options?
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE and OPTIONAL modules (totalling 180 credits):
Taking an internationalised stance, this module is concerned with the meaningful context of design practice and considers the cultural, aesthetic, political, economic and social factors that influence designers. By focusing on how these macro conditions effect an individual designer’s decision-making processes and Praxis, the development of specific design ‘cultures’ can be evaluated at an individual, corporate, national and global level. By focusing on a design precedent, you will consider how the designer’s outputs are utilised, valued and absorbed by the design industry at large – including curators, journalists, bloggers, businesses, brands, retailers and the general public. By applying practice-led research, you will form a better understanding about the international and local influences that impact on your own respective design specialism and the resultant design cultures that are emerging within this industry sector.
Realism and Conceptualism
This module provides you with the opportunities to engage both with perspectives of commercial markets, design processes and models of design management, and also with alternative notions of concept generation through deconstructing and then reconstructing new design based narratives. This inter-related module will be defined by using a combination of theoretical and practical analysis applied to the evolution of contextually specific design sectors and also to the challenging expectations and conventions of existing products by looking at alternative directions and product opportunities. In doing this, you will define alternative theorems and strategies relating to the construction and deconstruction of design ideas, mechanisms, and processes as part of the your own design practice.
Co.LAB (Live Project PG)
The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities, with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. Your supervisor may set you a predetermined live 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 a project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.
Exploratory Research Practices
The module supports the advancement of your professional standing, through engagement with externally generated briefs and ascribed parameters. It will develop your critical awareness of contemporary practice and advance your subject knowledge. You will be required to demonstrate self-direction and originality in undertaking, solving problems and act autonomously in planning and implementing solutions at a professional level.
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 practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.
You’ll enjoy an extensive programme of lectures and assignments, delivered by an enthusiastic team of staff made up of theorists, practitioners and researchers.
The course is focused around a creative studio hub and provides a supportive environment where you can develop your personal design agendas.
Studio-based sessions are complemented by a virtual learning environment, giving you 24/7 online access to the latest information, course documentation and examples of previous student work.
Studies include structured, project based learning activities which develop creative, design and making skills, research and investigative abilities, evaluation and independent learning to an advanced level. It includes individual and group tutorials, tutor-led and student-led seminars, lectures, and workshops as well as report writing and project work.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
Our graduates have an excellent track record of employment in the design industry and are well-equipped to enjoy opportunities in a variety of professional destinations, including manufacturing, design consultancy and management, academic research and teaching.
Students will explore research methods that can both explore how design practices and theories can produce new perspectives.
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.
Recent graduates have secured employment with organisations including:
Our graduates have gone on to work in a variety of different roles, including:
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:
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.
Our course welcomes students from across the world. We have an excellent reputation globally, and have over 20 years’ experience teaching international students. Our students come from around the world but our product design course is most popular with international students from:
Over the last few years we have had students from all over the world, mostly from China, Taiwan and Europe/UK (50% male and 50% female).
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:
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.
Nuno Lourinho is the programme director for the MA Product and Furniture Design. As an active researcher, he is currently interested in work that addresses re-valuing artefacts examining user practices.
Nuno’s research looks specifically at the development of products and new definitions of durability from a sustainable perspective.
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