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Product Design BA (Hons) fosters a critical, analytical and creative approach to designing products, services and experiences.

Formerly known as 'Design for Industry', product design has been delivered at Northumbria over forty years. During this time, our excellent teaching staff have empowered graduate designers with the knowledge, skills and creative confidence to design products, services and experiences relevant to the needs of people, society and business. We are proud to state that the world’s foremost design leaders and countless globally respected design practitioners are ex-graduates of our courses.

Combining industry-run projects with academic learning, we ensure that you have the skills necessary to make a significant contribution to your chosen field of professional industrial design practice.

 

Why choose Northumbria to study Product Design?

Globally Recognised Design School - In 2023, members of Northumbria's Design school travelled to New York where they were awarded Best Design School in the highly anticipated International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

Pioneering Alumni - Including Sir Jonathan Ive, Former Chief Design Officer at Apple, and Richard Brownlie-Marshall, Creative Designer for Pret A Manger and Founder of Mindful Chef.

Top Department - Northumbria is ranked 6th in the UK for Product Design studies (Guardian University League Table, 2024). 

Research Powerhouse - Art and Design at Northumbria is ranked 4th in the UK for research power (REF, 2021). This is a rise of 6 places compared to 2014.

Graduate Prospects - Product Design at Northumbria is ranked 6th in the UK for Graduate Prospects (Guardian University Guide, 2024). This is because 87% of our graduates are in highly skilled employment or further study 15 months after graduation.

Student Rated - 93% of students studying Design at Northumbria believed they had chance to explore ideas and concepts in depth (NSS, 2023).

See other courses you may be interested in: BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design

White image with text reading 'It's not too late to apply for 2024. Deadline 30th June.'

Product Design BA (Hons) fosters a critical, analytical and creative approach to designing products, services and experiences.

Formerly known as 'Design for Industry', product design has been delivered at Northumbria over forty years. During this time, our excellent teaching staff have empowered graduate designers with the knowledge, skills and creative confidence to design products, services and experiences relevant to the needs of people, society and business. We are proud to state that the world’s foremost design leaders and countless globally respected design practitioners are ex-graduates of our courses.

Combining industry-run projects with academic learning, we ensure that you have the skills necessary to make a significant contribution to your chosen field of professional industrial design practice.

 

Why choose Northumbria to study Product Design?

Globally Recognised Design School - In 2023, members of Northumbria's Design school travelled to New York where they were awarded Best Design School in the highly anticipated International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

Pioneering Alumni - Including Sir Jonathan Ive, Former Chief Design Officer at Apple, and Richard Brownlie-Marshall, Creative Designer for Pret A Manger and Founder of Mindful Chef.

Top Department - Northumbria is ranked 6th in the UK for Product Design studies (Guardian University League Table, 2024). 

Research Powerhouse - Art and Design at Northumbria is ranked 4th in the UK for research power (REF, 2021). This is a rise of 6 places compared to 2014.

Graduate Prospects - Product Design at Northumbria is ranked 6th in the UK for Graduate Prospects (Guardian University Guide, 2024). This is because 87% of our graduates are in highly skilled employment or further study 15 months after graduation.

Student Rated - 93% of students studying Design at Northumbria believed they had chance to explore ideas and concepts in depth (NSS, 2023).

See other courses you may be interested in: BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design

Course Information

UCAS Code
W245

Level of Study
Undergraduate

Mode of Study
4 years Full Time

Department
Northumbria School of Design

Location
City Campus, Northumbria University

City
Newcastle

Start
September 2024 or September 2025

Fees
Fee Information

Modules
Module Information

News / Northumbria School of Design

Find out what our Design students and staff are taking part in and achieving.

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This course is eligible for a scholarship

find out more →

REVEAL / Graduate Showcase

The end of year showcase for our Creative Programmes.

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REVEAL

Graduate Degree Showcase

Watch as Northumbria students showcase there work in 2022 Reveal show

Go Explore / Product Design

Take a look at students work in our blog and find out what makes studying Product Design at Northumbria so great.

BA (Hons) Product Design / Digital Portfolio Guide

We are interested in what inspires you, who inspires you and how you communicate that enthusiasm through your statement and your work.

Discover NU World / A virtual journey through everything Northumbria has to offer.

Explore our immersive 360 tours, informative subject videos, inspirational student profiles, ground-breaking research, and a range of life at university videos and articles.

Book an Open Day / Experience Product Design BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Product Design. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Entry Requirements 2024/25

Standard Entry

112 UCAS Tariff points

From a combination of acceptable Level 3 qualifications which may include: A-level, T Level, BTEC Diplomas/Extended Diplomas, Scottish and Irish Highers, Access to HE Diplomas or the International Baccalaureate.

A Diploma in Foundation Studies Art and Design, or Art Design and Media is also accepted in combination with other qualifications

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator: www.ucas.com/ucas/tariff-calculator

Northumbria University is committed to supporting all individuals to achieve their ambitions. We have a range of schemes and alternative offers to make sure as many individuals as possible are given an opportunity to study at our University regardless of personal circumstances or background. To find out more, review our Northumbria Entry Requirement Essential Information page for further details www.northumbria.ac.uk/entryrequirementsinfo

Subject Requirements:
There are no specific subject requirements for this course

GCSE Requirements:
Applicants will need Maths and English Language at minimum grade 4 or C, or the equivalent.

Additional Requirements:
A portfolio of creative design work is required. Get advice on preparing your portfolio here: www.northumbria.ac.uk/study-at-northumbria/coming-to-northumbria/portfolios-and-auditions

International Qualifications:
We welcome applicants with a range of qualifications from the UK and worldwide which may not exactly match those shown above. If you have taken qualifications outside the UK you can find out how your qualifications compare by visiting our country page www.northumbria.ac.uk/yourcountry

English Language Requirements:
International applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/englishqualifications

For further admissions guidance and requirements, please visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/admissionsguidance Please review this information before submitting your application.

Entry Requirements 2025/26

Standard Entry

112 UCAS Tariff points

From a combination of acceptable Level 3 qualifications which may include: A-level, T Level, BTEC Diplomas/Extended Diplomas, Scottish and Irish Highers, Access to HE Diplomas or the International Baccalaureate.

A Diploma in Foundation Studies Art and Design, or Art Design and Media is also accepted in combination with other qualifications

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator: www.ucas.com/ucas/tariff-calculator

Northumbria University is committed to supporting all individuals to achieve their ambitions. We have a range of schemes and alternative offers to make sure as many individuals as possible are given an opportunity to study at our University regardless of personal circumstances or background. To find out more, review our Northumbria Entry Requirement Essential Information page for further details www.northumbria.ac.uk/entryrequirementsinfo

Subject Requirements:
There are no specific subject requirements for this course

GCSE Requirements:
Applicants will need Maths and English Language at minimum grade 4 or C, or the equivalent.

Additional Requirements:
A portfolio of creative design work is required. Get advice on preparing your portfolio here: www.northumbria.ac.uk/study-at-northumbria/coming-to-northumbria/portfolios-and-auditions

International Qualifications:
We welcome applicants with a range of qualifications from the UK and worldwide which may not exactly match those shown above. If you have taken qualifications outside the UK you can find out how your qualifications compare by visiting our country page www.northumbria.ac.uk/yourcountry

English Language Requirements:
International applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/englishqualifications

For further admissions guidance and requirements, please visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/admissionsguidance Please review this information before submitting your application.

Fees and Funding 2024/25 Entry

UK Fee in Year 1: £9,250

* The maximum tuition fee that we are permitted to charge for UK students is set by government. Tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, these are subject to government regulations and in line with inflation.


EU Fee in Year 1: £18,250

International Fee in Year 1: £18,250


Please see the main Funding Pages for 24/25 scholarship information.

 


ADDITIONAL COSTS

There are no Additional Costs

Fees and Funding 2025/26 Entry

UK Fee in Year 1*: TBC

* The maximum tuition fee that we are permitted to charge for UK students is set by government. Tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, these are subject to government regulations and in line with inflation.



EU Fee in Year 1: **TBC


International Fee in Year 1: TBC

ADDITIONAL COSTS

TBC

If you’d like to receive the latest updates from Northumbria about our courses, events, finance & funding then enter your details below.

* At Northumbria we are strongly committed to protecting the privacy of personal data. To view the University’s Privacy Notice please click here

How to Apply

Please use the Apply Now button at the top of this page to submit your application.

Certain applications may need to be submitted via an external application system, such as UCAS, Lawcabs or DfE Apply.

The Apply Now button will redirect you to the relevant website if this is the case.

You can find further application advice, such as what to include in your application and what happens after you apply, on our Admissions Hub Admissions | Northumbria University



Modules

Module information is indicative and is reviewed annually therefore may be subject to change. Applicants will be informed if there are any changes.

DE4007 -

Industrial Design Foundation (Core,40 Credits)

You will be given a series of design projects aimed at developing basic design skills and awareness. Each project will be introduced with a design brief which sets out the nature of the task and requirements to be met. The range of briefs will be designed to introduce you to different aspects of contemporary industrial design practice and will continually encourage and challenge your design skills and techniques. The briefs will place an emphasis on experimentation and creative exploration with a variety of media and techniques for the purposes of research, concept development and communication. The module will introduce you to the demands of time management, teamwork and will encourage you to develop critical self-awareness of your design practice.

More information

DE4008 -

Design History, Theory & Context (Core,40 Credits)

This module comprises three fundamental elements that underpin the study of industrial design: Historical and Critical Design Studies; Materials and Processes; and Human Factors and Critical Analysis. Combined, these elements will equip you to develop as a designer who makes responsible, creative and critically aware decisions with an aesthetic and cultural sensitivity when designing for human need.

Through Historical and Critical Design Studies you will explore the history of design through a chronological survey of key styles, movements and practitioners. You will also explore the underlying historical and cultural factors that shape design history. Classes will examine themes such as Modernism, Art Deco, Streamlining and Postmodernism. These classes will develop your knowledge of design history, expanding your visual vocabulary as a designer and enabling you to take inspiration from the design of the past. We will also consider the wider social and cultural significance of design practice, reflecting on issues such as the meanings of design, the role of the designer and the position of design within society. Through lectures, seminars and workshops, you will develop study skills vital for academic success and for your future career as design professionals.

Materials and Processes will focus on developing your understanding of both traditional, contemporary and emerging manufacturing materials and the processes involved in manipulating them. Classes will focus on the properties of materials as they relate to the designer and will allow you to learn through the study of existing products and the design decisions involved in their creation. The environmental implications and consequences of material choices and production methods will be central to this element of the module.

The study of Human Factors and Critical Analysis will introduce you to the principles of ergonomics, anthropometrics and human-centred design in relation to physical and interactive digital products and services. You will learn how to critically evaluate such products and how to establish appropriate criteria to guide your design decision making.

More information

DE4009 -

Communicating Design (Core,40 Credits)

You will be introduced to, and start to develop, a range of core essential practical design skills for the development and communication of design concepts. These skills will comprise both physical and digital production techniques and processes.

You will acquire and develop knowledge of correct techniques and practices so that you are able to select and apply appropriate skills both within this module and your design practice in other modules. You will be given an induction into the safe use of machinery, tools and professional working practices within a workshop, studio, computer lab environment and online through various virtual deliveries (Online streamed / video workshop activity or demonstrations). You will undertake a range of tasks in physical and digital mediums to communicate design intent to others (tutors and peers).

You will build your competence and confidence in your design making and communication skills, whilst developing an experimental creative and playful approach.

Practical exercises will reflect contemporary design skills and techniques and will include, but are not limited to:
• Visualisation techniques including sketching
• Design software techniques
• Making skills including model making
• Presentation – e.g. pitching design ideas to an audience

More information

YB5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Design (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

AD5007 -

Design Study Abroad (60 credit) (Optional,60 Credits)

The Study Abroad module is a semester based 60 credit module which is available on degree courses which facilitate study abroad within the programme. You will undertake a semester abroad at a partner university equivalent to 60 UK credits. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be constructed to meet the learning outcomes for the programme for the semester in question, dependent on suitable modules from the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). The module will be assessed by conversion of graded marks from the host University.

Learning outcomes on the year-long modules on which the student is unable to attend the home institution must be met at the host institution, and marks from the host are incorporated into the modules as part of the overall assessment.

More information

DE5006 -

Industrial Design Practice (Core,40 Credits)

You will learn to work with more challenging design projects, developing your skills and design process as a student of design. You will be encouraged to develop a flexible and creative enquiry-based approach to projects. You will become more engaged in this process, beginning to integrate your design practice with your developing intellectual skills and awareness of broader contexts.
A mixed diet of design briefs and industry-facing collaborative projects will provide you with the opportunity to develop your design processes, specialist skills and abilities through simulated and real-life scenarios – providing a rich learning experience. A range of projects will be presented in order for you to experience different specialised practices in the pursuit of design solutions in the sphere of products, services and experiences. You will work across each area of activity offered (including but not limited to product, service and experience).

You will continue to develop your communication and visual thinking skills in the production of a visual design process sketchbook, capturing a range of design development work produced in the pursuit of your design projects. The ability to think and explore visually in two-dimensions is still a crucial skill for designers and one that is highly sought-after within professional practice. Visual thinking and communication facilitate effective discussion, idea generation and feedback.

More information

DE5007 -

Contemporary Design Contexts (Core,20 Credits)

This module introduces you to the culture of design, examining historical contexts and theory of design, in order to better understand current design practice and situate your own activity.

The historical and critical studies component of this module aims to develop your understanding of social, cultural and economic issues in contemporary design. Building upon your study of design history at Level 4, you will explore critical debates around design practice within a broader theoretical framework. The lecture programme will examine the dynamic relationship between design production and consumption, asking how design informs social structures, cultural values and identities. Utilising a range of analytical perspectives, including Marxism, feminism and semiotics, you will develop your skills in critical thinking, as well as the cultural and ethical awareness vital for a successful career in design.

You will also be introduced to contemporary issues relating to design practice through a series of lectures, seminars and workshops. The topics covered will include areas of design culture, social issues and trends, technology, commercial design practice and realising design outputs. These topics will help you to consider the wider social and cultural implications of design practice and how the discipline might evolve in the future.

More information

DE5008 -

Personal Project and Placement (Optional,60 Credits)

You will be guided and prepared for placement applications in a series of sessions delivered by tutors and the University’s Placements and Internships team. You will further develop your design portfolio in order to give you the best chance in applying for placements in a competitive environment.

You will also undertake a design projects with external stakeholder(s) or a design competition. You will have the opportunity to apply for a number of placement opportunities offered by a wide range of employers and organisations. Securing a placement will significantly develop your skills and abilities and your direct experience of real world design practice, greatly enhancing your awareness of how design is used in practice.

You will write and submit an illustrated reflective placement report – documenting your activity and reflecting upon what you learn/experience. This will also develop your ability to record and communicate your design process to others, it also will encourage you to think about your work and articulate it in written form.

You will also have the option to undertake a personal live-project if you choose not to apply for a placement, or you are not successful in securing one. This will require you to complete a design project for an external brand or organisation, acting as if you were designing for them in a consultant role or pursuing an agreed project of your own choice.

More information

YB5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Design (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

AD5007 -

Design Study Abroad (60 credit) (Optional,60 Credits)

The Study Abroad module is a semester based 60 credit module which is available on degree courses which facilitate study abroad within the programme. You will undertake a semester abroad at a partner university equivalent to 60 UK credits. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be constructed to meet the learning outcomes for the programme for the semester in question, dependent on suitable modules from the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). The module will be assessed by conversion of graded marks from the host University.

Learning outcomes on the year-long modules on which the student is unable to attend the home institution must be met at the host institution, and marks from the host are incorporated into the modules as part of the overall assessment.

More information

DE5009 -

Professional Design Practice (Core,40 Credits)

You will learn to tackle sophisticated and stimulating design projects, further developing your skills and abilities as an aspiring professional designer. You will be encouraged to further develop a flexible and imaginative enquiry-based approach to design projects. You will become an active participant, integrating your design practice with distinguishable practical and intellectual skills.

A framework of design competitions and/or live, industry-facing collaborative projects will provide you with the opportunity to refine your specialist skills, professional qualities, enterprise and entrepreneurial capabilities through real-life scenarios – providing an authentic and professional learning experience. A range of projects will be available in order for you to develop you own specialised practice in the design of products, services and experiences.

You will continue to further develop your design communication and visual thinking skills in the production of a creative process journal, capturing a range of design development work produced in the pursuit of your design projects. The ability to think and explore visually in two-dimensions remains a crucial skill for designers and one that is highly sought-after by employers. Visual thinking and design communication facilitates effective discussion, idea generation and feedback.

You will be given the opportunity to engage and deliver in professional design presentations, developing your verbal and visual communication skill of complex design solutions either individually or as part of a creative group to tutors, peers and, when possible, stakeholders. An essential skill to successfully communicate solutions, ideas or concepts at any level.

More information

DE5010 -

Professional Design Context (Core,20 Credits)

You will further develop your awareness of contemporary issues relating to design practice and theory, through a series of lectures and supervised studio activity. The topics covered will include areas of design culture, aesthetic theories, social and environmental issues, technology, and commercial design practice. You will also further develop your knowledge and critical understanding of the concepts, principles and theories informing and influencing professional design contexts.

This module develops professional skills and abilities for you to source, synthesis and present research material to an informed audience.

The module will introduce you to new ways to research design issues, reflect upon and assess your work, and write up your conclusions. As illustration, the syllabus may include the following topics:


Cultural Probes and Design Ethnography;
Stakeholder mapping, participatory action research, co-creative and participatory design practices;
Visualising and presenting research;
Service & Experience Design methods;
Critical & speculative design, & design fiction.

Formulating research questions
Structuring design reports
Bibliography, referencing and style

More information

DE5011 -

Professional Placement (Optional,60 Credits)

You will be guided and prepared for placement applications in a series of sessions delivered by tutors and others. You will further develop your design portfolio in order to give you the best chance in applying for placements in a competitive environment. You will learn how to present your work to an industry collaborator and/or develop a project with suitable impact to communicate suitable to a panel of independent judges.

You will have the opportunity to apply for a number of placement opportunities offered by a wide range of employers and organisations. Securing a placement will significantly develop your skills and abilities and your direct experience of real - world design practice, greatly enhancing your awareness of how design is used in practice.

You will write and submit an illustrated reflective placement report – documenting your activity and reflecting upon what you learn/experience. This will also develop your ability to record and communicate your design process to others, it also will encourage you to reflect upon your work and articulate it in written form.

More information

YB5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Design (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

DE6012 -

Final Major Project - Part I (Core,40 Credits)

Through the conceptualisation and realisation of the first phase of a self-determined industrial design project, you will build on the skills, knowledge, and understanding that you have gathered over the previous three years of study. Employing these skills towards a self-determined industrial design project gives you the autonomy to work more independently than in previous years, managing your own process in a less prescriptive way.

The exploratory primary and secondary research conducted throughout your design process will also develop an understanding of your chosen topic. With your chosen topic aligning to your career/specialism aspirations, this work should culminate in a critical piece of work in your portfolio, helping you to take the first step in your career as an industrial designer.

More information

DE6013 -

Final Major Project - Part II (Core,60 Credits)

The module gives you the opportunity to research, conceptualise and realise a self-determined Industrial Design project, building on the skills, knowledge and understanding that you have developed over the previous three years of the programme.

You will undertake in-depth research on a subject area of your own choosing, using a range of methodologies to explore markets and intended audiences.

Your project will be realised through final outcomes that support your goals as future professionals and will be supported by a visually rich and varied range of supporting work. The project may be based upon earlier exploration of a topic undertaken in Semester 1 as part of Final Major Project – Part I, in which case it will greatly expand the scope and depth of exploration in support of a fully resolved and well-executed design.

Your Major Project outcomes will be determined by your career goals and ambitions, and agreed through regular supervision, formative critiques and presentations, studio sessions, personal project plans and peer discussions. Your contact with tutors and peers may be in person on campus or through online sessions. You are encouraged to demonstrate an experimental and open-minded approach, while considering the requirements of your chosen target audience.

Fundamental to success on this module is an iterative approach which requires the constant testing, evaluation and refinement of your ideas. A key part of your design practice is to relate your own values and theoretical understanding to the developing design work. You will be expected to develop a reflective approach to your practice as a designer which you will evidence through an illustrated report to accompany the final deliverables. As part of this, you will show the relevance and validity of your project to your intended audience by seeking out and responding to the input of possible stakeholders, experts and external collaborators (as appropriate to your project).

More information

DE6015 -

Competition or Collaborative Project (Core,20 Credits)

You will choose a brief from a design competition/collaborating industry partners to challenge your design knowledge and skills in a competitive environment. The briefs are carefully selected/constructed to facilitate your learning in pursuit of the learning outcomes of the module.

The briefs require you to tackle complex issues, addressing current and future challenges that might have multiple factors (social, economic, environmental and cultural). By undertaking this brief, you will further develop your abilities to research complex issues; develop credible insights; and define design opportunities.

You will also develop your abilities in communicating design proposals in response to complex issues, selecting appropriate media (physical and digital) in order to present compelling, concise and impactful design propositions.

Working on the design competition/collaborating industry briefs is excellent preparation for the other projects you will undertake in your final year, as they challenge your understanding and knowledge of design contexts, research methods, and, your abilities to develop and communicate creative solutions to a high standard. They will also give you a chance to gain recognition for your work through shortlisting and/or being awarded a prize.

More information

YB5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Design (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

Modules

Module information is indicative and is reviewed annually therefore may be subject to change. Applicants will be informed if there are any changes.

DE4007 -

Industrial Design Foundation (Core,40 Credits)

You will be given a series of design projects aimed at developing basic design skills and awareness. Each project will be introduced with a design brief which sets out the nature of the task and requirements to be met. The range of briefs will be designed to introduce you to different aspects of contemporary industrial design practice and will continually encourage and challenge your design skills and techniques. The briefs will place an emphasis on experimentation and creative exploration with a variety of media and techniques for the purposes of research, concept development and communication. The module will introduce you to the demands of time management, teamwork and will encourage you to develop critical self-awareness of your design practice.

More information

DE4008 -

Design History, Theory & Context (Core,40 Credits)

This module comprises three fundamental elements that underpin the study of industrial design: Historical and Critical Design Studies; Materials and Processes; and Human Factors and Critical Analysis. Combined, these elements will equip you to develop as a designer who makes responsible, creative and critically aware decisions with an aesthetic and cultural sensitivity when designing for human need.

Through Historical and Critical Design Studies you will explore the history of design through a chronological survey of key styles, movements and practitioners. You will also explore the underlying historical and cultural factors that shape design history. Classes will examine themes such as Modernism, Art Deco, Streamlining and Postmodernism. These classes will develop your knowledge of design history, expanding your visual vocabulary as a designer and enabling you to take inspiration from the design of the past. We will also consider the wider social and cultural significance of design practice, reflecting on issues such as the meanings of design, the role of the designer and the position of design within society. Through lectures, seminars and workshops, you will develop study skills vital for academic success and for your future career as design professionals.

Materials and Processes will focus on developing your understanding of both traditional, contemporary and emerging manufacturing materials and the processes involved in manipulating them. Classes will focus on the properties of materials as they relate to the designer and will allow you to learn through the study of existing products and the design decisions involved in their creation. The environmental implications and consequences of material choices and production methods will be central to this element of the module.

The study of Human Factors and Critical Analysis will introduce you to the principles of ergonomics, anthropometrics and human-centred design in relation to physical and interactive digital products and services. You will learn how to critically evaluate such products and how to establish appropriate criteria to guide your design decision making.

More information

DE4009 -

Communicating Design (Core,40 Credits)

You will be introduced to, and start to develop, a range of core essential practical design skills for the development and communication of design concepts. These skills will comprise both physical and digital production techniques and processes.

You will acquire and develop knowledge of correct techniques and practices so that you are able to select and apply appropriate skills both within this module and your design practice in other modules. You will be given an induction into the safe use of machinery, tools and professional working practices within a workshop, studio, computer lab environment and online through various virtual deliveries (Online streamed / video workshop activity or demonstrations). You will undertake a range of tasks in physical and digital mediums to communicate design intent to others (tutors and peers).

You will build your competence and confidence in your design making and communication skills, whilst developing an experimental creative and playful approach.

Practical exercises will reflect contemporary design skills and techniques and will include, but are not limited to:
• Visualisation techniques including sketching
• Design software techniques
• Making skills including model making
• Presentation – e.g. pitching design ideas to an audience

More information

YB5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Design (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

AD5007 -

Design Study Abroad (60 credit) (Optional,60 Credits)

The Study Abroad module is a semester based 60 credit module which is available on degree courses which facilitate study abroad within the programme. You will undertake a semester abroad at a partner university equivalent to 60 UK credits. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be constructed to meet the learning outcomes for the programme for the semester in question, dependent on suitable modules from the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). The module will be assessed by conversion of graded marks from the host University.

Learning outcomes on the year-long modules on which the student is unable to attend the home institution must be met at the host institution, and marks from the host are incorporated into the modules as part of the overall assessment.

More information

DE5006 -

Industrial Design Practice (Core,40 Credits)

You will learn to work with more challenging design projects, developing your skills and design process as a student of design. You will be encouraged to develop a flexible and creative enquiry-based approach to projects. You will become more engaged in this process, beginning to integrate your design practice with your developing intellectual skills and awareness of broader contexts.
A mixed diet of design briefs and industry-facing collaborative projects will provide you with the opportunity to develop your design processes, specialist skills and abilities through simulated and real-life scenarios – providing a rich learning experience. A range of projects will be presented in order for you to experience different specialised practices in the pursuit of design solutions in the sphere of products, services and experiences. You will work across each area of activity offered (including but not limited to product, service and experience).

You will continue to develop your communication and visual thinking skills in the production of a visual design process sketchbook, capturing a range of design development work produced in the pursuit of your design projects. The ability to think and explore visually in two-dimensions is still a crucial skill for designers and one that is highly sought-after within professional practice. Visual thinking and communication facilitate effective discussion, idea generation and feedback.

More information

DE5007 -

Contemporary Design Contexts (Core,20 Credits)

This module introduces you to the culture of design, examining historical contexts and theory of design, in order to better understand current design practice and situate your own activity.

The historical and critical studies component of this module aims to develop your understanding of social, cultural and economic issues in contemporary design. Building upon your study of design history at Level 4, you will explore critical debates around design practice within a broader theoretical framework. The lecture programme will examine the dynamic relationship between design production and consumption, asking how design informs social structures, cultural values and identities. Utilising a range of analytical perspectives, including Marxism, feminism and semiotics, you will develop your skills in critical thinking, as well as the cultural and ethical awareness vital for a successful career in design.

You will also be introduced to contemporary issues relating to design practice through a series of lectures, seminars and workshops. The topics covered will include areas of design culture, social issues and trends, technology, commercial design practice and realising design outputs. These topics will help you to consider the wider social and cultural implications of design practice and how the discipline might evolve in the future.

More information

DE5008 -

Personal Project and Placement (Optional,60 Credits)

You will be guided and prepared for placement applications in a series of sessions delivered by tutors and the University’s Placements and Internships team. You will further develop your design portfolio in order to give you the best chance in applying for placements in a competitive environment.

You will also undertake a design projects with external stakeholder(s) or a design competition. You will have the opportunity to apply for a number of placement opportunities offered by a wide range of employers and organisations. Securing a placement will significantly develop your skills and abilities and your direct experience of real world design practice, greatly enhancing your awareness of how design is used in practice.

You will write and submit an illustrated reflective placement report – documenting your activity and reflecting upon what you learn/experience. This will also develop your ability to record and communicate your design process to others, it also will encourage you to think about your work and articulate it in written form.

You will also have the option to undertake a personal live-project if you choose not to apply for a placement, or you are not successful in securing one. This will require you to complete a design project for an external brand or organisation, acting as if you were designing for them in a consultant role or pursuing an agreed project of your own choice.

More information

YB5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Design (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

AD5007 -

Design Study Abroad (60 credit) (Optional,60 Credits)

The Study Abroad module is a semester based 60 credit module which is available on degree courses which facilitate study abroad within the programme. You will undertake a semester abroad at a partner university equivalent to 60 UK credits. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be constructed to meet the learning outcomes for the programme for the semester in question, dependent on suitable modules from the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). The module will be assessed by conversion of graded marks from the host University.

Learning outcomes on the year-long modules on which the student is unable to attend the home institution must be met at the host institution, and marks from the host are incorporated into the modules as part of the overall assessment.

More information

DE5009 -

Professional Design Practice (Core,40 Credits)

You will learn to tackle sophisticated and stimulating design projects, further developing your skills and abilities as an aspiring professional designer. You will be encouraged to further develop a flexible and imaginative enquiry-based approach to design projects. You will become an active participant, integrating your design practice with distinguishable practical and intellectual skills.

A framework of design competitions and/or live, industry-facing collaborative projects will provide you with the opportunity to refine your specialist skills, professional qualities, enterprise and entrepreneurial capabilities through real-life scenarios – providing an authentic and professional learning experience. A range of projects will be available in order for you to develop you own specialised practice in the design of products, services and experiences.

You will continue to further develop your design communication and visual thinking skills in the production of a creative process journal, capturing a range of design development work produced in the pursuit of your design projects. The ability to think and explore visually in two-dimensions remains a crucial skill for designers and one that is highly sought-after by employers. Visual thinking and design communication facilitates effective discussion, idea generation and feedback.

You will be given the opportunity to engage and deliver in professional design presentations, developing your verbal and visual communication skill of complex design solutions either individually or as part of a creative group to tutors, peers and, when possible, stakeholders. An essential skill to successfully communicate solutions, ideas or concepts at any level.

More information

DE5010 -

Professional Design Context (Core,20 Credits)

You will further develop your awareness of contemporary issues relating to design practice and theory, through a series of lectures and supervised studio activity. The topics covered will include areas of design culture, aesthetic theories, social and environmental issues, technology, and commercial design practice. You will also further develop your knowledge and critical understanding of the concepts, principles and theories informing and influencing professional design contexts.

This module develops professional skills and abilities for you to source, synthesis and present research material to an informed audience.

The module will introduce you to new ways to research design issues, reflect upon and assess your work, and write up your conclusions. As illustration, the syllabus may include the following topics:


Cultural Probes and Design Ethnography;
Stakeholder mapping, participatory action research, co-creative and participatory design practices;
Visualising and presenting research;
Service & Experience Design methods;
Critical & speculative design, & design fiction.

Formulating research questions
Structuring design reports
Bibliography, referencing and style

More information

DE5011 -

Professional Placement (Optional,60 Credits)

You will be guided and prepared for placement applications in a series of sessions delivered by tutors and others. You will further develop your design portfolio in order to give you the best chance in applying for placements in a competitive environment. You will learn how to present your work to an industry collaborator and/or develop a project with suitable impact to communicate suitable to a panel of independent judges.

You will have the opportunity to apply for a number of placement opportunities offered by a wide range of employers and organisations. Securing a placement will significantly develop your skills and abilities and your direct experience of real - world design practice, greatly enhancing your awareness of how design is used in practice.

You will write and submit an illustrated reflective placement report – documenting your activity and reflecting upon what you learn/experience. This will also develop your ability to record and communicate your design process to others, it also will encourage you to reflect upon your work and articulate it in written form.

More information

YB5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Design (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

DE6012 -

Final Major Project - Part I (Core,40 Credits)

Through the conceptualisation and realisation of the first phase of a self-determined industrial design project, you will build on the skills, knowledge, and understanding that you have gathered over the previous three years of study. Employing these skills towards a self-determined industrial design project gives you the autonomy to work more independently than in previous years, managing your own process in a less prescriptive way.

The exploratory primary and secondary research conducted throughout your design process will also develop an understanding of your chosen topic. With your chosen topic aligning to your career/specialism aspirations, this work should culminate in a critical piece of work in your portfolio, helping you to take the first step in your career as an industrial designer.

More information

DE6013 -

Final Major Project - Part II (Core,60 Credits)

The module gives you the opportunity to research, conceptualise and realise a self-determined Industrial Design project, building on the skills, knowledge and understanding that you have developed over the previous three years of the programme.

You will undertake in-depth research on a subject area of your own choosing, using a range of methodologies to explore markets and intended audiences.

Your project will be realised through final outcomes that support your goals as future professionals and will be supported by a visually rich and varied range of supporting work. The project may be based upon earlier exploration of a topic undertaken in Semester 1 as part of Final Major Project – Part I, in which case it will greatly expand the scope and depth of exploration in support of a fully resolved and well-executed design.

Your Major Project outcomes will be determined by your career goals and ambitions, and agreed through regular supervision, formative critiques and presentations, studio sessions, personal project plans and peer discussions. Your contact with tutors and peers may be in person on campus or through online sessions. You are encouraged to demonstrate an experimental and open-minded approach, while considering the requirements of your chosen target audience.

Fundamental to success on this module is an iterative approach which requires the constant testing, evaluation and refinement of your ideas. A key part of your design practice is to relate your own values and theoretical understanding to the developing design work. You will be expected to develop a reflective approach to your practice as a designer which you will evidence through an illustrated report to accompany the final deliverables. As part of this, you will show the relevance and validity of your project to your intended audience by seeking out and responding to the input of possible stakeholders, experts and external collaborators (as appropriate to your project).

More information

DE6015 -

Competition or Collaborative Project (Core,20 Credits)

You will choose a brief from a design competition/collaborating industry partners to challenge your design knowledge and skills in a competitive environment. The briefs are carefully selected/constructed to facilitate your learning in pursuit of the learning outcomes of the module.

The briefs require you to tackle complex issues, addressing current and future challenges that might have multiple factors (social, economic, environmental and cultural). By undertaking this brief, you will further develop your abilities to research complex issues; develop credible insights; and define design opportunities.

You will also develop your abilities in communicating design proposals in response to complex issues, selecting appropriate media (physical and digital) in order to present compelling, concise and impactful design propositions.

Working on the design competition/collaborating industry briefs is excellent preparation for the other projects you will undertake in your final year, as they challenge your understanding and knowledge of design contexts, research methods, and, your abilities to develop and communicate creative solutions to a high standard. They will also give you a chance to gain recognition for your work through shortlisting and/or being awarded a prize.

More information

YB5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Design (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

To start your application, simply select the month you would like to start your course.

BA (Hons) Product Design

Home or EU applicants please apply through UCAS

International applicants please apply using the links below

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Our Applicant Services team will be happy to help.  They can be contacted on 0191 406 0901 or by using our Contact Form.



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