The University of Dundee say that studying product design will “train you to design products that people can get their hands on, play with, admire, tell others about and ultimately want as their own”. Although there is no universal definition of the term, it generally understood as the process of creating new products or improving existing products in order to solve problems or answer the needs of the consumer. In a way, it is something that is present in everyday life, as the form and function of the products and technologies used today were determined by this process.
Some product design degree programs have a grade requirement, either from the entrance or standard exam, from previous courses taken in secondary school or sometimes even both. High marks in subjects such as art, design and mathematics may be advantageous for an application. Various leadership experiences and letters of recommendation may also be taken into consideration. Some institutions also require a letter of intent or an application essay in addition to an admissions interview. Some may also require a design portfolio for product design programs.
For a complete list of requirements, you are advised to contact the institution you are interested in applying to.
Most degree programs in product design focus on topics such as visualization techniques and tools, material technology and science, design modeling, technological principles and core design topics. Students will learn not only in the classroom but as well in design studios and professional or industrial placements. Evaluation and assessment may be in the form of written work, design assignments and performance in any required professional placements.
In the latter years of the degree programs, students may be required to work on a major design project or exhibit. Some programs may also require internships or placements.
Most universities provide specialization options for their students, either through optional electives or as a mandatory part of the degree program. Availability of specializations also depends upon the offerings of each university.
As an undergraduate program, product design is considered by some schools as a specialization of general art and/or design degree programs.
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates.
Graduates of product design degree programs can end up in different professional positions. As such, there is no universal licensing or certification that product design graduates must obtain to be able to find a position in the field.
A bachelor’s degree in product design can typically take around three to four years of full-time study. The exact period of time would depend on the university of your choice and the country wherein it is located.
There are also various degrees available for product design graduates at the graduate level. Master’s programs are available for those looking to deepen their knowledge of the field. At the graduate level, individuals may choose to focus on the engineering aspect of product design or the fine arts option.
Graduates of product design programs can choose from a variety of career options. Positions for product design graduates are available in manufacturing companies and design consultancies. Some examples of job options include junior product designer, design drafter, technical designer, and packaging designer.
Those who choose to work in other fields such as advertising and marketing can do so using the transferrable skills that can be gained throughout product design degree programs such as IT skills (including computer-aided design), creative thinking, communication and presentation skills and project management.
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