Product design is an industry that is concerned with the design, manufacturing and use of products all around us. Each and every product we come across in our daily life will have had input from a product designer at some point in its development. Product designers are involved with the creation of new products, as well as the improvement of existing products to meet the requirements of consumers.
Highlighted courses and degrees in Product Design
An undergraduate degree in product design will give you a foundation of knowledge around the area. You will study modules on material technology and science, design modelling, technical drawing, and design practice. These modules will develop your professional practice and theoretical knowledge.
Your degree will be delivered in a mixture of modes. These will include lectures and seminars, as well as practical sessions in design studios and workshops. You may also be required to take part in a work placement year or module.
Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. This specialisation can influence what area you choose to work in after you have graduated. Common specialisations include:
If your course requires you to write a dissertation or submit a final design project, this will give you the opportunity to further research a favoured area of product design.
The accreditation of a product design degree will depend on your institution, as well as the content of your degree course. Typically, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of the Arts (BA), a Bachelor of Science (BSc), or a Bachelor of Design (BDes).
Some degree programmes might be accredited or approved by a professional body of design engineers, for example the Institution of Engineering Designers.
Generally, an undergraduate degree in product design will take three to four years. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can take up to two years, when studied full-time.
Once you have successfully completed your degree, you can choose to either seek employment in your chosen area, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could take the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate.
The entry requirements for a product design degree will depend on where you choose to study. Some universities might require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Some universities may prefer you to have studied certain subjects, and others might consider previous relevant work experience.
For art and design courses, it is common for universities to require you to submit a portfolio of work as part of the admissions process.
You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their product design programmes.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly from institution to institution. You should make sure that you are aware of how much your course will cost you.
You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.
Product design graduates will be able to choose from a variety of career options. These can include roles within manufacturing companies, design consultancies, as well as being self-employed. You might choose to work as a junior product designer, a design drafter, a technical designer, or a packaging designer.
During your degree, you will have gained a wide range of transferable skills. These will mean that you can also find work in areas that are not directly related to product design. Skills gained include creative thinking, problem solving, project management, effective communication and presentation, idea development, and IT abilities (computer aided design software).
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