BA/BSc (Hons) Product Design


Course Overview

The focus of the BA/BSc (Hons) Product Design degree is not only to develop you as a student and critical thinker, but to inspire your growth into a multi skilled and intellectual designer. These attributes, which are dependent on one another, combined with practical experience and an understanding of the product design industry, will form the beginning of your career, and stand you in the strongest possible position to carry yourself forward.

The programmes are taught by a dedicated team of academics and practicing designers; staff interests and research areas range from prototyping, user-centred design, critical design, and brand form development, to lighting, joinery and contemporary furniture.

On the BA Product Design, the focus is more on the intellectual and creative skills required to develop objects of purpose, beauty and social relevance. You will be positioned to understand the user, not least in relation to the forms and functions of objects in social groups and diverse cultural situations.

In the BSc Product Design, the focus is more on technical and engineering issues and be concerned with design for manufacture and assembly. You will have the chance to develop your logistical and intellectual skills, especially those needed for problem solving and product development.

Course information on this page relates to September 2016 entry.

​Course Content​

​​​A Product Designer solves problems by conceptualising ideas and, through a systematic process of testing and evaluation, takes them forward towards a fully realised product suitable for manufacture. To do this, they require an array of skills and talents, including a heightened analytic ability, an inquisitive engagement with form and function, and a deep knowledge of materials and technologies.

Your studies may take the form of either a BA or BSc in Product Design, with the option to switch from one to the other at the end of Level 4, once your interests and aspirations have become more defined. Irrespective of this choice, your studies will involve you learning the product development process, from concept to production. We take a creative, user-centred approach to design, through observing, listening and testing user-response to products.

You will have access to a very wide range of workshop facilities and can develop skills in both traditional and unusual technologies. Working in specialist design studios, you will gain a practical understanding of a wide range of materials.

The structure of both courses offers you the opportunity to gather strong business perspective, undertake a work placement within industry, carry out research with one of our Professors and research staff, or travel to study Product Design in countries where the traditions and culture are very different. In the third year, Product Design students can elect to undertake design projects and a dissertation, preparing the way for your choice of career on graduation. The choice is yours, and it is there to help realise your ambitions – whether they are to continue your personal development through further study, build an audience for your work, work in industry, join an agency, or build the beginnings of your client list.​

Year One:

Subject - Twenty first century Product Designer:
This module is designed to enable you to explore and understand what it means to be a Product Designer in the 21st Century. You will be consistently encouraged to assess and evaluate the key role that product designers have played and might play in addressing social, economic, cul​tural and environmental issues, as well as how they have sought to shape relationships between humans and technology.

Field 1​:
In this module, you will be offered the opportunity to collaborate with students form different subject disciplines from across the school. By tackling a set of concerns as a group, you'll gain a deeper understanding of your own strengths, skills and artistic insight in relation to the broader creative field.

Constellation - Concept:
This module will develop your ability to contextualise your practice by introducing historical and theoretical perspectives to assist in the development of ideas. We offer a series of keynote lectures that will introduce you to staff areas of interest and expertise and you will participate in study groups that allow you to specialise in particular areas of interest. Through interdisciplinary working, the focus will be on developing your academic and research skills to enable critical reflection on your practice.

Year Two:

Subject - The Practising Product Designer:
This module is designed to enable you to reflect upon your own strengths and interests and to begin to shape your career by building that intellectual expertise and vocation into the core of your practice.

Field - Projects:
You will have a choice from a wide range of challenging projects requiring you to undertake extensive research and to appreciate, select, and effectively make use of, traditional techniques and new technologies.

Constellation - Engineering Science (BSc course only):
In terms one and two you will be introduced to a number of topics through a series of lectures, seminars and laboratory/workshop sessions.

Constellation - Critique (BA course only):
In terms one and two you will engage in a diverse range of topics where you will be able to put your academic skills into practice.  This will include critiquing current literature as well as contemporary journals and exhibitions. Further contextualising of your practice will be nurtured at this level, with an opportunity to specialise in areas that reflect on your own interests.

Year Three:

Subject - The Product Design Professional (BSc course only):

This module starts with either a market need (identified by yourself or your industry sponsor) or a brief from a national/international product design competition.

Constellation - Technical Research Report (BSc course only):
Your dissertation will take the form of a Technical Research report (8000 – 10,000 words).

Field - Exhibition (BSc course only):
With academic direction from your project supervisor, you will progress through a self-directed conceptual design brief and work towards a professional presentation of your design collection; this being the culmination of your creative practice, often serving as the launch-pad for a final year student's future career.

Subject - The Product Design Professional (BA course only):
The module starts with either a market need (identified by yourself or your industry sponsor) or a brief from a national or international product design competition. It is largely student-led, and designed to help you further your creative practice and professional assertion.

Constellation - Dissertation (BA course only):
Your final Constellation module will demonstrate your ability to produce a dissertation of significant value to your field, with a sense of authority stemming from thorough research and academic rigour.  Your final dissertation submission can take the form of a 10, 000 word essay or a business plan, a technical report, conference paper and presentation, a 6000 word paper and accompanying practical piece.

Field - Exhibition (BA course only):
With academic direction from your project supervisor, you will progress through a self-directed conceptual design brief and work towards a professional presentation of your design collection; this being the culmination of your creative practice, often serving as the launch-pad for a final year student's future career. ​

Learning & Teaching

From the outset, you will gain hands-on experience in practical studio sessions and workshops – developing your core material skills. Lectures, lead by members of the academic staff, will broaden your theoretical understanding of your field, whilst smaller, targeted seminars are designed to provide guidance for meeting more individual intellectual and practical demands.


Throughout the duration of your studies, you will be evaluated on three main criteria, which underpin all of the disciplines being taught at CSAD:

SKILLS: The practical, technical and conceptual skills you acquire during your course.

CONTEXT: Your understanding and knowledge of broader intellectual context within which your discipline and work is located. This includes historical, environmental and ethical issues and will often be explored in your 'Theory and Context' modules.

IDEAS: Your understanding of intellectual and creative ideas from within and beyond your discipline; plus your ability to acquire new concepts and form new ideas. Ideas will be explored in your written work, as well as being evident in your practical progress.

Each of these criteria is given equal weighting during the assessment process. That is to say that they are seen as equally important and critical to your development; an emphasis which is designed, for example, to enable a more well-rounded skill set from a student who may be skilled technically, but weak in generating ideas, or a student with much creative flair who may struggle to hone a broad concept into a strong, individual design.

We provide a number of ways for you to track your progress en route to submitting your work for marking. Understanding that the emphases will revolve around the core areas of skills, context and ideas, you will also become familiar with the structured assessment form used by your tutors and learn to relate to your work back to the intended learning outcomes of each brief.

The main types of formative assessment are; academic (feedback from your tutors); peer (from your course-mates or project partners); and self-assessment (which is your own critique, in light of other forms of feedback). You won't just be receiving feedback at the end of a brief, however – your tutors will often assess your progress as your work develops, providing formative feedback at crucial moments where it is hoped to encourage you to take risks, maintain your motivation or shape-up your ideas ahead of deadline.

Employability & Careers​

Whilst your learning is designed to develop you into a rounded and capable artist/designer and intellectual, your curriculum is similarly structured with your potential in mind.

As such, the emphasis that will have been placed upon your work ethic, both creatively and academically, is matched with significant focus on real world experience; from building contacts and undertaking placements to live briefs and, should you choose so, support in forming your own business.

You can elect to take a route through your second and final years of studies where you can engage with businesses or launch your own for the moment you graduate. In your final year, rather than submit a dissertation, you have the option of devising a detailed business plan.
Throughout your time at CSAD, you will be meeting and hearing from professionals within your industry, honing your skills and ideas for commercial and professional advantage. Cross-disciplinary projects will prepare you for teamwork later on, whilst live briefs will prepare you for deadlines and the demands of tight specifications.

Read more about the career of our graduates here.​

Entry Requirements​ & How to Apply

Applicants should have a strong art and/or design portfolio and demonstrate a commitment to art and/or design, five GCSE passes including English and Maths at grade C or above plus:

  • 300 points from a successfully completed Art & Design Foundation Diploma or/and
  • At least 3 A Levels / Scottish Advanced Highers from any subject ( For BSc this should be within a relevant subject: Science/Maths/Technology), General Studies excluded
  • QCF BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction Distinction Merit
  • 300 points from the Irish Leaving Certificate at Highers to include 3 x B1 grades from any subject (minimum grade C2 considered)
  • Access to HE Diploma with 45 credits at Level 3 within a relevant subject
  • Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma considered along with grades CC at A Level from any subject (For BSc this should be within a relevant subject: Science/Maths/Technology), General Studies excluded
  • Qualifications equivalent to the above

If your qualification isn't listed above, please refer to the UCAS website.

For applicants only undertaking 2 A Levels or BTEC equivalent, or applying with other life experiences, other qualifications and/or art & design achievements will be considered.

Selection Procedure and Interview Days:
Selection is based on the receipt of a completed UCAS application and attendance at a School of Art & Design Interview.

Acceptance at interview is based upon a balance of three criteria:

      • Personal enthusiasm for and immersion in the practice and theory of Art & Design
      • Academic achievement and ability
      • Quality of work, ambition and skills demonstrated in a portfolio
For more information about Art & Design Interview Days, please click here.

How to Apply:
Applications for this course should be made online to UCAS at For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at

UCAS Codes:
BSc: W241
BA: W240

Key Facts

Accredited by:
T​he Institute of Engineering Designers

Place of Study:
Cardiff School of Art & Design
Llandaff Campus

Course Length:
Three years full-time.

International Applicants:
Before making an application, international students (those outside of the EU), should contact the International Office at Cardiff Met to discuss the necessary procedures in relation to studying with us. For further information visit

Tuition Fees, Student Finance & Additional Costs
For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available whilst at university, please refer to

Undergraduate costs of study in CSAD 


CSAD provides a variety of basic materials. These enable students to develop their competence in a range of skills and demonstrate their technical ability. Materials needed in unusual quantities, or those that are specialised, expensive or unusual are at the student’s expense. Advice will be given about how ‘unusual’ is defined, which materials are deemed to be ‘expensive’, and examples given of what is viewed to be ‘unusual’. CSAD students often elect to spend on materials they prefer to work with, including sketchbooks and pens, as well as specialist equipment of their own choosing. 

In the main, no charges are made for the use of equipment, with the exception of some specialist high end equipment such as the Mimaki and 3D printers. Access to Cardiff FabLab​ is subject to student membership; it offers reduced fees for student use. 

For further information about additional course costs, including fees, equipment requirements and other charges for each undergraduate programme, please visit

Field trips and visits 

Field trips that are part of core learning will be paid for by the School. Additional visits are occasionally arranged which are optional and where the students may be asked to share the costs. The costs of study abroad, including exchanges, placements and projects are the responsibility of the individual student.​

Bursaries & Scholarships:
The university also offers a bursary and scholarship scheme to help students whilst at university. To see if you are eligible, visit

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For course specific enquiries, please contact the Subject Leader, Gareth Barham

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Full terms and conditions in relation to accepting an offer to study at Cardiff Metropolitan University can be found by visiting