You study either a BA or BSc in Product Design – with the option to switch from one to the other after your first year, once you’ve established where your interests and ambitions lie.
You’ll focus on the intellectual and creative skills you need to develop objects with purpose, beauty and social relevance. You’ll take a user-centred approach to design and consider how objects are used in social groups and cultural situations.
You’ll concentrate on design for manufacture and assembly – focusing on technical and engineering issues. You’ll develop your logistical and intellectual skills and use them to solve problems and develop products.
Throughout your studies you’ll have full use of our extensive workshop facilities and specialist design studios – where you’ll gain practical knowledge of a variety of materials and develop skills in both traditional and new technologies surrounding core competencies, including:
- Design Process: User Centric Methodologies including Design Thinking and Human-Centred Design
- User Insights: Ethnography Research, Empathy as a Designers tool, User testing
- 2D and 3D Conceptualisation: Sketching, Rapid Prototyping, Hand Modelling
- Prototyping: Arduino/Electronics, Laser cutting, Computer Numerical Machining (CNC), 3D printing, Woodwork, Stitch, Metal work, Ceramics
- Design for Manufacture: Industry standard CAD software, CAD/CAM, Exploration of Manufacturing Processes and Material Properties
- Presentation Techniques: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Keyshot
- Engineering Science (BSc): Mechanical Properties, Machines and Mechanical advantage, Power Transmission Systems, Analogue and Digital Signal and their processing, Electronics, Computer Programming, Electro Mechanical Systems
Both the BA and BSc give you vital opportunities to experience how product design works in the real world – with live briefs, industry placements, research projects and options to study abroad. In your final year, you can choose to complete a business plan, technical report or dissertation to help you get closer to your career goal.
Subject: studio practice - 2 x 30 credits
In your first term, you’ll discover what it means to be a product designer in the 21st century.
You’ll assess and evaluate how product designers have shaped relationships between humans and technology – and the key roles they play in addressing social, economic, cultural and environmental issues.
Field one: collaborate - 20 credits
Widen your horizons by joining students from other courses to collaborate on a project. You’ll take inspiration from other disciplines to build on your experience and expand your creativity – and use your skills and artistic insight to apply them to your work.
Constellation: concept - 40 credits
This module introduces you to the wider world of ideas, theory and contextual studies to help you develop your academic research skills and critical thinking. You’ll focus on particular areas of interest in study groups and you’ll become familiar with the exciting trans-disciplinary research and expertise in Cardiff School of Art & Design.
Subject – the practising product designer - 40 credits
Choose a design project and use it to develop a creative approach to concept generation and development. You’ll explore research expertise in areas like usability, market focused design, advanced product methodology, technical conceptualisation and materialist systems. And you’ll begin to recognise your individual specialty – and how you can shape your practice.
Field two: explore - 40 credits
You’ll expand your experiences with challenging projects designed to encourage you to explore and experiment outside your immediate discipline. This transformative opportunity leads to new thinking and innovation – and opens up all kinds of future possibilities. You’ll take on exciting projects that challenge you in new ways. You can also choose to travel, take a work placement, start your own business or try something new.
Constellation: critique (BA only) - 40 credits
You’ll critique literature, journals and exhibitions – and sharpen your ability to put your design practice into context. You’ll also have opportunities to specialise in your areas of interest.
Constellation: engineering science (BSc only) - 40 credits
You’ll explore a number of topics in a series of lectures, seminars and laboratory and workshop sessions.
Subject – the product design professional - 40 credits
This is the time to take your creative practice and professional ability further. You’ll take on a brief from a national or international product design competition – or work to solve a market need that either you or your industry sponsor has identified.
Field three: exposure - 40 credits
Your final term is dedicated to a major project and an exhibition of your work. This is where you draw together everything you’ve learned during the course and is the launch pad to your future career.
Constellation: contribution (BA only) - 40 credits
Your practice is underpinned by your knowledge. Demonstrate your research and analysis skills with your final constellation submission, where you’ll explore ideas in both written and practical forms.
Constellation: technical research report (BSc only) - 40 credits
Demonstrate your knowledge and ability with a technical research report of between 8,000 and 10,000 words.
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
Please note: The following entry requirements relate to September 2017 entry and use the new UCAS tariff. Please refer to our
Entry Requirements for further information on the new tariff, or contact Admissions if you have any questions.
Applicants should have a strong art and/or design portfolio and demonstrate a commitment to art and/or design, five GCSEs including English Language (or Welsh First Language) and Mathematics* at grade C or above / grade 4 or above (for applicants holding newly reformed GCSEs in England) Our typical offers will include:
96 - 120 points from a successfully completed Art & Design Foundation Diploma or/and
CCC - BBB / 96 - 120 points from at least 3 A Levels; or grades CC - BB at A level along with the Welsh Baccalaureate – Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate grade C (For BSc this should be within a relevant subject: Science/Maths/Technology),
QCF BTEC Extended Diploma: Merit Merit Merit - Distinction Distinction Merit
96 - 120 points from a combination of Scottish Highers and Scottish Advanced Highers
(For BSc this should be within a relevant subject: Science/Maths/Technology)
96 - 120 points from the Irish Leaving Certificate at Highers to include 3 x H2 grades from any subject (minimum grade H4 considered)
96 - 120 points from the Access to HE Diploma within a relevant subject
*For Welsh applicants sitting the reformed Mathematics GCSE, we will accept either GCSE Mathematics or Mathematics – Numeracy.
For applicants only undertaking 2 A Levels or equivalent, or applying with other life experiences, other qualifications and/or art & design achievements will be considered along with the rest of the academic profile and we may issue a graded offer in lieu of an offer using the UCAS Tariff.
If you are studying combinations of the above, or if your qualification isn’t listed please either contact Admissions or refer to the
UCAS Course Search for the entry requirements. Further information on our entry requirements, including qualifications from the EU can be found by clicking here.
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:
For more information about Art & Design Interview Days, please
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
How to Apply:
Applications for this course should be made online to UCAS at
www.ucas.com/apply. For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at
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 www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/fees.
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.
For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email
For course specific enquiries, please contact
the Subject Leader, Dr Clara Watkins, email: email@example.com
For commercial product design project enquiries and information about running a live industry project with us please contact: Gareth Barham, Principal Lecturer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org