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Product Design
BA (Hons)

2020/21 Full-time Undergraduate course

Award:

Bachelor of Arts with Honours

Faculty:

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:

Belfast School of Art

Campus:

Belfast campus

UCAS code:

W260
The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

Start date:

September 2020

With this degree you could become:


  • Product Designer
  • Furniture Designer
  • Industrial Designer
  • Designer Maker
  • Ceramicist
  • Silversmith
  • Jewellery Designer

Graduates from this course are now working for:


  • Big Small Design
  • Leckey
  • IRG Composites
  • Consider It Design
  • Whale
  • Kainos
  • SeeSense

Overview

Product Design is a broad subject area that brings together a core of related disciplines that share a fundimental approach to Designing and Making

Summary

This course is designed primarily for students from either an Art and Design or Technology and Design background who wish to follow careers as Designers or Designer Makers primarily within the disciplines of Product/Industrial Design, Furniture Design, Wearables, Ceramics, Silversmithing and Jewellery or who wish to teach either Art and Design or Technology and Design related subjects or who wish to undertake further Design related studies at Masters or Doctoral level.

The course provides stimulating and challenging practice based design education within a multidisciplinary studio environment with making at the core of what it does.

With making at its core its workshops offer facilities to experiment in a wide range of materials and processes such as wood, metal, ceramics, silversmithing, fine metalworking, CNC machining, plasma and laser cutting as well as a range of 3D printing technologies in a range of materials.

Practice is informed and underpinned by a strong culture of contextual understanding and critical reflection. Students engage in multidisciplinary work based learning through collaborative projects and industrial placements underpinned by teaching in professional practice, strategic business thinking and entrepreneurship.

The goal is to produce graduates who are informed thinkers, fluent communicators and highly skilled makers that have the requisite technical, intellectual, creative and entrepreneurial skill sets to make a meaningful contribution within the context of the creative industries.


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About this course

About

The course is based on a modular structure with four modules of study in each year of the three years. In the First Semester students are introduced a wide variety of materials and making challenges that allow them to develop the key skill sets and methodologies common to all areas of study.

They are given the opportunity to sample short projects from a number of specialist areas before going on to select specialist areas of study in years two and three. At the end of final year of studies, students will have gained a range of design and making skills and have developed a personal, innovative approach to the practice of designing and making.

Students are encouraged to undertake group study trips in years One and Two to London and a European destination, respectively. The aim is to broaden their contextual knowledge of design and to undertake a series of industrial and professional study visits to gain insight into professional practice within their chosen discipline.

Student choice is a feature in a number of areas within the course especially at level 5 where students can choose between an optional industrial placement (DPP) or take advantage of the opportunity for international academic study at a number of European or US institutions through the Erasmus and BEI initiatives respectively. Students have the choice to explore a diverse range of specialist subject areas in their final year through self-generated project briefs, learning contracts, choice of dissertation topic and alignment with specialist teaching staff and tutorial/ seminar groups.

Associate awards

Diploma in Professional Practice DPP

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Diploma in Professional Practice International DPPI

Find out more about placement awards

Attendance

Attendance is largely studio and workshop based. Students have scheduled contact teaching time each week with lecturers, scheduled technical workshops, demonstrations and field trips are also organised within the academic year. In addition students are expected to complete self directed study each week.

Start dates

  • September 2020

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The course is heavily practice based. Outcomes usually require the production of physical artefacts to develop or communicate a solution or design approach or indeed as objects in thier own right. The course focuses on process, experimentation, prototyping, testing and production, underpinned by a contextual/ critical framework of Design and Craft Culture. This approach is best realised in a Studio environment therefore every student has their own studio space, workshop access, to conceptualise, make and deliver their projects under the tutelage of our experience and passionate team of Academics and Technicians.

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    Content

    The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

    Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

    • the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
    • the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
    • the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

    Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Assessment

    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

    Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

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    The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

    Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

    Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Belfast campus

A globally recognised hub of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.


Accommodation

High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.

Find out more  


Student support

At Student Support we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more  


Belfast campus location info

  Find out more about our Belfast campus

Address

Ulster University
York Street
Belfast
County Antrim
BT15 1ED

T: 028 7012 3456

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Design Practice

Year: 1

Design Practice introduces students to the importance of visual and physical representation and how they are applied in Product Design professional practice. From the iterative development process through to communication of finished Designs. Students will explore systems of drawing including freehand and measured perspective, orthographic projection and physical soft modelling in a range of media. Iterative Sketching alternating between 2D and 3D, drawing and modelling, is explored as a key part of the creative process and students are introduced to a range of techniques with the aim of demonstrating creative and appropriate ways of generating and communicating ideas within a creative design environment.

Design Fundamentals

Year: 1

Design Fundamentals provides an introduction to the methods of exploring and conceptualising user-centred Product Design and Development. Students will develop and demonstrate creative thinking demanded by a variety of design projects. Within the design process students will explore a wide range of ideas towards a final solution across multiple projects, with emphasis on process as well as outcome. Students will have the experience of working in different scales using different thinking processes and materials.

Design Culture

Year: 1

This module introduces major issues and concerns within design research to broaden the student's understanding, knowledge and critical observation of design. Students are encouraged to think about design within a wider theoretical, historical and social context to enable them to evaluate and respond to discourses, past, present and future. There is a strong emphasis in establishing the rigors of reading, writing and research required at this level to develop the student's ability to support, defend and express their ideas.

Design Process

Year: 1

Design Processes introduces students to the concept of a formalised design processes. It explores the tools and methodologies employed within those processes introducing creative strategies for idea generation and problem solving against a contextual background of key issues and drivers that inform contemporary design practice within the fields of Product Design, Industrial Design, and the Designer Maker, through the context of User Empathy and End-User Innovations.

Year two

Professional Practice

Year: 2

Design Communication provides an introduction to the concepts and methodologies of visual communication, graphic design, 3D CAD, CAM, information design and presentation techniques. Through studio-based practice students are taught effective communication of ideas using appropriate presentation techniques and output media.

Design Entrepreneurship

Year: 2

This module enables students to test commercial/social viability of their design ideas. Students will be guided to develop professional skills associated with design practice to integrate and manage the complexities of the design process, reconciling user needs with commercial requirements. The module provides a unique learning experience in the development of professional level skills required for visual, written and oral presentation.

This module is worth 40 credit points and requires a comprehensive range of course work from concepts through to final designs. Presentation is expected in a range of formats, simulated concepts and prototypes, and a supporting business viability report.

Design Realisation

Year: 2

In Design Realisation students will undertake a series of design projects designed to demonstrate the intrinsic relationship between design intent, scale of manufacture, choice of material and choice of manufacturing process. They are given the opportunity develop an in depth applied understanding of a number of materials and manufacturing processes through live briefs where they have to balance design intent, client brief, commercial and industrial considerations through to a successful outcome. The projects are informed by a series of lectures and Industrial study visits.

Design Debates

Year: 2

This module engages students in discussions of the issues that underpin contemporary design practice. Students are encouraged to contribute actively their own ideas, theories, opinions on key design issues and to develop intellectual and conceptual tools to challenge and inform their own developing practice. It provides students with the necessary frameworks, methodologies and core skills of writing and presentation in a variety of media formats (video-documentary, journal editing) to undertake the major writing project in their final year. The module builds on and broadens the skills learnt in Level 4 module and introduces new skills to be consolidated in Level 6 module.

Year three

Design Transitions

Year: 3

This Design Transitions; Product Design module focuses on the key strategies that will prepare and guide level six students towards planning for graduation, career development and employment. The module will provide the student with a professional e-portfolio, a 5-year strategic career plan and an opportunity to showcase their skillsets in the end of year show. Student Learning is supported with valuable resources, tools, case studies and signposts to allow them to tailor the resource material to their specific career ambitions. It will adopt a professional and entrepreneurial approach to planning a career within the broader spectrum of the creative industries.

Design Perspectives

Year: 3

This module engages students in developing their skills as individual researchers, reflective practitioners and as dynamic participants in a community of learners. Design history, theory, and practice spans diverse but interrelated disciplines and students will be engaged in critically reflecting and underpinning the interdisciplinary nature of its discourses, thus building an intellectual framework to support their studio practice. Students are supported in the generation and development of a self-directed research project on a topic related to the field of design studies, following historical and theoretical frameworks of enquiry. The module promotes the rigour of reflective and analytical writing at an academic level.

Design Consolidation

Year: 3

The module provides students with the opportunity to develop a real product for commercialisation. This module will be the accumulation of learning throughout a three / four-year degree process and provides the opportunity to evidence this education.
The outcome of this module will be a product that meets industry standards for potential commercial launch, while equipping the student with the skills and knowledge to be an independent or employable product designer, within contemporary industry practices.
This module will educate the student to become an industrial practitioner of their own discipline, while attaining the academic critical attitude towards making choices under evidence and rationale. Prototyping and experimentation will be key and the processes involved in doing so, to assist the student in making validated decisions within a managed product development process against set criteria within a stage and gate methodology.

International Academic Studies

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Industrial Placement

Year: 3

This module is optional

This is an optional placement year for students who have completed Level 5 prior to the final year of study. The placement must be a minimum of 25 weeks duration and can be in a broad range of design based practices. A programme of work is agreed by the student, the Placement Tutor and the Placement Partner and usually takes place in Europe with respect to the relevant health and safety and disability regulations (SENDO). The placement is designed to increase experience of workshop/studio/communal and technical practice, while broadening and enhancing the student's social, personal and professional development. Upon successful completion of the placement year the student is awarded a Diploma in Professional Studies (DPP) or a Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) International upon graduation from the course.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

A level

The A Level requirement for this course is BCC (one of which should be in an Art and Design or Technology and Design related subject).

Applicants can satisfy the requirement for one of the A level grades (or equivalent) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University

Applied General Qualifications

Overall award profile BTEC Level 3 QCF Extended Diploma DDD - DDM.

Overall award profile BTEC Level 3 RQF National Extended Diploma DDM - DMM.

Irish Leaving Certificate

104 UCAS Tariff Points to include a minimum of 4 subjects at Higher Level and 1 at Ordinary Level, including English at O4/H6 or above.

Scottish Highers

The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is CCCCC - BBBCC.

Scottish Advanced Highers

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is CDD - CCC.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum 26 points (13 at higher level).

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Successful completion of Access Course with an average mark of between 65% - 70%.

GCSE

GCSE Profile to include English Language at minimum grade C.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

Submission of a satisfactory digital portfolio and in some cases a face to face interview.

United States of America flagAdditional information for students from United States of America

Undergraduate

Each programme will have slightly different requirements, both in terms of overall points and certain subjects, so please check the relevant subject in the undergraduate on-line prospectus.

Normally Ulster University welcomes applications from students with:

Qualification
High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and to include grades 3,3,3 in 3 AP subjects
High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and to include 1000 out of 1600 in SAT
Associate Degree with GPA 3.0

English Language


Financial Information

In addition to the scholarships and bursaries open to all international students, US students may apply for Federal and Private US loans

Qualification
Level 12 English Lang in HSD

View more information for students from United States of America  

Careers & opportunities

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course are now working for:

  • Big Small Design
  • Leckey
  • IRG Composites
  • Consider It Design
  • Whale
  • Kainos
  • SeeSense

Job roles

With this degree you could become:

  • Product Designer
  • Furniture Designer
  • Industrial Designer
  • Designer Maker
  • Ceramicist
  • Silversmith
  • Jewellery Designer

Career options

Graduates from the course find employment in areas as diverse as Product Design both consultancy based and corporate, Industrial Design, Vehicle or Transport Design, or as designer makers within the fields of Furniture Design, Ceramics, Silversmithing and Jewellery. Students with an additional PGCE go on to teach both Art and Design and Technology and Design at secondary and tertiary level.

Students who achieve grades of a 2:1 can go on to develop their studies further on taught Masters programmes or research degrees offered within the university as well as throughout the UK and further afield.

Work placement / study abroad

The BA Hons Product Design course offers a suite of opportunities to enhance students design skills, build transferrable skills, broaden their life experience to prepare them for employability, and equip them to be globally mobile. Collectively these add value to their degree and make them an attractive prospect to employers.

The experiences are offered at the end of 2nd year.

Erasmus: Study for one or two semesters at a partner European University

International Student Exchange Programme (ISEP) Study for one year at an American University (in any subject). Upon successful completion, students will be awarded a Diploma in International Studies in addition to their Degree at graduation.

Students may seek placement within a design-related company for 1 year. Staff can support students in identifying appropriate opportunities and interview/portfolio preparation. Careers Fairs across the University help students to link with potential employers. The course has a dedicated Employer Liaison Event which networks prospective students with placement providers, industry professionals and current placement students. The Year out is assessed, and successful students are awarded a Diploma in Professional Practice alongside their Degree at graduation.

The University funds a number of short programmes to encourage global mobility such as

Go Philly – An opportunity to go to Philadelphia for a student focused fun week.

China Student Summer Experience – An opportunity to spend two weeks in China over the summer, experiencing the culture.

GO EXPLORE THE WORLD!

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/goglobal/study

Apply

All Applications must be via UCAS. We also take successful students directly from the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Ulster University.

Applicants may be selected through interview and/ or digital portfolio submission.

Start dates

  • September 2020

Fees and funding

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information

The tuition fees stated are for Academic Year 2020/21 for NI/ EU excluding GB*

*GB applies to a student who normally lives in England, Wales, Scotland and the Islands (Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).

Academic Year 2020/21 International and GB fees are not currently available. Further fees will be published when approved.

Correct at the time of publishing. All fees are subject to an annual increase. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.

Northern Ireland & EU: £4,395

Scholarships, awards and prizes

A Bursary Prize exists for the best performing student in Year One.

Discounts for student from England, Scotland and Wales:

You have three discount options to choose from:

£2,000 discount on tuition fees. £1,000 discount on tuition fees

  • Plus £1,000 towards accommodation
  • Plus £500 towards travel

£1,000 discount on tuition fees

International Undergraduate Scholarship

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/international/apply/scholarships/international-undergraduate-scholarship

  • Open to all new international (non-EU) entrants on the first year of a full-time undergraduate course delivered on one of our Northern Ireland campuses, commencing September 2018.

Value

£2,000 scholarship applied as discount to your annual tuition fee.

  • Information on other scholarships available to international students

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/international/apply/scholarships

Other awards and prizes:

https://www.ulster.ac.uk/apply/fees-and-finance/scholarships

Information provided is for guidance only as scholarship details are subject to change - please refer to the source website for up-to-date and accurate information.

Additional mandatory costs

Students purchase materials for their own coursework.

Consumable workshop contribution of up to £150 per year is mandatory and contributes to materials used by students.

Field trips may incur additional costs.

Student Trips: Approx £300 Year 1 & 2 (Elective)

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.

Contact

Mr Dominic Logan

Course Director, BA Hons Product Design.

E: dj.logan@ulster.ac.uk

Admissions:

Fiona Murphy

T: +44 (0)28 9536 7549

E: ft.murphy@ulster.ac.uk

For more information visit

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Belfast School of Art

Disclaimer

  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.