MDes Product Design & Technology
MDes (Hons) pathway which gives students the opportunity to extend their learning experience and pursue self-oriented goals through innovative entrepreneurial activities and advanced design practice. Students are encouraged to explore new ways of exploiting digital design technologies to deliver efficient and effective products to the commercial market.
UCAS Code: W200
Institution Code: T80
4 years Full Time/8 year Part Time
Product Design, by its very nature, is all about fulfilling humanity’s imagination by creating a blueprint for the desired future. It is the responsibility of the designer to realise and direct human emotions and needs thus enabling a society to evolve and function. It is this challenge, through a balance of intellectual endeavour, technology and design articulation, that the programme addresses, enabling you, the student, to be inquisitive and explore the subtleties for good design. You will be introduced to state-of-the-art digital design tools and rapid prototyping technologies to explore your design thinking and shape our future relationships with the products we need (or don’t need?).
The programme philosophy and our vision is to produce design professionals able to creatively apply new and emerging technologies within new product innovations. You are encouraged to explore new ways of exploiting digital tools to deliver efficient and effective products to the commercial market. You will have the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge and intellectual abilities to undertake the design and development of new products utilising industry-standard and state-of-the-art digital design tools and rapid prototyping technologies to explore and realise detailed product solutions. There is a strong emphasis on design optimisation of product proposals with regard to the enabling technologies, material choice and manufacturing criteria allied with an awareness of sustainable practices in design and realisation.
The final year of this integrated pathway is student-led, focusing on further enhancing the creative identity of the individual through material research and innovation as well as a targeted employment or enterprise strategy for their future. The modules are designed to encourage advanced understanding of analytical thinking and design practice. You will develop an in-depth understanding of the relevant theoretical and methodological perspectives and their impact on contemporary design research and experimentation. Creative Venture is an innovative project module where you can explore, from a variety of avenues, to extend your professional standing in a chosen field, through advanced practice by means of developing an existing IP asset, generated at undergraduate level, or undertaking a collaborative opportunity with an identified commercial partner, or even by creating a new business start-up.
Year 1 Modules:
- Product Design Methods 1
- Product Design Methods 2
- Design Prototyping
- Materials & Manufacturing
- 3D CAD & Visualisation
- Contextual Studies
First year modules are designed to establish a common platform for all students and encourage the development of core design skills, knowledge and experience required by industry:
- Design thinking – creative and analytical methods
- Design sketching, rendering, prototyping and communication skills
- Familiarity with a range of industry standard digital design tools
- Knowledge of materials and manufacturing processes
Year 2 Modules:
- Professional Practice
- Group Design Practice
- Advanced 3D CAD
- Design for Manufacture
- Product Simulation & Analysis
- Digital Product Development
Second year modules are specifically designed to develop skills and experience in:
- Visual and 3D product development
- Sustainable design strategies and tools.
- Design evaluation and validation
- Advanced 3D modelling and visualisation – real & virtual
- Team working and professional practice
Year 3 Modules:
- Major Project: Design Research & Manifesto
- Major Project: Design Realisation & Communication (60 credits)
- Minor Project
- Professional Promotion
In year 3 students select and manage their own Major and Minor projects so that they can demonstrate their core skills and develop:
- Advanced knowledge of contemporary design research, thinking and practice.
- A personal design philosophy to underpin their current and future practice.
- Advanced awareness of their intellectual and creative ability.
Year 4 Modules:
- Research Methods & Communication
- Creative Enterprise & Practice
- Design Experiment
- Creative Venture
In the final year students are given the autonomy to collaborate and develop inter-disciplinary project outcomes, which reflect:
- Critical awareness of their own practice.
- Implementation of innovative design strategies.
Experimental modes of investigation.
Our small student groups mean you can always find a tutor to help you with your work. The teaching team consists of highly experienced designers who are either engaged in industrial practice or are research active, supported by industrially trained technical staff. This ensures that the course delivers a qualification and experience that is highly relevant to the changing needs of the industry.
The course includes live design projects that enable students to engage with both major companies and small entrepreneurial businesses. This industrial contact allows students to develop their skills in response to real world scenarios and prepares them for the demands of employment. External client projects across a range of industry sectors from toys to medical products are undertaken each year, recent client companies include Cyden, Recaro, Hasbro, Freshwest, Rehau, Clinique, Cogent Seating and Calon Cardio Technology.
In addition to this, students are actively encouraged to enter national and international design competitions. Over the years, our students have been successful in both national and international competitions such as RSA Awards, Innovation in Plastics, Electrolux Design Lab and the Lighting Association Awards.
The School is located in the newly refurbished Alexandra Road building in the Swansea Arts Quarter, with excellent facilities including dedicated design studios with individual workstations, traditional modelling workshops supported by a comprehensive range of advanced CAD/CAM and Rapid Prototyping machines. Students can gain experience of working with wood, metal, plastics, glass, ceramics and automotive styling clay. Our studios and CAD facilities are equipped with Wacom Cintiq displays for freehand digital sketching and the latest versions of industry standard design and visualisation software such as Autodesk Alias, Sketchbook Pro, SolidWorks, and Adobe Creative Suite.
The three main modes of assessment used on this programme are;
Studio Projects – work undertaken to fulfil the demands of a given or student generated brief. Projects are set to examine the student’s abilities to master the integration of new design principles and skills to his/her design practice. Studio projects may be set and take place in a variety of forms and over a range of durations, and include activity within the schools Workshops, CAD Studios as well as traditional Design Studios. Students may be required to present a variety of types of work for assessment such as; portfolios, sketchbooks and project journals, presentation boards or three-dimensional models.
Written Assignments - work undertaken by the student in his/her own time. Written assignments may take the form of an illustrated paper or report. In both cases the student is expected to demonstrate critical insight and proficiency in articulating the results of a practice or research based assignment.
Seminar Presentations – this form of assessment requires the student to demonstrate conceptual understanding and evaluate the rigour and validity of published research, extrapolate the underlying principles, and apply this knowledge in new contexts of professional practice.
We are interested in creative people that demonstrate a strong commitment to art and/or design and therefore we welcome applications from individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. To assess student suitability for their chosen course we arrange interviews for all applicants at which your skills, achievements and life experience will be considered as well as your portfolio of work.
Our standard offer for a degree course is 120 UCAS tariff points. We expect applicants to have a grade C or above in English Language (or Welsh) at GCSE level, together with passes in another four subjects. Plus we accept a range of Level 3 qualifications including:
- Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, plus one GCE A-Level in a relevant academic subject
- Three GCE A-Levels or equivalent
- BTEC Extended Diploma in a relevant subject, with minimum grades of Merit
- International Baccalaureate score of 32
- Other relevant qualifications can be considered on an individual basis
Qualifications are important, however our offers are not solely based on academic results. If you don’t have the required UCAS points then please contact the courses admissions tutor or email firstname.lastname@example.org as we can consider offers to applicants based on individual merit, exceptional work, and/or practical experience.
See our Interview Guide for more information.
The range of experience and knowledge acquired on this course provides graduates with the necessary creative thinking and communication skills so highly desired in today’s dynamic workplace and ensure that the career paths for successful product design graduates are flexible and diverse. Graduates are prepared for the challenges of commercial design practice and can pursue employment opportunities as designers within established consultancies, in-house design teams of manufacturing companies or by setting up their own creative businesses. The University’s Life Design Centre supports and guides graduates, giving them the opportunity to take their ideas and make them a reality.
Graduates from the Product Design courses have found employment with some of the worlds established leading names in manufacturing and design consultancy such as Panasonic, SeymourPowell, Lego, Native, Hasbro, Acumen, Gurit, Zodiac Aerospace, Ecophon, Arkam, the Culture Group and Recaro. Some of our graduates have decided to establish a new generation of consultancies such as FKCreate and MeeCreative or to develop specialised design centres for charities such as Cerebra with the support of the University. Alternatively, some graduates have continued their educational development on postgraduate courses studying at PGCE (for teaching), Masters or Doctoral level at UWTSD Swansea and further afield, including specialist postgraduate schools such as the RCA and Domus Academy.
The School of Design & Applied Arts has an annual in house exhibition of final year student work, and attends New Designers in London as a launchpad for your design careers.
Our students have access to a diverse range of equipment and resources, which in most cases are sufficient to complete their programme of study. We provide the basic materials necessary for students to develop their practical work within our extensive workshop and studio facilities. However, it is likely that art and design students will incur some additional costs to extend their investigation of their personal practice. For example, purchasing their own specialised materials and equipment, joining in optional study trips, and printing.
Students are expected to bring their own personal art and design equipment with them when they commence the course. We can advise on the correct equipment needed for your programme of studies and signpost appropriate suppliers if you wish to purchase essential items before or during your studies. A basic ‘art and design kit’ will cost approximately £100 but you may well already have much of the equipment required so check with us first. Also, although we have extensive dedicated digital design studios (PC and MAC) for you to undertake your coursework you may wish to bring your own digital devices, again check with us first before making a purchase. Depending on distance and duration, optional study visits can vary in cost from approximately £10 to visit local galleries and exhibitions to £200+ for overseas visits – these costs cover things like transport, entry to venues and accommodation and are normally at reduced rates for our students.
The programme is not accredited by any single professional body. The programme team encourages students to participate in the work of professional bodies such as the Chartered Society of Designers and the Royal Society of Arts. The programme also benefits from close collaboration with industry through annual live projects. This flexible relationship with industry and the professions allows students to engage with events and projects from a broad spectrum of external bodies.
During your time with us you will have the opportunity to study abroad with the Erasmus exchange programmes currently running with Universities in Norway, Barcelona and Sweden.
Students can also take up the opportunity to study a semester in the USA and Canada.
For more information please click here.
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Product, Automotive & Transport Design Prospectus:
Swansea College of Art Video: https://youtu.be/4vihnej8WiQ
For further information please contact the Course Director