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Design Crafts (MDes, BA)

This exciting new course will help you learn the design and creative 3D making skills you need to work professionally with Glass, Ceramics and Jewellery. You have the freedom to discover your creative voice whilst developing traditional hand-making skills and contemporary approaches such as laser, waterjet cutting and 3D printing.

Our excellent specialist equipment and facilities for glass, ceramics and jewellery, supported by a comprehensive array of general and digital workshops, gives you the opportunity to explore, ideas through materials and making.

Our Design Crafts degree offers you a host of exciting opportunities to work on live briefs and take part in placements with industry partners from the worlds of interior design, the gallery sector and architecture.

The teaching team of professional practitioners with extensive networks of industry contacts will support your future career and professional development beyond graduation.


Pathway Options

Design Crafts (BA)
UCAS Code:  D100
Apply via UCAS 

Design Crafts (MDes)
UCAS Code: D110
Apply via UCAS

(The MDes gives students the opportunity to progress from undergraduate to master's level within an integrated programme structure. The fourth year modules focus on the application and transfer of design thinking to real-world engagement with an in-depth project linked with an Industrial Partner).

How to apply

All applications to study for a full-time undergraduate degree programme are made through UCAS - Swansea College of Art UWTSD is part of University of Wales Trinity Saint David

All our course come under the institution code T80

Visit the University's How to apply section to find out more.

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Tuition Fees 2020/21:
£9,000 (Home/EU)
£11,500 (Overseas)

5 reasons to study this course

  1. Explore your passions for materials and making
  2. Develop professional workshop skills and experience
  3. Discover ways to develop and sustain a career that you love.
  4. Enjoy your own desk space in a vibrant creative studio
  5. Get your hands dirty!

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What you will learn

Course Overview

The UK has a worldwide reputation for creative and innovative Craft and Design, with graduates from these sectors in high demand across a range of industries. Graduates from our Design Craft course will develop strong creative, problem-solving, design and making skills which can be applied to a wide range of employment opportunities, from self-employment (as independent artists, designers and makers) through to working for established companies in a variety of roles.

Entrepreneurism is embedded within the course, with wide-ranging discussions of the diverse approaches to developing and sustaining a creative practice as well as finding routes to employment within the immediate sector and beyond.  This will be enhanced through regular lectures from visiting practicing makers and associated professionals.

Our team of established craft practitioners and experienced technicians will support the development of your creative ideas and designs throughout the course and introduce you to current innovations in materials and processes to ensure you have the most up-to-date skills and knowledge. In addition to permanent staff, students will benefit from ongoing engagement with a variety of visiting artists, alumni and lecturers.

The Design Crafts Course boasts a broad range of specialist making facilities, supported by a comprehensive array of general workshops.


First-year modules are designed to establish a core platform of essential skills for all students and encourage the development of design and making in glass, ceramics and jewellery:

  • Contextual Practices to develop and enrich the student’s knowledge of Design and Craft.
  • Design and Make modules that develop 2D and 3D drawing and visual literacy through materials.
  • Professional Practice to gain core skills in digital portfolios and online presence.
  • Material workshops to build the student’s skills in working with glass, ceramics and other materials.
  • Design and material knowledge to provide an understanding of design and craft.

Second-year students develop the knowledge, practical abilities and creativity to undertake design and craft artifact realisation. They are able to work as an individual designer, maker or as part of a multidisciplinary team for the manufacture of design crafts. During this year students experience ‘live briefs’ and client-based scenarios.

Third-year modules are designed to allow students to formulate their own individual career direction and aspirations as a design crafts graduate. Students select and manage their own personal and major projects with the support of the staff team so that they can demonstrate their core skills and experience and develop:

  • Advanced knowledge of design crafts, thinking and practice.
  • A personal design philosophy to underpin their current and future practice.
  • Advanced awareness of the value of their intellectual and creative ability and a well-defined strategy for personal brand and career development.

Third-year students prepare for their launch into the graduate marketplace with the support from the universities Research, Innovation and Enterprise Services.

Year four modules (level 7) are designed to encourage advanced practice and entrepreneurial thinking. In particular, students studying at this level are encouraged to display resourcefulness, entrepreneurial skills, and the capacity to establish new and innovative enterprises. Level 7 provides an advanced understanding of research tools that can be implemented within a range of contexts and extend critical and creative thinking. Students are encouraged to extend their professional standing in their chosen field through either developing existing assets generated at undergraduate level or exploring collaborative opportunities with commercial partners, public sector or social enterprises: or may seek to develop a new business start-up.

(The MDes allows you to study on a four-year course that allows you to achieve a Master’s award within a single fee structure)


Each year of the course has a value of 120 credits spread over the following subject areas.

Year 1

  • Contextual Practices
  • Professional Practices 1 & 2
  • Design and Make 1 & 2
  • 3D construction Techniques
  • Introduction to Casting

Year 2

  • Contextual Practices
  • Professional Practices 3 & 4
  • Design and Make 3 & 4
  • Applied Material Practice
  • Advanced Material Practice
  • Advanced Material Finishing

Year 3

  • Advanced Creative Enquiry
  • Dissertation / Manifesto
  • Collaborative Practice
  • Individual Major Project / Professional Placement / Study abroad

Year 4 (MDes only)

  • Research Methods and communication
  • Design Experiment
  • Collaborative Dialogues
  • Creative Venture

The three main modes of assessment used on this programme are:

Studio Projects – work undertaken to fulfill 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 glass 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, three-dimensional models, material samples and artifacts.

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. Seminars may take the form of individual and/or group presentations to peers and other professional groups. 

Our Facilities, Graduates and Industry Links

Student and Swansea Life

Key Information

Entry Criteria

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 artanddesign@uwtsd.ac.uk as we can consider offers to applicants based on individual merit, exceptional work, and/or practical experience.

See our Interview Guide for more information.

Career Opportunities

Swansea College of Art has a long and successful record of producing graduates of the highest professional calibre in the fields of art and design.

Possible career pathways have included:

  • Establishing yourself as an artist, designer or maker.
  • Setting up a studio as a sole supplier or in a partnership with others
  • Employed in specialist glass, ceramic or jewelry studios
  • Engaging in freelance work on architectural and interiors projects
  • Designing for industry or working in the glass, ceramics and jewelry industries.
  • Working on private and public commissions
  • Working on art projects and community projects
  • Other opportunities include arts administration, curating, teaching and mentoring, community work and arts editorial.
  • Continuation of studies to postgraduate level on our MA programme.
  • Further academic research leading to MPhil, or PhD is available.

Graduates may naturally be involved in a broad range of these opportunities and increasingly graduates enter employment in the wider creative industries sector where the design thinking and project management skills developed on the course come to the fore. The Professional Development module is designed to enable final year students to develop their external profile and prepare for professional practice.

Swansea College of Art exhibit student work annually in major graduate design and recruitment exhibitions, showing at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea and at new Designers in London as a launch pad for an early design career.

Students benefit from opportunities to work on diverse live commissions with industry partners.  This allows students to gain experience, designing for live commissions as part of, or in addition to their coursework. Students are chosen on merit, via competitions, to work on live commissions that further demonstrate the high standards achieved.  

Additional Costs

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.

Bursary / Scholarship Information

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study.  To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit our Scholarships and Bursaries section

Study Abroad Opportunities

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.

Study Abroad 
Students can also take up the opportunity to study a semester in the USA and Canada. 


In addition to our University Accommodation at Llys Glas, Swansea also benefits from a number of private student halls, all within a short walk, including:

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