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Product Design (MDes, BSc, BA)

Our Product Design degree courses at Swansea College of Art UWTSD offer the best training and facilities to prepare graduates for creative jobs in product, furniture, industrial and engineering design.
Product designers by nature are visionaries, they define the world around us, giving it form and material quality. Our vision is to produce design professionals able to respond creatively to the changing needs of people in a commercially and environmentally sustainable manner.


Pathway Options

Product Design (BA)
UCAS Code: W242
Apply via UCAS

Product Design & Technology (BSc)
UCAS Code: W284
Apply via UCAS

Product Design (MDes)
UCAS Code: 0P2M
Apply via UCAS

Product Design & Technology (MDes)
UCAS Code: W200
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 apply section to find out more.

Book an Open Day Book a Taster Day Request Information Apply Now
Tuition Fees 2020/21:
£9,000 (Home/EU)
£11,500 (Overseas)

5 reasons to study this course

  1. Live collaborative projects with industry.
  2. Your own studio space in the Alex Design Exchange, an extension to the original 1853 College of Art.
  3. Friendly expert staff that mentor and guide you through your whole degree - and beyond!
  4. State of the art CAD and prototyping facilities.
  5. City centre campus with world-class beaches!

Take a look at our ratings and rankings page here

What you will learn

Course Overview

Product Design, by its very nature, is all about fulfilling humanity’s imagination by creating a blueprint for the desired future. The BA|BSc|MDes programmes philosophy and our vision is to encourage you to explore your design thinking and shape the future relationships we have with the products we need [or don’t need?].

It is the responsibility of the designer [you] to realise and direct human emotions and needs enabling a society to evolve and function. It is this challenge, through a balance of intellectual endeavor, technology and design articulation, that these programmes address, enabling you, the student, to be inquisitive and explore the subtleties for good design.

Where they differ is in their approach to new product development with the BA (Hons) focusing on product engagement and interaction from a utilitarian and emotional perspective, whereas the BSc (Hons) focuses on product detailing, new technologies, material choice and manufacturing criteria. The MDes (Hons) pathway gives students the opportunity to extend their learning experience and pursue self-oriented goals through innovative entrepreneurial

By choosing to study Product Design at Swansea College of Art in The Alex Design Exchange, you will encounter an environment where you can immerse yourself in innovative design experimentation and practices.

You will be tasked with competition and industry-led collaborative projects; you will take ownership of your personal space in the studio, where you can sketch, create and have fun.

We are proud to be able to run concentrated, small teaching groups and regular ‘one-to-one’ tutorials. Throughout your studies, you will continually learn and grow the skills and knowledge to develop your ‘design thinking’ and individual professional growth as a product designer.


Level 4 Modules [Year 1]

  • Drawing for 3D
  • Making for 3D
  • Design Thinking
  • Technical Design
  • Ways of Thinking
  • Ways of Perceiving
  • Professional Practice 1: Digital Skills
  • Professional Practice 2: On-line Identities

As a design student, you will be expected to practice your skills and promote your understanding and development of visual literacy methodologies and develop an expertise in three-dimensional form-making and manipulation, both in the workshop and virtual environment. You will experiment with a variety of materials [wood, metal, plastics, foam, ceramics, glass and styling clay] to expand your material awareness, understanding of formal/tactile qualities and the ability to create accurate prototypes using a variety of workshop processes. This will be underpinned by a more technical module considering core materials and manufacturing. You will be introduced to industry standard 2D|3D modeling software platforms to complement the more traditional approach of pen and paper and sketch modeling.

Level 5 Modules [Year 2]

  • Design Exploration
  • Design for Human Experience
  • design for Manufacture
  • Design Realisation - CAD
  • Design Simulation - Virtual
  • Professional Practice 

Level 5 further enhances your ability to identify and use relevant understanding, methods and skills to address broadly-defined, complex problems. It includes taking responsibility for planning and developing courses of action as well as exercising autonomy and judgment within broad parameters. The core design modules provide the backbone to studies at this level. This is achieved through project work, individual and group, and particularly through externally generated briefs that allow you to liaise and engage with industry, developing a professional approach to, and understanding of, commercial reality. You are also questioned on the impact of sustainability, and how your design will address these criteria.

Level 6 Modules [Year 3]

  • Advanced Creative Enquiry [BA]
  • Advanced Technical Enquiry [BSc]
  • Major Project: Research & Design Manifesto
  • Independent Enquiry
  • Individual Major Project
  • Professional Promotion

These modules are designed to facilitate your formulation of a personal ideological framework within which you can express and critically evaluate your individual creative skills and role as a Product Designer. Two projects are undertaken during the year, underpinned by a contextual module and a module dealing with self-promotion. The Major Project is a substantive self-initiated body of work that requires significant and sustained periods of independent study, culminating in a public exhibition. You will be expected to engage in detailed research and reflective discourse in regard to an identified problem or issue, resulting in an appropriate design response to the problem context, both from a philosophical and tangible perspective. The Advanced Creative/Technical Enquiry Project gives you the opportunity to add breadth to your portfolio, normally by showcasing your design capacity either by undertaking a live client-driven brief or a national design competition. The Professional Promotion module strengthens your competitiveness in the marketplace by focusing on the development of self-promotional materials and challenges to entering the commercial reality of the creative industries. Programme differentiation continues with BA pathway studying practical tools and techniques for conducting user experience research, whereas on the BSc pathway there is an emphasis on understanding the digital tools that will allow you to analyse, evaluate and detail conceptual solutions in regard to a technical outcome.

Level 7 Modules [Year 4] MDes Only

  • Research Methods & Communication
  • Creative Enterprise & Practice
  • The Thought Experiment
  • Creative Venture

The year is a 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 in research methods, entrepreneurial 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.


Assessment is carried out through coursework, both written and practical. There are no exams on this course. Students are formatively assessed throughout a module, summative assessment takes place at the end of a module. A variety of teaching and learning methods are used throughout the course which include amongst others;

Informal and Formal Tutorials

These tutorials are held on a regular basis, across all levels. In Year 1 each student sees and discusses his / her work with a member of staff at each studio session, likewise in Year 2. Third and fourth-year students tend to work more independently and sign up for tutorial when she/he feels the need arises. However, as a team we ensure that every student in Year 3 is seen by at least one member of the academic staff each week. We pride ourselves on the fact that there is the opportunity to see staff as regularly as you may require.

Pastoral Tutorials

These are held each semester where your progress and engagement with the programme is discussed. It is an opportunity for any issues/concerns by either party, to be raised. A written account of the tutorial is duplicated, one copy kept by the student the other stored in his / her records file.

Group Critiques

These are held on a regular basis, across all levels, with one member of staff. They provide an excellent opportunity for students to share and exchange ideas with their peers in a structured manner in addition to valuable input from staff.

Informal & Formal Presentations

The nature of the presentations varies according to the level: in Year 1 informal presentations are introduced halfway through the first semester in order to help students gain confidence in talking about their work to their peers and staff it is also usually part of the assessment at the end of each project. 2nd Year students are expected to give a Formal Presentation as part of their Professional Practice Module and in Year 3 a Formal Presentation is part of the final assessment at the Degree Show and Professional Promotion module.

Exhibiting Work

Again the nature of this varies within the context of the projects, the work to be assessed and the stage of the programme – it can range in formality from a public venue to the individual student’s desk space.

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

Graduates of Product Design courses have found employment with some of the world’s established leading names in manufacturing and design consultancy, such as: 

  • Panasonic
  • Seymour Powell
  • Lego
  • Native
  • Hasbro
  • Acumen
  • Gurit
  • Zodiac Aerospace
  • Ecophon
  • Arkam
  • The Culture Group
  • Recaro

Some of our graduates have decided to establish a new generation of consultancies, such as FKCreate, Make&See and MeeCreative, or to develop specialised design centres for charities, such as Cerebra, with the support of the University. Alternatively, graduates have continued their educational development on postgraduate courses studying at PGCE [for teaching], Master’s or Doctoral level at UWTSD and further afield, including specialist postgraduate schools such as the RCA and Domus Academy.

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. 

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.

Student Quotes

James Lewis 

“The final year was fantastic, the breadth of freedom allowed me to totally explore my design thinking and creativity.”

Gareth Lloyd

“I would encourage anyone who is interested in product innovation to study at Swansea, as I feel the course pushed me personally to define and achieve the goals I have set out for myself as a designer.”

 Matt Bellis

 “The best thing about the course was the staff, they were extremely helpful and flexible, even if at times I didn’t agree with their feedback!”

Bursary / Scholarship Information

Swansea College of Art at UWTSD offers two Academic awards:  

  • Swansea College of Art 1853 Scholarship
  • Cert HE Foundation Bursary

Information on these as well as University wide offers can be found here.

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.

For more information please click here


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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