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Product Design BA (Hons)

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code

    BA: W240
    BA with Foundation: W241

  • Level


  • Duration

    Full Time: 3 years
    Full Time Foundation: 4 years
    Part Time: 4 - 6 years

  • Starting


  • BCC at A-Level or,
    DMM at BTEC

  • Fees UK 24/25

    Full Time: £9,250
    Part Time: £1,540 per 20 credit module
    Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250

  • Fees International 24/25

    Full Time: £15,200
    Integrated Foundation Year: £15,200

  • Location

Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries

0300 303 2772

International Students enquiries

+44 (0)1604 893981


On the BA Product Design degree at the University of Northampton, we believe in teaching you to challenge ideas of functionality, aesthetics, materials, sustainability, social contexts and ethics so that you can design products that work and make a difference to society. This mindset will be put into practice with industry projects and contemporary technologies.

Creative and innovative design is built on the fusion of visual, technical and emotional considerations. We will teach you these skills throughout this Product Design course, developing and nurturing them through studio-based, practical problem-solving activities.

Our product design degree team are dedicated to working with you on an individual basis so that your learning experience is personalised and tailored to you – supporting you to flourish as a capable, confident and entrepreneurial Product Designer.

Updated 18/03/2024


    • Show to showcase your Product Design work.
    • Live-client projects – working with local businesses and international companies.
    • International competition briefs, for example, Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and Design and Art Direction (D&AD).
    • Guaranteed paid internship with the Northampton Employment Promise.
    • HP laptop and software included with this course for eligible students* (*see Eligibility criteria and Terms and Conditions)

Course Content

  • In the first year of the Product Design BA, you will be introduced to computer-aided-design (CAD), modelmaking, design drawing, graphic communication, contextual theories and professional studies. Your learning will be consolidated by short projects that are relevant to technical, commercial or social issues.

    Your second year will include professional development, through commercial projects and/or competitions briefed by local, national or international companies. These projects will develop your creativity, design knowledge and communication skills – providing the confidence to present your design concepts effectively and professionally.

    During your final year, you will work on a self-focused design project – identifying, researching and solving a problem, as a culmination of your studies. You will also participate in briefs from international competitions, such as the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and Design and Art Direction (D&AD). In recent years our students have won these prestigious accolades.

    Student work

    Throughout the BA product design course students are encouraged to create products which solve problems, inspire change and look to make a difference in everyday life. Product Design student, Oliver Beard, who was knocked unconscious in a rugby match, designed a high-tech skull cap that can detect concussion in people playing full-contact sports. You can read Oliver’s story here.

    Past product design university graduates have also invented products that have gone on to receive media recognition. Danny O’Beirne, devised a simple solution to help the visually impaired navigate railway stations. Danny’s research found that many people with visual impairments are put off travelling by train in the UK due to the potential for confusion when they arrive at a station. Danny’s solution – the Tellway Sound Shower – harnesses ultrasound technology which can project a beam of sound via an overhead speaker. You can read Danny’s story here.

    Joshua Taylor, a Product Design degree undergraduate, had a flash of inspiration which has led to him designing a phone case that alerts users when their posture needs correcting, which in turn, prevents the risk of text neck. You can read Joshua’s story here.

    Art Degree Show

    Final year students display their work at the Art Degree Show. Our students have delivered some stunning designs.

    Take a look at some recent press releases featuring University of Northampton Product Design students and graduates:

    Haddonstone Project.
    Concussion Guardian.
    Tellway Sound Shower.

    Please note the modules shown here relate to the academic year 23/24. The modules relating to the academic year 24/25 will be available from June 2024.

      • Module code: 3DD1044
        Status: Compulsory
        Good product design is based on a sound knowledge of the properties and applications of materials. This module reviews a selection of materials and associated manufacturing processes using case study and existing products. It is taught in conjunction with other modules to provide students with project specific technical knowledge.
      • Module code: 3DD1054
        Status: Compulsory
        This module is concerned with stimulating visual perception, idea generation and design development. Students will be lead through a series of technique building experiences which utilise a broad range of two and three-dimensional materials and media. This will link visualisation, model making and the use of colour.
      • Module code: 3DD1065
        Status: Compulsory
        This module enables students to research and apply established working practises, concepts and principles through a variety of design tasks. Projects include all aspects of the design process including 3D experimentation, visual language and technical considerations initiated through a briefing process and culminating in appropriate peer group presentations and assessment.
      • Module code: 3DD1066
        Status: Compulsory
        This module?introduces?students to?the use of industry standard Computer Aided Design (CAD) 3D modelling software applications to produce computer models that are both dimensionally accurate and visually realistic.?Vector graphics and digital image manipulation software will be used to further enhance the final presentation of 3D generated images.
      • Module code: 3DD1067
        Status: Compulsory
      • Module code: 3DD1069
        Status: Compulsory
        This module introduces students to 2D and 3D visual communication. It is concerned with stimulating visual perception and idea generation. Students will be encouraged to be experimental in their approach and apply suitable media and techniques to communicate technical and aesthetic subjects appropriate to a creative programme.
      • Module code: 3DD1070
        Status: Compulsory
        The practise of design requires knowledge in various related subjects. Part of this is the understanding and articulation of the social, historic and economic factors in the design process. The purpose of this module is to provide students with an overview of design history and introduce research resources.
      • Module code: 3DD1071
        Status: Compulsory
        The practice of design requires knowledge in various related subjects. Part of this is the understanding and articulation of the economic, commercial and marketing factors in the design process. The study of professional practice and design related businesses to provide insights into the nature and rationale of organisations and businesses as an integral component of the design process.
      • Module code: 3DD2075
        Status: Compulsory
        This module enables second year students to research, integrate, apply and develop established working practise, concepts and principles through a variety of design based projects. Project work reflects professional design practice and involves research, analysis, application and presentation of realistic design proposals through practically orientated projects.
      • Module code: 3DD2076
        Status: Compulsory
      • Module code: 3DD2077
        Status: Compulsory
        This module enables the student to develop knowledge and skills using 3D computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE). The work undertaken will encourage students to create and evaluate virtual models of products in relation to technical, aesthetic and manufacturing considerations. Students will document their models using orthographic 2D drawings and 3D visualisations.
      • Module code: 3DD2078
        Status: Compulsory
        This module enables the student to develop a greater understanding of computer-aided engineering (CAE) analysis utilising virtual simulations and computer-aided manufacture (CAM). The work undertaken will encourage students to create, model and simulate a product?s real-world physical behaviour and manufacturability, such as; draft analysis; mould-flow and Finite Element Analysis (FEA). Students will document their models using orthographic 2D drawings, 3D visualisations and physical outputs.
      • Module code: 3DD2086
        Status: Compulsory
        Future designers need to have an understanding of the economic, social, technological, environmental and cultural context of their work. Students? will develop the ability and confidence to contribute ideas and challenge traditional thinking. The purpose of this module is to encourage designers to develop ethical and critical skills in their design and research work.
      • Module code: 3DD2087
        Status: Compulsory
        Product design requires general and specific knowledge in various related subjects. Part of this is the recognition, understanding and articulation of commercial factors in the design process. This may include a general understanding of business and industry organisations through to the creative development and marketing of a design outcomes.
      • Module code: 3DD2088
        Status: Compulsory
        This module builds on the Level 4 Materials and Processes module and develops and increases the knowledge of materials and processes. In addition it develops an understanding of communication between design for manufacture, assembly, dissassembly and end-of-life (MADE), including servicing and repair. It's purpose is to increase understanding and develop the intellectual application skills necessary for the world of work.
      • Module code: 3DD2089
        Status: Compulsory
        This module builds on Form and Colour and provides the student with an understanding of anthropometric research and its use in ergonomic design together with the application of colour. User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) will be investigated to develop a crucial awareness and understanding of the relationship between the human factors, colour and good design.
      • Module code: 3DD3045
        Status: Compulsory
        This final major study module documents the research undertaken in the evolution of the Final Major Project and underpins the investigation and generation of applicable product concepts. The work is realised through the submission of a research report that summarises the chosen topic area, identifies the problem to be solved, and outlines the fundamental design approach taken by the student.
      • Module code: 3DD3046
        Status: Compulsory
        This final major study module documents the development undertaken in the resolution of initial product ideas and concepts into a comprehensive Final Major Project design solution. The work is realised through the submission of a development report that quantifies and substantiates the design decisions taken throughout this exploration process and may include appraisals of prototyping, modelling, testing, simulation and realisation of the student?s final design.
      • Module code: 3DD3055
        Status: Compulsory
        The final major project will integrate the skills gained from all modules studied on the programme. These will be demonstrated through a project initiated by the student utilising research carried out in Final Major Project ? Research module and documented in the Final Major Project ? Development module. The final design proposal will be presented in a critique, exhibition and audio-video presentation.
      • Module code: 3DD4023
        Status: Compulsory
        RESTRICTIONS: BA (Hons) Product Design BSc (Hons) Product Design
  • A typical offer to study Product Design would be:

    • BCC at A-Level or,
    • DMM at BTEC/Cambridge Technical or
    • Pass (C and above) at T Level

    We will also accept a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

    We welcome applications from students with a mix of A levels and BTEC/Cambridge Technical qualifications.

    Applicants are interviewed and are requested to provide a portfolio of their own work. International students may submit their portfolio electronically. Students with a relevant HND or Foundation Degree with a suitable profile of achievement may be admitted onto Stage Two or Three of the BA Product Design programme.

    If you would like to make an application as a Home or EU student, please visit our How to Apply page.

    If you are an International student and would like more information on how to make an application, please visit our How to Apply page.

    Integrated Foundation Year Entry Requirements

    Admission to this foundation programme is normally:

    • DEE at A-Level or,
    • MPP at BTEC/Cambridge Technical or
    • Pass (D or E) at T Level

    We welcome applications from students with a mix of A levels and BTEC/Cambridge Technical qualifications.

    However, we would also like to hear from you if you have professional or industry experience instead, a range of other qualifications or self-developed subject knowledge that relates to the programme you wish to study.


    Once your Product Design degree application has been reviewed, you may be invited to attend an interview with us.

    Prior to your interview you will be asked to send in a digital portfolio of some of your work. Your portfolio can be up to 12 pages and should include 3-5 pieces of your design work. We would like to see a range of 2D and 3D work, for example, ideation and sketching, concept renderings and visualisations, sketch-modelling and prototyping, 2D and 3D CAD drawings, images of finished design or artwork.

    Not all your examples need to be completed pieces so you can include some works in progress – we’re looking to see your ideas and experimentation, as well as some finished work.

    Your interview will be with a member of the programme team and you’ll go over your portfolio with them. They’ll ask you some questions around your work and your interest in the course. This is also a great opportunity for you to ask them any questions you may have about the course.

    We hold our Product Design interviews online and it will take around 30 minutes.

    English Language Requirements

    All International and EU students applying for a course with us must meet the following minimum English language requirements:

    • IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) with a minimum of 5.5 in all bands
      for study at undergraduate level.

    For information regarding English language requirements at the University, please see our IELTS page.

  • 2024/25 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted for the Product Design course relate to study in the Academic Year 24/25 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • UK – Part Time: £1,540 per 20 credit module
    • UK – Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250
    • International – Full Time: £15,200
    • International – Integrated Foundation Year: £15,200
    Additional costs

    Equipment and trips: (approx pricing)

    • Year 1 – £250 toolbox, modelling tools, drawing equipment
      Year 1 – £50-100 materials & printing
    • Year 2 – £75-150 materials and printing
      Year 2 – £350 design trip (optional)
    • Year 3 – £150-300 materials & printing
      Year 3 – £75-150 degree show & New Designers exhibition
    2023/24 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted for the Product Design course relate to study in the Academic Year 23/24 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • UK – Part Time: £1,540 per 20 credit module
    • UK – Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250
    • International – Full Time: £14,750
    • International – Integrated Foundation Year: £14,750
    Additional costs

    Equipment and trips: (approx pricing)

    • Year 1 – £250 toolbox, modelling tools, drawing equipment
      Year 1 – £50-100 materials & printing
    • Year 2 – £75-150 materials and printing
      Year 2 – £350 design trip (optional)
    • Year 3 – £150-300 materials & printing
      Year 3 – £75-150 degree show & New Designers exhibition


    For information on the scholarships available to you, please see our scholarships page.

    For more information about possible funding options, please visit our Fees and Funding pages.

  • At the University of Northampton, everything we do, from funded trips to paid internships, is to give you everything you need to make a difference when you leave.

    If you join this full time Product Design BA degree at the University of Northampton, you will receive a laptop when your course begins*. The laptops are built to a bespoke custom specification ideal for use in the seminar room, collaborative group work or studying at home.

    Whatever your ambitions, we’re here to help you to achieve them. We’ll support you to identify the skills you’re learning during your course, find your strengths and secure practical experience so that when it comes to applying for jobs or further study you’ll feel confident in standing out from the crowd. We’ve created the Northampton Employment Promise because we are so confident that if you focus on your studies and complete one of our awards you’ll be highly employable by the time you graduate. Putting you in a great position to secure employment or continue your studies.

    To check out the full list of perks, visit our Student Perks page or dedicated International Perks page.

    *UK fee payers only (see Terms and Conditions for further details).

  • The Integrated Foundation Year (IFY) offers a new and exciting route into studying for a degree in Product Design, attracting ambitious and driven students who are willing to learn and advance.

    If you have non-standard qualifications or do not quite meet the admissions requirements we can offer you a fantastic opportunity to study a four year programme which includes an Integrated Foundation Year. The Integrated Foundation Year will help you develop the theoretical/practical and academic skills you need, in order to successfully progress to the full award.

    Our four-year courses will enable you to successfully follow the degree pathway of your choice while gaining essential study skills. The foundation year of your chosen degree will be studied on a full-time basis and is aimed at supporting the transition to higher education. Years two, three and four are then studied as a standard degree programme.

  • What specialist equipment will I need for the Product Design degree?

    To study on a Product Design degree, a high-specification laptop capable of running Adobe Creative Cloud and professional CAD software is essential. You will require a laptop, with the following specification:

    PC Laptop specification – preferred option:

    • CPU: Intel/AMD Processor scoring a single thread CPU Mark of 2,200 or higher. (Such as the AMD Ryzen 5 2600, Intel Core i7-4790 or better)
    • System Memory : 32GB (16GB minimum)
    • Graphics Card: a GPU scoring a G3D Mark of 14,000 or higher with up-to-date drivers. (Such as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070, AMD Radeon RX 5700XT, Quadro RTX 3000 or better)
    • Graphics Card Memory: 8GB or more
      Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
    • Hard Drive: 500GB SATA3 SSD or NVME m.2 storage
      Operating System: Windows 10 64-bit (up to date)
    • Wi‑Fi networking: 802.11ac

    MacBook specification with additional required software*:

    • CPU: Apple M1 chip (or Intel)
    • Memory: 32GB (16GB minimum)
    • Operating System: MacOS 11 Big Sur
    • Hard Drive: 500GB Solid State Drive (SSD) (256GB minimum)
    • Wi‑Fi networking: 802.11ac
    • Software*:  Windows 10 64-bit, Bootcamp and/or Parallels

    You will need to budget approximately £200 per academic year for extra materials to cover the costs of sketch books, marker pens, modelmaking materials, 3D printing, and 2D printing of presentation graphics. This amount is a guide based on what successful current students and recent graduates have spent and will depend upon the projects you choose to undertake.

    You will need to purchase, drawing and modelmaking equipment such as digital Vernier callipers, cutting tools, basic hand tools, plus a toolbox to contain them. A comprehensive list will be provided prior to starting the course.

    How will I be assessed on the Product Design BA?

    You will be continually assessed during during your degree in product design through studio-based design projects and written assignments. In the final year, you will have a minor design project and a final major project which will both be exhibition-based.


Placeholder image for Paul Hines, Senior Lecturer in Product Design
Paul Hines

Senior Lecturer in Product Design

Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology



The University of Northampton’s product design course is based in the Creative Hub and utilises the following facilities.

Specialist facilities include:

  • MakerSpace – 3D polyjet printing & XYZ deposition modelling
  • CAD Suite – SolidWorks, Vectorworks & Cinema4D
  • Mac Suite – Adobe Creative Cloud software
  • Photo Studio – infinity curves & controlled light facility
  • Electronics Lab – PCB soldering & Arduino Uno Micro Controller
  • Engineering Test Lab – tensile, bending, deflection & hardness testing
  • Workshops – wood, metal & plastics machining and & laser-cutting.

Special features and events include:

Students will be able to showcase their final year design projects at the University’s Art Degree Show. The private view is attended by local dignitaries, design alumni and potential employers.

Product Design BA (Hons) has participated in the New Designers exhibition, in London, for over twenty years – you may get the opportunity to display your final year design project.