Automotive and Transport Design BA | Coventry Univ...

Campus Map

Working with Coventry University

Working at Coventry University

Coventry University is a diverse and exciting place to work and we share the enthusiasm of our staff and students to be the best at whatever they choose to do. As one of the City’s biggest employers, we offer some impressive benefits for our staff and are committed to delivering the very best opportunities. We have a comprehensive training, personal and professional development programme that provides our employees with the skills to enhance their performance in the workplace and grow in their careers. There are pension schemes, a generous holiday allowance and flexible working opportunities as well as lifestyle benefits including childcare vouchers, discounted membership to the £4 million sports and recreation centre and schemes such as Cycle to Work and the CU Car Share initiative.

View current job vacancies.


Staff portal

Access the central point of information for all staff across the University.


Student Portal

Check your assessments, access Solar and get course information.


Automotive and Transport Design BA (Hons) 2018/19 entry

Course code:


Study options:



Coventry University


January 2019



Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

+44 (0) 24 7765 2222


We cover the most broad spectrum of transport design examining issues of autonomy, sustainability, ergonomics and the user experience in relation to exterior and interior design, surface and colour applications, lifestyle and future design solutions.

An award-winning course with a long history of achievement, we can offer you access to state-of-the-art facilities, including wind tunnel, robotic milling, laser cutting, rapid prototyping, 3D printing and excellent clay modelling facilities.

Why Coventry University?

An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities to dedicated careers advice and our impressive Students’ Union activities.

Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities


Career-ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Teaching Excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

Course essentials

A degree which offers you more, at no extra cost

What our students say...

I really enjoy being surrounded by peers with a common interest and I'm relishing the opportunity to learn from tutors with industry experience. I feel like by the end i will have the tools to be successful wherever I go.

Rhiannon Hughes-Boatman, BA (Hons) Automotive Design Year 3, Student Representative

Course information

This course aims to develop your understanding of the latest developments, drivers and practices of the automotive, transport and mobility designer beyond merely illustration and styling. You will have the opportunity to learn to create innovative product design solutions in a range of styles and media, which factor in purpose, usability, materials, ecology, desirability, technological feasibility and professional constraints.

You will progress from a general foundation in practical and theoretical automotive and transport design capabilities to more specialist knowledge, culminating with your final project. We focus on both digital and physical 3D modelling, providing you with deeper understanding of digital tools and visualisation techniques. Emphasis is also placed on the development of interpersonal skills to better prepare you to work in teams, as a collaborator, conciliator or leader with patrons, makers, users and specialist interest groups.


of our BA students agree that staff are good at explaining things

NSS, 2016

Course Specification
Download PDF (264Kb)



The first year of the course acts as a diagnostic of your aptitudes and interests. You will expand on your existing 2D drawing and designing skills and be introduced to 3D techniques, modelling in automotive clay and other materials to represent your design intentions.

You will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of packaging and the ergonomic requirements for successful design solutions, together with other key considerations, such as human factors, branding, sustainability, design in context, design analysis and manufacturing.


  • Automotive and Transport Design Studies A

  • Clay Form Exploration

  • Vehicle Architecture, Materials and Manufacturing

  • Automotive and Transport Model Making 1

  • Automotive and Transport Design Studies B


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


In the second year, you will have the opportunity to develop your design process, modelling and presentation skills, learning how to evaluate your work effectively. We will consider current and developing issues in design, design history, branding and design in context. Industry-standard advanced 3D computing and modelling will simultaneously be studied and practised with free-form automotive clay modelling.


  • Marketing, Branding and Design Research

  • 3D Form Development and Model Making 2

  • Vehicle Architecture and Manufacturing

  • Automotive and Transport Design Studies 2


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


After your second year, you have an opportunity to take a sandwich year, studying abroad or on professional placement. Past students have gained placements with manufacturers, large supplier companies and independent design consultancies.


  • Study Abroad

  • Professional Placement


The final year brings together your skills, knowledge, and understanding to produce a professional portfolio of images, computer and physical models, reports and presentations using conventional and new technologies. You will undertake a major project which will be exhibited at our Degree Show. This enables you to showcase your talents and present yourself and your work to industry and the design world


  • Design Investigation

  • Design Research

  • Design Management and Enterprise

  • Research for Design and Reflective Practice

  • BA Final Project (Concept Development)

  • MDes Automotive and Transport Design Final Project (Concept Development)

  • BA Final Major Project (Design Delivery)

  • MDes Automotive and Transport (Design Delivery)


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


Our Design and Crafts courses are ranked 8th by Guardian University Guide 2019

In more detail...

  • Coventry University has been awarded the prestigious ‘Gold Award’ in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
  • 90% of students within ‘Design Studies’ subjects are satisfied with the quality of teaching in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2016.
  • Links with universities in Europe, Asia, China, North and South America provide opportunities to study abroad and gain an international perspective.
  • Strong track record for graduate employment – 90% of our graduates go on to work or study within six months of finishing the course, with 90% of those employed in a professional or managerial job (DLHE 2014/15).
  • Extensive facilities include: state of the art laser cutting, rapid prototyping, desktop CNC milling, 3D printing facilities, paint spraying, scanners, two large block material workshops, large scale painting facilities, styling clay workshops and handwork shops.
  • Specialist design studios with presentation equipment and ample display and pin-up spaces, break out areas for small group work, wireless internet access in all areas, supported by a dedicated print bureau for 2D outputs up to A0 size and several art supplies shops.
  • The regular speaker programme makes use of our extensive links with specialists and current practitioners – with presentations from industrial leaders of various disciplines covering design and other areas relevant to our students development and understanding of professional activities.
  • Past graduates include Christopher Svensson, Design Director - The Americas at Ford Motor Company; William Thorogood - Senior Creative Director at LEGO System A/S; Mark Fetherston, lead designer for Mercedes-Benz; Matt Weaver, Design Director of Infiniti Europe; and leading F1 aerodynamicist John Iley.
  • Computing suites offer current modelling, animation and analysis software, as well as graphic, modelling and visualisation packages, including Alias, Maya, Adobe Creative Suite, Rhino, Vector works, Showcase, VRED and SRAMSIS and Jack ergonomics software. Our frequently updated software packages are compatible with those currently being used in industry.
  • Automotive and transport design: Develops your ability to comprehend, evaluate and practise the specialist skills in the subject areas of automotive, transport, bike, boat and vehicle design. We focus on the specific skills and sensitivities required, including the implementation of relevant specialist technologies, human factors, brand identity, sustainability, shape, form, proportion, balance, line and colour. You will engage on projects using universal design processes as practised throughout the international design community. Each project will be initiated with a different ‘driver of design’ chosen to mirror the whole spectrum of design issues, concerns, opportunities and constraints.

  • Vehicle architecture, materials and manufacturing: Provides you with the knowledge and understanding necessary to perform critical analysis when developing and implementing new designs. We consider the nature and purpose of key architectural components of a vehicle, such as their function, size and location, as well as their interrelationships. You will analyse the materials and manufacturing processes of the key architectural components in the context of manufacturing volumes, current market trends and legislation. This will involve Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which is key for future vehicle technology and fuel comparisons, as well as Design for Disassembly (DfD) principles in compliance with Directive on End-of Life Vehicle 2000/53/EC, the first EU waste directive to introduce the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility.

  • Automotive and transport model making: You will be introduced to 3D sketch modelling using a mixture of materials and techniques as an integral part of the design process. Models may be used to establish the geometry, dimensional parameters and arrangement of parts within a designed object or for the purposes of evaluating functional and/or ergonomic properties. You will have the opportunity to learn to conduct an appropriate appraisal of spatiality, surfacing quality and surface connections and their representation. Free-form design work in 3D will be done using styling clay and virtually using surface modelling software. We will also cover the techniques required for preparing digital model files for physical output through additive (3D printing) and subtractive (milling) methods.

  • Transport ergonomics: To help develop your understanding of designing for a range of human requirements, you will be introduced to the complex interactions between the mechanical and electronic components which compete for space within all vehicles and their occupants. We consider geometric positioning and fit and physical and cognitive interaction between users and the components and systems of the vehicle. We consider the constraints generated by safety, construction and legislation and the opportunities afforded by emerging HMI (Human Machine Interface) technologies and road vehicle automation/collision avoidance technology.

  • Marketing, branding and design research: You will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of how the marketing of a product is influential to its acceptance and success and how branding, and the brand value of a vehicle, product or organisation, can be applied directly at the start of a design exercise. You will be introduced to the idea of a design brief and the basic tools of design research, including market trends, benchmarking and positioning diagrams. You will have the opportunity to learn how to undertake user research to inform design decisions, which meet the needs of the vehicle’s intended active users, passive occupants and other road/rail/waterway/airspace users.

The course normally lasts either three or four years when studied full-time and starts late September. You also have the option to choose a year undertaking study abroad or a professional placement, instead of choosing the Industrial Enhancement Year 3.

You will have access to a base studio with your year group colleagues, which is where you will have the opportunity to learn through design exploration, discussion, sketching and making. There will also be a series of lectures with associated seminars and workshop practical classes. In addition, your personal tutor will review and discuss your progress with you and will be available for advice.

Several pieces of design work will be tackled each year. Projects are set to fully represent the range and duration expected in commercial practice. Specific ‘drivers’ of design, such as environmental impact, inclusive design, blue sky thinking, commercial issues around automotive and transport design, engineering or brand image will provide a range of changing and demanding possibilities.

You will have opportunities to work on collaborative projects with industrial partners. Recent student collaborative projects have been carried out with: Bentley Motors, GM North America, MG/SAIC, Ricardo, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Bowler, Jaguar Land Rover, and the Formula Student racing car and Eco-marathon car (in collaboration with CU Motorsport Engineering).

As the course progresses, you will follow a ‘self-selected display’ format when selecting items for exhibition or inclusion within your portfolio, common in art and design practice. The act of choosing your most powerful work develops valuable skills in self-promotion, reflection and helps to inform personal development.

During your course of study, you will have lots of opportunities to visit the leading exhibitions and major design events, such as the Geneva Motor Show. We organise fieldtrips, for example, to Stuttgart, Germany, to visit Audi in Ingolstadt and the Porsche and Mercedes Museums and Technik Museum Speyer.

We pride ourselves on having visiting designers, consultants and researchers from major design, creativity and brand management consultancies, such as Imagination and Seymour Powell.

Your work will be marked according to how well you achieve the various learning outcomes, which will be clearly set out on all project briefs. Coursework is in the form of practical projects, usually mounted on boards and accompanied by developmental work and sketchbooks. Some written assignments are used to support the coursework and can be in the form of reflective journals and visual research posters.

Project submissions are either physical in the form of sketchbooks or printouts, or they can be electronic uploads onto the University server.

Coursework is assessed using a variety of methods including: presentations, portfolio reviews, essays, reports, reflective logs, e-journals, blogs, displays and exhibitions.

An estimated percentage breakdown of your final grade assessment is as follows:

  • Practical or project work: 45%
  • Coursework: 20%
  • Presentations, posters: 15%
  • Placements: 10%
  • Group work: 10%

20% assessed by coursework

On successful completion, you should have knowledge of:

  • The processes and practices that contribute to the successful design of appropriate automotive and/or transport designs, including an awareness of the impact of design decisions on issues of intellectual property, social impact and cultural sensitivities.
  • Key issues in the field automotive and/or transport design, including user needs, relevant technologies, drivers of design and factors affecting compliance and responsibility, environmental, social, cultural and sustainability issues related to emerging technologies and theories of consumption.
  • Appropriate aesthetic frameworks and traditions in relation to serially produced artefacts and an understanding of the relationship between aesthetic and functional dimensions.
  • The principles of 2D, 3D, and digital techniques as appropriate to communicate design intent and detail.
  • Key research areas, such as automotive and transport heritage, brand identity, market research, emerging technologies, legislative developments in the areas of automotive and transport design.

On successful completion, you should be able to:

  • Utilise and reflect critically upon the drivers for design; to generate a wide range of ideas, concepts, proposals and solutions or arguments independently and /or collaboratively in response to set briefs or self-initiated activity.
  • Apply creative and logical thinking processes to the business of solving automotive and transport design problems and develop ideas through to material outcomes.
  • Analyse the interrelationships within and between aspects of automotive and or transport design, to describe, interpret and evaluate designed artefacts from a range of critical perspectives, taking into account the context of their production, clients, users, consumers and markets and history of design processes.
  • Employ materials, media, techniques, methods, technologies and tools associated with automotive and transport design through drawing, modelling and computer visualisation methods using skill and imagination.
  • Know the various means by which one can represent automotive and transport design and judge their fitness for purpose; select and use various 2D, 3D, and digital techniques appropriately to communicate design intent and detail, having gained confidence in their application. 

In a typical teaching week, you will have up to 18 ‘contact’ hours of teaching. This generally breaks down as:

  • Personal tutorial/small group teaching: 4 hours of tutorials each week.
  • Medium group teaching: 4 hours of medium group lectures and seminars each week.
  • Large group teaching: 10 hours of lectures and supported studio practice each week.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a further 20 hours per week of self-directed studying and practical work in your own time.

We firmly believe that a future design career must fit a global context and we encourage you to engage in an international experience during your study. The course has direct links with universities in China, India, the USA, and Colombia.

Opportunities occur for all students to participate in international trips and exchanges with partnering universities.

Throughout the course, projects will be set with an international focus, which aims to enhance your global experience and broadening your mindset. You may have opportunities to take part in online international learning (OIL) projects working collaboratively across international boundaries, for example, an innovative ambulance design in collaboration with Designskolen Kolding, Denmark.

Global ready

Did you know we help more students travel internationally than any other UK university according to data from the experts in higher education data and analysis, HESA?

In 2016/17, we were able to provide a total of 3,482 experiences abroad that lasted at least five days.

Much of this travel is made possible through our Global Leaders Programme, which enables students to prepare for the challenges of the global employment market, as well as strengthening and developing their broader personal and professional skills.

Explore our international experiences

1st for

international experiences

Sending more students overseas than any other UK uni (HESA 2016/17)


Student experiences

The number of student trips abroad for at least 5 days in 2016/17


and counting

The number of students we’ve helped travel internationally so far


global programmes

As well as trips, we offer other opportunities like language courses

What our students say...

This course has given me so many different experiences from international placements to designing for different types of transport design. It’s given me a broad understanding of the industry and my placement year gave me an understanding of what my employment focus should be.

Matthew Bacon, BA (Hons) Automotive Design, graduated in 2016

Entry Requirements

University Course Code: ADU188
A Level BTEC IB Diploma GCSE requirement
BBC to include at least one Art or Design subject
DDM in an Art or Design subject
27 to include Visual Arts or Design Technology at Higher level. 5 GCSEs at grade A*-C including English Mathematics, or specified equivalents.


A-Level applicants are required to have three
 A2 Levels. Coventry University may include AS grades within an offer for certain courses, but we are not able to accept two AS Levels in place of one A2 Level. In some courses it may be necessary for entrants to have passed specific A2 Levels in nominated subjects. Please see the course pages for more information.

Access Diplomas

The Access Diploma to include 30 Level 3 credits in Mathematics or Physical Science units. Plus GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade A*-C, or specified equivalents.

Coventry University welcomes applicants who have completed, or who are studying, the Access to HE Diploma developed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Successful completion of the course will require you to gain 60 credits with at least 45 to be achieved at Level 3 (with the remainder at Level 2). In some cases we will require you to have gained Merit or Distinction grades in a number of units or in nominated subjects. For more information on the entry requirements for your chosen course please see the relevant course pages.

BTEC Level 3 Diplomas

The University will accept the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma for entry to most courses. In some cases we will require applicants to have studied either certain named modules or a specific named Diploma. The appropriate course page will have full information on the entry requirements. The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry to degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that provide a total volume of study that is equivalent to three A2 Levels. For example, you could be studying a BTEC Level 3 Diploma plus an A2 Level, or a BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma plus two A2 Levels. Where a specific A2 or BTEC subject is required for entry then you must be offering this as part of your combination of qualifications.

Please visit our page on European entry requirements for more information about specific country information.

English as a Foreign Language: This course requires an IELTS of 6.0. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

English as a Foreign Language: This course requires an IELTS of 6.0. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Unconditional offers

We want to recruit the best students to Coventry and having assessed applicants' past, current and predicted performance and commitment to the course we feel that it is appropriate to reward consistently high-achieving students with an unconditional offer from a top university. It is a commitment from us with regard to an applicants’ potential as an excellent undergraduate and we hope that this will encourage such applicants to join the Coventry community.

Personal statements and references will also be taken into account and, for some degree courses, an interview will form part of the assessment. The criteria for unconditional offers will vary across the University as entry requirements for specific courses differ and not all degree courses will be taking part in the Scheme. The unconditional offer will be confirmed once a selected applicant has made Coventry their firm choice.

Coventry University has assessed that you are capable of achieving excellent grades and we have demonstrated this belief by making you an unconditional offer. This is our commitment to you so then we ask that you reciprocate this commitment by selecting us as your ‘firm’ choice and activating your unconditional offer.

We will consider other qualifications for a pre-result unconditional offer providing that you have an appropriate proven performance at GCSE (or equivalent) level and predicted grades in line with grades that we expect to see at A-level. Other qualifications that we may consider for a pre-result unconditional offer include: the International Baccalaureate Diploma, BTEC Level 3 qualifications, Cambridge Pre-U and combinations of qualifications (e.g. BTECS plus A-levels).

An unconditional offer is what it says it is. So if you don’t meet your predictions then your place at Coventry is still guaranteed. However we would hope and expect that you continue to work hard to make the most of your potential and be best prepared to study at university level.

We can’t but our experience over the years has shown us that students like you with a track record of high grades and excellent predictions are very likely to achieve those grades. Our assessment takes into account all elements of your application to allow us to take a holistic view of your potential. There is still the opportunity to gain one of the Coventry University Scholarships if you achieve the required grades so there is a financial incentive to aim high. Unconditional offers are only made to individuals who have demonstrated their commitment so we believe their focus and determination is unlikely to waver in the final stages of their qualifications.

No, the unconditional offer is only available to those who will take up their place in 2018.

What our students say...

Coventry University’s amazing reputation in the automotive industry attracted me to the course. The course gave me the opportunity to evolve and grow into the designer I am today.

Nicole Agba - Automotive and Transport Design BA (Hons)

Tuition Fees

We pride ourselves on offering competitive tuition fees which we review on an annual basis and offer a wide range of scholarships to support students with their studies. Course fees are calculated on the basis of what it costs to teach each course and we aim for total financial transparency.

For more information, please visit our Finance pages.



January 2019

£9,250 (per year)


If you're a truly outstanding undergraduate candidate we may be able to offer you a Coventry University Scholarship.

Coventry University Scholarships are awarded to recognise truly exceptional sports achievement and academic excellence.



January 2019

£9,250 (per year)


For the September 2018 intake we're investing in a range of EU Academic Excellence scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!



January 2019

£14,850 (per year)


For the September 2018 intake we're investing in a wide range of Academic Excellence scholarships for high achieving and enterprising international students. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!

Course essentials at no extra cost

We're committed to communicating study costs clearly to make sure you're not faced with having to make any unexpected payments.

This is why our ‘Flying Start’ package provides you with a few course essentials. Your full-time fee for an undergraduate degree will cover the following:

UK field trips

Any mandatory site visits and trips within the United Kingdom.

Key material

This can include core textbooks, software and equipment.

Laser prints

1,000 A4 sides of black and white laser printing credits per year.

Optional year

Pay no tuition fees for optional work placements or study abroad trips.

As well as covering UK field trips, key materials and laser prints, the fees for this course also includes;

  • Specified core reading material
  • any mandatory UK residential field trips
  • any mandatory UK site visits and trips
  • tuition fee waiver for study abroad year.

The following are additional costs not included in the fees;

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £350+ per trip
  • any additional design materials: £50+ per year

What our students say...

Coventry University’s amazing reputation in the automotive industry attracted me to the course. The course gave me the opportunity to evolve and grow into the designer I am today.

Nicole Agba - Automotive and Transport Design BA (Hons)

Career prospects

Professional enhancement is central to our ethos and you will be encouraged to embrace either an industry placement or international study exchange before your final year. When you graduate, you should be used to working proactively to generate ideas as an individual or in teams and meeting deadlines.

We will encourage and guide you to enter national and international design competitions which can enhance your portfolio, expose you to potential employers and increase networking prospects.

Career opportunities are vast and varied – you could start your own business, become a design consultant, modeller, illustrator, CAD professional, design manager or marketing professionals. Graduates have found opportunities in automotive exterior and interior design, lighting systems design, clay and ‘hard’ modelling, digital modelling and surfacing, 3D visualisation and animation, colour and materials design, user interface design, lifestyle products and design research.

Our Creative Futures employment team is on hand to offer tailored career and enterprise support if you wish to gain employment or take advantage of professional practice opportunities within course specific industries. It provides specialist careers information, advice and guidance to all our students from their first year through to final year and beyond graduation, helping them achieve their desired career outcome. Our dedicated enterprise officers also offer valuable assistance on how to begin as a freelancer/entrepreneur.


of our BA graduates are in work or further study six months after the course

DLHE 2014/15

Where our graduates work

Some of our graduates have gained leading positions in the automotive and transport industry in the UK and all over the world. They are responsible for designing many of the vehicles in circulation today for employers including Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Citroen, Ford, GM, Jaguar Land Rover, JCB, Lotus, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, MG-SAIC, Nissan, Porsche, Renault, Rolls Royce, TESLA, Toyota, Qoros, VW and Volvo


Our BA graduates earn an average salary of £17,000 six months after the course (DLHE 2014/15)

What our students say...

Being on this course has changed the way I think about design. I wanted to design top end luxury cars, but I’ve learnt that designing with restrictions is just as exciting. I want to go into designing and improving transport products for the mass market, improving quality for everyone not just the elite.

Duncan Banford, MDes, Automotive Design, graduated in 2016, now Junior Model Maker at Concept Group International

By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the University. The Contract will detail your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and will contain the obligations that the University will owe to you. We encourage you to read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the University. A copy of the 18/19 Contract can be found here.