Product Design Mdes/BA | Coventry University

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Product Design MDes/BA (Hons) 2018/19 entry

Course code:

W24D (BA Hons)
W243 (MDes)

Study options:

3 years full-time (BA award)
4 years full-time (MDes award)


Coventry University


January 2019



Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

+44 (0) 24 7765 2222


This studio-based course will allow you to explore, create and develop the skills to design innovative products that deliver a rich experience to the user. You’ll have access to extensive specialist facilities and guidance from our experienced practitioners.

Rated among the top 10 design schools for the employability of our students by the British Industrial Design Association, and ranked as the 8th best university in the country for ‘Design and Crafts’ in the Guardian University Guide 2019, Coventry has taught product design for almost 30 years. We have excellent links with a wide range of local and international employers, such as Lego, Dyson, Cambridge Consultants, Kinneir Dufort, Jaguar Land Rover, Herman Miller, Aston Martin, Speedo, Electrolux, Reebok, DCA and Seymour Powell.

A recognised centre of excellence, the department of Industrial Design was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education in 2008 and the Sir Misha Black Award for Innovation in Design Education in 2007.

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

Accreditation and Professional Recognition

This course is accredited and recognised by the following bodies:


As part of our extensive skills development, you may have the opportunity to take Adobe accredited modules as part of the University’s Add+Vantage scheme. Assessed by exams, this training will give you official Adobe accreditation in whichever software you’ve elected to study, providing a valuable addition to your CV, which is sure to enhance your employability.

What our students say...

I love design and the whole process you go through to get to a finished product and this course allows you to explore that process.

Daniel Hiscoke

Course information

If you like the idea of developing innovative new products, our long-established degree seeks to equip you with a broad range of skills, enabling you to create all types of products – from wearable technology to sports footwear to luxury aircraft seating. It could set you on course to become the next Jonathan Ive, Phillipe Starke, Thomas Heatherwick, Bethan Gray or James Dyson!

You will learn to create innovative product design solutions in a range of styles and media, appropriate to the specific audience and purpose, taking account of critical factors, such as usability, materials, ecology, desirability, technological feasibility and professional constraints.


of our MDes students are satisfied by the quality of the course

NSS, 2016

Course Specification
Download PDF (187Kb)



The first year introduces you to the fundamentals of product design. You will learn both 2D and 3D design skills to represent your design intentions, including drawing for design and modelling in different materials.

We consider the impact of human factors, branding, design in context, design analysis and manufacturing. Sustainability is a theme throughout the course, we start by examining the impact of social, environmental and commercial issues around product design, and the possibilities presented by new technologies and future concepts.


  • 2D Design Experience

  • 3D Design Experience

  • Product Design for Manufacture

  • Integrated Design Process 1

  • Professional ID Studies 1


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.


During the second year, you will learn how to evaluate your work in relation to identified objectives, focusing on your own strengths and interests.

We will consider current issues in interior design, design history, branding and design for different market places. Industry-standard advanced 3D computing and animating of computer models is simultaneously studied and practised with free-form styling clay modelling.


  • 3D Modelling and Presentation

  • Branding and Product Design

  • Research Informed Product Design

  • Integrated Design Process 2

  • Professional ID 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 Seymour Powell, Vax, PDD, JMDA, Cambridge Consultants, Design Works, PDG and 1HQ.


  • Study abroad or professional placement


The final year brings together your skills, knowledge and understanding to produce a professional portfolio and may include entry to a national design competition. Our 2016 graduate Chuko Cribb won the prestigious New Designers’ Kingfisher award for his urban spaces project, which incorporated a unique design to grow vegetables in a small space and using less water resources.

You will also undertake a major project and exhibit in our Degree Show. Past students have used placement experience with Adidas to design sports footwear, and experience with Vax to develop new concepts in air conditioning.


  • BA (Hons)

    • Design Enquiry
    • Professional ID Studies 3
    • Product Design BA Final Major Project Ideation
    • Product Design BA Final Major Project Work
  • MDes

    • Design Management
    • Research for Design and Reflective Practice
    • Product Design MDes Final Major Project Ideation
    • Product Design MDes Final Major Project Work


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 in the UK by Guardian University Guide 2019

In more detail...

  • Opportunity to practice form development using 3D styling Clay
  • High levels of student satisfaction – 92% overall and 93% for the quality of teaching in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2016.
  • Rated in the top 10 for student employability by BIDA, the British Industrial Design Association and Ranked 8th in the UK for ‘Design and Crafts’ in the Guardian University Guide 2019
  • Links with universities in Europe, Asia, China, North and South America provide opportunities to study abroad and gain an international perspective (subject to availability and additional costs).
  • Specialist design studios feature drawing tables, presentation AV equipment, wireless internet access, supported by a dedicated print bureau for 2D outputs up to A0 size and the CSAD Art Shop.
  • Outstanding track record for graduate employment – 90% of our graduates go on to work or study within six months of finishing the course, with 70% 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.
  • Computing suites offer modelling, animation and analysis software, as well as graphic and word-processing packages, including Rhino, Adobe Creative Suite, Alias, Maya, Vector works. Visualisation is supported with software such as Bunkspeed, Keyshot, Showcase and VRED.
  • Our regular speaker programme makes use of our extensive links with specialists and current practitioners – with past presentations from Ian McCallum - Jaguar, Carsten Astheimer Design, Penny Hale - Haptic Architecture, Zoe Loughlin – Institute of Making, Maeve Keane and Heather McQuaid - Future Tonic HCD.

Support applying for placement opportunities with previous examples including Seymour Powell, Cambridge Consultants, Design Works and 1HQ.

Your main study themes are:

  • 2D and 3D design: You will be introduced to 2D and 3D illustrative and communication techniques practiced throughout the international product design community. Each assignment will be initiated with a different focus so that on completion you will able to demonstrate your competence in a variety of 2D visualisation and 3D modelling techniques.

  • Product design for manufacture: We explore the principles and relationships involved in the selection of materials and processes for manufacture, their influence on aesthetics and functionality. 

  • Professional studies: We will guide you on your journey to becoming a professional design practitioner. We will encourage autonomous activity in making, drawing, collecting, organising and developing images and other key personal ‘triggers of interest’ in a sketchbook that acts as a log of your work. The sketchbook is intended to be a constant companion and provide a place to note, draw and explore all aspects of design activity taught on courses or initiated in other ways. You will be introduced to the nature of professional design related employment and we will assist you in producing evidence of your progress towards becoming a design professional into a formal portfolio of design work. The main outcome will become a ‘passport to the community of practice’ of professional designers.

  • 3D modelling: Develops your understanding of translating 2D ideas into 3D form, manipulating form to support visual brand language and the use of 3D CAD software to enable the forms you create to be manufactured using the latest digital technologies.

  • Design enquiry: You will be encouraged to demonstrate your capability to undertake an investigative activity that forms the basis for research and key knowledge that underpins the work of design practitioners in their field. Research may include: design practice, theory, management and the context of design, such as historical influence, contemporary practitioners, political and commercial agendas, market trends and analysis, sustainability, brand, technological developments and societal needs.

The course normally lasts three years (BA (Hons)) or four years (MDes) when studied full-time and four to six years part-time. You can start in September.

You will have a base studio with your year group colleagues, which is where you will 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, assistive technology, blue sky thinking, engineering or brand image will provide a range of changing and demanding possibilities.

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.

We provide technical support and access to industry-standard software and hardware, as well as in other technologies like silkscreen, letterpress and laser-cutting from specialist technicians. In addition, you may have the opportunity to sign up for workshops designed to enrich your skills in things like sublimation, photography, print-making and digital media.

During your course of study, we organise field trips to museums and galleries across the UK, which have previously included the V&A, Ikon, Herbert, National Gallery, Photography Gallery and Design Museum. We exhibit at New Designers in London each year, we also offer study trips abroad, previously to Berlin, Rome, Seville and Lisbon to visit museums, design collections and exhibitions and to observe cultural diversity and local practice.

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. There is one written assignment per year and the rest of the coursework is in the form of practical projects, usually mounted on boards and accompanied by developmental work and sketchbooks. Some project submissions are electronic and in these cases you’ll either supply a disc, flash drive or load your work 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, test, essays: 30%
  • Presentations, posters: 15%
  • Group work: 10%

In order to achieve the award of MDes Product Design a student must satisfy the University requirements of 480 credits.  In order to achieve the award of Bachelor of Arts (Honours), a student must satisfy the University requirements of 360 credits. A student who does not wish to progress to a subsequent year of study may apply for an intermediate award of Diploma of Higher Education if they pass a minimum of 240 credits. A Certificate of Higher Education may be awarded to a student with minimum of 120 credits.

30% assessed by coursework, test, essays

On successful completion, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of: the application of creative and logical thinking processes to solve product design problems and develop ideas through to material outcomes, considering issues of intellectual property, social impact and cultural sensitivities; key issues in product design, including user needs, relevant technologies, intellectual property rights, drivers of design and factors affecting compliance and responsibility, environmental, social, cultural and sustainability issues, emerging technologies and theories of consumption; appropriate aesthetic frameworks and traditions in relation to serially produced artefacts; the relationship between aesthetic and functional dimensions of design; the principles of show 2D, 3D, and digital techniques as appropriate; the appropriate mathematical and engineering principles for  particular product design problems; the role of ergonomic principles and other human factors in addressing needs, including the use of anthropometric data.
  • Utilise and reflect critically upon the drivers for design to generate a wide range of ideas, concepts, proposals solutions or arguments independently or collaboratively in response to set briefs or self-initiated activity.
  • Apply creative and logical thinking processes to the business of solving product design problems and develop ideas through to material outcomes.
  • Demonstrate analytical and critical ability including the ability to undertake visual analysis, evaluate designed objects in the context of their historical, social, ethical, political, cultural, business and environmental positions taking account of the requirements for production, clients, users, consumers and markets.
  • Practise and evaluate the processes involved in group and in independent work, including both convergent and divergent thinking in the processes of observation, investigation, speculative enquiry, visualisation and/or making.
  • Analyse the interrelationships within and between aspects of product design; to describe, interpret and evaluate designed artefacts from a range of critical perspectives, considering 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 product design through drawing, modelling and computer visualisation methods using skill and imagination.
  • Utilise the various means by which one can represent product design and judge their fitness for purpose; select and use various 2D, 3D and digital techniques appropriately to communicate design intent and detail.

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 each week.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a further 20 hours 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. There may be opportunities for exchange with students on similar courses in overseas universities. We have links with Delft University in Holland, Oulu Game LAB in Finland, Strate Ecole de Design à Sévres in Paris, Universidad Europea de Madrid in Spain and Zhejiang University of Media and Communications in China. You can also choose to undertake a professional placement abroad with previous students working at EMO Design in Italy, PDG Ltd and MMID in Germany and GlaxoSmithKline in the UK, or with consultancies set up by our alumni such as Sisidea in China.

Furthermore, Coventry School of Art and Design has a multinational population and you will be working alongside students from all over the globe.

Throughout the course, projects will be set with an international focus, enhancing 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, like a recent project with design and engineering students at Colombia EAFIT University.

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...

I love design and the whole process you go through to get to a finished product and this course allows you to explore that process.

Daniel Hiscoke

Entry Requirements

University Course Code: ADU190
A Level BTEC IB Diploma GCSE requirement
BBC to include an Art or Design subject. DMM in an Art or Design subject. 29 to include Visual Arts or Design Technology at Higher level. Minimum 5 GCSEs at A*-C including English and Maths.


You will be required to submit a portfolio/showreel/written work (as appropriate for the particular course) and you may be asked to attend an interview if it is practical to arrange.


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

A pass in the Access Diploma. 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 overall. 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 overall. 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...

I love design and the whole process you go through to get to a finished product and this course allows you to explore that process.

Daniel Hiscoke

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 print, the fees for this course also include:

  • Voucher for the CSAD Art Shop

The following are additional costs not included in the fees:

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

What our students say...

I love design and the whole process you go through to get to a finished product and this course allows you to explore that process.

Daniel Hiscoke

Career prospects

Your creative thinking, problem solving and communication skills are valued by employers and could lead to roles not just in product design, but also design consultancy, design engineering, exhibition and events design, special FX model-making, point of sale design, product marketing or teaching.

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.

The outcome of your final year will be presented in our prestigious Degree Show with a possible opportunity for you to present your work at an external venue, for example New Designers in London.

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.

Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The University's Careers and Employability team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.


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

DLHE 2014/15

Where our graduates work

Recent graduates have gone on to become design futures consultants, product marketing managers and patent agents, as well as a full range of more conventional product design roles.


Our graduates earn an average salary of £18,000 six months after the course (DLHE 2014/15)

What our alumni say

What has my course taught me? Everything! It’s allowed me to travel, I spent six months in Amsterdam on placement, then three months in China. It’s opened my eyes to a much bigger picture. I’ve learnt to sell myself, be proactive and get as much as I can out of every opportunity.

Jordan Littlewood, MDes Consumer Product Design, graduated in 2016

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.