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Undergraduate Course

Product Design BA (Hons)

Invent, innovate and create. It's your chance to turn your passion for design into a career.

Student looking at ipad and product sketches

This degree is all about creativity and invention. It's about designing and making products, whether that be on an industrial or bespoke level. We will give you the technical skills you need to turn the product innovations of your imagination into reality. You will graduate with the theoretical and practical expertise to make it in the creative industry.

97% Design students responded with a 97% positivity score for how good teaching staff are at explaining things. (National Student Survey 2023)

98% Design students responded with a 98% positivity score for how well teaching staff supported their learning. (National Student Survey 2023)

York campus

  • UCAS code – W200
  • Duration – 3 years full time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum entry requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Tuition fees

    UK 2024 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2024 entry £11,500 per year full time

Discover studying at York St John University

Study Design

Simon Harrison, Associate Head of Design introduces us to Design at York St John University.

Runway Visitor Park 2023

Students from our design courses visited Manchester's Runway Visitor Park to see Concorde, and to be briefed on one of their collaborative design projects.

Course overview

Gain the knowledge and skills you need to find creative solutions to design problems. We will help you understand how your products can meet the needs of users and make a difference to the way we live. From the day you join the course you will respond to briefs as you draw, model and make products. While studying with us you will:

  • Examine human factors and how we use products
  • Conduct user-centred research to understand user needs
  • Explore the materials and processes used in product design
  • Learn to test and evaluate product prototypes
  • Consider the differences between designing for bespoke and industrial product design

To turn your innovations into reality, we will help you decide the best materials, processes and technologies to use. You will become an experienced user of computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacture (CAM) applications.

When you choose to study with us, you have the opportunity to:

  • Take part in national competitions to put your ideas out into the world
  • Work with industry clients on live briefs, researching and presenting your own proposals to clients
  • Visit cities around the world, so you can experience international contemporary design and find new inspiration
  • Exhibit your work at our annual degree show, the perfect way to build a professional network

Our team of designers and technical specialists are here to support you. Your tutors will really get to know you, your practice and your ambitions.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. How many modules you take each semester will depend on whether you are studying full time or part time. 

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study: 

  • 1 compulsory module across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 1 
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop your knowledge of the history, contexts and theories of design by comparing historical and current practices. There will be opportunities to able to apply what you learn on this module while developing your personal practice. You will also further your research, academic writing and presentation skills.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module aligns and supports Product Design Practice 1 by helping you to develop and nurture a critical understanding of the key product design principles. You will be assessed in your ability to identify user needs, develop solutions to design problems, make design proposals and test these in a critical and reflective manner. You will also develop skills in visual communication and workshop practices, which are central to the needs of professional designers.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Design is a process, and this is your opportunity to discover methods and techniques that can be used when approaching any design project. As well as looking at existing practice, you will be encouraged to find your own ways of making work. Design is a creative field, not a science. A designer’s process tends to be more loopy than linear. By working in a more structured way, you will face new challenges and create original methods of making your work.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

The module is delivered through lectures, class seminars, interactive workshops, 1 to 1 tutorials and group critiques. You will develop knowledge, skills, critical and creative thinking through a series of project briefs. These briefs will progress to address increasingly complex contexts enabling you to develop more comprehensive proposals.


Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 1 compulsory module across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

You will produce an independent research project that demonstrates your ability to interpret, analyse and construct a critical commentary on contemporary and/or future design practice. In this module you will draw on:

  • Your previous work from the research stage of the design process
  • Your knowledge of design history theory, gained through the Context of Practice module
  • New knowledge discovered through primary and secondary research

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Gain experience of professional design practice. You will be introduced to transferable skills to prepare you for entering employment and continued personal development. You will be encouraged to identify potential specialisms around your personal aims and ambitions in preparation for Games Design Practice 2. There will be an opportunity for you to continue learning outside of the classroom, including:

  • Placements
  • Studio visits
  • Guest speaker talks
  • Live briefs

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Professional creative practice is always collaborative. Whether negotiating and working alongside a client, peers, or associated professions, you will need to be able to communicate effectively. This module will support you in developing the skills required to be a proactive and effective collaborator. On this module you will take part in a collaborative group project. You will collaborate across design specialisms and work together to solve a complex problem with design. In doing this, you will explore different models of collaboration and consider the methodologies and challenges of working together. At the end of the project you will reflect individually on the process and its success.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module


Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Building on your knowledge from your previous years of study, you will develop your own research project with the help of your allocated supervisor. Together with your supervisor you will decide on your design research question at the beginning of the year, agreeing to a research plan spanning across both semesters. You will then independently lead, manage and produce the work required.

Through this you will develop highly transferable skills, such as:

  • Self confidence
  • Self discipline
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Time management

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

Through a series of lectures, seminars, tutorials, portfolio reviews, group and individual ‘critiques’, you will build experience of working in a professional environment. This will allow you to produce work that addresses the needs and requirements of external stakeholders including clients, competitions judges, user groups and audiences.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

Demonstrate your skills as a product designer by executing your design brief. Use your practical skills, overcome problems, apply reasoning and present a critical argument to support decision making. This module aims to help you:

  • Become an independent and autonomous design practitioner
  • Nurture your personal development to prepare you for your graduate career prospects

This is your opportunity to demonstrate independence in the way you plan and conduct your work. It is also the time for you to work to a professional standard of design practice and look towards your graduate career prospects.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

We deliver your modules through:

  • Lectures
  • Demonstrations
  • Seminars
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Practical workshops

Each module has 2 to 5 hours of contact time a week. We schedule our taught sessions between 9.00am and 8.00pm, Monday to Friday.

You will need to conduct independent study outside of this time. This might include design work, reading, writing tasks and research. You can also arrange academic tutorials with your module tutors throughout the year to receive feedback on your work and discuss the course content.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


There are no exams on this course. Assessment types vary from module to module. Some of your assessments might include:

  • Portfolios of animation work
  • Research reports
  • Essays
  • Exhibitions
  • Individual and group critiques
  • Dissertations and reflective reports

For each assessment you will have the chance to talk to a tutor about your work before submission. Each assessment will be marked and returned with feedback so you can improve your work.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Product Design

On this course you will gain the creative and technical ability you need to succeed as a product designer. You will be able to demonstrate your versatility and practical skill through your portfolio of work. You will also build skills in problem solving, research and communication that can lead to a range of other creative roles.

This degree could be the first step toward your career as a:

  • Computer aided design (CAD) technician
  • Clothing technologist
  • Furniture designer
  • Interior designer
  • Materials engineer
  • Product designer

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

Postgraduate degrees at York St John University

Product Design MSc

PGCE at York St John University

Further your education and work towards a rewarding career in teaching by studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) after you graduate. For over 180 years, we have worked with enthusiastic individuals who want to shape the future of young people across both primary and secondary school settings. You'll spend a lot of time in schools, developing your practice by teaching. You will graduate with Qualified Teacher Status and become part of the well respected alumni of York St John educators.

Discover more about PGCE

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed.

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Portfolio Day

If your application is successful, you will be invited to a portfolio day. On the day, you will show your work with our tutors and share with them your passion for the subject.

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK, or internationally (outside the UK). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry onto this course is:

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time

These prices apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page:

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition fees

    UK 2024 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2024 entry £11,500 per year full time

International 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this course is £11,500 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree:

International fees and funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email

Course highlights

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