Product Design MSc

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School: Art & Design
  • Study Mode: Full Time

The programme has established a world-class reputation across industry, research and teaching. We have strong connections to the UK and global design economy and our tutors are collaborating on research and industrial projects with global design consultancies. 

The programme will provide you with:

  • an ideal launch pad for entering the fast moving and exciting world of creative technology
  • an ability to make highly resolved product prototypes that explore and harness socially relevant design responses, thereby challenging the way people and society interact with creative technologies
  • an ability to interact and co-create with others, enabling you to become leaders in helping industry and society navigate the incredible opportunities and challenges that lie in our imminent futures
  • the tools and techniques for embedding cutting-edge technology into products
  • an internationally leading educational environment building on research and industry relationships, so ensuring a market readiness and entrepreneurship at the highest level
  • new perspectives and frameworks on problem-finding/solving, prototyping, design thinking and making, drawing upon an integral theoretical approach
  • the professional expertise and experience to work in cross-disciplinary teams to address contemporary real world issues 

Our Approach

We work with technologies through playful thinking and making.

We work with you to develop design responses where digital technologies are changing the way we live our lives.

We are exploring how humans and technology co-evolve.

I loved how Product Design was part of the greater art school. All the facilities were open to me – it didn’t matter what discipline I needed to work in. If I needed to polish metal in the jewellery work room or screen print a design, it was all at my disposal. I definitely took that for granted. Every time I want to do something now I get a quote back with a huge string of zeros attached. I absolutely loved living in Dundee. It’s just a big village. Every time you walked across campus, you’d bump into someone you knew. It has that strong community feeling.

Navid Gornall
Creative Technologist, at agency Ogilvy & Mather

How you will be taught

Key to the philosophy of the MSc Product Design programme is a research driven and interdisciplinary approach to learning and teaching. This means that students are taught modules in both design and technology. Where possible, students will also collaborate with internal research scholars and groups, as well as external organisations and practitioners. Developing the research potential and impact of our postgraduate students is integral to our vision for research. As such, guidance is given for those who wish to continue to MPhil and PhD.

Teaching will be delivered through lectures, workshops, practical work and e-learning materials. Typically, teaching will happen in the studio, where staff and students will work together on specific issues and problems, and where students will be held responsible to drive their learning through effective interaction with tutors, peers and others. However, academic support and guidance will be provided through regular group tutorials and individual drop-in appointments.

How you will be assessed

There are no examinations associated with this programme. Assessment comes from the completion of coursework produced during each module. This may include practical work, written assignments and oral presentations. 

What you will study

The MSc Product Design Programme is timetabled for full-time study over 12 months or part-time over 24 months (Home/EU students only).

Semester 1 will cover core skills for people, design and technology and modules will be delivered in block mode over 3/4 weeks, consisting of the following:

  • Accelerator (20 credits)

This module aims to accelerate students’ learning around the core values of the programme enabling them to fast-track a shared studio community that will build a common platform for understanding their journey through the remainder of the programme.

  • Creative Technologies (20 credits)

In this module students will gather new theoretical and practical understanding of what it means to be a creative technologist. Through learning how to tell stories about and with technology, students will gain a deep understanding of how open hardware and software platforms can be used as prototyping tools within socially motivated design projects. This will most likely include open hardware platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Electric Imp. The module will also be closely aligned to the new Make Space facility at DJCAD.

  • Changing Populations (20 credits)

In this module, students will learn about the human lifespan and their changing capabilities and experiences in the context of design. Students will also be introduced to different design research methods to help understand and empathise with the people for whom they are designing.

Semester 2 enables students to evaluate their skills and design ability in the context of a Research & Development (R&D) project. The following modules will be taught in the conventional distributed pattern of delivery over 11/12-weeks:

  • Prototyping: Insights to Innovation (20 Credits)

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the “conventional” and “unconventional” use of prototypes and methods of prototyping in academic and commercial practices and to be able to differentiate the two in problem finding/solving situations. In addition, the module will explore the expanded notion of prototyping, paying particular attention to evolutionary techno-biological systemic prototyping.

  • Interdisciplinary Research Project (40 Credits)

In this module, students will work as a team alongside internationally-leading researchers to address a specific brief set by an external problem holder. Skills developed in Semester 1 will be utilised to gather insights and requirements and prototype solutions.

Semester 3 provides students with the studio environment to undertake a major project in an area of professional interest chosen by them. Students will demonstrate their ability to realise a project to Masters Level. To help kick-start projects, the module will be frontloaded with presentations and group activities closely aligned to the Small Society Lab at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA).

  • Studio Practice: Independent Project (60 Credits)

This module aims to provide students with an extended opportunity to demonstrate their ability to self manage their own learning and for them to develop highly resolved product prototypes that explore and harness socially relevant design responses. Students should use this module to help position themselves for a professional career in product design or creative and high-tech industries.

Graduates from Product Design have gone on to have successful careers in the following fields, among others. 

  • consumer electronics
  • sports equipment
  • medical products
  • automotive industry
  • large and small businesses
  • independent consultancies in the UK and abroad

Product Design research at the University of Dundee has attracted grant awards including

  • £1.1m UK government award to explore new ways to connect disadvantaged communities to the digital economy
  • a three year research project to investigate how co-design and wearable technologies can improve the mobility and wellbeing of older people in care homes
  • a Digital R&D Fund for the Arts to investigate information sharing and big data analytics.

The course topics and skills taught are extremely relevant and in many ways ahead of the general industry practice and understanding. Even 3 years into my career I still find myself quoting MSc Product Design projects, briefs and techniques learned in reference to current commercial projects.

Jack Chalkley
Head Creative Technologist at the Knit agency in London

Year of Entry: 2016

Academic Entry requirements - Honours degree at 2.1 or above in a creative or technical discipline (e.g. product design, industrial design, engineering, architecture, computer science etc.), although applicants with other qualifications or relevant professional experience will also be considered.

Written work - Please provide a short (500 word) story about you and your interest in Product Design. Make it as personal as you want or use your imagination! We want to see how you write about the world

You will need to upload a portfolio of 3D based design / technology work. You can submit

  • Sketches
  • freehand drawing
  • modelling
  • any design work
  • relevant work/ industry experience examples.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee statusFees for students starting 2016/17
Scottish, Rest of UK and EU students £4,500 per year of study
Scottish and EU applicants for this course may be eligible for a PSAS tuition fee loan
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for international applicants

Please read the Postgraduate "How to Apply" section for information on how to upload relevant documents to UKPASS before proceeding with your application.

Apply online via UKPASS

Course Contact

Mr Fraser Bruce
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design
+44 (0)1382 388101