Product Design BSc (Hons)

  • For Entry: September 2014
  • UCAS Code: W240
  • Duration: 4 years
  • College: Art, Science & Engineering
  • School: Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

This course isn't just about creating something, it's about researching how people and technology work together to improve the world.

We are an award winning product design programme with success in a number of national and international competitions and expeditions - from D&AD global student awards, to exhibition success at New Designers and Tent London, and to industry awards from NCR and Microsoft.

Product design at Dundee will train you to design products that work. Products people can get their hands on, play with, admire, tell people about and ultimately want as their own. We don't think that it is all about products that work though, our students are taught how to find out what people want, to understand their needs and to design products for them. Our aim is to develop designers who can re-appropriate existing and explore emerging technologies in a playful way and use them as a creative medium throughout the design process.

In our studios we will work with you so that you can become part of the next generation of leading edge designers that are comfortable programming electronics, talking to people, making models or rendering in CAD. It is not about presenting ideas of what a product might be, or building a technical prototype of how a product might work - we will help you to develop the skills to respond to people's needs and design products that work.

In addition to project-based studio activity, we will give you the opportunity to witness design in practice in industry in the form of lectures, field trips and company visits. We also run a number of projects as a live client, where the brief is set by industry. In order to deepen your understanding of design in practice we encourage and help you to find summer placements with companies.

At the end of the course you will be able to:

  • understand product design and innovation
  • engage with people to solve problems
  • use complex engineering skills and computer aided design
  • create your own product from original concept to completed, functional item


Who should study Product Design?

You are:

  • inquisitive
  • a problem solver
  • creative
  • enthusiastic

You want to:

  • design a new product that will resolve a problem or fulfil a need
  • research ways to bring people and technology together
  • learn the technical skills required to create your vision
  • develop your computer aided design skills

New Designers

Final year students are given the opportunity to showcase their work at New Designers in London along with over 4,000 other design graduates from around the UK.

New Designers brings the design industry together, helping to launch the careers of the attending design graduates. With over 18,000 visitor throughout the duration of the exhibition there is a great opportunity to be discovered.

86% of exhibiting courses had graduates receive offers of work, placements or commissions.

Related Courses

Key to the philosophy of the BSc (Hons) Product Design is an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. Such an approach is possible due to the course being jointly delivered by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (djcad) and the School of Engineering, Physics and Mathematics (EPM), who both have internationally recognised research and product development expertise, providing you with broad and expertly delivered twenty-first century product and engineering design teaching.

Our broad approach means that you will have engineering lecturers and labs alongside product design practice studios and design history tutorials. 

In Levels 1 and 2 your time will be divided equally between producttechnology and design studies. As you progress through the course, you will spend more time on your product design practice, with this forming half of your study time in Level 3 and three quarters in Level 4. This gives you the space to be trained but importantly to build the kind of strong product design portfolio that employers are looking for. 

Learning occurs within a dynamic open studio environment where social interaction, peer and group learning and inter-year participation contributes to a stimulating environment. You will learn through a combination of workshopslectures and self-initiated projects.

Level 1

Level 1 introduces you to some of the key skills a designer requires to develop successful products. You will work on a number of short and longer projects as individuals and in teams. You explore a range of 2-D and 3-D visualisation techniques in Design Studies. Fundamental principles of engineering, as well as the materials available to you as a designer, are introduced through Technology modules.

  • Product Design Practice: Fundamentals of Product Design Design Studies
  • Design Studies: Visual Expression
  • Technology: Mechanics and Thermodynamics and Design Technology (Materials)

Level 2

Level 2 encourages you to build on your understanding of designing products gained at Level 1. You learn how to develop products to a greater level of detail and consider how issues such as ergonomics can influence design. You are also introduced to the world of interaction design. 

Students are encouraged to develop a personal design process, as well as understand the different contexts in which they may operate as a designer. Technology modules provide an introduction to electronics, 2-D and 3-D computer aided design and structural analysis.

  • Product Design Practice: Industrial Design and Interaction Design
  • Design Studies: Contexts/ Stakeholders and Structuring Creativity Technology
  • Technology: Software Engineering (CAD and microcontrollers); Structural Design and Manufacturing

Level 3

Level 3 deepens your understanding of designing products through investigating the needs of people. You are introduced to a number of research techniques that allow you to engage with people and are encouraged to embed this new knowledge in your products. You also explore some of the commercial issues that affect the development of products and are encouraged to contextualise the development of your work in terms of current social issues.

In preparation for your final year, emphasis is placed on the development of highly polished models with working technology embedded in them. Technology modules develop your understanding and use of the principles behind engineering design.

  • Product Design Practice: Design Research; Design Products
  • Design Studies: Design Futures and Professional Practice Technology
  • Technology: Engineering Design

Level 4

The majority of your time in the final year is spent in the studio and dedicated to a major personal project. By this stage you will have enough knowledge of product design to define your own brief. You can also choose from a range of optional modules.

The year will result in an exhibition of your work at the Duncan of Jordanstone Degree Show. Previous major projects have explored interactive furniture, services and products that promote sustainable living, inclusive design solutions for the visually impaired and digital products for the home. 

  • Product Design Practice: Design Portfolio Project
  • Electives, for example: Business Innovation for Designers; Advanced CAD; Design Dissertation

Typically, assessment in product design and design studies is through designed products, services or interactions which are presented to the class. 

You are trained and encouraged to present in a range of formats in such a way that you are given a good grounding in graphics, media (web-pages, blogs, short-films) and verbal skills. 

In engineering, assessment is through a mixture of coursework (technical reports), exams and team practical projects. 

Through this variety of ways of assessing we build your skills and confidence in the life-long skill of presenting your thinking and skills to an audience.

Employability is the fundamental driver for our course. We pride ourselves on building strong relationships with employers throughout our students' education, enabling a smooth and quick route to industry and further academic training on graduation.

Our graduates are employed as product designers, service designers and interaction designers across the globe for companies such as Live|Work, Alpkit, Microsoft and NCR.

The following are the minimum requirements, please note qualifications have to be obtained at the first sitting of examinations.

Please note that the entry requirements in our printed prospectus may be subject to change. The entry requirements listed below are up to date and should be referred to in case of any discrepancy.

Courses starting September 2015

Level 1 Entry

Qualification Minimum Grade Typical Grade
IB Diploma 30 points
Essential Subjects One or more from Art & Design (or other creative subject), Product Design, an appropriate technical subject (eg Computing, Information Systems) plus an appropriate literate subject (SQA Higher, GCE A-Level, ILC Higher or IB Higher level)
EU & International Visit our Your Country webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country
Other Qualifications
Scottish Baccalaureate
SWAP Access
Advanced Diploma
Welsh Baccalaureate
European Baccalaureate

Courses starting September 2015

Advanced Entry (to Level 2)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher BB (Advanced Higher) + BB (Higher) in different subjects
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5 at Higher level)
Essential Subjects One or more from Art & Design (or other creative subject), Product Design, an appropriate technical subject (eg Computing, Information Systems) (SQA Advanced Higher, GCE A-Level or IB Higher level) plus an appropriate literate subject (SQA Higher, GCE A-Level or IB Higher level)
EU & International
Other Qualifications
SQA A recognised Foundation Course or a relevant HND with BB in the Graded Units
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with BB at AH
SWAP Access
EDEXCEL A recognised Foundation Course or a relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM
Advanced Diploma Grade B with ASL A-levels in appropriate subjects at AB
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-levels in appropriate subjects at AB
European Baccalaureate 75% overall with 7.5 in an Art & Design subject and 7.5 in a literate subject

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will, in most cases, depend on your current country of residence.

The fee shown is annual, and may be subject to an increase each year.

Fee categoryFees for students starting September 2014
Scottish students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Rest of UK students £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants.
EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants.

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

Once we have reviewed your application and have checked that you meet our qualification requirements, we will invite you to attend an interview. You will be asked to bring your portfolio with you which can include creative work examples including:photographs, sketchbooks, websites, videos, posters, paintings, drawings, computer graphics, models, prototypes, clothes, sound recordings, things you have engineered, sewn, etc.

Please apply via UCAS