Combine creative flair with an understanding of design for 21st century manufacture. Specialise in user-centred or technically-oriented design as you prepare for a career making effective, attractive products that people want. Choose a BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons) pathway depending on your career preference.
Product Design at Derby is aimed at creative people who may have studied Art and Design or Design Technology at school or developed a passion for the subject since leaving formal education. We will help you to build on your creativity and develop an understanding of the reality of design for manufacture. Because we teach in small groups we can help you to develop your potential as an individual and support your personal enthusiasm for design.
We recognise that the role of the Product Designer is constantly evolving along with the way that products are produced and consumed. You will be exposed to a wide range of potential outcomes encompassing traditional mass manufacturing and the current trend towards maker culture which is centred on a more individual approach. This is reflected both in the teaching and the facilities that we offer.
You'll focus developing your creativity and practical skills that employers tell us they want from graduates:
Industry sponsored assignments
Knowledge of the latest technologies in CAD, visualisation and rapid prototyping
Choose a BA or BSc route
This course has been designed to give you the option to tailor it to match your personal interests on a BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons) pathway.
You'll study at Markeaton Street and work in studios and workshops, running alongside advanced computer based systems, to develop the traditional design skills and creative processes that employers say are relevant in a modern design environment.
Our previous programme leader, Terry Watson, contributed to an article in The Independent exploring the benefits of a degree in product design.
How Sam built his dream career
Sam followed his passion and works in his dream role as a Design Manager for LEGO.
I have learned about the importance of sustainability and real-life situations that the product designer has to consider, as well as the importance of understanding the people who would be using the product.
Product Design graduate
The real-world design briefs helping Alex stand out
Alex Freeman is already building an impressive portfolio of work through industry briefs and opportunities through his Product Design course.
The course allowed me to develop my abilities and try more daring designs, testing my creative and critical thinking skills. Lecturers supported good design and gave critical feedback to improve the final product.
Product Design graduate
All Art and Design, Film, Photography and Music courses are based at our Markeaton Street site where industry-standard, purpose built studios and labs provide a modern and creative space for our students. Markeaton Street encompasses Chandos Pole Street which is home to our Fashion and Textiles courses and Britannia Mill is home to Fine Art, Illustration and Interior Design studio spaces. Our Theatre students learn from professionals at the professional producing and learning Derby Theatre in the heart of Derby city centre.
Markeaton Street is a 15 minute walk from Kedleston Road, and is serviced by regular site shuttle buses.
Where you will learn
Our Product Design Studio at Markeaton Street is a creative space used for lectures and seminars, one-to-one sessions, group work and presentations to employers.
The Studio hosts technical resources which complement the facilities available in the Markeaton Street Workshops and the Makerspace. These include CAD PC workstations, A3 scanner, LCD graphics tablets, and a bank of 3D printers which are open access for the Product Design students and can be used to prototype and iterate their design concepts.
There is also a small photographic area for recording models and prototypes, and a discussion space and relaxation area. We encourage students to develop a studio culture and see this as an important space for year groups to mix and share ideas.
Open to all students at the University of Derby the Makerspace is a student-led workshop based at our Markeaton Street site. There is a large range of tools in the Makerspace that you are able to use in your own time to design and develop projects.
Our Makerspace is a community-run facility where all students and staff of the university can collectively meet, work and share infrastructure. You can get creative with tools like laser cutters, 3D printers, power tools and more basic hand tools for prototyping of work on your own projects. The space is intended for people with all levels of experience and backgrounds from the expert working on their latest masterpiece down to the beginner who has never used tools before but wants to learn how to make things.
Your lecturers have real world experience as designers working for manufacturing companies and as consultants, so you'll benefit from their expertise. You'll learn through practical studio-based project work with formal lectures, seminars and debates to give you a good theoretical knowledge. You'll put your learning into context through industry learning opportunities, live project work, competitions, teamwork, cultural field study visits and visiting speakers.
Our courses are highly practical and hands-on, and you’ll spend most of your time in the studio and workshop, developing 2D and 3D design. Your work will be on display at the University’s Degree Show in your final year. Work is then hand-picked to be displayed at New Designers in London, an excellent opportunity to network and make vital contacts to get you started in your career.
How you are assessed
Assessment is 100% coursework, using a range of mainly project-based outcomes.
Every year students from the School of Arts celebrate their time at University by showcasing their work at an end of year Degree Show at Markeaton Street and across the City of Derby. The Show usually runs throughout June. It is a fantastic opportunity for potential employers, friends, family, industry and members of the public to see exciting creations by the next generation of artists, designers, creators and makers from Derby. The Show takes the form of:
Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.
Dan Garner is a senior lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and programme leader for BSc Product Design Engineering and MSc Advanced Materials and Additive Manufacturing. Core specialism in the field of Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing with a focus on Digital Manufacturing (3Dprinting, 3D scanning, CAD).
This course is no longer accepting applications for September 2023.
Our graduates have shown that there is a wealth of career opportunities available to product designers, in the UK and abroad. This course will give you the skills and knowledge you need to start your career, both in the product design profession and in related areas.
You can go on an optional work placement between year two and year three, which is a fantastic opportunity to gain some real experience of working in the industry. You'll also gain an additional qualification - the Diploma in Professional Practice. Find out more about placements
Every year we select graduates to showcase their work at the New Designers exhibition which is a great opportunity to network and make vital industry contacts.
Employable graduates – we’re ranked 15th highest amongst all UK universities and 12th for English institutions with 96% of graduates in work or further study within six months of completing their degree.
Graduate Sam Johnson landed a dream job at Lego, and is now an established designer, here's what he had to say about the course: “Studying the course at the University of Derby helped me develop a very good understanding of the design process and CAD software. Plus I learned new skills in drawing, rendering and presentation which resulted in me landing my childhood dream job as Junior Designer with Lego after graduation.”
Our graduates have gone on to work for employers including:
Banks Mill Studios
We also provide support for graduates starting out in the creative industries in the form of Banks Mill, an innovative space for creative and digital industries located in a landmark building within the heart of Derby city centre.
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.
Included in your fees
Use of workshop resources, 3D imaging software, fieldtrips, participation in Degree Show and New Designers London exhibition, participation in competitions and live projects
Additional access to wider University Arts’ facilities including equipment loan store and other facilities, such as digital print workshops, traditional 3D making workshop, laser cutter, CNC and basic RP facilities
Materials kit: paper, card, basic modelling materials are provided
Basic materials such as MDF, plastics, glue, and card paper provided for set coursework tasks
Compulsory Study Visits, Participation in University Degree Show and a London Graduate Show
Participation in design competitions and live projects
Here at Derby, we provide excellent learning resources, libraries and specialist laboratories and studios
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
Drawing equipment general 'toolbox' (marker pens, pencils, scalpels, layout pads etc.) approx. £50-£75 in each year
Additional materials (printing, stationery, portfolio sleeves, folders, USBs/hard drives etc.) approx. costs - Year 1= £150, Year 2 = £200, Year 3 = £300)
Foam for modelling, markers, materials for making, show printing of student work, production of prototype and final models, production of RP models. Approx. costs - Year 1= £50 , Year 2 = £50 , Year 3 = £50 (Costs determined by student)
Optional costs not included in your fees
Travel for work placement opportunities (costs will vary dependant on location)
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.