BSc (Hons) Product Design and Innovation - University of Portsmouth
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BSc (Hons)

Product Design and Innovation

UCAS codeH771

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

A career in product design is challenging, fulfilling and well paid

Course Overview

Why take this course?

From the humble can opener to the bagless vacuum cleaner, we are surrounded by products that we need for modern-day living. We take so many of these devices for granted, but have you ever stopped to think about how clever some product designs really are? If you have, you will appreciate that there’s huge scope for being radically creative – to design faster, easier and at minimum cost.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Use our sophisticated computer software and rapid prototyping equipment
  • Put learning into practice by doing a paid work placement, either in the UK or overseas
  • Work on real-life projects through our links with industry and various design centres

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course has been accredited as fulfilling the requirements for membership of the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED). It has also been accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) for Incorporated Engineer status (IEng). Accreditation ensures that the course maintains its academic relevance and enhances the value of your course to subsequent employers.

You can expect to find careers in the fields of computer-aided design, visualisation, product data management and other related fields.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • Design
  • Research and development
  • Product manufacture
  • Project management


Felicity Fuller, BSc (Hons) Product Design and Innovation student 2013

I like the way our course allows students to have their own independence.

Felicity Fuller, BSc (Hons) Product Design and Innovation student 2013


Product Design

Hear Chris, one of our product design students, talk about the exciting opportunities he has to undertake real-life projects with clients such as Anglepoise and how this adds to his learning experience by giving him:

  • the ability to gain the business skills employers are looking for
  • the capacity to build up your portfolio and develop his CV
  • the potential to have his product come to market

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

You will be introduced to the concept of product design and innovation as well as computer aided product design. Also we’ll work on bridging any gaps in your artistic and technical knowledge, providing an all round basis for further study.

Core units in this year include:

  • Introduction to Design
  • Introduction to Technology Concepts
  • Introduction to Materials and Manufacture (PD)
  • Communication and IT
  • Introduction to Illustration Techniques 1
  • Computer Aided Product Analysis and Illustration

Year two

In this year you will be given choices in the direction of your studies. You’ll have the option of these two routes of study: Computer Aided Product Design or Product Design and Innovation.

Core units in this year include:

  • Illustration Techniques  
  • Materials and Manufacture
  • Computer Aided Visualisation
  • Conceptual Design
  • Research Methods for Product Designers

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Product Analysis
  • Student Enterprise (Planning and Delivery)

Year three*

In your final year you will have the opportunity to put into practice all your new skills in both group and individual project work. There is also a range of topics covered for you to really cement your knowledge of product design.

Core units in this year include:

  • Individual Project
  • Human Centred Product Design
  • Preparation for Product Launch
  • Advanced and Modern Materials

*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work placement)

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials (personal and academic), laboratory and project work, CAD system activity and open access study. The course has a strong practical emphasis and we pride ourselves on working at the leading-edge of technology and learning practices.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 25% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 75% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 25% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 75% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 16% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 84% studying independently and 0% on work placement


A range of assessment methods encourages a deeper understanding of engineering and allows you to develop your skills. Here’s how we assess your work:

  • written examinations and multiple choice tests
  • coursework and portfolio
  • case studies
  • practical tests
  • presentations

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 34% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 66% by coursework
  • Year two students: 22% by written exams, 12% by practical exams and 66% by coursework
  • Year three students: 27% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 73% by coursework

Tutor's view


Vasileios Adamos
Product Design

For us, a successful graduate is somebody who has the ability to apply the knowledge from this course in the most efficient way possible. We make sure of this through problem based learning, by enabling you to think outside the box and always look at the greater picture of what you are doing and not just the task at hand.

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Facilities & Features


We offer you a range of labs such as the Analogue Electronics and Control Engineering Laboratory and the Telecommunications and Signal Processing Laboratory. From Digital Signal Processing (DSP) kits to walking robots, all are well-equipped with industry-standard experimental and computational facilities.

Design Studios

As well as purpose-built studios for our material workshops, we also have a variety of digital studios. Design, construct and trial your product designs – it’s important for you to envisage how things work and are made to become a good designer. Our design facilities can cater to whatever project you are working on.

Maths Café

Drop in any time and get one-to-one help with that tricky maths or stats problem. With handouts on key topics to take away and computer aided learning packages, we can get the problem solved and help you improve your numeracy skills.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

There will be occasional trips to London for which you will be asked to contribute £25 a trip.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

A career in product design promises to be challenging, fulfilling and well paid. Whether you are designing a new food container, part of a computer or maybe the next generation of mobile phones, there is no doubt that your career will bring you an incredible sense of satisfaction as well as achievement.

You’ll be able to offer knowledge and experience in manufacturing design in addition to proof of your creativity. With such skills you could find work in the manufacturing, service and engineering industries, design management and consultancy companies.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • product design engineer
  • CAD designer
  • design manager

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

Taking a placement year in industry could be one of the best decisions you make as more often than not, it leads to further opportunities after graduation. SPEC, our Student Placement and Employability Centre, not only helps you to arrange your placement but acts as a source of information and guidance throughout the recruitment process and beyond. We help on anything and everything related to employability skills as well as assisting you in gaining other types of work experience.

Here are some examples of the roles our students have secured for their placements:

  • Product Designer at Interign
  • Undergraduate Engineer at Elta Fans
  • Production Drawing Assistant at Sunseeker

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
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Winston Churchill Avenue
Portsmouth PO1 2UP

T: +44 (0)23 9284 8484