School of Architecture, Design and Environment

BA (Hons) 3D Design

Do you want to design objects and experiences that can transform people and businesses? From unique products and inviting furniture, to skilled hand-crafting and impressive spaces, the UK leads the world in creative industries. Our award-winning course explores all aspects of 3D design and offers you three specialist pathways to help you steer the world towards a more desirable, safer and sustainable future.

During the course, you will participate in free culture trips to Barcelona, Amsterdam, Berlin and New York and take the opportunity to study abroad on exchanges in Japan, USA, India, Italy, or Romania. You will also get the inside track on career opportunities through our links with industry experts such as Lego, IBM and Zoeftig. You’ll have opportunities for work experience placements lasting from three months up to a year.

Careers with this subject

Advice from graduate Becky Sadeghian:

"My advice to anyone wanting to get into the same line of work as me would be to make sure you have a backbone; the working world isn’t an easy place to be in, so being able to stand on your own two feet is invaluable. I would advise you to stay in university and finish the three years full time; your lecturers have been there and know what they are talking about so listening to them as this will prepare you for what you can expect. 
If you can get into a bigger company for your first job, I would advise you to do so; this way, you are able to see how the relationship between staff and employers should be and what kind of work load you can expect for the wage you are on. Don’t let people take advantage of you; if you give them the first sign of giving in it doesn’t stop, and before you know it you’re doing someone else’s job for them as well as your own, so make sure you have your wits about you."

Read more from Becky in her case study.

Key features

  • Take advantage of the unique freedom you’ll have throughout the course to work across the disciplines of 3D design: product, furniture, ceramics and interiors. The product designer discipline is an industry accredited course – one of only two in the country.
  • Engage with real clients from your personal desk space, in a vibrant open plan studio that’s open until midnight with computer-aided design (CAD) stations and student-run 3D printers.
  • Take advantage of our excellent facilities staffed by approachable technicians. Our facilities include Computer Numerical Control (CNC), steam bending wood workshop and digital making including a ceramics 3D printer.
  • Participate in free culture trips to Milan, Barcelona, Amsterdam or Berlin and take the opportunity to study abroad on exchanges in Japan, USA, India or Italy.
  • With strong and supportive teaching in small groups and one-to-one tutorials, but no imposed ‘house style’, you’ll develop your own unique identity.
  • We have excellent KIS results – 95 per cent of students agreed staff were good at explaining things and 93 per cent of students agreed staff made the subject interesting (Unistats). 
  • You’ll build up a large portfolio, as fresh projects start every six weeks, and your assessments are 100 per cent coursework – so no exams.
  • Join our community of current and past students who have won numerous world-class design competitions.
  • Enrol on a course with high student satisfaction. In the 2015 National Student Survey, 85 per cent of our students were satisfied with their course.
  • Get the inside track on career opportunities through our links with industry experts such as Lego, IBM and Zoeftig. You’ll have opportunities for work experience placements lasting from three months up to a year.
  • Access exclusive talks and insights from top creative professionals including Foster & Partners, Dyson and Heatherwick Studio.
  • Students consistently receive awards from prestigious competitions such as the Royal Society of Arts’ Student Design Awards.
  • 3D Design: Product Designer is one of only three degrees with accreditation from the Chartered Society of Designers.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll explore all three of our related disciplines: Designer Maker, Product Designer and Spatial and Interior Designer. You’ll learn how to design, expand your knowledge and skills in practical design projects, and develop teamwork and project skills across various disciplines. You’ll also explore the limits of design practices and experience links with art and expression, comprising culture, materials, process and market.
    Core modules
    • TDD402 Design Discovery

      This module seeks to introduce students to the varied nature of topics and approaches within design. Through a series of short projects students will develop idea generation skills including the use of visual research and direct workshop based material experimentation leading to both 2D and 3D outputs. Students are also introduced to contexts relating to design culture issues.

    • TDD404PP Carousel 1 Plymouth Plus

      Combined level 4 and 5 students from all three disciplines of 3D Design can choose from a selection of problem based learning projects from the same or any other discipline. Working with senior peers enable faster learning, acquiring new skills and knowledge, providing team working and cross year cooperation in a 4 week project.

    • TDD401 Materials, Processes and Communication

      Students will be introduced to the wide range of materials and processes available to them as designers, and will have the opportunity to develop workshop skills in the selection and processing of materials. Students will also be introduced CAD and digital presentation software and gather a wide range of presentation skills to develop their confidence and ability to communicate confidently, effectively, clearly and efficiently.

    • TDD403 Design Exploration

      Students will undertake a design assignment and complete a programme of project work in one of the 3 award routes. This will allow the students to engage and begin to understand better specialists skill-sets and mind-sets required to becoming a maker, product or interior designer. A range of research methods and critical standpoints are introduced with a view to informing and contextualising practice and cultural awareness.

    • TDD405 Design Culture 1

      An introduction to the nature and range of Three Dimensional Design practice, its historical, cultural and critical context. A range of research methods and critical standpoints are introduced with a view to informing and contextualising practice.

    Optional modules
    • TDD410 Maker Aptitude and Enquiry

      This module provides the opportunity for the individuals to develop specific designer maker skills. Individuals will focus on idea generation, 2D and 3D skills.

    • TDD420 Product Aptitude and Enquiry

      This core module provides students with an opportunity to perform and reflect what skills are typical and necessary to be a product designer, and an appreciation of the level required for professional practice

    • TDD430 Spatial and Interior Aptitude and Enquiry

      Through a series of workshops, seminars, lectures & studio projects, notions of `place making¿ will be explored in context of the man-made environment with an emphasis on inventiveness and experimentation through the search for suitable techniques and expressive forms.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you’ll develop your creative identity and select your own specialisation within the three disciplines. You’ll establish your skills as a designer, exploring methods, ideas and themes, and can choose to go on exchange programmes in Europe and Asia. You will set up your own exhibitions and build a portfolio of special interests, becoming proficient in design processes, CAD and communication methods.
    Core modules
    • TDD501 Trans-Disciplinary Design

      Students will undertake a design project that operates across social, environmental and technological design practices. It draws on contemporary theory and practices offered by interaction design, sustainable design and `design science¿.

    • TDD502 Design Culture 2

      This module deals with major issues and concepts affecting design. There is an acknowledgment of the impact of wider social, political, economic and cultural factors, as well those related to design practice. The module also concentrates on the development of research skills, the critical evaluation and contextualisation of which will form the basis of a primer to thesis/dissertation.

    Optional modules
    • TDD510 Maker Integrated skills

      This module provides the opportunity for the individuals to develop specific designer maker skills. Individuals will focus both 2D and/or 3D skills. Students establish a knowledge based view of cultural and contextual issues. 

    • TDD511 Maker Aptitude and Progression

      This module extends the knowledge and understanding of the individual's approach to designer maker practice through negotiated studio/workshop study and short set projects. Students are encouraged to analyse and respond to the cultural challenges facing design practice, through understanding complexity and system thinking.

    • TDD521 Product Aptitude and Progression

      Students will undertake a comprehensive study of materials and manufacturing processes with investigations into how we use and select materials to ensure a sustainable future. Students will be given an assignment to demonstrate core competency in CAD skills and digital outputs. Students are encouraged to analyse and respond to the cultural challenges facing design practice

    • TDD522 Product Exploration

      Students will be introduced to a `Live¿ design project that encourages them to investigate and develop a personal philosophy and design process with respect to professional practice and business factors.

    • TDD530 Spatial and Interiors Integrated Skills

      Through a series of speculative design projects, this module will introduce the fundamentals of Spatial & Interior Design practice by exploring the perception of the body in space. By creating & staging environments, the notion of scales, inhabitation and public/private environments will be investigated. A range of research methods and critical standpoints are introduced with a view to informing and contextualising practice, cultural awareness and depth of study.

    • TDD503 Exchange Module

      Students elect for this module to spend 10 to 12 weeks at an approved institution in Europe/North America where a SOCRATES mobility programme has been agreed. This affords you a great opportunity to study in Europe and test the skills and knowledge gained so far within a European framework. It will give you a chance to explore the application of specific subject skills and more generic transferable skills while absorbing a different culture, how it works and what influence it has on design and in particular your practice of design.

    • TDD504 Work Experience

      This is a significant opt-in module is intended to provide students to maximise their learning opportunities from part-time work experience. Students achieve deeper learning by working, and gain experience outside of university teaching. Students are encouraged to carry out their own projects inspired by the practitioner's work, gaining feedback to help improve their career prospects.

    • TDD505 Carousel 2

      Combined level 4 & 5 students can choose projects within any 3D Design pathways. By teaming up with level 4 students, this module prepares level 5 students to take leading roles in team-working. Working with peers enables faster learning, acquiring new skills and knowledge, providing team working and cross year cooperation.

    • TDD532 Spatial and Interiors Exploration

      Through a series of workshops, seminars, lectures & studio projects, notions of public realm and branding will be investigated with an emphasis on Public Space, urban landscape and regeneration. Multi media communication strategies will be explored to develop speculations on public & private realms.

    • TDD512 Maker Exploration

      This module provides the opportunity to explore an individual, self determined approach to designer maker practice. The intention is to raise the levels of making skills, design awareness and aesthetic judgement in the student's work.

    • TDD520 Product Integrated Skills

      Students will undertake a design project that allows them to discover and make professional choices around `viability¿ (from a business perspective), `feasibility¿ (from a technology perspective), and `desirability¿ (from a consumer perspective). Students establish a knowledge based view of cultural and contextual issues. 

    • TDD531 Spatial and Interiors Aptitude and Progression

      This module develops skills in analytical and communication skills by evaluating structures, materials and technologies. The module provides the analysis of both the technical and aesthetic importance of communication skills in the development of your design understanding, through the production of floor plans, sections, elevations, atmospheric visualisations, models as well as 3 dimensional details. A range of research methods and critical standpoints are introduced with a view to informing and contextualising practice and cultural awareness.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you’ll engage in real world projects and can enter international competitions. You’ll work on your major project and dissertation with a focus on negotiated, self-directed study and managing your own projects. You will exhibit your work at our Degree Show and national events such as New Designers, taking advantage of our links with art and design institutions and the craft and design industry across Europe.
    Core modules
    • TDD602 Final Major

      Students identify, plan, evolve and review a summative design project in the award route. It allows a substantive body of work celebrating all the learning outcomes and specific skills sets attained. The project culminates with a 1 to 1 viva with an external examiner and degree show exhibition.

    • TDD601 Mini Major/Design Feasibility

      The module provides students with an opportunity to carry out a thoroughly researched design feasibility study to define and test an emerging design concept. The feasibility study aims to objectively and creatively uncover the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, resources and ultimately the prospects for success in the final major project. The module encourages research study, analysis, innovation, iterative practice and criticality; whereabouts the feasibility study evaluates the potential for success.

    Optional modules
    • TDD603 External Factors

      Students are given the opportunity to run a significant project under a selected and approved external constraint such as a student design competition or gallery opportunity. Working towards an external brief, students are encouraged to generate design solutions that stretch or challenge their own design identities, and or address bigger social, environment or economic issues.

    • TDD604 Design Culture 3

      This module is seen as the culmination of studies in Design Culture and provides the students with the opportunity to research and write an illustrated dissertation. Students submit a brief description of their preferred topic and the module is led through a draft structure.

    • TDD605 Design Culture Extended Dissertation

      This module is seen as the culmination of studies in Design Culture and provides students with the opportunity for extended in-depth research and to write an illustrated dissertation. Students have the opportunity to use their creative and analytical skills on a concentrated topic area, with an increased word count of 8/10k

    • TDD610 Maker Consolidation

      This module focuses on Designer Maker practice, in context with external factors, to further develop design abilities with responsibility and autonomy and increasing awareness of professional practice. Aspects of the module will investigate the potentials and opportunities of multiple production. The production, marketing, financial and project management implications of designer maker practice will also be addressed.

    • TDD620 Product Consolidation

      The module provides students with an opportunity to run a compact though significant project, expressive of their design approach, with an introduction to business and professional design. It facilitates both a creative approach encouraging innovation to a professional standard with financial factors, intellectual property rights and principal project management strategies

    • TDD630 Spatial and Interior Consolidation

      Through a series of workshops, seminars, lectures & studio projects, notions of the exhibition, performance and display will be investigated with an emphasis on ecology & design, sustainability, site adaption and regeneration. Experimental research & multi media communication strategies will be explored to develop speculations within public & private realms.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons 3D Design 4313

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff
A level/AS level: 300 points from a minimum of two A levels.

International Baccalaureate
24 points.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DDM (any subject, preferably Art and Design).

All access courses
Pass a named Access to HE Diploma with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction.

GCSE
Mathematics and English Language grade C.

Other
Interview and presented portfolio required. Equivalent qualifications may be considered.


English language requirements

Fees, costs and funding

New students 2016-17

Full time Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Science and Engineering - Year Zero £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Management, Government and Law  - Year Zero £7,500 £10,300 £9,000
2 year fast-track (Business only) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Master of Architecture (MArch) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
PGCE £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Management Practice (Online) (First year - part time) tbc £3,996 tbc

Part time (per 10 credits) Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £750 £1,025 £750
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £750 £1,045 £750
Science and Engineering - Year Zero £750 £1,045 £750
Management, Government and Law  - Year Zero £625 £860 £625
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £750 £1,025 £750
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £750 £1,045 £750
PGCE £750 £1,025 £750


*The tuition fee for UK students transferring to Plymouth University from a partner institution is £9,000.
**Please refer to the policy for capping of international student tuition fees.

***‘Islands’ refers to fees for both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Continuing students

Please note some fees for continuing students may differ slightly.

For a full listing please visit our fees for continuing students 2016-17 page.

Further information

Download our fees brochure

Read our Student Fee Policy for the Ordinary Degree route


Sporting Excellence Scholarships

Our Sporting Excellence Scholarships inspire and enable students to achieve their sporting and academic goals. Read more about BA (Hons) 3D Design student and Lithuanian International Swimmer, Jurate Scerbinskaite.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.



Pathways with BA (Hons) 3D design

The BA (Hons) 3D Design course enables you to choose from one of three specialist pathways or a general award.

Choose from our designer maker, product designer and spatial and interior designer pathways

Learn more about our specialist routes

Interview and portfolio advice with BA (Hons) 3D Design

What's a good portfolio? Who will interview you? What questions will we ask you?

Learn how you can best prepare for your 3D design interview by reading our interview and portfolio advice.

View our interview and portfolio advice

3D design student - Guneet Sidhu

I am currently on a 12-week placement at Block Design in Cornwall working as a design intern.

Guneet Sidhu, BA (Hons) 3D Product Design student.

Read more about this student

News highlights with BA (Hons) 3D Design

3D graduate unveils $0.01 syringe that could save one million lives a year.

Award-winning inventor and 3D graduate, Oliver Blackwell, designed a cheap and easy to use medical device.

Read more of our news highlights

People