School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design

Whether you want to pursue a career in craft or design for mass production, making and learning by doing are at the heart of what we do. By combining hands-on making skills with digital fabrication technologies in our extensive workshops you’ll develop your own individual pathway creating useful, useable designs for products, furniture, ceramics, lighting and small batch production.

Create expressive designs for products and services, furniture and artefacts, ceramics and lighting, from one-offs to batch production. Engage with emerging themes including design as a tool for strategic business development, technology as a tool for creating new experiences and social enterprise as a tool to nurture responsible business ideas.

A top 10 UK Young University for Art, Design and Architecture

Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2020

Professionally accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers.

Our past award-winning alumni include Huw Evans (Furniture Designer Maker), James Otter (Otter Design), Oliver Blackwell (Industrial Design Consultant) and Laura Lane (Ceramics).

University of Plymouth ranked top for Design & Crafts in the Guardian's 2021 university rankings

  • 1st for 'Satisfied with Course' (92.5/100)
  • 2nd for 'Satisfied with Teaching' (92.7/100)
  • 7th overall for Design & Crafts (90.8/100)



Careers with this subject

Graduates from our course are adaptable and flexible and are working at major design consultancies, running their own businesses, working as freelance designers, or have moved into education or postgraduate research

Our design projects and program of employability and creative industry skills creates graduates who are skilled, knowledgeable and professionally aligned to today's job opportunities. 

This course produces students who’ve gone on to successful careers within design and craft world with designers setting up their own practice, working freelance for companies or joining design agencies including IDEO, Tangerine, Lego, Dyson.

Take a look at a few of our graduates to get a feel for range of diverse career paths available.

Key features

  • Teaching is in small groups with the studio culture run like a design practice with innovative delivery including flipped classroom, podcasts and team teaching.
  • Work alongside students from our Interior Design course in our vibrant studio with individual desk space and CAD stations.
  • You’ll build up a portfolio with fresh projects starting every few weeks. Assessments are 100% coursework – so no exams.
  • Culture trips to Europe and study exchanges in Japan, USA, India or Italy are also possible.
  • Engage with real clients with live projects. We’ve recently run projects with Vitra, John Lewis, Red Paddle, UPP, architects Willmore Iles and Herman Millar.
  • Gain valuable industry experience through our competitions, studio visits, visiting lecturers and our meet the supplier visits.
  • The studio practice mirrors contemporary professional practice, helping you develop the skills and confidence to succeed in the job market.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll explore the discipline of Product and Furniture Design with shared modules alongside the Interior Design course. 

    You’ll learn how to develop and create innovative, practical and contemporary designs through gaining a hands-on understanding of material, processes, model making and prototyping methods. 

    By developing your own robust ideology, you’ll gain confidence to develop ground-breaking concepts, backed by high levels of CAD visualisation skills.

    You’ll learn how to design, expand your knowledge and skills in practical design projects and develop teamwork and project skills across your discipline. You’ll interact with other design disciplines and explore links between design, art and expression, comprising culture, materials, process and market. You will develop design and employability skills and explore the limits of design of your pathway.

    Core modules
    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • TDD406 Design 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, a Designer Maker or an Interior Designer and an appreciation of the level required for professional practice.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you will develop your creative identity within the discipline of Product and Furniture Design. You will begin to shape your career path by working on design projects that deepen your understanding and experience and expand your skills and capabilities. 

    You will establish your skills as a designer, exploring methods, ideas and themes, and can choose to go on exchange programmes in Europe and Asia. You'll also set up your own exhibitions and build a portfolio of special interests, becoming proficient in design processes, Computer-Aided Design (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
    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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. 

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you will take your specialism deeper and develop an individual philosophy to design and create a strong portfolio to demonstrate your skills. 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 work. You will exhibit your projects 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.

    Our employability workshops help you look beyond graduation and prepare for employment or further study.

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 Product and Furniture Design Programme Specification 2020 21 6821

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

96 - 120

A level 
A minimum of two A levels, general studies accepted.   

International Baccalaureate
26-28 points overall.  

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

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Student Recruitment and Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information, we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

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
Portfolios are required, ideally with face-to-face interviews. International applicants can email their portfolios, followed by a telephone or web interview. Students who can demonstrate excellent design skills and capabilities may receive improved offers.

English language requirements

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021 2022
Home £9,250 To be confirmed
International £14,200 To be confirmed
Part time (Home) £770 To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business additional costs.

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.

<p>Product and Furnitre Design - spinning top</p>
Discover our course
<p>Small group tutorials</p>
Teaching is in small groups in our vibrant studio
<p>Talk and live project with Vitra<br></p>
Engage with real clients and live projects
<p>

Superyachts competition 2018 Ashley Scott&nbsp;<br></p>
Industry experience through competitions, studio visits, visiting lecturers
<p>3D Design facilities</p>
Assessments are 100% coursework – so no exams

Design student's award-winning project to tackle "holiday hunger" in Plymouth

Sarah Boot, a third-year 3D Design student, has recently won a Royal Society of Arts (RSA) award for her Unmissable Food Organisation (U.F.O.) project, which aims to provide children living in poverty with food and education about nutrition.

Currently, “holiday hunger” affects over 500,000 children across the UK and over 30% of children are living below the poverty line, so Sarah decided to embark on a project to tackle these issues.

Read more about the project

Studio platforms

Studio X / Become a Designer Maker 
Designer Makers develop a strong imaginative personality by creating desirable objects and furniture in wood, metal, concrete and ceramics using hand, machine and digital skills. 

Studio Y / Become a Designer for Industry 
Designers for Industry create usable products and furniture. They consider emerging trends in ethics and sustainability to create experiences, services and products that solve the problems we all face.

View our visual guide to see how your interests align with our studio platforms

Follow us on social media

Get news about the course and our events by following us on:

Instagram: @Plym3d

Facebook: @DesignWithPlym

Twitter: @DesignWithPlym



Our design projects and programme develops creates adaptable graduates with a variety of industry skills, who are knowledgeable and professionally aligned to today's job opportunities.

Where could a design degree take you?

Meet your lecturers