School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design with Foundation

UCAS tariff 32 - 48
UCAS course code W245
Institution code P60
Duration 4 years (+ optional placement)
Assessment breakdown 100% coursework
Course type Full-time
Location Plymouth

The foundation pathway provides students with non-standard entry points to progress onto the BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design programme. The foundation year allows you to develop the required practical, technical, academic and creative skills needed in preparation for the first year of the undergraduate programme. Upon successful completion, you will join the undergraduate BA programme equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete an undergraduate degree.

Product and Furniture Design with Foundation
Careers with this subject

A creative industries careers programme runs during each year of study.

Visits to leading design studios, talks from industry experts and our Professional and Creative Attributes programme highlight opportunities offered by contemporary design practice and inspire your ambitions. You develop the core skills and resources and produce your creative CV and a professional portfolio that celebrates your unique design voice.

Opportunities are provided for you to enter high-profile competitions and sell your work through pop-up shops. You exhibit your work in graduate shows to build your profile. You can include an optional year to enhance the depth of your experience and your portfolio.

Our graduates are working in the design studios of manufacturing companies like Lego, Dyson, Macpac and Princess Yachts. Others work for leading design agencies like Seymour Powell and Tangerine, or for independent designers like Paul Cocksedge Studio and Pinch. Some are establishing their own entrepreneurial making studios like furniture designer Huw Evans, Laura Lane Ceramics and Otter Surfboards.

Learn more about the diverse career paths available

Key features

This course is an integrated part of the BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design degree at the University of Plymouth. Successful completion of your foundation year (Year 0) will not lead to a separate award or qualification in its own right but provides progression onto Year 1 of BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design or BA (Hons) Interior Design, or one of the following visual communication-related degree programmes after a successful interview:

Key features of BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design:

  • Be industry-ready. Professional accreditation by the Chartered Society of Designers ensures quality and relevance to the evolving needs of the design industry. Broaden your experience and take an optional sandwich year for work placements and international exchange.
  • Get noticed in the design community. Learn by doing to build a portfolio of design work that will get you noticed and launch your career. Develop your profile with opportunities to enter high-profile competitions.
  • Expert-led. Learn with experts; our international team have diverse professional practice and research experience to inspire and guide your creativity.
  • Gain unique insights. Understand more about the design industry with exclusive visits to leading design studios and manufacturers.
  • Get connected. Learn from inspirational talks by leading product and furniture designers. Learn from real-world contexts through regular live projects.
Course details
  • Foundation year

  • You'll become part a vibrant creative community through an engaging learning environment with a focus on active exploration and discovery across a wide range of methods and media. Working in our open-plan studio, you'll learn by doing, putting teaching into practical outcomes. Upon successful completion of this year, you'll enter the first year of the BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design or BA (Hons) Interior Design.

    Core modules

    • Materials, Methods and Media (ADA001)

      This module will introduce students to various techniques, materials and mediums through practise-based experiments, play and problem solving. You will be introduced to different creative processes and methods of working that will help you to develop your ideas and engage in critical and reflective practice.

    • Image, Type and Narrative (ADA002)

      Students will experiment with media, photography and typography to explore the relationship between image and word. This module enables students to gain knowledge within subject areas and explore the importance of developing an independent voice. Projects will become increasingly student driven as they develop their ability to propose ideas and solutions through self-directed inquiry, discovery and production.

    • Risk and Resolution (ADA003)

      Students will consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding in initiating, researching, developing and presenting a final project and exhibition. This module will also enable students to continue to research and develop their strengths as an independent art and design practitioner and prepare them for their next stage of study.

    • Critical Themes in Art & Design (ADA004)

      This module introduces students to transformative phases within the historical and contemporary context of art, design, photography and media. Students will learn to ask critical questions and find answers through information gathering, reading and research. Through articulating responses, students will be introduced to academic conventions in preparation for progression to further Higher Education.

  • Year 1

  • You learn core design principles and technical skills within our interdisciplinary studio culture. Project work introduces hands-on making skills in a range of materials, including wood, metal and ceramics, alongside CAD and communication skills. You develop an awareness of opportunities through specialisms within product and furniture design and make choices about where your own practice might fit.

    Core modules

    Stage 1 Placement Preparation (FAPY100)

    If you’re undertaking a company placement in your third year, this module helps you find a suitable placement, and prepares you for the placement itself.

    Product and Furniture Discovery, Exploration, Enquiry and Culture (PFD400)

    Through the development of a portfolio of project work, Product and Furniture Design is introduced relative to the varied nature of three-dimensional design. Studio practice is linked with historical, cultural and critical contexts. Processes of discovery, exploration and enquiry introduce specialist design knowledge, core skills and stimulate reflection. The module informs the student’s choice of areas of specialism to develop further within the subject of Product and Furniture Design.

    Introduction to Studio and Workshop Practice (TDD400)

    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 to 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.

    Design Carousel 1 (TDD450)

    This Level 4 module runs in parallel with a Level 5 module, enabling collaborative cross-year interdisciplinary learning. It provides the opportunity to choose a project brief from a range of options to stimulate reflection of individual disciplines and specialisms, and adds breadth to individual portfolios. Working with senior peers enables the acquisition of new skills and knowledge, and establishes cross year interdisciplinary peer learning opportunities within the design studio.

  • Year 2

  • Your second year challenges you to explore design philosophies in more detail, developing more advanced technical skills. You develop your own unique design voice and establish how you express yourself. We celebrate our achievements with an end-of-year show.

    Core modules

    Product and Furniture Specialist Skills & Progression (PFD501)

    This module develops specific skills, knowledge and understanding relevant to the practice of Designer Makers and Designers for Industry. Project work develops practical and digital skills in 2D and 3D, knowledge of materiality and the relationships between people and products, and associated contextual and cultural issues relating to contemporary design practice.

    Common Challenge: Interdisciplinary Design (TDD560)

    This module celebrates the interdisciplinary nature of professional design practice and acknowledges the role designers can play in addressing the big challenges posed by complex sustainability themes and issues relating to global society, culture and ecology. Interdisciplinary teams contribute to a series of Design Sprints inspired by a proposed theme or issue to produce individual and group work.

    Product and Furniture Specialist Exploration & Culture (PFD500)

    This module develops specialist knowledge and professional practice skills in Product and Furniture Design. It develops making skills, design awareness, aesthetic judgement and approaches relating to self-determined practice or live project briefs. The module includes Design Culture exploration of major issues and concepts affecting design with the development of research, critical evaluation and contextualisation skills as a primer for Level 6 dissertation modules.

    Design Carousel 2 (TDD550)

    This Level 5 module runs in parallel with a Level 4 module to enable collaborative cross-year interdisciplinary learning. It provides the opportunity to choose a project brief from a range of options to stimulate reflection of individual disciplines and specialisms, and adds breadth to individual portfolios. Working with junior peers develops interpersonal and organisational skills valued by professional practice, and sustains peer learning opportunities within the design studio.

    Optional placement year

    You can add an optional year between your second and final years of study. This enables you to take a year-long work placement and gain first-hand knowledge and professional experience within the design industry or to study abroad for a year within the University’s international exchange programmes.

  • Year 4

  • Your final year develops the skills and experiences you need to build a professional portfolio. You enhance your knowledge of design and business, write a dissertation, produce a significant personal major project and enter high-profile competitions. Graduate shows and exhibitions celebrate your design identity and provide a launchpad to your ideal design job, your own design studio, or progress to postgraduate study.

    Core modules

    Common Dissertation (ADA600)

    The module engages students in situating practice through research, contextualisation and critical reflection, in relation to their final stage study and post University aspirations. Programmes can offer: a traditional dissertation; preparation for an extended dissertation; situating existing practice; or the construction of a new body of work as practice-based research.

    External Factors & Feasibility (TDD606)

    This module encourages students to challenge and develop their professional practice skills, and their emerging design identity, by conducting distinct projects concurrently. A significant external project brief and a self-initiated project brief develop a platform of knowledge and experiences on which the character of their graduating portfolio will be based.

    Major Project (TDD607)

    Students identify, plan, evolve and review a summative design project in the programme and award specialism. 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 a degree show exhibition.

    Optional modules

    Extended Dissertation (TDD600)

    This module offers students the option to develop an Extended Dissertation that builds on a proposal, structure and literature review generated within the Critical Practices module. It provides the opportunity for extended in-depth research and to write an illustrated dissertation. Students use their creative and analytical skills on a concentrated topic area, with a word count of 8/10k.

    Product and Furniture Consolidation (PFD600)

    This compact module offers students the option to develop their professional practice skills to a higher level. Professional and creative attributes are developed to prepare students for the evolving future of design practice. Sustainability principals are blended with increased knowledge and understanding of business and project management issues relevant to areas of specialism within Product and Furniture Design.

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 with Foundation programme specification 7105

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.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

32 - 48

This programme offers access to study at university for those students who may not have the standard entry profile for BA study. Equally, it is designed for those returning to study who have relevant work/professional experience but not the required academic profile for Level 4 entry. It is also suitable for Level 3 learners whose subject choice does not include the necessary background, but who are otherwise academically capable. 

We will accept other pre-entry qualifications or combinations of different qualifications. Applications may also be considered from candidates who do not meet these minimum entry requirements. We welcome individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and previous educational or professional experiences, including those with non-standard qualifications. 

Learn how you can best prepare for your portfolio submission by reading our portfolio advice.

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 2022-2023
Home £9,250 £9,250
International To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part time (Home) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of 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.

Challenge, disrupt and rethink

Introducing what you'll see, do and make

Introducing Product and Furniture Design
Watch an overview of the course.

Product and furniture design facilities

Product and furniture design facilities
Gain access to extensive workshops for wood, metal and ceramics, including steam bending, casting and digital ceramics printing.

Studio platforms

Studio platforms
Become a designer maker or designer for industry – follow your interests with our studio platforms.


Where could a design degree take you?

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

Our students

Inspiring stories from our students

Student projects

Student projects
Develop your skills with a diverse range of projects - international competitions to live briefs, student exhibitions to professional graduate shows

Third-year 3D Design student wins award for design tackling “holiday hunger” in Plymouth

Third-year 3D Design student wins award for design tackling “holiday hunger” in Plymouth
Sarah Boot, won the RSA award in the ‘Cultivating Communities’ category

Product and Furniture Design careers

Product and Furniture Design careers
Our alumni work in design practices or establish design consultancies, set up as designer makers or move into education and research

Meet your lecturers