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MSc Product Design

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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions, Part-Time

Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising future developments in design and manufacture is a complex challenge for product designers across the globe. This course will develop your understanding of systematic design processes relating to business strategy, and influencing sustainable development within the design process.

This degree has been accredited by the Institute of Engineering Designers (IED) as fulfilling the requirements for Chartered Technological Product Designer (CTPD). You are entitled to free student membership of the IED, and you will receive their bi-monthy journal  - Engineering Designer - free of charge too.

On the course you'll cover a range of topics from materials technologies to sustainability issues. You'll investigate, select and learn to use the computer aided design (CAD) and analysis simulation tools that are appropriate to the requirements in your field of work. Furthermore it will give you the skills and knowledge to lead and manage projects with the commercial acumen demanded in today’s competitive global environments, and the ability to manage, document and effectively communicate project plans and results.

Find out more: Watch a recorded webinar about our Master's degrees in Design and Engineering. This is presented by Dr Mehran Koohgilani, the programme leader for postgraduate courses.

For 2019 entry: In order to take advantage of new approaches to learning and teaching, as well as developments in industry to benefit our students we regularly review all of our courses.

This course is currently going through this process and we will update this page in August 2018 to give you full information about what we will be offering once the review process has concluded.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


1 year full-time (2 years with optional work placement)


Institution of Engineering Designers

Required subjects:


Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 or equivalent in a required subject. Applicants who wish to meet the Chartered Technological Product Designer registration requirements must have an undergraduate degree accredited by IED to MIED level or academic qualifications that have been approved at MIED level through the IED Education and Training Committee or equivalent. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

Course details

During this course units are taught intensively, usually over 4.5 days, and assessments normally take place 5-6 weeks after units have been delivered.

Core units

  • Project Management: You will master a range of techniques and gain the ability to handle contradictions in the knowledge base. You'll also apply analytical and critical thinking with respect to the planning of design and development projects, and learn valuable leadership skills.

  • Design Interaction: Through a structured process and methodology, you'll develop a critical and creative understanding of interaction and ergonomic design methods. You'll learn to identify, analyse and define ergonomic design phenomena and compile a design specification.

  • Materials Optimisation for Sustainability: Develop a deep knowledge of sustainable development based on a multi-disciplinary approach to minimising waste. You will also learn to identify and quantify environmental impacts during the life cycle of a product/service from raw material abstraction to end of life disposal, and execute real-world sustainable development strategies.

  • Design Simulation: You'll develop an extensive understanding of strengths and limitations of current solid modelling applications in respect of part and assembly design. You will gain an understanding of the strengths and limitations of using simulation tools for analysing and validating industrially relevant design problems, and develop professional competence and critical awareness in using modern analytical techniques and tools for the product development process.

  • Group Project: Develop the professional management skills required for working in a team to produce a solution to a technical problem. You'll learn to determine basic personality characteristics in self and others, undertaking a rationale analysis of how personality characteristics affect group dynamics, and understand strategies for managing self and others when working in a team. This covers strategies for team building and resolving conflict.

  • Research Methods: This unit will adequately prepare you for writing a project proposal and for conducting and disseminating your Individual Master's Project. You will develop key research skills in areas such as literature reviews, critical analysis of research findings, project proposals, planning, experiment design and analysis, and dissemination.

  • Individual Master's Project: Develop an understanding of the characteristics and implications inherent in the solution of a complex, real-world problem by undertaking a substantial, independently-conducted piece of work.

Programme specification

​ Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for MSc Product Design.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Placement opportunities

The optional placement provides an excellent opportunity for you to gain first-hand industry experience and apply the learning that you have achieved through the course. The placement should be a paid job but voluntary work can be just as enjoyable.

Experience gained on the placement is invaluable in helping you to make informed decisions about your future career path, as well as enhancing your employment prospects upon graduation. Our dedicated Placements Office helps you to obtain placements and you will receive support throughout the placement experience. Interview techniques and advice are also provided to help you successfully gain a placement. A number of companies offer our students placements every year.

How long is my placement?

You will begin your placement after completion of your taught units. 

Our students have previously worked for:

  • Rank Xerox
  • BT Labs
  • Ford of France
  • Dyson
  • Johnson & Johnson. 

Selection criteria

Background and experience

For MSc Product Design we are looking for applicants who:

  • Wish to gain a full awareness of advanced product design methods
  • Wish to be able to investigate, select and learn to employ product design methods appropriate to the requirements of industry
  • Wish to be able to realise design solutions using advanced computer aided design and analysis
  • Wish to become fully aware of the enterprise and business driven aspects of new product designs
  • Wish to be able to manage, document and communicate, project plans and results.

Applicants for the Product Design programme should wish to gain an understanding of product design using cutting edge analysis methods as well as employing business and commercial expertise for use in a competitive environment.

All applicants to the programme will have an informal discussion with the programme leader. We want to ensure you are fully informed about the course and you understand the nature of the programme before you accept your place. We will also determine your current academic status during our discussion with you.

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon this course are:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 or equivalent in a required subject. Applicants who wish to meet the Chartered Technological Product Designer registration requirements must have an undergraduate degree accredited by IED to MIED level or academic qualifications that have been approved at MIED level through the IED Education and Training Committee or equivalent. 

Professional membership

Applicants who wish to meet the Chartered Technological Product Designer registration requirements for the Masters programme in Product Design require:

a degree accredited by IED to MIED level or
academic qualifications that have been approved at MIED level through the IED Education and Training Committee or equivalent.

If you wish to register as a Chartered Technological Product Designer (CTPD) in the UK, you will need to make sure that your undergraduate degree (or other relevant academic qualification) is recognised by the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) at the correct level. If your qualification was awarded outside of the UK, you can choose to send it to the IED for review (the IED will charge a fee for this).  We are happy to discuss professional membership options with you during the application process.

It is a requirement of the professional accrediting body that we speak to you about your academic status, so we will invite you to participate in an interview in person, on the phone or by Skype.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component of writing, speaking, listening and reading or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our postgraduate entry requirements page.


This course will give you the skills and knowledge to lead and manage projects with the commercial acumen demanded in today’s competitive global environments. Equipped with the ability to manage, document and effectively communicate project plans and results, you will be well prepared to embark on a successful career in product design management.

Industries worked in

  • Product design
  • Project management
  • Graphic design
  • Design engineering.

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

Course specific material(s) included in your tuition fee:

  • A student version of the relevant 2D/3D CAD package (Solidworks, AutoCAD) to use for the duration of the course.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork and non-financial support whilst on placement
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsidised travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Optional fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the website.

Repeat units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies (with or without attendance), you may be required to pay additional fees equivalent to one ninth of the tuition fee per 20 credit unit.

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Course changes

The table below indicates any changes to the course content.

Date Changes to this course Where the change was made Previous text

After an annual review of the placement year tuition fee,  a price increase in line with current inflation, equating to 3% has been introduced.

Fees £790
11/8/2016 Correction to full entry requirements to

Bachelors Honours degree or equivalent in product design.

Full entry requirements

Possession of a 2:2 degree or equivalent in an engineering discipline

Meet our staff

Course leader for the MDes (Hons) Product Design,  Franziska Conrad designed the QuickPitch pop-up tent when she was a student here at BU.

Dr Bryce Dyer, a Senior Lecturer in Product Design, created a new limb for athlete Colin Lynch, which will be used as he represents his country at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Associate Professor Dr Tania Humphries-Smith is the current Chair of the Institute of Engineering Designers (IED), the UK’s only professional body representing those working in the many fields of engineering and product design. The IED accredit this course.

Read more about the expertise of other members of the Department of Design & Engineering, and book on to an open day to come along and meet some of them.

Hear from our staff

Dr Tania Humphries-Smith

One of the most important features of our degrees is how closely we work with professional bodies to ensure that what we deliver is what the industry is looking for.

Additional information

Simon Phelps

Career development

Read about career and development opportunities and discover how gaining industry experience could help you.

Purbeck House common room

International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.