Product Design and Innovation BSc (Hons)

a product design and innovation student constructs a model crane using laser cut plywood
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2019


Why is that phone handset that particular shape? How does that bagless vacuum cleaner work?

If you're creative, fascinated by the how and why of the objects you use every day, and get a kick out of solving problems, this BSc (Hons) Product Design and Innovation degree course will feed your curiosity and set you up for a career in creating and designing products.

You'll delve into the theories and methodologies you can use to create and improve the products we use. You'll unleash your creativity and bring your ideas to life in efficient and cost-effective ways.

You'll graduate from this degree course able to work in areas such as product design, design management, consultancy, engineering, marketing and graphic design. Upon graduation you’ll also be eligible for membership and Registered Product Designer status (RProdDes) from the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) as well as Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

95% Graduates in work or further study (Unistats data on DLHE, 2017)

94% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)

What you'll experience

On this course you'll:

  • Use sophisticated computer software and rapid prototyping equipment to design new products and improve existing ones
  • Learn the fundamentals of illustration, computer-aided illustration, computer-aided design (CAD) and manufacturing technology
  • Have access to our 3D printing facilities
  • Learn how to use professional software including Photoshop, AutoCad, Creo, and Keyshot
  • Get the opportunity to put your new skills into practice on client projects through our links with professional organisations and design centres

The BSc (Hons) Product Design and Innovation degree course shares a common first year with our BSc (Hons) Industrial Design degree course. This allows you to finalise your course selection at the end of your 1st academic year. The difference between this course and our Industrial Design course is that from the second year, you will concentrate more on product centred design subjects such as intellectual property, marketing and modern materials and processes.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.

Previous students have completed work placements at organisations including:

  • Princess Yachts
  • Disney
  • Akins Consultancies
  • HTI Group (toy manufacturers)
  • Gillette
  • Airbus Industries
  • Apollo Fire Solutions
  • Triumph Motorcycles

In your placement year, you can also set up a business on your own or in a group.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Careers and opportunities

After the course, you'll be eligible for membership of the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) and Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng).

Armed with the expertise and knowledge you develop on this course, you'll be set for a career in fields such as:

  • computer-aided design (CAD)
  • visualisation
  • product data management.
  • project management
  • manufacturing
  • research and development

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • product design engineer
  • CAD designer
  • design manager

Other graduates have continued their studies at postgraduate level or set up successful businesses with help and support from the University.

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

Professional accreditations

This course is accredited as fulfilling the requirements for membership and Registered Product Designer status (RProdDes) of the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED). It has also been accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) for Incorporated Engineer status (IEng).

Entry requirements​

Entry Requirements

Selection Process

Applicants may be requested to provide a portfolio to support their application.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £15,900 per year (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

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

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.

You’ll go on occasional trips to London over the course of your study. You’ll need to contribute £25 for each trip.

​What you'll study

Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.

Units currently being studied

Core units in this year include:

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

There are no optional units in this year.

Core units in this year include:

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

Optional units in this year currently include:

  • Product Analysis
  • Student Enterprise (Planning and Delivery)

On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Core units in this year include:

  • Individual Project
  • Sustainable Development and Business
  • Advanced and Modern Materials
  • Preparation for Product Launch
  • Ergonomics in Product Design

There are no optional units in this year.

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.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.

Maths and stats support

The Maths Cafe offers advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths skills at a workshop or use our online resources.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials (personal and academic)
  • laboratory work
  • project work
  • computer-aided design (CAD) system activity
  • open access study

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:

  • Autumn teaching block – September to December
  • Spring teaching block – January to Easter
  • Assessment period – Easter to June

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

There’s no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

How you're assessed​

You’ll be assessed through:

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

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

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 1 students: 34% by written exams and 66% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 22% by written exams, 12% by practical exams and 66% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 27% by written exams and 73% by coursework 


How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

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.

How to apply

To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.

You’ll need:

  • the UCAS course code – H771
  • our institution code – P80