BA (Hons) Product Design

90% of BA (Hons) Product Design students at the University of Lincoln stated they are satisfied with the academic support, according to the National Student Survey 2018.

The Course

With links to the design industry, collaboration with agencies, placement opportunities, and support to launch business start-ups, this course aims to develop the product designers of the future.

Lincoln’s Product Design degree concentrates on the generation, delivery, and communication of ideas that challenge conventional thinking and open up new markets.

It aims to enable students to become skilled, creative designers, and shrewd product developers, with an understanding of target markets and consumer experiences, as well as an appreciation of how to design an object that will sell.

With strong ties to the design industry, collaboration with agencies, placement opportunities and support to launch a business, this course aims to prepare students for a career as a successful three-dimensional designer. From a theoretical perspective, students have the opportunity to study trends, brands, cultures, and ethics, as well as creative approaches to design.

This programme encourages applications from a range of Art and Design backgrounds, from students interested in 'classic' product and graphic digital design, to those from a conceptual and fine art background. The programme is an ideas-based design course and works closely with industrial partners to promote ideas and concepts for production.
In the first year, students have the opportunity to develop their understanding of product design, based on technical skills acquisition – from nurturing an idea to following a client brief, and producing prototypes in 3D form.

Design development practice continues in the second year, covering topics such as sensory design and visual language. At the end of this year, students may opt to complete a paid work placement year in industry. Previous students have worked alongside agencies and companies such as Slam Design, Metsä Wood, EcoGlo, and Fizzco to produce concepts and designs that have commercial value – a number of which have gone into production. Those who choose to undertake a placement are required to cover their own travel, accommodation, and general living costs.

In the final year of the degree, students can complete independent projects alongside a dissertation on a design topic of their choice. They are also expected to exhibit work in an end-of-year show.

The programme has a vibrant and collegiate studio culture, where contact time can be in workshops, Mac and PC suites, practical sessions, seminars, or lectures and may vary from module to module and from academic year to year. Tutorial sessions and project supervision can take the form of one-to-one engagement or small group sessions. Some courses offer the opportunity to take part in external visits and fieldwork.

Contact Hours and Reading for a Degree

Students on this programme learn from academic staff who are often engaged in world-leading or internationally excellent research or professional practice. Contact time can be in workshops, practical sessions, seminars or lectures and may vary from module to module and from academic year to year. Tutorial sessions and project supervision can take the form of one-to-one engagement or small group sessions. Some courses offer the opportunity to take part in external visits and fieldwork.

It is still the case that students read for a degree and this means that in addition to scheduled contact hours, students are required to engage in independent study. This allows you to read around a subject and to prepare for lectures and seminars through wider reading, or to complete follow up tasks such as assignments or revision. As a general guide, the amount of independent study required by students at the University of Lincoln is that for every hour in class you are expected to spend at least two to three hours in independent study.

Contextual Studies 1 (Core)
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Contextual Studies 1 (Core)

This module is designed to introduce students to relevant concepts, debates, and case study examples concerning creativity and the creative process, as the basis for the development of a reflective creative practice. This aims to compliment and underpin the studio work students carry out with the programme-specific team during the rest of their programme of study.

Design Thinking (Core)
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Design Thinking (Core)

This module aims to provide an introduction to design methodologies and the influential contexts associated to the process of design. Emphasis is to be placed upon developing an understanding of analysis and synthesis as a fundamental element of design development. The module also encourages a diverse approach to idea generation and provides the opportunity to understand the intrinsic qualities of materials, visual language, and the necessity of realising transient proposals effectively and efficiently.

Digital Design (Core)
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Digital Design (Core)

This module introduces the principles of using physical and screen based applications within the design process and developing an awareness of the properties of materials and objects. Initial emphasis is directed towards appreciating the interaction of 2D and 3D applications for effective and efficient communications. The contextual aspects and an awareness of applications in associated disciplines are promoted.
In the later stages the module addresses the application of 3D design within the development process and explores various attributes adopted for the generation of convincing 3D models and materials.

Drawing (Core)
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Drawing (Core)

This module provides the opportunity to probe approaches from a diverse range of disciplines and to exploit constraint in the potential development of creative concepts. The emphasis of the module is to comprehend and question conventional drawing approaches and to employ tangential thinking to initiate or regenerate identified ideas and markets. An ability to communicate ideas of a conceptual nature, supported by tangible research demonstrating cognitive design development is desired.

Contextual Studies 2 (Core)
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Contextual Studies 2 (Core)

Building upon issues concerning the development of a reflective creative practice, Contextual Studies 2 introduces students to relevant concepts, debates, and case study examples concerning the professional, economic, and socio-cultural contexts of design within the creative industries. It will also discuss ethical issues as they relate to this professional context of the creative industries and shape the creative motivations of areas such as design activism, ecological orientations, and socially engaged creative practices. These themes and debates will form an overarching discussion of professional design practice.

Cultures (Core)
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Cultures (Core)

This module focuses on encouraging students to develop a responsible approach to product development, and creates an awareness of sustainability in design. Students have the opportunity to explore and challenge issues surrounding social vanity, interaction and exclusivity, in addition to understanding the need of developing markets and appreciating strains on natural resources. The module aims to promote an understanding and relevance of soul references in culture and developing an appreciation that changes in society can influence the range of creative responses available.

Sensory Design (Core)
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Sensory Design (Core)

This module aims to promote the significance of arousing feelings and expressing emotions through added value in design solutions. The ability to create a controlling influence utilising proactive and reactive responses to an observer is explored. Communication of emotions associated with the psychological aspects of design are explored, with reference to both the inherent qualities of products and the exploitation of constraints in provoking a response from the user; the emphasis therefore focusing on communication not decoration.

Visual Language (Core)
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Visual Language (Core)

This module provides the opportunity to investigate and explore visual languages within the context of 3D design communication and aims to address the process of transferring an idea into a realistic proposal. The module expects the student to identify and achieve empathy with a target audience, using a range of communication methods.

Contextual Studies 3 (Core)
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Contextual Studies 3 (Core)

Contextual Studies 3 is an independent research study module which takes the form either of a dissertation and/or a number of other options. The module offers students an opportunity to explore in depth a topic of their own choice, chosen generally, but not exclusively in relation to the practice and/or context of their programme-specific studies and studio practice.

Futures (Core)
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Futures (Core)

The module seeks to recognise and define issues, which are influential to the future direction of design strategies. The module adopts a standard driven approach for analysis, and evaluation of design intelligence supports effective responses to fresh perspectives and provides opportunities to determine market potential and the influence of brands. An ability to drive creativity and challenge conventional boundaries is explored to target and generate innovative design proposals. Emphasis on the evaluation and the critical comparison of future materials is promoted.

Negotiated Project 1 (Core)
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Negotiated Project 1 (Core)

The module encourages self-initiated learning, critical evaluation and analysis within the initial stages of the design process. Focus is directed at the ability to formulate judgements and reasoned argument, through research methods, to support the proposal of developing creative design solutions for identified or potential target markets.

Negotiated Project 2 (Core)
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Negotiated Project 2 (Core)

The module aims to further promote self-initiated development and provides the opportunity to evolve identified design proposals, to viable solutions effectively and efficiently. The autonomy of the module facilitates motivation and relevance, enhancing development and supporting design realisation to identified criteria.

† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Students are assessed through an ongoing number of formative and summative presentations. These range from verbal, visual, and written and take advantage of a number of scenarios which develop an awareness of industrial practice; for example, students will present individually and in groups and also, at some point in their student experience, have an opportunity to pitch ideas to live project clients. This can form part of the assessment process, alongside more recognised academic submissions of course work. Product Design currently has no examinations.

In the first, second, and third years, assessment is 100% coursework.

The University of Lincoln’s policy is to ensure that staff return assessments to students promptly.

Portfolio Review

Successful applicants will be invited to a portfolio review, where they will have the opportunity to go through their portfolio with a member of the academic team.

Applicants are invited to bring along examples of their current design work, which describe some of the processes undertaken during research, sketchbooks, idea generation, development and presentation, alongside any written examples of their studies; it may be easier to bring photographs etc. of any large scale three-dimensional work.

Industry Links

Students have the opportunity to work alongside leading specialists and companies such as MetsaWood, Slam Design, Jason Bradbury and Fizzco to produce concepts and designs, which can have strong commercial value. A number of past student work has gone into production, providing a chance for students to appreciate the designer’s role in business and commerce.

Partner companies have ongoing internship and employment opportunities for a number of design students and graduates and have included Next and Fizzco.

The programme has a strong role in providing creative design provision for the Lincoln School of Design’s Technology Hub, which provides innovation, technology, and consultancy for external clients. This leads to student studio projects and targeted assistance for enterprise with the creative design process.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Students are currently provided with free access to Adobe Creative Cloud, Autodesk software, and for the duration of their studies.

New Designers

Graduating students regularly exhibit final project work and prototypes at the renowned New Designers graduate show in London.

Student as Producer

Student as Producer is a model of teaching and learning that encourages academics and undergraduate students to collaborate on research activities. It is a programme committed to learning through doing.

The Student as Producer initiative was commended by the QAA in our 2012 review and is one of the teaching and learning features that makes the Lincoln experience unique.

Placements are an optional part of the programme and are taken either as part of a year in industry or during the summer period between levels two and three. Costs relating to these are outlined below.

Tuition Fees

Full-time £9,250 per level* £15,900 per level**
Part-time £77.00 per credit point†  N/A
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt


Full-time £9,250 per level £15,900 per level
Part-time £77.00 per credit point†  N/A
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt

†Please note that not all courses are available as a part-time option.

* UK/EU: The University undergraduate tuition fee may increase year on year in line with government policy. This will enable us to continue to provide the best possible educational facilities and student experience.

** International: The fees quoted are for one year of study. For continuing students fees are subject to an increase of 2% each year and rounded to the nearest £100.

Fees for enrolment on additional modules

Tuition fees for additional activity are payable by the student/sponsor and charged at the equivalent £ per credit point rate for each module. Additional activity includes:

- Enrolment on modules that are in addition to the validated programme curriculum

- Enrolment on modules that are over and above the full credit diet for the relevant academic year

- Retakes of modules as permitted by the Board of Examiners

- In exceptional circumstances, students who are required to re-take modules can do so on an 'assessment only' basis. This means that students do not attend timetabled teaching events but are required to take the assessments/examinations associated with the module(s). The 'assessment only' fee is half of the £ per credit point fee for each module.

Exceptionally, tuition fees may not be payable where a student has been granted a retake with approved extenuating circumstances.

For more information and for details about funding your study, please see our UK/EU Fees & Funding pages or our International funding and scholarship pages. [] []

Additional Costs

For each course students may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required, depending on their subject area. Some courses provide opportunities for students to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for the travel, accommodation and meals may be covered by the University and so is included in the fee. Where these are optional students will normally (unless stated otherwise) be required to pay their own transportation, accommodation and meal costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that students are required to read. However, students may prefer to purchase some of these for themselves and will therefore be responsible for this cost.

Other Costs

Standard workshop induction costs are usually covered by the University, as are some initial printing and material costs. However, depending on the media/materials chosen by the student, there may be additional material and printing costs incurred.

Students on this course have the option to undertake external visits, which can range in cost from £300 to £1,000, dependant on the destination. The participation in these trips will have no impact upon your final award and savings and contribution plans are put in place for these.

Students are also invited to participate in an optional graduate exhibition event and to make a £200 (approx) contribution, which is financially supported by both the programme and by the Lincoln School of Design. Contributions help students to attend a graduate event with designers, employers, and manufacturers. The School and programme make a major contribution to the stand, production, prototyping, materials, and image costs.

Students are responsible for their own travel, accommodation, and general living costs while undertaking a work experience or an internship.

GCE Advanced Levels: BBC

International Baccalaureate: 29 points overall

BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction, Merit, Merit

Applicants will also need at least three GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above, which must include English. Equivalent Level 2 qualifications may be considered.

EU and International students whose first language is not English will require English Language IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in each element, or equivalent

The University accepts a wide range of qualifications as the basis for entry and will consider applicants who have a mix of qualifications.

We also consider applicants with extensive and relevant work experience and will give special individual consideration to those who do not meet the standard entry qualifications.

For applicants who do not meet our standard entry requirements, our Arts Foundation Year can provide an alternative route of entry onto our full degree programmes:

If you would like further information about entry requirements, or would like to discuss whether the qualifications you are currently studying are acceptable, please contact the Admissions team on 01522 886097, or email

Unconditional Offer Scheme

The University of Lincoln Unconditional Offer Scheme has been created to identify outstanding undergraduate applicants who we think would excel at Lincoln and make a significant contribution to our academic community.

The University of Lincoln takes a holistic contextual view, looking at students in the round, including all the information supplied in their application and any additional relevant assessment required, such as a portfolio, or interview. The qualities required for success are therefore not exclusively academic, and students’ drive, ambition, creativity, and potential are important factors in those considered for the scheme.

Applicants selected for the scheme, who commit to the University of Lincoln as their first choice of university, will receive an unconditional offer. We expect students in receipt of an unconditional offer to continue to apply themselves in their studies, both at school and when they join our academic community here at Lincoln. In previous years students who were selected and joined through the Lincoln unconditional offer scheme have shown very good success rate in their studies.

Please remember that as you may receive a number of offers from the universities which you have applied to, you should take your time to consider all of the offers that you receive and carefully choose the university and course which is right for you. There is no need for you to make a decision ahead of the deadline and we would recommend that you wait to receive all of the responses from your chosen universities so that you can take a well-informed decision.

We expect all our offer holders to continue to apply themselves in their studies, both at school and when they join our academic community here at Lincoln. Your exam results will be important for your own personal satisfaction and also for your future career and life opportunities.

Find out more about the Unconditional Offer Scheme

Learn from Experts

Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may also be supported in their learning by other students.

Stewart Bibby - Product Design

Stewart Bibby

Programme Leader

Stewart Bibby is a Principal Lecturer and Programme Leader teaching across all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate Product Design pathways. Prior to joining the University in the mid 1990s, he worked as a furniture designer and design manager. Stewart is passionate about facilitating the engagement of industry in design education and is also a founding member of the DesignBlok initiative, which seeks to grow enterprise links across the University. He is also responsible for outreach with Lincolnshire design and technology teachers and introduced the Lincolnshire Young Designer of the Year competition to the University in 2018.

Your Future Career

Career opportunities exist in design consultancies and agencies and in-house design departments. Graduates may become freelance designers.

Lincoln graduates have worked on films such as Pacific Rim: Uprising; The Martian; and Guardians of the Galaxy, while others have gone on to work as product designers for Berghaus, Suck UK, Burberry, and HTI Group, as well as furniture designers for Next, Jonathan Carey Design, and Searchlight. Some have established their own design consultancies, with the help of the University’s business incubation unit, Sparkhouse.

Careers Service

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with students to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during their time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing a course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise our graduates future opportunities.

The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages for further information


The Nicola de la Haye and Peter de Wint building comprises specialist studios, workshops, Mac suites, idea rooms, and a public gallery. Facilities include conventional prototyping machinery, 3D filament and resin printers, injection moulding, and a large flatbed CNC router for furniture design, rapid prototyping, and laser cutting.

At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our undergraduates. Whatever the area of study, the University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which they may need in their future career.

Students can make the most of the University's Great Central Warehouse Library, which is home to more than 250,000 journals and 400,000 print and electronic books and journals, as well as databases and specialist collections.

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.