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This one-year taught course is primarily aimed at design graduates who wish to enhance their skills and knowledge of cutting edge product design practice. 

It aims to produce successful individuals who can:

  • Understand the whole of the professional design development process and how the initial phases flow to inform the latter stages. 
  • Appreciate commercial realities and the designer’s role in business. 
  • Design desirable products for bespoke, batch or mass manufacture. 
  • Understand sustainability, inclusively, and other important ethical and social issues that must be considered by today’s designers. 
  • Have traditional design skills such as sketching, dealing with form, communication and innovation. 
  • Are able to use design tools such as 3D CAD, CAM and rapid prototyping in order to optimise the design and reduce time to market. 

Cardiff School of Art & Design and the National Centre for Product Design & Development Research have pooled their substantial design and manufacturing expertise to produce this unique course that will equip students with an advanced knowledge of the techniques, technologies and tools being used by today’s designers.

The Cardiff School of Art & Design have substantial expertise in the delivery of courses at the interface of engineering and product design whilst the National Centre for Product Design & Development Research is one of the UK’s leading centres for rapid product design & development whose expertise covers the whole process from design management, concept and detailed design, ergonomics and CAD to prototyping, tooling and batch manufacture.

This course will tap into the cutting edge research and development work being carried out in the field of product design and rapid product manufacture with companies such as Samsung along with three of the UK’s top five design consultancies.

Please note: This programme will undergo periodic review in 2018/19. As such, course content shown below may change to ensure the programme remains current. Any applicants will be informed of any changes once confirmed.

Course Content

MSc students take the following modules:

  • ​Perception, Cognition, Emotion, and Context (20 credits)
  • Product Development Principles and Practice(20 credits)
  • Research Techniques and Principles(20 credits)
  • Sustainability Issues in Design for Production(20 credits)
  • User Testing & Evaluation(20 credits)
  • Industrial Placement(20 credits)
  • Major Project (60 credits)

Programme Exit Points:

  • To gain a Post Graduate Certificate, you must pass Product Development Principles and Practice plus two other 20-credit modules. (60 credits)
  • To gain an MSc Product Design, you must pass all modules (180 credits) ​
  • To gain a Post Graduate Diploma, you must pass all modules except Major Project (120 credits)

Learning & Teaching

The modules are typically delivered through:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars.
  • Workshops.
  • Virtual learning, e.g. Blackboard or student blogs or wikis.
  • Self-directed study.

Lectures will be used to present basic concepts and principles. Tutorials and Seminars will be used to discuss and explain specific problem areas. Peer group tutorials will be used to discuss and explain specific problem areas. Case studies exercises and examples will be used to contextualise realistic design problems and practice. Outside experts may be invited to contribute and site visits might also be employed. The Industrial Placement delivery will be via appropriate work experience, normally project based.

All course documentation, including Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Research Studies Manual, CSAD’s Research Study Guide, the MA Art and Design Handbook with module descriptors, assessment guidelines and criteria, will be available as hard copy and electronically. In addition, lecture PowerPoint presentations and workshop-generated material, for example, paragraphs and textual or visual analyses composed during workshops, will be available on the Cardiff Metropolitan University Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Remote or electronic contact with staff will be available by email and/or VLE. The supervisory team will deliver, manage and monitor each student's progress through a number of individual and team meetings. Students will also be encouraged to form and maintain peer-learning groups, either face-to-face or online. Learning will be supported through the use of the VLE, electronic communications, and other relevant methods. Any students requiring learning support are advised to contact Learning Support in Student Services. Throughout the programme, students are expected to maintain their own Personal Development Plan/Portfolio (PDP), intended to provide evidence of their knowledge and understanding in relation to the learning outcomes of each module.

Each 20 credits is equivalent to 240 learning hours (80 typically are taught and 160 are directed study or independent study).

Employability & Careers

The course is principally aimed at enabling students to develop their careers in the world of professional product design and development. A key advantage in achieving this aim is the industrial placement module. All students are given assistance in gaining a suitable placement either in industry or within the National Centre for Product Design and development Research (PDR) which is located on the university campus. 

On completion of the course, graduates may expect to find employment in design consultancies or manufacturing companies anywhere in the world. 

Your year(s) of study with us enable you to develop professional contacts, observe how successful practitioners make their living, and hone your skills and ideas for commercial and professional advantage. Such cross-disciplinary collaborations prepare you for a world where you will inevitably work with people from all walks of life. Your live projects and assessments will get you accustomed to the importance of deadlines and working to specific briefs and tight specifications.

Over the next few years, CSAD will be developing opportunities for incubation of business proposals from its graduates and postgraduate training to get business opportunities up and running.

All students’ are expected to complete a portable ‘record of achievement’ and use their PDP to support employability and life-long learning, normally in the form of a blog, that integrates opportunities for self-reflection in programmes in order to help them develop as effective and confident learners.


Visit the Product Design - MSc/PgD/PgC page on the Cardiff Metropolitan University website for more details!

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