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Course content

Course Overview

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.

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.

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Course Content

MSc students take the following modules:
- APD401M Product Development Principles & Practice (20 Credits)
- APD403M Sustainability Issues in Design for Production (20 Credits)
- MAA7001 Research Methods in Art & Design (20 Credits)
- APD405M User Testing & Evaluation (20 Credits)
- APD406M Form Shape & Colour (20 Credits)
- APD407M Major Project (60 Credits)
- APD408M(A) Industrial Placement (20 Credits)

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

- Facilities
Dedicated studio space. Cardiff School of Art and Design offers an extensive range of spaces, workshops and equipment, creating a vibrant and creative learning environment, within a new purpose designed building and a fully renovated extension. Workshop and technical facilities include a foundry; and access to other workshops across the full range of Art and Design disciplines. Membership of the Fablab is included in the indicative coursework costs below. Cardiff School of Art and Design has a wide range of tools and equipment for use by students; necessary workshop training in their use includes access to materials used as part of timetabled workshop inductions. You also have access to and use of recycled materials within workshop areas.


For each module, assessment is as follows:
- APD401M Product Development Principles & Practice (20 Credits) 6000 word equivalent assignment. This will normally be a written assignment.

- APD403M Sustainability Issues in Design for Production (20 Credits) 6000 word equivalent. This module will typically be assessed via a design project. A proportion of the assignment may however be awarded for written or presentatio​n work.

- MAA7001 Research Methods in Art & Design (20 Credits) Written submission, plus seminar presentation, typically 3,000 words plus a 10-20 minute presentation.

- APD405M User Testing & Evaluation (20 Credits) 6000 word equivalent. This module may be linked with others in order to provide a design project vehicle. In any case it will involve practical exercises and a proportion if not all of the assignment may be awarded for written or presentation work.

- APD406M Form Shape & Colour (20 Credits) 6000 word equivalent. This project is likely to be assessed through practical design activity, although a proportion of the assignment may be awarded for written or presentation work.

- APD407M Major Project (60 Credits). 18,000-word equivalent. Performance will be measured using the Final Report, Formal Presentation, Viva Voce examination and final product. Of the marks that are available for the project the allocation of the marks to each of the measures is as follows:

Final Report: 40%

Final Product (prototype): 40%

Formal Presentation: 5%

Viva Voce: 15%

- APD408M(A) Industrial Placement (20 Credits) 6000 word equivalent. A 3000 word ( maximum) report reflecting on the student’s experience within the professional working environment. A reflective placement Logbook (or Blog equivalent) recording critical reflections on events, activities and experiences. Important Note: Because of the difficulties of assessment in the workplace and the potential for disparity of treatment, this module is not awarded a mark other than “Pass” or “Fail”.

Support will be available through weekly small group seminars (normally no more than 16 students per group), exploring the theme of lectures and allowing students to clarify their understanding.

These sessions may also be workshops where practical demonstrations, involving student participation, are run. This may include, for example, communal writing or small group discourse analysis. Weekly tutorials will also be available.

Employability & Careers

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.

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Find out how to apply here

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




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