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About the course

From motorcycles to mobile phones, product designers create products that are both desirable and functional. On Solent’s innovative one-year product design top-up course you’ll complement your existing studies (at HND level or equivalent) with specialist training in product design, learning more about the user–product relationship and earning a full honours degree in just one year.

Solent University’s product design curriculum explores a range of usability and aesthetic considerations, encouraging students as they acquire industry-relevant skills in design, manufacturing and computer-aided 3D modelling. This is supported by a range of freelance, live brief and work placement opportunities, providing students with valuable professional experience.

By taking part in these industry exercises, students will learn the design and manufacture process from original concept right through to marketing and merchandising of the product.

Another important element of the course is its accreditation by the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED). Students on the product design top-up degree benefit from free student membership for the duration of their studies, as well as their first year of graduate membership. There are many benefits to membership of the IED, most notably the opportunity to gain professional registration and recognition of expertise, to network with other designers and to access continued professional development courses.

Professional accreditation Built in work experience placement Specialist facilities Top-up degree

This one-year programme focuses on the relationship between products and users, exploring ergonomics, usability principles and materials.

What does this course lead to?

As a design-trained graduate, your creative-thinking, problem-solving and communication skills are in high demand among employers and open up a range of career options. Graduates have gone on to find roles at Bright Innovations, Sail Trainee International and Celsus.

Who is this course for?

This top-up course is the ideal way for students with a relevant qualification at HND level (or equivalent) to upgrade their qualification and earn a full honours degree in just one year.

Students should be aspiring to careers in product design, design consultancy, design engineering, interior design, prototyping, or product marketing.

Facts and figures

UCAS codes icon

UCAS codes

Full Time

  • 1 Year Standard Entry W240
Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2018/19 academic year are:
UK and EU full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £12,500 per year 

Other costs

The 2018/19 costs are not yet available. For guidance the 2016/17 costs were:

Compulsory marker pen and materials costs: £200

Bursaries and scholarships

Solent University offers a range of bursaries and scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each bursary or scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our bursaries and scholarships pages to find out more.

Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

Relevant HND/foundation degree pass with merit overall (55 per cent) or 240 CATS points from a relevant three-year degree.
  • UK applicants will be required to attend a portfolio viewing.
  • Non-UK applicants will be required to submit an electronic portfolio.

We welcome applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds. Applicants who are not in possession of the minimum entry requirements but are able to demonstrate aptitude, enthusiasm and motivation will be considered on an individual basis and may be admitted subject to satisfactory interview and/or portfolio. Please contact us for further details.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each individual component
  • TOEFL IBT minimum 80 with a minimum of 19 in each individual component
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a pre-sessional English programme for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.

Study location

East Park Terrace

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Ask Solent team: 023 8201 3039

How to apply

Any student applying for the first year of a full-time/sandwich undergraduate course must apply through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service). This includes mature, overseas and EU students.

Nearly all schools and colleges offer their students the facility of applying electronically through the UCAS website using 'Apply'; it may also be used by those applying independently in the UK and overseas. This facility and all course information can be found on the UCAS website:

Your application should reach UCAS by January if you hope to enter a course the following autumn. Early application is advised for the most popular subject areas. Late applications may be made until June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Click the link below to apply through UCAS:

BA (Hons) Product Design (Top-up)

How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core units

  • Live Competition Project
  • Professional Project Research
  • Preparation for Employment
  • Professional Project


  • Design Futures
  • Work Based Learning

Please note: Not all optional units are guaranteed to run each year.


Web-based learning

Solent's virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support


The University provides excellent learning resources and facilities to its students, from campus-wide wireless to extensive library services and dedicated student working spaces with plenty of laptop points. Students also have access to professional studios with fully equipped model-making and prototyping workshops, together with access to the latest rapid prototyping facilities.

Students enjoy access to industry-standard facilities including an advanced manufacturing lab. The lab offers computer-aided additive and subtractive modelling machines, as well as 3D scanning, laser cutting, rapid prototyping, 5-axis routing and 3D printing equipment.

Solent’s strong industry links can provide work placement opportunities for students. Past student projects have been supported by B&Q, IKEA, the NHS, Greaves Best Design, SIG, Adris and In-Tandem Systems.

Your future

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Product design
  • Design consultancy
  • Design engineering
  • Interior design/space planning
  • Exhibition design
  • Special FX model-making
  • Graphics/packaging/point-of-sale design
  • Product marketing or research.

Industry links

Tutors have extensive industry experience, helping students to relate projects to the real world. The course has strong links with industry and has set up a partner affiliation network (PAN) which provides live project briefs, professional input on course content and various student design competitions, together with extensive work placement opportunities.

The University also helps nurture and protect your ideas and innovative designs by providing you with support and advice on intellectual property protection.

We also have a comprehensive programme of guest speakers throughout the course, giving you access to a formidable selection of industry professionals delivering up-to-the-minute case studies.


Opportunities for work placement are provided through the course partner affiliation network, which encourages professional input and work placement opportunities for students. Partner companies include B&Q, IKEA, the NHS, Greaves Best Design, SIG, Adris and In-Tandem Systems Ltd.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

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