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BA (Hons) Design

Design at AUB is about solving real-life problems. It's more than just products; it's about strategic thinking, research and experimentation, making and exploring materials and processes, physically and digitally.

Design course information

This course begins with a broad design curriculum that allows you to gradually develop your own individual specialist design focus. As you build your knowledge and skills, you'll progress through the course by working with the wider design community at AUB in shared units.

You’ll graduate with both a breadth of understanding and context with a specialist focus and application in design. The design course builds on the established expertise within the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, becoming a collaborative design link between disciplines just as in industry.

The design thinking, strategy and 2D communication aspects of the course link well with the Graphics and Visual Communications courses at AUB, reflecting current industry practice where the definition of the product is wider than a singular object. The 3D design, prototyping and realisation aspects complement the Modelmaking, Interiors, Architecture and Fashion courses.

Topics like design strategy, user-centred design and the commercialisation process familiar to Product Design could also be a design focus that feeds back out to other programmes through a collaborative curriculum, breaking conventional subject boundaries no longer recognised by the industry. As the course progresses through each level, you'll specialise the direction of your design focus, allowing you to join with existing units on other AUB courses.

You can also download our Programme Specification.

Course duration

3-years (full-time)

UCAS course code


UCAS institution code


Level 4 (first year)

Your first year is about forming a foundation for good design knowledge as well as introducing you to the core skills of a professional Designer. This includes design foundations such as design history with an emphasis of combining theory and practice in the form of design projects.

You'll be introduced to design tools and methods, making processes and techniques, design research and exploration, as well as communication and presentation of your design concepts and solutions. Attending the course will support you in your independent decision making and you'll be introduced to realistic self-assessment. This will build your resilience and confidence as a designer.

During your first year, you'll start to think about your personal position as a designer. W'll challenge your previous assumptions about design through the exploration of design ideas, critical thinking, visualisation skills and interpretation. You’ll attend specialist demonstrations, as well as practical studio and workshop sessions.

Level 5 (second year)

The second year is a continuation of your first year during which we expect you to deepen your understanding of design and further develop your design practice. We'll challenge your ability to communicate your concepts and solutions through projects, research, making and writing.

You'll be living and breathing design through increased engagement with industry and society. We'll encourage you to develop interests and lines of enquiry which will inform the choice of creative and career directions in third year. The journey through your second year will be one of self-discovery, improved design skill sets, confidence building and independence.

Level 6 (third year)

Your third year will be a project-driven year with opportunities to work on live industry briefs, enter competitions, write your own briefs and work collaboratively with other students in your year. The final year is exciting, intense and inherently more complex as it'll be dominated by research-driven project work.

Some of the project work will overlap, so you'll have to manage your time well as you'll be working to tight deadlines. You're encouraged to promote your professional intent, direction, creativity, individuality and strength in your specialist area.

There will be an opportunity to showcase your work at the end of the year in local and national graduate shows.

All students are registered for the award of BA (Hons). However, exit awards are available if you leave the course early, having successfully completed one or two levels. If you successfully complete a level of the course, you'll automatically be entitled to progress to the next level.

For the award of a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 120 credits at Level 4. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the first year of your course.

For the award of a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 240 credits of which a minimum of 120 must be at Level 5. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the second year of your course.

For the award of a BA (Hons) you must have achieved a minimum of 360 credits of which a minimum of 240 must be at Level 5 or above, of which a minimum of 120 credits must be at Level 6. This qualification will be awarded upon successful completion of your course.

A BA without Honours may be awarded if you have achieved 300 credits, at least 180 of which are at Level 5 or above, and at least 60 of which are at Level 6.

Franziska Conrad headshot

Franziska Conrad

Franziska founded her design studio in 2005 which has since grown into INHERENTLY GOOD DESIGN, a platform allowing her to create...

Dr Christian McLening headshot

Dr. Christian Mclening

Dean of the School of Art, Design and Architecture with a research interest in product design and design methodology...

Will Strange headshot

Will Strange

Will is a Senior Lecturer at AUB with particular interest in teaching the skills needed for professional modelmaking...

Peter Philips Headshot

Peter Philips

Peter’s early design experience was gained working for 3 leading UK consultancies before arriving at tangerine. His work with Nick Butler...

David Lund Profile Picture

David Lund FHEA

David is a Senior Lecturer teaching in BA Modelmaking and BA Design...

Dilek Hocaoglu

Dr. Dilek Hocaoglu

Dilek is a Senior Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Design course at AUB. She studied Industrial Product Design and she received her BSc degree...

Watch our course videos

Listen to Franziska, Course Leader for BA (Hons) Design and a group of current students talk about the course.

How to apply

Once you've found the perfect Undergraduate course, you can apply to study via UCAS, including direct entry applications to second and third year.

When applying through UCAS, use the institution code A66. All of our courses take place on one site, so we don't have a campus code. We'll then use your completed UCAS form to make decisions about your application. You can find out more on entry requirements in our apply section.

When you apply to one of our courses, it's important that you help us get a good picture of both you and your work – so you'll need a great personal statement. We want to know more about why you're interested in the course, your key influences, and what you hope to do after your studies.

If you're invited for an interview, many of our courses will ask to see a portfolio of your work so we can get more insight into your ideas and abilities. To help you, we've created guidelines outlining what we expect from your portfolio for each course.

Entry/Portfolio requirements

Due to Covid-19 and the need for social distance, we will not be able to offer on campus interviews to applicants this cycle. For courses that require a portfolio review or an audition, the Admissions team will be in touch with you and request a digital portfolio or audition.

We will hold Offer Holder days in Spring and invite applicants to visit the campus and meet the course team, or if you are unable to visit us you will be able to attend a virtual Offer Holder Day.

A selection of work that showcase the applicant’s interest in design.

Listed below are a number of suggestions to help you when you are creating your portfolio.

  • Level 3 work from subjects such as: design and technology, product design, graphic design, art, photography, textiles, fashion
  • Professional practice in the creative industries, especially if the applicant has been part of an apprentice programme
  • Engagement with creative process, theatre, photography as a hobby
  • DIY or restoration projects (anything from small objects to cars and buildings) – Overview of design and creative process in form of sketch books including research and development sketches, models, prototypes, etc.

Universities interviewing for creative courses will expect to be presented with a portfolio to help them understand your ability and range of work. Your portfolio could be your golden ticket into receiving an offer so making sure it’s presentable, well-organised and accessible is essential.

Design is about solving real-life problems. It is more than just products; it is about strategic thinking, about research and experimentation, about making and exploring materials and processes, physically and digitally. A good design solution is like a good story, it requires a degree of empathy, it takes conviction and passion to make it real. Designing is challenging and joyful at the same time and at this pinnacle moment in time, Design has the power to shape ground-breaking solutions that will enrich people’s lives for years to come.

Franziska Conrad, Course Leader

Fees and funding

The fee that you pay the Arts University Bournemouth provides the necessary equipment and training for you to complete your course.

You may also choose to buy some items of personal equipment such as a laptop or tablet computer, but this is not required; desktop and laptop computers are available for you to use in common study areas, including a loan system in the Library.

Studios and resources

As a Design student, you’ll have access to our state-of-the-art facilities, including 3D workshops, the iconic drawing studio and computer labs.

Student using tools in a Workshops

3D Workshop

Our 3D workshops with manual and digital manufacturing equipment and computers

Computer digital suite with


Our CAD Lab is the perfect environment to work on digital projects with high-end PC workstations.

Two men looking a CNC router whilst wearing protective earphones

CAM Suite

Our CAM Suite offers students access to 3D printers, laser cutters, 3D scanners and more.

Image of the printing press

Printing Press

The Printing Press at AUB was made in 1880 and originally designed for commercial type newspaper printing.

Student in the print room using a printing press

Printroom and Passiv Haus

The Printroom and Passiv Haus are two great facilities available to all AUB student

Teaching and learning

Learning is realised through taught sessions and independent study.

The course is structured progressively and embraces a wide variety of learning and teaching methods and experiences to promote active learning. These include project-based learning, workshops, team learning lectures, seminars, group critiques, educational visits, guided reading and tutorials.

You'll develop skills, which include research, critical analysis, problem solving, communication and presentation, as well as specialist technical skills. Throughout, the integration of theory and practice is promoted and reinforced rigorously. The learning experiences prepare you for a variety of employment routes and postgraduate study.

You'll be encouraged to experiment, take risks, and try out new things. The moment when new found skills and knowledge are connected to your existing skillset and understanding is seen as an opportunity for insight, creativity and learning. Projects involve phases of problem finding, problem solving, and spotting opportunities for innovation.

A team of staff that includes professional Designers from a variety of backgrounds, researchers and relevant visiting practitioners delivers the course. The course is outward facing and works closely with the design industry and other organisations at local, national and international levels.

You take part in a variety of design competitions appropriate to your level. For example, the Royal Society of Arts Student Design Awards as well as the Design and Art Direction student awards competition offer opportunities to participate in industry-based briefs.

Contact hours include all scheduled teaching sessions, but also supervised time in the workshop or studio. In line with national guidance, we include in our calculation of contact hours all the time which is scheduled in the studio for independent study which is also supported by staff (either academic staff, or technicians).

Assessment and feedback

Each unit is assessed separately, and the assessment forms part of the unit. Assessment both provides a measure of your achievement, and also gives you regular feedback on how your learning is developing.

For every unit of your course, we'll inform you of what you're expected to learn, what you have to submit, how your work will be assessed, and the deadline for presenting your work for assessment. This is made available through Unit Information, which is on your course blog.

You'll receive a final mark for each unit in the form of a percentage, which will be recorded on your formal record of achievement (transcript). Each component of assessment is graded using a notched marking scale, whereby only certain marks are used within each grade. The only marks available within any ten-point band are *2, *5 and *8 (e.g. 62, 65, 68). These marks correspond to a low, mid, and high level of achievement within each grade band.

All learning outcomes must be passed to successfully complete the unit. On successful completion of your Honours degree course, you'll be awarded a degree classification based on your unit marks. The final classification is determined using all unit marks at Levels 5 and 6 using two different algorithms, which are detailed in the HE Student Regulations. If the two algorithms produce different results, you'll be awarded the higher class of degree.

If you've joined Level 6 through either the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) route or having completed a Foundation Degree (FdA), the final classification is determined using only your unit marks at Level 6.

For further information on assessment, progression, awards and classifications, please visit

Career destinations

“Of the top ten skills you’ll need in 2020 identified by the World Economic Forum, five are design competencies. Complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, and cognitive flexibility are hard to automate skills that will equip our children to tackle the big challenges of tomorrow.

A curriculum that omits design and the arts does not help our teachers teach the scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and communicators of the future. And in the long run that will hinder our economy, our ability to solve global challenges, and our ability to design our own future.”

– Dr Ambreen Shah, Director of Policy and Research at Design Council.

As a new course for 2020/21, our first group of student will graduate in 2023.

The course is designed to equip students with a broad range of design and technical skill, as well as the ability to communicate ideas and work in collaborative teams. Learning about the practicalities involved with planning and design through to creation will give you a true overview of the production process, preparing you for work at every level.

As a BA (Hons) Design graduate, you'll be prepared to undertake roles such as:

  • Designer/Maker
  • Design Entrepreneur
  • Graphic Designer
  • Industrial Designer
  • Product Designer
  • UI/UX
  • Design for Happiness
  • Design thinker/strategist
  • Human-centred design
  • Design Business Manager
  • Strategic positions in non-design related businesses

BA (Hons) Design news

See more of our student work

Design at AUB is about solving real-life problems. It's about strategic thinking, research and experimentation.