MA, BA, HND, PGCE, FHEA.
You are using an outdated browser. Most of this website should still work, but after upgrading your browser it will look and perform better.
Design course information
The design course sits within the established expertise of Art, Design and Architecture at AUB. It forms a strategic and collaborative link between design disciplines as desired by employers in the creative and strategic design industry.
Creative thinking, research and the design process underpin all project responses. Students are introduced to the design process and design practice across a variety of design disciplines. This means they’re exposed to context and tools rooted in 2D communication such as Graphics and Visual Communications as well as 3D design and prototyping. Facilities across AUB allow students to explore materials and processes where applicable.
Topics like design strategy, user-centred design and design business are part of our collaborative curriculum, breaking conventional subject boundaries no longer recognised by industry.
Each course level has a specific focus
Year 1: Design Skills Bootcamp – Design process (short burst projects), context and collaboration
Year 2: Design in practice – Design projects, employability, value building, collaboration
Year 3: Who are you? – Competition, collective working, individual design practice
Level 4 (Year 1) Design Skills Bootcamp
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 context with an emphasis of combining theory and practice in the form of design projects
We introduce the design process through strategic and practical design skills. We encourage experimentation, exploration and working in teams. Students practice communication individually and in teams. The year concludes with an individual design brief encouraging students to explore the design process bringing together all elements of the design skills bootcamp. It is important to start developing individual areas of interest and values to take into the second year.
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.
We'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 (Year 2) Design in practice
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, writing and prototyping.
Starting the transition from design student to design professional requires a broad set of skills. Employability is a key element of the second year. Problem-based learning, building an individual portfolio of work, exploring new areas of design through individual, team and competition project briefs, and communicating within teams as well as with external partners and employers is the core focus this year. A deeper design context understanding addressing sustainability, diversity and inclusivity, innovation and legislation are part of the second-year curriculum.
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 your choice of career direction in your final year. The journey through your second year will be one of self-discovery, improved design skill sets, confidence building and independence.
Level 6 (Final year) Professional Designers – Who are you?
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. Key areas for this year are:
- Individual design work and values
- Research, investigation, and experimentation
- Collective design achievements and communication
Some of the project work will overlap, time management will be crucial and working to tight deadlines will be the norm. You’ll be encouraged to promote your professional intent, direction, creativity, individuality, and strengths.
You’ll have established your personal values and preferences as designers by the end of the final year, which will help you specialise your design expertise through further study, employment, or self-employment.
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.
PhD, BA (Hons)
PhD, MSc, BSc
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.
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'll hold Offer Holder days in Spring and invite applicants to visit the campus and meet the course team, or if you're unable to visit us you'll be able to attend a virtual Offer Holder Day.
A selection of work that showcase the applicant’s interest in design, their ability to develop ideas creatively, and their individual styles and values.
Listed below are suggestions to help you when you’re 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 the 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 the form of:
- sketch books including research and development sketches,
- models, prototypes, etc
We’d love to see how you think, why you do things the way you do, what you enjoy, who you want to be, and why you want to study design.
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.
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.
Our CAD Lab is the perfect environment to work on digital projects with high-end PC workstations.
The Printing Press at AUB was made in 1880 and originally designed for commercial type newspaper printing.
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 viewpoint.aub.ac.uk.
“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.
BA (Hons) Design equips graduates with a broad range of strategic and practical design skills, it fine-tunes their ability to apply the design process, communicate their ideas professionally and it teaches them to work in collaborative teams.
A graduate from this course will be able to progress to more specialised Design MAs. They’ll have the ability to become entrepreneurs in creative or strategic areas of the design discipline and will add value to creative as well as strategic design and non-creative businesses through roles such as:
- Design thinker/strategist
- Design Business Manager
- Industrial/Product Designer
- UI/UX/Graphic Designer
- Experience Designer