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Product Design and Craft

BA (Hons)
Product Design and Craft
3 years (full-time)
4 years (with placement year and/or overseas study)

Our BA (Hons) Product Design and Craft course has a material-led, experimental philosophy that pursues a thinking through making approach to design, supporting the development of personal creative agendas. Through a programme of study that explores our understanding of the material world, you will learn how to be a designer and maker of objects that enhance our daily interactions. You will develop essential skills in creative thinking and design strategy, and then apply these to challenge how you design for product and for craft.

You will discover how to design and produce objects that embrace both traditional handmade approaches and contemporary machine and digital manufacturing. Through creative experimentation we strive to give ideas a material voice, as the thinking behind an object and its material execution are of equal importance. Your design work will also look to address a diverse range of areas including social issues, global awareness and local demand by considering the objects you design and the materials and processes you use. This course will enable you to explore strategies, materials and processes so you can develop creative and professional skills to support a sustainable career in design and craft making.

Product Design and Craft at Manchester Met builds on the success of our previous programme, BA Three Dimensional Design, which has produced influential and award-winning graduates including designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick, jeweller Ruth Tomlinson and ceramicist Joe Hartley.

What’s the difference between Product Design & Craft, and the Product Design course?

The two courses run alongside each other and have been developed to look at the reasoning for objects that surround us, from the cherished personal possessions to the functional items that facilitate our daily life. In exploring the rich diversity of creative opportunities across the subject area, it is not the category of product that determines it as a piece of product design or a piece of product design craft, but how it has been arrived at through the creative process, underpinned by the factors that have informed and driven its creation.

  • The Product Design & Craft course provides a designer/maker focus, pursuing experimental approaches that are often driven by individual responses to social, political and environmental issues in the creation of the designed object.
  • The Product Design course provides a human-centered focus, designing products that respond to identified needs and new market driven opportunities that aim to enhance user experience, utility and value.

Special Features

  • This course is supported by a comprehensive range of workshops for hand and machine making in ceramics, glass, metal, wood and plastics, digital making facilities for CNC routing, 3D printing and laser cutting.

  • You will be taught by a range of academic and technical experts across the School of Art who are practicing makers and artists

Course Content

Year 1

In Year 1 you will study the following core units: 

Principles and Approaches to Making

Set projects will introduce you to fundamental hand, machine & digital processes that are used for making objects across a range of materials, and provide an opportunity for you to explore, investigate and creatively respond to your discoveries concerning differing material qualities. Visual studies will introduce you to the many approaches to drawing and photography used by designers and makers, and how these can inform the creative process.

Line Plane Form

This unit engages students in the investigation of fundamental three-dimensional geometry; line, plane, and form. Through a series of tasks these elements will be explored using 2D drawing techniques and 3D making approaches, to arrive at a collection of pieces that explore three-dimensional visual language.

Contextualising Practice 1: Critical Reflection

This unit is delivered and assessed by individual programmes and relate directly to students’ personal practice and the contexts that inform making in professional art, design and/or craft practices. The unit asks students to begin to form a critical understanding of their own practice.

Contextualising Practice 1: Critical Analysis

Students are allocated to a pathway according to their programme to introduce ideas relevant to their studies. The unit introduces some of the broad over-arching themes and concepts – historical, cultural, social, political, and economic – that affect and inform the production of art, design and/or craft.

Unit X

At Level 4, this unit encourages some collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience. There are lectures and talks from key research staff, students and external experts. Teaching will be in the form of tutorial groups, weekly meetings and presentations. The set projects will vary from year to year and are designed to be responsive to current creative opportunities. 

Year 2

In Year 2 you will study the following core units: 

Contextualising Practice 2: Critical Analysis A

For ‘Contextualising Practice 2: Critical Analysis A’, students can choose to study up to two thematic sub-units to develop their contextual studies in new directions. The CP2 Critical Analysis units encourage students to develop their critical analysis skills gained in Level 4 to further investigate the broad over-arching themes and concepts – historical, cultural, social, political, and economic – that affect and inform the production of art, design and/or craft.

Understanding Context 1

In supporting the development of personal and professional practice, these units (part 1&2) require students to respond to a professional facing project brief. The choices for this could include applications for competitions, residencies, exhibitions, or research project applications, providing a variety of opportunities to explore across both craft and product-led approaches. Part 1 defines the project opportunity and establish creative parameters.

Tradition and Innovation

This unit will foster an understanding of the relevance of historical perspectives on contemporary practice.  Using a choice of set projects you will examine design archetypes including historic archives and traditional materials.  Further to this your studies will use techniques and processes as a basis for re-interpretation according to individual contexts for practice.  Conventional and new technologies can be employed to explore contemporary and unexpected responses to established traditions.  A development of your own personal visual language will be a central part of your project work on this unit. 

Unit X

This unit explores collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice.  You will have the opportunity to engage in a range of external-facing learning opportunities which will encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience; this may take the form of spending time outside of the University and working within the creative community and the public domain. You also have the option to undertake a placement in this unit.

Year 3

In Year 3 you will study the following core units: 

Unit X

On the third year Unit X, there is a student authored final project leading to a showcase of finished work. The unit includes a brief generated by the student, which leads to the presentation of a significant body of final work. Collaborative and interdisciplinary work can be incorporated into the project in relation to the professional context and ambition of the student.

Contextualising Practice 3: Critical Reflection

Students are allocated to a pathway according to their programme. The unit asks students to draw upon key ideas and methods encountered in their Contextualising Practice studies, as well as other aspects of their programme teaching and individual research, to support the development and critical understanding of their own practice as they approach graduation. 

Synthesis and Resolution

This unit will focus on developing, refining and resolving an appropriate visual language and palette of skills to facilitate your professional ambitions.  During the course you will have the opportunity to define a self-authored, multi-faceted programme of study; this will require the synthesis of critical, analytical and practical skills combined with an independent, resourceful and responsive approach to practice. 

Assessment Weightings & Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A three year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be—

  • Year 1 50% lectures, seminars or similar; 50% independent study
  • Year 2 50% lectures, seminars or similar; 50% independent study
  • Year 3 50% lectures, seminars or similar; 50% independent study
  • Year 1 100% coursework
  • Year 2 100% coursework
  • Year 3 100% coursework

Student Work

Our Degree Show online galleries show work by final year Product Design and Craft and Three Dimensional Design students, the previous name of the course.


Winners of student awards announced

Winners of student awards announced

3DDesignMMU     msoa_3ddesign


Graduates of this course go on to establish their own creative businesses as self-employed practitioners, or pursue careers as product designers, furniture designers, ceramicists, jewellers, retailers, gallery owners, retail buyers, design managers, design consultants, teachers and lecturers.

Making an Application

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS.

We will ask you to provide a Digital Portfolio to support your application.

You will be notified of our decision through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required


A Levels ­– e.g. BCC-BBC

Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma – DMM

Pass Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 106 UCAS Tariff points

T Levels - We welcome applications from students undertaking T Level qualifications. Eligible applicants will be asked to achieve a minimum overall grade of Merit as a condition of offer.

Equivalent qualifications and combinations will be considered, including Extended Project (EPQ) at grade C or above.

AS levels (or qualifications equivalent to AS level) are not accepted.

Please contact the University directly if you are unsure whether you meet the minimum entry requirements for the course.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE grade C/4 in English Language or Level 2 Functional Skills English pass

International BaccalaureateIB Diploma with minimum 26 points overall or 104-112 UCAS Tariff points from Higher Level. If you plan to meet the Level 2 course requirements through your IB Diploma you will need to achieve Higher Level 4 or Standard Level 5 in English Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 overall with no individual element below 5.5 is required.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Tuition Fees 2022 Entry

UK and Channel Island Students

Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

EU and Non-EU International Students

Full-time fee: £18,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

See Money Matters for further information and advice.