Product Design Innovation MA

Study level: Postgraduate
two male students looking at colourful product designs on a design sheet

Our Product Design Innovation course aims to prepare you for global employment as creative, innovative and strategic problem solvers.

Year of entry

2024-25

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Part-time

Duration

1 year full-time
2 years part-time
16-24 months (with professional experience)

Course code

AHT042

Start date

September 2024
January 2025
May 2025


Course overview

You will be expected to work collaboratively in an internationalised, cross-disciplinary and transcultural context. The focus of the course is on employing research and critical and creative thinking skills to solve complex 3D design problems, with imagination and insight.

  • Research and critical and creative thinking are at the heart of all projects, as is ensuring you recognise sustainable and ethical approaches.
  • You will have the option to apply for a ‘professional experience’ opportunity2, designed to further develop your skills and knowledge with the aim of maximising your employability prospects. See the ‘Modules’ section for more information.
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Joint Top Modern University for Career Prospects

Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

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5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

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Top 10 UK Student City (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2024

Why you should study this course

You will be guided towards creative, imaginative and innovative ways of problem-solving and investigation.

We aim to provide you with multiple options for the expression of creative explorations, including academic writing, multi-media outcomes, model making, oral and visual presentations, digital portfolios and online content.

Key features of the course are the opportunities for working with live client projects2 and where possible, Collaborative Online International Learning projects (COIL)2.

  • Specialist design studios4 feature drawing tables, presentation equipment and wireless internet access, supported by a dedicated print bureau for 2D outputs up to A0 size and the CSAD Art Shop.
  • Extensive facilities4 include state-of-the-art laser cutting, rapid prototyping, desktop CNC milling, 3D printing facilities, paint spraying, scanners, two large block material workshops and handwork shops.
  • Computing suites4 offer modelling, animation and analysis software, as well as graphic and word-processing packages, including Alias, Maya, Adobe Creative Suite, Rhino, Vector works, RAMSIS and Jack ergonomics software. Visualisation is supported with software such as Bunkspeed, Showcase and VRED.

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What you'll study

During semester 1 you will focus on collaborative learning experiences and the development of a community of postgraduate learning.

It will focus on creative processes, user contexts and provide a theoretical and practical introduction to academic standards of research and ethics which are core to level 7 study. This is parallel to the first specialist module where you will be expected to personally reflect on prior knowledge, experience and aspirations and think about future goals.

In semester 2, you will critically develop your specialist practice/interests and start to question where personal boundaries and creative activities can be furthered or built upon at postgraduate level. You will work closely with peers and consider your own practice in a professional context. Importantly, you will, through negotiation and mentorship, begin to develop a clear and research-inspired project focus for your Final Project, which takes place in semester 3.

Structured around the three themes of communication, collaboration and creativity, we focus on the design of products that interface directly with people and are manufactured through methods of mass production. Within competitive markets, the ability to interpret and manage ‘user’ perception and expectations is just as important within the overall design process, as the functional, operational and production considerations.

Modules

  • This module places product design into a cross-cultural and transdisciplinary design context. The focus of this study is on idea generation and creativity techniques that are directly applicable to product design and its innovation. You are expected to acquire technical knowledge and a sound understanding of research-based enquiry. You will be provided with a foundation on which you can refine your problem-solving design skills. You are required to take responsibility for your own learning journey, but group engagement will be part of this module. Creative and practical activity will be in the form of an individual response to a research-inspired brief.

    Where possible live briefs with external organisations and businesses will be part of this module2. This builds upon previous success. Projects may also focus on the local community or COIL activity as defined by module assignment briefs2.

    Compulsory

  • This module explores the nature and definitions of research in art, architecture and design-based disciplines. You will be introduced to interdisciplinary research methods and ethical practices from a range of perspectives. Your understanding of research and ethics will need to be demonstrated through the completion of an online research submission as well as through practical exploration and experimentation conducted, recorded and analysed as a research project.

    Compulsory

  • This module will explore design innovation techniques and processes, user experience and stakeholder requirements in the context of given design briefs and activities. You will use investigation techniques within this module to explore and consider the opportunities presented by new and emerging technologies, in relation to different user scenarios, tasks and contexts. You will go on to define design opportunities and apply innovation methods and techniques to challenge and question existing design solutions and through a creative approach, optimise future design opportunities.

    Compulsory

  • This module asks you to consider the professional contexts of your discipline. It explores the ways in which creativity, innovation, problem-solving and entrepreneurship intersect in creative practice. It employs real-world examples to enable you to think about your professional practice, employability, portfolio development and approaches to communication. You will further build and develop a personal portfolio which will support your potential career aims and develop your personal ‘voice’.

    Compulsory

  • This module explores the changing world of work which Arts and Humanities students enter after study. New technology and the changing global economy mean that jobs and skills are changing and evolving quickly and will continue to do so. This is an exciting and new world, and this module is designed to empower you to realise your potential in it.

    This module provides tools for you to develop into changemakers, thrive in a changing world of work and participate in creating a better future for society. You’ll be guided through a process of reflection that explores four possible futures for the world of work and how to situate your own professional identity as the future of work changes through your careers. This module is designed in collaboration with The RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), and upon successful completion students will receive RSA digital badging.

    Compulsory

  • This module requires the management and implementation of an appropriate critical investigation. It will be based on the project plan you developed over semesters 1 and 2. This module will help you gain specialist insight or a new knowledge base to support your Final Specialist Project.

    Compulsory

  • The Final Project will comprise a major design project that is agreed upon during the Final Project Plan. The project requires you to apply research conclusions drawn in the ‘Product Design Innovation Specialist Investigation’ module and the resultant research-informed product design brief, then transform them through design techniques and innovative approaches into a novel, viable, desirable product design solution or set of solutions that are appropriate to the user, stakeholder and design context.

    You will be required to independently manage the design phases of the project, professionally present your design solutions and defend your proposal during a question and answer session.

    Compulsory

With professional experience option

The professional experience opportunity2 enables you the opportunity to apply for optional professional experience in semester 1, which, upon successfully securing an opportunity, will extend the duration of your master’s to either 16, 20 or 24 months. The professional experience provides an opportunity for you to develop expertise and experience in your chosen field with the aim of enhancing your employability.

Please note that the optional professional experience modules incur an additional tuition fee, for which 1 semester of professional experience is £1,333.33, for 2 semesters of professional experience is £2666.67, and for 3 semesters of professional experience is £4,000.

Professional experience may also be subject to additional costs, visa requirements being met, subject to availability and/or competitive application. Professional experience opportunities are not guaranteed but you will benefit from the support of our Talent Team in trying to find and secure an opportunity. Find out more about the professional experience option.

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.


How you'll learn

Our teaching methods include a combination of:

  • medium group teaching: workshops, seminars and lectures
  • group teaching: seminars, critiques and tutorials
  • studio practice and bookable workshop access

The School of Art and Design often provides opportunities to engage in external or collaborative activities such as competition/Industry briefs and speakers beyond your course studies2. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities when they arise, to support your learning journey.

This course can be offered on a part-time basis. Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Request further information about part-time study.


Teaching contact hours

The number of contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around 13 contact hours per week.

Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant (approx. 20-30 hours) self-directed study each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment

This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods include:

  • Group work
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Projects
  • Coursework
  • Individual Assignments

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.


International experience opportunities

Coventry University’s School of Art and Design typically has a multinational population and you may therefore have the opportunity to work alongside students from all over the globe.

We see this as a particular strength of the course as it could enable you to work alongside students from differing cultural backgrounds and design perspectives. It aims to give you the experience of working collaboratively and cross-culturally. The capacity to work across cultural and disciplinary boundaries is becoming an essential skill in our ever-more interconnected world.

Collaborative learning may include exchange lectures by international academics and visiting tutors from our link universities in the UK and abroad2. Many of our courses run Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) projects allowing you to develop cultural connections and global design sensitivity with students from other universities from around the world2.


Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have an undergraduate degree in design or engineering.

Non-design applicants can be accepted on the basis of evidence of projects or activities that signal a creative, problem-solving ability. 

We recognise a breadth of qualifications; speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Portfolio

No portfolio will be required if the academic qualifications in the subject area as defined above are met.

If a portfolio is required it should feature a maximum of approximately 10-15 examples of work or three to four projects undertaken within the past two years, these should be major, substantial, in-depth projects which demonstrate the ability to conceptualise solutions to creative problems, and to assimilate and combine written language or content with the visual. This will clearly demonstrate the level of creative, craft and production skills achieved, either in a previous course of study or in a professional design studio, as a freelance designer or during an internship2.

Projects should ideally be accompanied by a brief summary of the work or projects, notes on the software used, and dated. As a graphic designer a genuine, demonstrable interest in typography and good typographic skills is required beyond the basic level.

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

Typical entry requirements

Applicants should normally have an undergraduate degree in design or engineering.

Non-design applicants can be accepted on the basis of evidence of projects or activities that signal a creative, problem-solving ability.

Portfolio

No portfolio will be required if the academic qualifications in the subject area as defined above are met.

If a portfolio is required it should feature a maximum of approximately 10-15 examples of work or three-four projects undertaken within the past two years, these should be major, substantial, in-depth projects which demonstrate the ability to conceptualise solutions to creative problems, and to assimilate and combine written language or content with the visual. This will clearly demonstrate the level of creative, craft and production skills achieved, either in a previous course of study or in a professional design studio, as a freelance designer or during an internship2.

Projects should ideally be accompanied by a brief summary of the work or projects, notes on the software used, and dated. As a graphic designer a genuine, demonstrable interest in typography and good typographic skills is required beyond the basic level.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience)   Request fee information  
EU £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience) per year with EU support bursary**
£18,600 | £22,600 (with prof. experience) per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £18,600 | £22,600 (with prof. experience)   Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.

We offer a range of international scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees3 cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU Support Bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.


Facilities

Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities in a dedicated environment4.

The Delia Derbyshire complex includes a hyper studio designed for cross-disciplinary projects and immersive studios with cutting-edge virtual reality and mixed-reality technologies.

Student using the facilities in the digital design workshop

Design workshops

Our digital and printing workshops bring your ideas to life through different media4. You’ll find a high-powered laser cutter, 3D printers, scanners and traditional print-making and making workshops for etching, silk-screen printing, relief printing, ceramics, metalwork and woodwork, as well as a generously stocked letterpress room.

Student in a Mac studio

PC and Mac suites

Maximise your learning in our cutting-edge computer suites4. You'll have access to PCs and Macs running the latest industry-standard software needed for your course, including graphic design packages such as Adobe Creative Suite.


 

Student and lecturer working in studio

Studio-centric working

In the School of Art and Design, we structure our teaching and assessment methods to replicate the creative industry's ways of working, as we aim to create a studio-centric working environment.

 


 


Careers and opportunities

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • undertake research and evaluative reflection in order to synthesise and articulate an advanced knowledge of the theoretical and thematic concerns within product design and innovation practice
  • deploy skills, techniques and technologies with originality and imagination in relation to a defined discipline for continued product design and innovation practice at an advanced level
  • realise complex and ambitious artefacts/projects for identified and diverse audiences and contexts
  • contribute to the shaping of a global contemporary discourse by engaging with innovative, experimental, hybrid and creative approaches to design practice
  • demonstrate advanced personal skills, judgement and critical awareness enabling problem-solving and innovation applicable to a wide range of creative, professional, social and collaborative contexts
  • critically and creatively engage industrial design insights and experience to manage innovative design activity and effective stakeholder/professional engagement.

This course encourages you to develop your ability to design products with significant engineering or technological content, to optimise solutions for specific consumer and professional markets, and develop products which delight end users.

It is designed to prepare you for leadership and decision-making positions within product design agencies, manufacturing companies, design consultancies, research and development departments, research institutions and government bodies.

Professional enhancement is central to our ethos which is why we encourage collaboration with industry practitioners and work on ‘live’ briefs2.

Upon completion of your final major project, you will have the chance to take part in a degree show2.

Where our graduates work

Recent graduates have gone on to win design posts in prestigious international companies, including:

  • Lenovo – (Designer) China
  • Asus – (Designer) Taiwan
  • JbnJaws Production (Creative Lead) India
  • TC Product quality people (Product Development Technician) UK
  • Inclusive Product Design (Freelance Designer) UK
  • Central Academy of Fine Art (Lecturer) China
  • Shanghai Design Agency - (Designer) China
  • Heshan Qing Ye Weaving (Manager) China
  • Tata Interactive Systems (Designer) Germany
  • Les Sismo (Product Designer) Paris

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the University) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.

    1Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or international opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be unpaid and/or subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.

    4Facilities

    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the current 2024/2025 contract is available on the website. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.