Automotive and Transport Design BA (Hons)Study level: Undergraduate
This course offers you the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge that will enable you to create innovative and visionary concept designs for all forms of transport.
Year of entry
Coventry University (Coventry)
3 years full-time
4 years sandwich
Shaped by its stakeholders: students, staff and industry collaborators, the course is closely aligned to the automotive and transport industry. Constant updates ensure its graduates are future focused and ready to contribute meaningfully to their chosen industry.
- Our aims are to link your passions and skillsets with your career aims, to enable and equip you with the attributes necessary to surpass your own expectations.
- Within our industry the opportunities for specialising are increasing rapidly, therefore employability plays an important part in defining our course content and practices.
- Our teaching and learning, influenced by industry practices, as well as research, are very much collaborative.
Joint Top Modern University for Career ProspectsGuardian University Guide 2021 and 2022
5 QS Stars for Teaching and FacilitiesQS Stars University Ratings
Top 5 UK Student City (Coventry)QS Best Student Cities Index 2023
Why you should study this course
- This course aims to develop your understanding of the latest developments, drivers, and practices of the automotive, transport and mobility designer beyond merely illustration and styling.
- You can learn to create innovative product design solutions in a range of styles and media, which factor in purpose, usability, materials, ecology, desirability, technological feasibility, and professional constraints. Design realisation is supported by generous making spaces and technology so that you can create physical, or digital, models of your designs.
- The learning environment is international with students typically coming from many parts of the world working together on global design solutions. We offer exciting international opportunities and project work collaborations2.
- The opportunity to extend your degree with our study abroad scheme2. Previous students have had the opportunity to experience and learn in China, India, the USA, and Colombia.
- We have a very large alumni who take a great interest in active students and who offer opportunities in the form of teaching, collaborative industry projects, internships, and graduate employment2.
- Nanjing University of Science of Technology, (NJUST), China
The course helped me learn a variety of skills, from manual to digital, as well as soft skills (such as working with and organising a team). Over the two years that I have been enrolled, I have developed both as a person and a professional and feel like I am being well prepared to work in the industry upon my graduation. Being a student ambassador for FAH, I also get the opportunity to interact with a greater variety of lecturers from different backgrounds and experiences, which is always beneficial for getting various perspectives.
What you'll study
This course has a common first year.
The common first year enables you to work alongside students doing similar courses to you, to widen your knowledge and exposure to other subject areas and professions. You will have the opportunity to collaborate with other students, so you can share your insights and experience which will help you to develop and learn.
If you discover an interest in a specific subject you have studied, upon successful completion of your first year, you could swap degrees with another course in your common first year (subject to meeting progression requirements).
Common first year courses
- Automotive and Transport Design (BA Hons)
- Graphic Design (BA Hons)
- Product Design (BA Hons)
In the first year, the curriculum is shared across related courses allowing you to gain a broad grounding in the discipline before going on, in the second and third years, to specialist modules in your chosen field.
Design Exploration - 20 credits
This module introduces you to a series of fundamental analogue processes, tools and techniques used in the development and communication of design ideas. Through experimentation with hands-on tools, techniques and methods for exploration and idea generation, you should gain an appreciation for these foundational skills, and where and how to effectively apply them within current and future design work. You will evidence your learning via a curated portfolio of work demonstrating both the final proposed outcomes and the process of your development.
Design Visualisation - 20 credits
This module introduces you to essential discipline-specific software and skills used in the digital development and communication of design outputs. With an emphasis on the exploration of 2D and 3D digital skills and processes, you should gain an appreciation for where and how to effectively apply digital composition, drawing, modelling and visualization tools, alongside recognized workflow, and formatting conventions. You will evidence their learning via a curated portfolio of work demonstrating both the final proposed outcomes and the process of their development.
Design Enquiry - 20 credits
This module focuses on research and its value as part of a critique of contemporary and historical design. In considering the wider contexts of your discipline and how these impact your project development, you will begin to understand your work as part of ongoing and emerging practice. You will aim to develop project solutions that draw upon research and theory as a means of grounding them in a design continuum, culminating in a finished, contextualized design solution.
Design Reflection - 20 credits
This module encourages you to critically reflect on your work, your learning journey, and your future academic and professional aspirations. In helping you to adopt a reflective approach, the module allows for continuous learning in context and as part of a learning community and provides opportunities for peer discussion around themes of self-development and reflection in aid of developing self-awareness. This personal and sometimes introspective analysis leads you to consider your academic and professional aspirations, your strengths, weaknesses, and targets. You will seek to develop a personal design manifesto supported by a record of your reflective practice and personal development plan.
Design Context - 20 credits
This module challenges you to develop innovative responses to a given design opportunity within strictly defined parameters. You should consider the wider context for your design activity and how your decisions will impact stakeholders, from producers to end users. Supporting sessions will introduce the principles and relationships involved in the development of designs for the real world - how conflicting design factors are balanced to achieve functional, feasible and viable solutions. You will submit design outcomes informed by and grounded in real-world contexts.
Design Experience - 20 credits
This module is the culmination of the first year—a celebration of progress and practice. You will work in teams to develop comprehensive responses to a collective brief. You will consider how design and narrative can be used to enhance the user experience by telling stories and embedding messages.
Supporting sessions will introduce approaches to human-centred design and methodologies for successful collaboration and project management. Group tasks will guide you through a design process that draws on previous learning, now applied in a team context. Respective roles and duties will be identified and pursued. You will use discipline-specific skills, techniques, and media to explore, develop and produce responses.
In year two, you will continue to develop the skills and knowledge you’ve learnt. We do this by embedding the following four principles into the curriculum and developing your:
- Technical skills – digital fluency, backed with the right academic knowledge
- Study skills – to be an adaptive, independent and proactive learner
- Professional skills – to have the behaviour and abilities to succeed in your career
- Global awareness – the beliefs and abilities to be a resilient, confident and motivated global citizen
You will develop more advanced knowledge and skills to do with: design innovations, designing for the future, and investing design work, amongst others.
Professional Development - 20 credits
The aim of this module is to support you in the development of a personal career focused portfolio which represents a cross-section of personal skills, knowledge, and capabilities. You will also work on developing a CV, identify relevant networks and prepare rationales around your future career aspirations. The intention and timing are to help you look outward towards possible placement opportunities and to begin to refine a personal career focus2.
You will continue to add to your reflective blog, investigating developments in and around your industry, and identify opportunities and skill requirements that align with your career aspirations.
Design Innovation - 20 credits
In order to develop innovative ideas that are meaningful to users and a continuously changing world, you must be able to investigate and question what already exists in design terms and be prepared to challenge. You will critically explore and develop dialogue around design scenarios and consider the purpose and possibilities for future transport systems/devices from an innovation perspective.
You will reflect and respond to specific factors such as new and emerging technologies, material possibilities and user scenarios and visualise transport design solutions to an advanced visual level adopting one or more design representation approaches (digital/clay or other media).
Design Futures - 20 credits
This module considers design in its wider setting and highlights future scenarios as a platform to explore creative ideas against future ecological, sustainable, and social, technological contexts. The module should encourage you to question design in its international and cross-cultural setting to bring external perspectives to discussions and design action.
International issues around the future of mobility, autonomous vehicles and future transport in cities will be explored as well as consumer models that may influence future design parameters. A Design Team approach will be adopted into this module to help you generate more extensive results and propose a wide range of design briefs.
Developmental Actions - 20 credits
As part of your Professional Development, you will reflect on the specifics of your year two project work. This includes reflecting on the benefits, and the challenges, of working in design teams. You will also organise and evaluate your thoughts about your action plans as defined in semester one. With a strong focus on employability, you should check actions taken so far, as well as your readiness for upcoming internship, or Enhancement Year, opportunities2. You will have the opportunity to interact with, and produce ideas and designs, for industry collaborators.
Design Investigations - 20 credits
This module is the companion to the Industrial Design module. Relating to the brief set by the industry collaborator you will work initially in groups to investigate, research, and synthesize material that will have a direct bearing on, and will help to define, the design process.
You should develop an understanding of the market and users, technology, materials, functions, and use, as well as socio-economic, ecological and sustainability drivers that could potentially influence their solutions. You will also focus on innovations that can bring success to the proposed conceptual designs, these can be in form and function, and technology, or systems.
Industrial Design - 20 credits
This module has a strong outward facing focus and it is where you can consider industry expectations, communication and develop design professionalism. You will manage an investigation and respond to industry-aligned or client-inspired design briefs and follow the design process through to design solutions that are considered in terms of its functional feasibility, potential brand alignment and user sensibility. The outcomes may include sketch modelling of prototypes (digital and/or physical) and other techniques for presentation to professional audiences.
There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur between your second and final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future.
If you choose to do a work placement year, you will pay a reduced tuition fee3 of £1,250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time you will receive guidance from your employer or partner institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.
UK Work Placement – 0 credits
This module provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement2 undertaken during your programme. A placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.
International Study/Work Placement – 0 credits
This module provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement2 undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.
Year three aims to bring you to the level to enter the world of work by consolidating your knowledge and skills from year one and two.
Design Portfolio - 20 credits
This module allows you to critically reflect on your work and on how this impacts your future academic/professional path.
This module specifically allows you to reflect on the outputs of semester 1 project work in Design Project - Select and Concept Creation modules to build on prior learning, to reinforce your specialism, and aid planning of your final major project and future career.
The module should help you develop a methodology of work that is reflective, allowing for continuous learning in context, and as part of a learning community, and will provide opportunities for peer discussions about themes of self-development and reflection that aid the development of self-awareness.
Concept Creation - 20 credits
You will identify a range of potential themes for design innovation which respond to current global challenges or anticipated future trends/contexts. The module will involve you conducting an in-depth investigation that explores the identified themes, agreeing a brief derived from the investigations, and then go on to produce initial conceptual designs, one of which may lead to an individual and tutor-negotiated major project.
The activities in this module will represent the alignment with your chosen specialism and build upon the foundation of your career-focused portfolio. There is a requirement to produce a written research report and info-graphical representation, research, and analysis, presented to good academic standards. You will also be required to produce an initial occupant and technology package as well as a 2D initial speed form of surface design.
Design Project – Select - 20 credits
In this module you will produce designs that align with your career aspirations and specialist interest. During this module you will complete two short projects.
Personal project (A): This project focuses on exploring and developing initial ideas around a theme of personal interest to springboard your final major project in semester 2. Outputs from this project will be 2D sketch-work and a short brief. Project work should consider users, technology, materials, manufacturing, culture, context.
Competition/Industrial Project (B): This short project focuses on either an industrial collaboration, or an outward facing competition entry (depending on availability). In this project you will be given externally supplied project topics which may be from national and international design competition briefs or industrial collaborators. you will operate within the constraints of non-negotiable, fixed design briefs, followed by a formative ‘professional gateway.’ Outputs from this contribute to Design Portfolio module.
Design Presence - 20 credits
This module aims to develop a professional level of presence necessary for real world employment. The module will help you develop a methodology of self-presentation that is reflective, allowing for continuous learning in context, and will provide opportunities for peer discussions about themes of self-development and reflection that aid the development of self-awareness in the process of applying for jobs.
This personal and sometimes introspective analysis should lead you to consider your academic and professional aspirations and your strengths and weaknesses. You will be encouraged to engage in discourse with professionals and graduates to better inform your choices.
Design Delivery - 40 credits
During this project you will deliver an agreed transportation design project which strongly represents your personal creativity, interests, and design ability. In order to do this, you will research, develop, and present around a single detailed design theme (established in the Concept Creation module and evidenced through concept packages and preliminary research) that integrates the skills and learning acquired throughout the course.
The detail design development undertaken in this module will be supported by relevant research and knowledge into areas of aesthetics, user-factors, operational sense, and functional appreciation that responds to identified aspects of cultural political, environmental, technological, social and/or legislative contexts.
The project design direction will be inspired by conceptual development and investigation undertaken in the Concept Creation module. The final brief will be negotiated and agreed with tutors.
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
The School of Art and Design’s teaching and learning mirrors the needs of the creative industries with the aim of ensuring that our graduates are equipped with the skills and attributes to become Industry specialists, leaders, and innovators to drive social responsibility and design global change.
The Creative Industries’ ability to be entrepreneurial, innovative and embrace change underpins our Art and Design courses. Our studio and workshop culture ensures you are socially responsible in our creative community and develop critical thinking in research and ‘make’ processes. Our global initiatives will give you skills to become collaborative communicators and make you culturally competent in the ever-changing world of art or design.
As the creative arena is an ever-evolving space, being curious and adaptable learners is key to our school’s graduate. You will learn how to recognise your strengths and learning needs, how to self-reflect and grow, and you will identify your personal development and drive your projects for ambitious career aspirations.
Methods of study include:
- workshops, demonstrations, seminars, and lectures
- seminar, critiques and tutorials, feedback, and peer to peer sessions
- studio practice and bookable workshop access
Teaching contact hours
You will typically have 15 to 18 hours per week in your first year, 12 to 15 hours in your second year, and 9 to 12 hours in your final year. The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online activities.
Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study each week of approximately 15 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.
We understand that everyone learns differently, so we’ll look to manage your learning journey to match your strengths and aspirations. Your learning experience on each of our courses will consist of structured teaching sessions, which can include:
- On campus lectures, seminars and workshops
- Group work
- Self-directed learning
- Work placement opportunities2.
If you would like more information, you can request information about teaching hours.
Part of university life is undertaking self-directed learning. During a typical week you will have time that allows you to work independently to apply the skills and knowledge you have learnt in taught or facilitated sessions to your projects or assignment briefs. This self-directed learning allows you to use your research skills, consolidate your knowledge or undertake collaborative group work.
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.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2023/2024 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.
Your learning journey will be wide-ranging, developing your work to have integrity, resilience and be authentic in its production and delivery. The learning that you will undertake includes sessions that are led by staff, group projects, guided learning and directed skill sessions.
You will be assessed using a variety of methods which could vary depending upon the module. In the School of Art and Design we design our assessment methods to replicate the creative industries’ ways of working. This ensures that you have the chance to learn skills for future career opportunities.
Assessment methods include:
- Group work
- Practical Coursework
- Digital Coursework
- Individual Assignments
- Live presentations
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
There may be opportunities to engage in international collaborative projects with students on similar courses globally.
We run Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) projects with participating institutions, that are very popular with the participating students2. They offer great opportunities for gaining insights into international approaches to design and to network.
You may also obtain international professional experience if you decide to undertake an optional placement year2.
It is great to see new students start the course with tremendous raw passion and watch their journey of discovery as they progress through the course. They work hard at developing their skillsets, their knowledge of design and the automotive and transport design industry. It is then very gratifying to see them graduate and find work in their chosen field of expertise.
The icing on the cake is when they return as professionals offering opportunities to students following in their footsteps.
Typical offer for 2023/24 entry.
Fees and funding
2023/24 tuition fees.
|UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man||£9,250 per year||Not available|
|EU|| £9,250 per year with EU support bursary**
£19,850 per year without EU support bursary**
|International||£19,850 per year||Not available|
If you choose to do a work placement2, you should consider travel and living costs to cover this. There is also a tuition fee3 of £1,250 that will cover your academic support throughout your placement year.
For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see The University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.
We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.
Tuition fees 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. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.
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.
How do you know if you need to pay UK or international tuition fees?
We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.
If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.
We have generous studio and making spaces4. Our studio environment allows you to experience working practices that are typical in industry, and our workshops are equipped so that you can use a large variety of different materials and processes to make physical models.
For digital work we have PC labs equipped with high performance machines that can handle digital modelmaking, visualisation and animation. We make sure we have the latest industry compatible software packages.
- Immersive studios provide VR and mixed-reality technologies.
- Workshops: state of the art robotic milling, rapid prototyping, desktop CNC milling, 3D printing, digital scanners, large block material workshops, large scale painting facilities, hack spaces and manual workshops.
- Specialist design studios: with presentation, VR, pin-up spaces, small group break out areas, Wi-Fi throughout, a dedicated print bureau for 2D outputs up to A0 size, and art supplies shops.
- Clay studios: automotive clay is a valuable method to build scale models and evaluate forms. This iterative process is still an effective means to evolve complex automotive surfaces and shapes.
Careers and opportunities
Employability is a major strength of the course. The curriculum embeds industry interactions (such as short work experience, client projects, industry-aligned/inspired briefs) to offer the best preparation possible to help students to obtain graduate employment and achieve their career aspirations2.
Students graduating from this course have traditionally enjoyed good employment in a range of design specific roles and this course allows students to change direction during their studies. This is important to a rapidly changing automotive and transport design environment, and the roles and transferable skills inherent in the professions and associated enterprises (e.g., start-up businesses, consultancy, and research). This further improves student chances of focused graduate employment.
The course has been designed to respond in an agile way to feedback and interaction with our contacts and industrial collaborators.
Career opportunities in automotive and transport design are vast and varied. You could start your own business, become a design consultant, modeller, illustrator, CAD professional, design manager or marketing professional. Graduates have found opportunities in automotive exterior and interior design, lighting systems design, clay and ‘hard’ modelling, digital modelling and surfacing, 3D visualisation and animation, colour and materials design, user interface design, lifestyle products and design research.
Career-focused activities are embedded in the curriculum and delivered in close partnership with the Talent Team. The Talent Team work closely with the course to offer CV and portfolio guidance, professional practice internship support, employability support and graduate support, and a comprehensive range of workshops2.
Where our graduates work
- Jaguar Land Rover Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
- Changan Automobile
- Winch Yachts EAV ARC Vehicles Arrival Drive Design
- Bellwether Industries
- TCY Design
- AVANT Design
- Codemasters Software Company
When I got into the ATD course I had a very clear vision of what I’d like to achieve and become. But the course gave me a wider perspective of professional world and it opened doors to many other fields. Due to university connections with industry, in my third year I got a placement in Toyota Lexus at French Riviera and in my final year I was offered an internship as a Colour and Materials Designer at Jaguar Land Rover. Tutors were extremely supportive throughout the four years. I am very grateful to them for guiding me and mentoring.
How to apply
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 can apply for this course through UCAS from 6 September 2022. Read our application pages to find out your next steps to apply.
Part-time students should apply directly to the university.
If you'd like further support or more information about your course get in touch with us today.
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 should apply directly to the university.How to apply
For further support for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree view our International hub.
You can also download our International guide which contains lots of useful information about our courses, accommodation and tips for travel.
Get in touch with us today for further advice and guidance.
Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, 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.
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 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 COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.
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.
Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.
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 2023/24 contract can be found here. 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.