Product Design

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: Mar 31, 2024
401–500 place StudyQA ranking:1640 Duration:3 years You need IELTS certificate

Product Design combines creative design, science, engineering and business studies. Product designers plan and develop items for use in homes, businesses and industry. From creating a new lightweight kayak or a phone app to formulating natural cosmetics, studying product design will equip you for a wide range of occupations. 

UC’s new Bachelor of Product Design (BProdDesign) is a three-year professional degree with majors in: 

  • Applied Immersive Game Design
  • Chemical, Natural and Healthcare Product Formulation
  • Industrial Product Design.

Graduates will be able to develop creative ideas based on their knowledge of related sciences and engineering disciplines, as well as gain the practical business skills needed to commercialise new product ideas. This degree will prepare you for a modern career path in many areas of New Zealand's innovative economy.

Features of the Bachelor of Product Design at UC

  • Only university degree of its kind in the South Island
  • Three-year degree
  • Includes a number of projects where students can test out their ideas, independently and as a team
  • Access to state-of-the-art laboratory, computer and testing facilities
  • UC is ranked in the top 200 universities in the world in Business and Management Studies, Chemical Engineering, and Computer Science and Information Systems (QS World Rankings by Subject, 2017)
  • UC's Chemical and Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Marketing departments are the top-ranked for research in New Zealand (the latest Tertiary Education Commission 2012 PBRF assessment).

The degree is a three-year 360 points qualification with a combination of coursework and design projects: 

  • 165 points of Science and Engineering courses
  • 135 points focused on Product Design
  • 60 points of Business or Management courses.

Design projects will involve independent work on open-ended projects, with a mix of individual and team-based activities, under close supervision by academics with experience in product design.

You can start the Bachelor of Product Design degree in February 2018.

Subjects and courses

From 2018, you can study one of three majors within the Bachelor of Product Design.

Applied Immersive Game Design

Applied Immersive Game Design covers both virtual and augmented reality – an industry that is currently undergoing massive growth. Students learn about the development of games for entertainment, and “applied” games for training/education and for carrying out remote activities.

Chemical, Natural and Healthcare Product Formulation

Chemical, biological, pharmaceutical, food, and personal care products must be formulated in a way that enables their practical, safe and sustainable use. For example, a moisturising skin lotion must not only contain moistening agents but also the components required to create a stable colloidal suspension with suitable viscosity, skin feel and fragrance to make it an attractive product for the consumer, with anti-microbial agents and a suitably long shelf-life. This major will allow you to explore ways to better formulate these products, and to analyse existing products and suggest improvements.

Industrial Product Design

Every product we buy has a combination of both design and usability elements. This major will teach you how to design products which solve a problem and create desire in consumers. You will learn to understand consumer needs and trends, and create more efficient designs and features for products. These could include a new microwave reheating feature or an improved vacuum cleaner.

Admission to UC with University Entrance, or equivalent, is required to enrol for a Bachelor's degree. Domestic applicants over 20 who do not hold University Entrance, or equivalent, may gain admission by providing evidence of their ability to complete tertiary study successfully. 

For information on gaining admission to UC please see how to apply for undergraduate qualifications.

Recommended preparation

At least 14 credits in Level 2 NCEA science and mathematics are strongly recommended, while those intending to take the Chemical, Natural and Healthcare Product Formulation major should ideally have 14 credits in Level 3 NCEA chemistry (or the IB/CIE equivalent of these).

Credits in related subjects such as digital technologies, technology, or design and visual communication would be an advantage.

Career opportunities

The scope of product design roles is widening from the traditional design of commercial products to include the design of user experiences, systems and processes as well as implementing virtual reality into existing applications.

Increasingly, many industrial and product designers work in multidisciplinary teams. Graduates may be employed in design departments for large manufacturing companies, design agencies, engineering consultancies, central and local government.

They may do design work for businesses in many industries such as medical, home appliances, packaging, computing, graphic design, cosmetics, or therapeutics and pharmaceutical companies.

Product designers may choose to start their own company.

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