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Design courses

If you enjoy art or design technology, have creative ability and a wish to communicate your ideas by producing visual images or design solutions, then a degree in design may be for you. There are a wide range of design courses to specialise in, including fashion, textiles, product and industrial, interior, exhibition, graphic, illustration, animation and digital. Whatever your preference, though, you'll need a portfolio of artwork that showcases your creative potential.

Studying design at university

Example course modules

  • Reflection, planning and presentation
  • Design process to product
  • Making contact with the industry
  • Design communication
  • Objects and experiences
  • Materials and processes
  • Critical analysis
  • Product CAD
  • Typographical skills
  • Manufacturing technology and material culture

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 68%
    Male : 32%
  • Mature : 20%
    School leaver : 80%
  • Full-time : 95%
    Part-time : 5%

What students say about design

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Diploma in foundation art and design
  • Art or a design-related subject

Useful to have

  • Design technology
  • Photography
  • History of art

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
The UK has a proud reputation as a centre of design excellence, and last year, design was behind only nursing in the number of graduates from UK universities with nearly 13,700. Not all areas of design have been affected equally by the recession, so bear this in mind when you look at the stats below. At the moment, things are looking a little better for fashion and textile designers and not as good for interior or multimedia designers – but that may change by the time you graduate. In general, design graduates are more likely than most to start their career in London. This also varies by subject – fashion designers often find jobs in the North West. Some employers in the field, particularly in London, are a little prone to asking graduates to work for free, so while it’s not the norm – one in nine design graduates from 2012 starting design jobs in London were working unpaid – it does go on.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Design occupations

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Designers (exact type depending on speciality)
  • Marketers and advertisers
  • Commercial artists

Other real-life job examples

  • Merchandisers and buyers
  • Conference and exhibition designers
  • Arts officers

What employers like about this subject

A degree in design will provide you with subject-related skills specific to the design speciality or specialities you pursue. For example, a textile designer will work with fabric, a graphic designer with art. You will be trained to use technology such as CAD (computer-aided design), and you will learn how to present and market designs. Students studying design gain important transferable skills such as the ability to study independently, set goals, manage your own workload and meet deadlines. Design students also develop project management skills and learn how to develop their creative ability.