School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) 3D Design

Do you want to design objects and experiences that can transform people and businesses? 3D Design is a modern, creative design course with an emphasis on individual teaching in a friendly studio-based atmosphere. We focus on design that can transform lives and individuals with a range of projects, workshops and lectures that give you the skills to create a successful career. We create designers who help steer the world towards a more desirable and sustainable future.

We offer a close-knit family of specialist pathways to choose from; Designer Maker, Product Designer and Spatial and Interior Designer. You will learn how to design, gain experience, produce a portfolio and develop your career path. You will design products, furniture, lighting, interiors and crafted artefacts.

Careers with this subject

Our design projects and program of employability and creative industry skills creates graduates who are skilled, knowledgeable and professionally aligned to today's job opportunities. They work in design practices or establish design consultancies, set up as designer makers or move into education and research. 

Advice from Product Designer graduate Becky Sadeghian:

"I’m now in my second full time job since graduating, and this job is more in line with the degree I studied. My first job at Gandys Flip Flops taught me the basic skills required to be able to survive in the working world; with it being a start up at the time I joined, I took on a lot of jobs to gain the experience I would need to move onto something bigger and better. Having left my old position, I now work for a globally recognised luxury online fashion retailer, Net-A-Porter. By studying and working full time for two years during my first position, it has all paid off for me as I was able to work for an incredible brand.

My advice to anyone wanting to get into the same line of work as me would be to make sure you have a backbone; the working world isn’t an easy place to be in, so being able to stand on your own two feet is invaluable. I had some phenomenal lecturers to guide me and be there for me if I ever had any questions or concerns."

Read more from Becky in her case study.

Key features

  • Take advantage of the unique freedom and materials you’ll have throughout the course to work across our three disciplines of 3D design; Designer Maker, Product Designer and Spatial and Interior Designer.
  • You’ll build up a portfolio with fresh projects starting every few weeks. Assessments are 100% coursework – so no exams.
  • Teaching is in small groups in our vibrant studio with individual desk space and CAD stations.
  • Culture trips to Europe and study exchanges in Japan, USA, India or Italy are also possible.
  • Engage with real clients with live projects. We’ve recently run projects with Vitra, John Lewis, Red Paddle, UPP, architects Willmore Iles and Herman Millar.
  • Gain valuable industry experience through our competitions, studio visits, visiting lecturers and supplier visits.
  • BA (Hons) 3D Design: is professionally accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll explore all three of our related disciplines: Designer Maker, Product Designer and Spatial and Interior Designer. You’ll learn how to design, expand your knowledge and skills in practical design projects, and develop teamwork and project skills across various disciplines. You’ll explore links between design, art and expression, comprising culture, materials, process and market. You will develop design and employability skills and explore the limits of design leading to selection of your specialist pathway.

    Core modules
    • TDD401 Materials, Processes and Communication

      Students will be introduced to the wide range of materials and processes available to them as designers, and will have the opportunity to develop workshop skills in the selection and processing of materials. Students will also be introduced CAD and digital presentation software and gather a wide range of presentation skills to develop their confidence and ability to communicate confidently, effectively, clearly and efficiently.

    • TDD402 Design Discovery

      This module seeks to introduce students to the varied nature of topics and approaches within design. Through a series of short projects students will develop idea generation skills including the use of visual research and direct workshop based material experimentation leading to both 2D and 3D outputs. Students are also introduced to contexts relating to design culture issues.

    • TDD403 Design Exploration

      Students will undertake a design assignment and complete a programme of project work in one of the 3 award routes. This will allow the students to engage and begin to understand better specialists skill-sets and mind-sets required to becoming a maker, product or interior designer. A range of research methods and critical standpoints are introduced with a view to informing and contextualising practice and cultural awareness.

    • TDD404PP Carousel 1 Plymouth Plus

      Combined level 4 and 5 students from all three disciplines of 3D Design can choose from a selection of problem based learning projects from the same or any other discipline. Working with senior peers enable faster learning, acquiring new skills and knowledge, providing team working and cross year cooperation in a 4 week project.

    • TDD405 Design Culture 1

      An introduction to the nature and range of Three Dimensional Design practice, its historical, cultural and critical context. A range of research methods and critical standpoints are introduced with a view to informing and contextualising practice.

    Optional modules
    • TDD410 Maker Aptitude and Enquiry

      This module provides the opportunity for the individuals to develop specific designer maker skills. Individuals will focus on idea generation, 2D and 3D skills.

    • TDD420 Product Aptitude and Enquiry

      This core module provides students with an opportunity to perform and reflect what skills are typical and necessary to be a product designer, and an appreciation of the level required for professional practice

    • TDD430 Spatial and Interior Aptitude and Enquiry

      Through a series of workshops, seminars, lectures & studio projects, notions of `place making¿ will be explored in context of the man-made environment with an emphasis on inventiveness and experimentation through the search for suitable techniques and expressive forms.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you will develop your creative identity and select your own specialisation within the three disciplines. You will begin to shape your career path by working on design projects that deepen your understanding and experience and expand your skills and capabilities.

    You will establish your skills as a designer, exploring methods, ideas and themes, and can choose to go on exchange programmes in Europe and Asia. You'll also set up your own exhibitions and build a portfolio of special interests, becoming proficient in design processes, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and communication methods.

    Core modules
    • TDD501 Trans-Disciplinary Design

      Students will undertake a design project that operates across social, environmental and technological design practices. It draws on contemporary theory and practices offered by interaction design, sustainable design and `design science¿.

    • TDD502 Design Culture 2

      This module deals with major issues and concepts affecting design. There is an acknowledgment of the impact of wider social, political, economic and cultural factors, as well those related to design practice. The module also concentrates on the development of research skills, the critical evaluation and contextualisation of which will form the basis of a primer to thesis/dissertation.

    Optional modules
    • TDD503 Exchange Module

      Students elect for this module to spend 10 to 12 weeks at an approved institution in Europe/North America where a SOCRATES mobility programme has been agreed. This affords you a great opportunity to study in Europe and test the skills and knowledge gained so far within a European framework. It will give you a chance to explore the application of specific subject skills and more generic transferable skills while absorbing a different culture, how it works and what influence it has on design and in particular your practice of design.

    • TDD504 Work Experience

      This is a significant opt-in module is intended to provide students to maximise their learning opportunities from part-time work experience. Students achieve deeper learning by working, and gain experience outside of university teaching. Students are encouraged to carry out their own projects inspired by the practitioner's work, gaining feedback to help improve their career prospects.

    • TDD505 Carousel 2

      Combined level 4 & 5 students can choose projects within any 3D Design pathways. By teaming up with level 4 students, this module prepares level 5 students to take leading roles in team-working. Working with peers enables faster learning, acquiring new skills and knowledge, providing team working and cross year cooperation.

    • TDD510 Maker Integrated skills

      This module provides the opportunity for the individuals to develop specific designer maker skills. Individuals will focus both 2D and/or 3D skills. Students establish a knowledge based view of cultural and contextual issues. 

    • TDD511 Maker Aptitude and Progression

      This module extends the knowledge and understanding of the individual's approach to designer maker practice through negotiated studio/workshop study and short set projects. Students are encouraged to analyse and respond to the cultural challenges facing design practice, through understanding complexity and system thinking.

    • TDD512 Maker Exploration

      This module provides the opportunity to explore an individual, self determined approach to designer maker practice. The intention is to raise the levels of making skills, design awareness and aesthetic judgement in the student's work.

    • TDD520 Product Integrated Skills

      Students will undertake a design project that allows them to discover and make professional choices around `viability¿ (from a business perspective), `feasibility¿ (from a technology perspective), and `desirability¿ (from a consumer perspective). Students establish a knowledge based view of cultural and contextual issues. 

    • TDD521 Product Aptitude and Progression

      Students will undertake a comprehensive study of materials and manufacturing processes with investigations into how we use and select materials to ensure a sustainable future. Students will be given an assignment to demonstrate core competency in CAD skills and digital outputs. Students are encouraged to analyse and respond to the cultural challenges facing design practice

    • TDD522 Product Exploration

      Students will be introduced to a `Live¿ design project that encourages them to investigate and develop a personal philosophy and design process with respect to professional practice and business factors.

    • TDD530 Spatial and Interiors Integrated Skills

      Through a series of speculative design projects, this module will introduce the fundamentals of Spatial & Interior Design practice by exploring the perception of the body in space. By creating & staging environments, the notion of scales, inhabitation and public/private environments will be investigated. A range of research methods and critical standpoints are introduced with a view to informing and contextualising practice, cultural awareness and depth of study.

    • TDD531 Spatial and Interiors Aptitude and Progression

      This module develops skills in analytical and communication skills by evaluating structures, materials and technologies. The module provides the analysis of both the technical and aesthetic importance of communication skills in the development of your design understanding, through the production of floor plans, sections, elevations, atmospheric visualisations, models as well as 3 dimensional details. A range of research methods and critical standpoints are introduced with a view to informing and contextualising practice and cultural awareness.

    • TDD532 Spatial and Interiors Exploration

      Through a series of workshops, seminars, lectures & studio projects, notions of public realm and branding will be investigated with an emphasis on Public Space, urban landscape and regeneration. Multi media communication strategies will be explored to develop speculations on public & private realms.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you will take your specialism deeper and develop an individual philosophy to design and create a strong portfolio to demonstrate your skills. You’ll engage in real-world projects and can enter international competitions. You’ll work on your major project and dissertation with a focus on negotiated, self-directed study and managing your own work. You will exhibit your projects at our Degree Show and national events such as New Designers, taking advantage of our links with art and design institutions and the craft and design industry across Europe.

    Our employability workshops help you look beyond graduation and prepare for employment or further study.

    Core modules
    • TDD601 Mini Major/Design Feasibility

      The module provides students with an opportunity to carry out a thoroughly researched design feasibility study to define and test an emerging design concept. The feasibility study aims to objectively and creatively uncover the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, resources and ultimately the prospects for success in the final major project. The module encourages research study, analysis, innovation, iterative practice and criticality; whereabouts the feasibility study evaluates the potential for success.

    • TDD602 Final Major

      Students identify, plan, evolve and review a summative design project in the award route. It allows a substantive body of work celebrating all the learning outcomes and specific skills sets attained. The project culminates with a 1 to 1 viva with an external examiner and degree show exhibition.

    Optional modules
    • TDD603 External Factors

      Students are given the opportunity to run a significant project under a selected and approved external constraint such as a student design competition or gallery opportunity. Working towards an external brief, students are encouraged to generate design solutions that stretch or challenge their own design identities, and or address bigger social, environment or economic issues.

    • TDD604 Design Culture 3

      This module is seen as the culmination of studies in Design Culture and provides the students with the opportunity to research and write an illustrated dissertation. Students submit a brief description of their preferred topic and the module is led through a draft structure.

    • TDD605 Design Culture Extended Dissertation

      This module is seen as the culmination of studies in Design Culture and provides students with the opportunity for extended in-depth research and to write an illustrated dissertation. Students have the opportunity to use their creative and analytical skills on a concentrated topic area, with an increased word count of 8/10k

    • TDD610 Maker Consolidation

      This module focuses on Designer Maker practice, in context with external factors, to further develop design abilities with responsibility and autonomy and increasing awareness of professional practice. Aspects of the module will investigate the potentials and opportunities of multiple production. The production, marketing, financial and project management implications of designer maker practice will also be addressed.

    • TDD620 Product Consolidation

      The module provides students with an opportunity to run a compact though significant project, expressive of their design approach, with an introduction to business and professional design. It facilitates both a creative approach encouraging innovation to a professional standard with financial factors, intellectual property rights and principal project management strategies

    • TDD630 Spatial and Interior Consolidation

      Through a series of workshops, seminars, lectures & studio projects, notions of the exhibition, performance and display will be investigated with an emphasis on ecology & design, sustainability, site adaption and regeneration. Experimental research & multi media communication strategies will be explored to develop speculations within public & private realms.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons 3D Design 4313

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

120

A level
A minimum of two A levels, general studies accepted.    

International Baccalaureate 
A total of 28 points overall.   

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DDM (any subject, preferably Art and Design).

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Student Recruitment and Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information, we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

All access courses
Pass a named Access to HE Diploma with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction.

GCSE
Mathematics and English Language grade C.

Other
Satisfactory presented portfolio required. Equivalent qualifications may be considered.

English language requirements

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £13,000 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Sporting Excellence Scholarships

Our Sporting Excellence Scholarships inspire and enable students to achieve their sporting and academic goals. Read more about BA (Hons) 3D Design student and Lithuanian International Swimmer, Jurate Scerbinskaite.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Progression routes

Completing this course enables you to progress onto these related courses and programmes with the University of Plymouth at level 5 or level 6, as specifically defined by this programme’s progression agreement.

Explore ceramics, furniture, product and interior design

Key to Plymouth’s 3D course is the flexibility of choosing your discipline. In your first year, you’ll be encouraged to explore all three of our specialist pathways and customise your own career path by choosing to focus on one pathway or continuing to combine all three for a broader approach with the 3D Design general award.

Take a look at our pathway pages for further information - Designer Maker , Product Designer and Spatial and Interior Designer.

Facilities

You will benefit from extensive workshops for wood, metal and ceramics, including steam bending, casting, 3D printers, laser cutters, digital ceramics printing, run by knowledgeable and friendly technicians. Our studios are well equipped with CAD stations. You’ll be given inductions and training to help make the most of these opportunities. Facilities and equipment from across the School of Art, Design and Architecture are also available to you

Studio culture

Core to your time there is your own personal desk space, in a vibrant, open-plan studio shared across all years in the award-winning Roland Levinsky Building. Our modules encourage collaboration and teamwork giving you a great opportunity to work with and learn from your peers.


Inspirational graduate – Barnaby Barford

A graduate of BA (Hons) 3D Design, Barnaby is an internationally-exhibited artist renowned for his work across different media, most notably ceramics, sculpture, drawing and film. 

Among his most recent critical successes was the monumental Tower of Babel project staged at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and constructed from 3,000 bone china buildings, each depicting a genuine shop from the city that he had photographed. 

Barnaby has a workshop in London and is represented by David Gill Gallery in Mayfair. 

Read our recent interview with him

Staff

Taught mainly in small groups and one-to-one tutorials, you will develop your own design vision and ethos, and benefit from supportive teaching.

Our staff combine their own professional practice with teaching and research and bring years of professional experience, working for clients like Sky, Nikon, Tate and LG worldwide, into the classroom. We encourage you to design through making with hands-on making skills alongside theoretical design.

You will also learn from many visiting professionals who set live projects and give valuable feedback, often leading to work placements. As fresh projects start every 5-6 weeks you’ll build up a large portfolio. And your assessments are 100% coursework – so there are no exams.

Meet your lecturers

Sustainable

3D Design embeds social responsibilities at the core of our teaching, encouraging you to evaluate and integrate environmental, economic and social factors into your design process. 

You’ll develop social, economic and ecological sustainability enabling your design ideas to impact positively on society.

'Once a Door' chair

Keep up to date ...

Portfolio advice

What's a good portfolio? What questions will we ask you?

Learn how you can best prepare for your 3D design portfolio by reading our portfolio advice.

View our portfolio advice

News highlights with BA (Hons) 3D Design

3D graduate unveils $0.01 syringe that could save one million lives a year.

Award-winning inventor and 3D graduate, Oliver Blackwell, designed a cheap and easy to use medical device.

Read more of our news highlights