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BA (Hons) Design

BA (Hons) - single

School of Architecture

What you will study
This course focuses on making, with an emphasis on digital making, and exposure to first-hand industry experience. Students gain skills in design and fabrication, working at different scales, materials and technologies. You will be supported to develop your own identity as a designer and explore entrepreneurial, socially responsible, sustainable and innovative ideas. Using traditional and advanced digital computational technologies in our new fabrication and design laboratories we provide you the best environment to broaden your thinking and creative ability. 

What next?
You will gain cutting-edge digital and practice skills that enable you to enter the creative industries with confidence. Employment opportunities include design offices, art and architectural studios, fabrication and manufacturing workshops and professional creative industries. You can expect to work on a range of design projects including large scale specialist fabrication packages within the construction industry or development of user-focused products such as furniture and product design. You could even collaborate with artists on bespoke projects as an artist’s assistant or specialist fabricator.

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 128 - preferred subjects include Art, Product Design, 3D design, Design and Technology, Textiles.

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus

Course length

  • Full time: 3 years

UCAS code


For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

The course is run by the School of Architecture, one of the oldest schools of architecture in the UK and an internationally recognised school.

  • Live design projects encouraging innovation and creativity.
  • Project briefs respond to the UN sustainable development goals
  • Based in the School of Architecture, part of the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment with potential collaborations available with academics and students across Fine Art, Computing and Engineering.
  • All students undertake a 10 week placement with “live-project” experience in the UK or abroad.
  • You will develop significant employability skills understanding the characteristics of business and entrepreneurship.
  • You will know how to develop a project from initial ideas to a 1:1 prototype utilising hand drawing and physical modelling coupled with computational design and digital fabrication methodologies.

Design is about investigating and developing an idea through to physical realisation – whether it’s an installation, a product or an architectural component.

In Year 1 you will explore principles of design. You will break, make and create through a series of practical exercises in and out of the studio. Engaging in the city of Oxford, identifying design solutions which contribute to Sustainable Development Goals. You will engage in collaborative working through drawing, sketching and making 3D propositions. By the end of the year you would have developed your own designs into physical objects, informed by your research activity. Your focus will be on fabricating objects at 1:1, exploring, making, utilising tools and testing materials. 

You will be in the designated Design and Make Studio, working in the Fabrication Workshop developing your ideas. We will support you with practical and theoretical lectures and seminars to help you develop your academic skills.

In Year 2, we help you prepare for your placement. You will search for the type of experience which best suits your development. This live experience can be locally, nationally or internationally. You have a minimum of 10 weeks but can be extended over the summer break expanding your professional experience. Our students find the placement module invaluable to their development not only professionally but personally, taking back into the studio a wide variety of new skills and ideas. 

On your return in Year 3 you will expand your academic experience through your own research. We will encourage you to look beyond contemporary practice and speculate on the future of design and making. The focus will be to apply your creativity and technical ability in a rigorous research project where you design, speculate, make and test.  

Culminating in writing a theoretical research paper in your own area of interest. This year brings together all of your ideas and the skills learnt during your placement to make your future as a designer-maker a reality. 


Study modules

The unique modules within the course combine architecture, product design and fine art along with developing strong employability skills through a placement module and the schools connection with industry. 

As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules available may vary from those listed here.

Year 1

The modules are:

  • Design and Make: creativity and innovation
  • Materials Tools and Processes: communication and representation
  • Professional Practice: collaboration and project management 
  • Design Thinking: social life of materials

Years 2 and 3

The modules are:

  • Design and Make: material emergence 
  • Design Thinking: the future of making
  • Professional Practice: business and entrepreneurship (online) Professional Practice: placement experience and engagement
  • Design and Make: speculative resolution
  • Materials Tools and Processes: post digital 
  • Design Thinking: dissertation

Work placements

In Year 2 and Semester 2 there is an opportunity for you to complete a 10-week (minimum) placement in industry. Previous student feedback from those students who complete the module is that it has added invaluably to their studies often supplying them with a final year project from their placement company. 


Field trips

Field trips abroad are offered each year in addition to site and factory visits. Recent field trips in the school have included such places as Hungary, Portugal, Italy and Spain. Field trips are a very popular option because they offer the opportunity to experience design and culture first hand with your tutors. 

Field trips, site visits and factory visits are optional and an additional cost to the course fees. Typical costs of overseas field trips range from £300 to £600. Local and UK field trips, site visits and factory visits typically cost between £1 and £300. 


Study abroad

Students wishing to study abroad can apply to do so in year two of their studies. This is not a mandatory part of the course.

Great opportunities to study or work abroad

You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange facilitated by the University. Most exchanges take place in the second year.

Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:

  • increasing your employability within an international market
  • boosting your language skills
  • building your confidence in adapting to new situations
  • improving your knowledge of different cultures.

While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.

We have more than 100 partner universities around the world. Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards. Travel costs, accommodation and subsistence are not included in this funding.

There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the chance to work abroad as part of your studies.

For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges.


Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Attendance pattern

Design studio with your design studio tutor is held for two full days a week. Teaching in the design studio includes one-to-one tutorials, group tutorials, workshops, presentations and lectures. Design studio forms 50% of the curriculum. The remaining academic subjects are taught through various series of lectures, workshops, tutorials and seminars.

Additional costs

As an architecture student you will produce many drawings and models, which can be quite expensive so you are encouraged to recycle used materials where possible, particularly for sketch models. Some students tend to work digitally, spending more on printing and some by hand, spending more on materials so these costs vary widely between students.

You should expect to spend approximately £500 - £700 on materials in your first year. You will be expected to keep a sketchbook, produce specific drawings, make models, mostly out of recycled and inexpensive materials, but consumables such as glue, knives etc will be needed. As you progress into your 2nd and 3rd year you will be expected to produce more finished presentation models using more expensive materials. You can expect to spend approximately £500 - £1500 on materials in years 2 and 3.

You will also produce drawings and models using a variety of media, including computer drawing software. The cost of materials and computer print-outs are kept as low as possible by the university. Printing is charged at no profit and there is no charge for laser cutting beyond your own material costs. You can expect to spend approximately £300 - £500 on printing in year 1 and approximately £500 - £1500 in years 2 and 3.

PCs with the programmes needed for your course are available in the studios 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some students choose to buy a lap top and software when they begin to draw digitally but this is not mandatory and free student licences are available for much of the software. An optional laptop and software would cost approximately £500-£1200.

There are no compulsory books to purchase because the library is very well stocked and the direction of your reading is very individual due to the diverse nature of the course. Some students choose to purchase specific books to support their interests so you can expect to spend £25 - £150 on books each year.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Teaching and learning

Within the school there is a definitive studio culture, our teaching is centred on the design and make studio.  Supported by technical facilities and specialists staff allowing you to focus on your design projects. As well as theory and practice the learning environment includes professional practice element and cultural and social seminars giving you a well-rounded learning experience.

Studio teaching comprises group and individual tutorials, as well as presentations, workshops and discussions of ideas and forms of representation. Other module subject areas are developed through lectures and seminars, group and individual presentations. Your final year will include a written dissertation.

You will benefit from a 10 week placement to engage in live project experiences.

The school has a very active research community which feeds into our teaching, this means you will have access to our leading research projects and gain insight into the latest industry knowledge.


Approach to assessment

100% coursework. Assessment methods include group and individual presentations, exhibitions, reports, portfolios and a written dissertation in the final year.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £9,250. 2019/20: £9,250.

International - full time: 2018/19: £13,150 2019/20: £13,410

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see:

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff points: 128 - preferred subjects include Art, Product Design, 3D design, Design and Technology, Textiles.

A-Level: ABB or equivalent

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. This combination of A-level grades would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

IB Diploma: 32-34 points


Other typical offers include Foundation in Art and Design (Merit).

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: Mathematics, English and a physical science at grade C or above

We strongly recommend that one of your A-level or A-level equivalent subjects is Art, Design, or Design and Technology.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

Selection process

Applicants will need to provide a portfolio (eg sketches, freehand/technical drawings, life drawings, 3D models, paintings, photographs). Please read our portfolio guidance notes.

On application you will be given instructions on how to upload a digital version of your portfolio. If you are invited for interview, you will be asked to bring the original portfolio with you.

Selected candidates will be invited for an interview. The interviewer will look for evidence of motivation, general creativity and breadth of interest, and will expect to be shown work which demonstrates creative ability of some kind. Any such work may be presented, including art work where no formal course has been followed.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 (including 6.0 in reading and writing).

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

How to apply

Home / EU applicants

Full-time: apply through UCAS »

International applicants

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

Oxford is an inspiring city in which to live and study. It is rich in the history of architecture, containing the work of world-renowned architects, and examples of the highest-quality contemporary and leading-edge design such as the Zaha Hadid building in St Antony’s College and the Mathematical Institute designed by Rafael Viñoly.

The city offers a rich mixture of cultural opportunities to be experienced in its internationally renowned museums, libraries, art galleries, gig venues, concert halls and theatres. There is a thriving and diverse student culture in Oxford with a wide range of social events to match.

Support for students studying BA (Hons) Design

Within the faculty and school there are Student Support Coordinators who are there to support you with academic queries throughout your studies. There is a Wellbeing service who offers pastoral support. There is also a Partnership and Placement Manager, who can support you in finding a placement or graduate opportunities; alongside this we offer a full Careers service. 

There is a dedicated Architecture and Arts librarian and wide catalogue of journals, books, DVDs etc. to support you throughout your studies. 

You will be given an academic advisor who will give you advice and support during your course. Within the school there are technicians, such as the Print Room and Workshop, these are dedicated individuals who will give you technical support that will enable you to make your designs into reality. 

Specialist facilities

We offer first-class facilities, helping you get the very best from your studies. The School of Architecture is based in a purpose-built building.

Our facilities include the following:


The school has two large open plan studios equipped for both traditional and digital working. These are available 24 hours a day and 7 days per week. Our digital facilities enable students to use the latest highend software programmes including 3D Studio Max and MicroStation for modelling, together with leading CAD, web, image, and movie editing software, all running on a bank of 60 powerful workstations. Equipment and software are updated on a regular basis and are fully networked to digital projectors, a wide range of high-quality printers and plotters, and a laser cutter. In addition pooled rooms for use of programmes such as AutoCAD, ArchiCAD and Photoshop are available throughout the university for student use. 

Print Room

The school’s print room includes high quality plotting facilities linked to the third and fourth floor studios. New for this year is a Raise3D N2 Plus Dual Extruder 3D Printer, HP PageWide XL5000PS MFP, 3d scanner – EinScan- Pro+ & R2, plus a wide range of industry standard machines. In addition a wide range of cameras and photographic equipment is available on loan to students.


The workshop houses a range of equipment for model making and fabrication. As well as traditional equipment, a range of digital equipment – three laser cutters, two CNC routers, five different types of 3D printing and 3D scanners, is available to students with no additional charge. All relevant training is provided by workshop staff.


The school maintains a dedicated and well equipped technology laboratory suitable for structures tests and demonstrations in steel, concrete and timber. The laboratory includes several large reaction frames, concrete mixing and casting facilities and cladding testing equipment.

Glass Tank Exhibition Gallery

The Glass Tank exhibition space is on the ground floor of the building, providing a prominent position to exhibit university activity and the achievements of our students. This is where the annual End of Year Show is hosted and the highly regarded annual Human Rights Festival. The space has housed many unusual installations from a humanitarian aid pod to a major structure which is part of a local live project.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Career prospects

Graduates in Design find employment across the creative, cultural and fabrication industries. 

The types of companies in this industry include: Heatherwick Studios, Barber Osgerby, Aldworth James and Bond, DigiFab, Chris Brammalls, to name a few. 

Further study

Graduates can pursue further postgraduate studies in Design and Making, Product Design, Construction Project Management, PhD Research.