Course specification and structure
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UDFUPDFY - BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design (including foundation year)

Course Specification


Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards
Total credits for course 480
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Subject Area Design
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 4 YEARS 8 YEARS
Part-time 6 YEARS 8 YEARS
Course leader Chianna Roberts

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The CASS’s unique BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design course prepares students for a future career through direct access to the industry and its practices. The School has a 200-year history of education for industry and the wealth of knowledge and resources for furniture and product studies held by the course is unsurpassed. Students are guided to exploit their talents to the maximum in the designing and making of commercially aware products and they will graduate with unparalleled hands-on experience of contemporary furniture and product design and making practice. The course and its team will ensure that every design pursued is developed and presented appropriately to the market sector for which it is intended. The course defines ‘furniture’ and ‘product’ very widely so that no opportunities for innovation and collaboration with others are lost. Students may design and prototype traditional seat and case furniture, but also tableware, lighting, food, clothing, toys, infrastructure, systems, packaging, and other products.

Consideration has been given to the following: the Subject Benchmark Statement (Art and Design, 2017), the HE Qualification Framework, the University’s Strategic Plan and Student Charter, the University’s Undergraduate Regulations, the views and feedback of students, external examiners and employers/ clients, developments within the subject area, and the changing needs of the cultural/ commercial sectors and professions. Due consideration has also been given to inclusivity in course and assessment design, and specifically to the transition from the Level 3 year to the Level 4 – 6 BA programme.

Embedded in the Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, the course draws on the strengths of teaching staff from across the School and the wide circle of academic and cultural contacts and collaborators attached to the School and University.

The course seeks to provide and foster:

• learning through direct experience, connecting academic and creative studies;
• student choice in subject and style of learning;
• a culture of independent and critical thought, encouraging the challenging of received ideas and practice;
• employability attributes, through live projects engaging with external partners, institutions and companies that create a realistic environment of professional expectations for students, preparing students for graduate-level employment;
• engagement across the School and University, providing opportunities for collaborative project work during study,
• individualised learning and study support opportunities, that cater for different learning styles,
• awareness of the duty of all to understand the impact of their decisions and actions as furniture and product designers and to strive to act responsibly.

With an emphasis on critical and investigative creative development alongside attention to manufacturing excellence, the course introduces the principles of contemporary furniture and product design practice in both design and making alongside the effective utilisation of communication strategies for a range of professional and employment opportunities.
Students will cover key conceptual and technical aspects of furniture and product design and making, including visual communication, research methods for designers, design technical drafting skills, material and process specification, 3D making skills, professional ethics and critical thinking. The course programme integrates the development of academic attributes and subject-specific learning to help students to fulfil their potential as highly informed contemporary creative design activists with a capacity for independent thinking and problem solving. The foundation year provides a programme of study in widely applicable and design-specific skills, knowledge and contextual awareness that prepares students for level 4 study, including expectations of assessment and preparation for assessment in higher education. The foundation year offers a safe and managed transition from the directed learning of secondary education and regular contact with the staff and students of the level 4-6 cohort through workshops, critiques, exhibitions and cluster and School-wide events.

Interaction with contemporary furniture and product practice and industry is fundamental to the development of confident and work-ready graduates. The contacts and experience that students will have on the course are a bridge between university studies and life as a professional practitioner. The course provides students with a structured environment that encourages external professional engagement with a range of high profile, national and international designers, companies, live projects and competitions. Students will work in excellent, industry-specification facilities including extensive workshops for wood, metal and modelmaking, finishing and digital manufacturing for research, testing and exploration.
The course aims to prepare students as designers and makers to be independent practitioners or to work as part of a larger furniture or product design or production team; for individual business start-up, and for entry to courses at a higher level. Graduates may also work in related fields such as design journalism, retail or marketing, management or teaching. The teaching and learning practices within the course promote:

• opportunities for students to experiment and learn through direct experience, achieving practised understanding of discipline and context;
• a culture of independent thought embedded in teaching and learning, to foster professional industrial and bespoke practitioners;
• a blend of industrial studio and workshop practice, provided in digital and traditional manufacturing workshops, computer labs, design studios and multi-media facilities;
• student participation in collaborative project work with industry to ensure awareness of current industry practice;
• opportunities for students to experiment and research within both subject specific and cross-disciplinary projects;
• use of London’s rich cultural heritage as a resource, allowing for projects to take place off-site as well as on campus;
• deliberate disruption of conventional design and research processes to promote innovation;
• real life testing of proposals in ethically sound scenarios.

The course engages with national and London-based competitions and encourages students to extend these opportunities as extra-curricular activity, including collaborative publication and exhibition wherever possible. Throughout the preparatory foundation year, students are prepared with the skills and knowledge in research and development for design, a range of realisation techniques and contextual awareness to enable a secure and confident transition to level 4. The foundation year is designed as three stages.

Stage 1 introduces and establishes a common ground of new experiences, values and practical skills. It lays the foundation for the course and serves as a base from which more independent work can be developed. Classes, workshops, inductions and tasks are relatively short and focus on substantial production and skills acquisition.

Stage 2 is more open-ended, with a series of longer projects and more choice and decision making for the student who is encouraged to apply, reinforce and develop effective practices from Stage 1 to establish a personal perspective, responsibility for time-management, self-knowledge and a sense of direction for their own creative practice. Direct experience of possible choices for subject-area of study ahead are through Cass subject-area tutors involvement in Stage 2 studio projects generally and from specific subject-area studio projects run by Cass undergraduate subject-area tutors that include use of subject area studios, workshops, technical facilities and expertise. Students experience what is shared across creative practices as well as what is specific to a subject-area’s culture.

Stage 3 helps the student undertake a sustained, focussed and resolved study with a longer, final project that is perceived as ‘under their control’. The emphasis is on increasing/focussing their subject-area knowledge - testing their commitment, and the production and organisation of coherent and resolved work - as they devise the brief, manage the process and outcome, and are participants in the process of evaluating their work.

Teaching methods include: lectures, seminars, tutorials, external visits, live briefings and feedback from partners, group critiques, workshops and opportunities for studio practice. Teaching and learning adopts a student-centered approach that identifies individual learning styles and accommodates them.

Lectures provide and encourage a critically informed view of a topic, contextualising the subject and illustrating applied approaches. Lectures provide students with a managed introduction to a theme, enabling them to continue with suggested or directed self-study.

Seminars enable students to debate and explore subjects, questions and assignments with peers and tutors, encouraging an open and collaborative approach to shared learning.

Tutorials support individual learning, allowing for individual approaches to study, and catering for individual interests. Tutorials can be diagnostic or can support specific assignment or project-related questions, and support differing student paths to achievement of learning outcomes.

REFER TO COURSE HANDBOOK

Course aims

Students on Furniture and Product Design will gain a range of skills from practical making skills to consideration of design and ideas which form the essential attributes of a professional designer maker. The course aims to provide students with an intensive creative education which enables a personal definition of the strategic progress towards employment or self-sufficiency as a practitioner.

The aims of this course are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.

The course aims to provide students with the skills and attributes relevant to current creative sector and commercial industries. It seeks to ensure that graduates are not only technically proficient but also have the capacity to think independently with the creative and cultural awareness to enable innovation and imagination through all aspects of commercial enterprise whether in employment or as self-employed creative activists.

The course fosters individual curiosity and a sense of enquiry, competence in research, analysis and presentation, independence of thought, self-reliance, confidence and openness to professional development. Furthermore, the School is committed to design practice that is actively engaged with the socially orientated and ethical dimensions of design through linking with local and wider communities in design activity.

The course aims to:

1. develop the student’s capacity to work within a professional and socially responsible framework (LO3, LO4,LO5,LO7, LO8, LO9,);
2. foster creative approaches to problem identification, design development and innovation in furniture and product, seeking to challenge accepted conventions of furniture and product design (LO1, LO3, LO5, LO8, LO9, LO10);
3. synthesise knowledge, skills and strategies that enable designers to improve quality of experience with the made world (LO1, LO5, LO8, LO11);
4. develop confident promotional, entrepreneurial and presentational skills across a wide range of media, encouraging multidisciplinary approaches and critical thought (LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO12);
5. develop visual curiosity, independent enquiry and capacity to reason, critique and reflect upon practice through an integrated approach to practice and theory, research and analysis (LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO8, LO11);
6. through the experience of materiality and making, enable professional ways of working (with knowledge, efficiency, confidence and autonomy) relevant to a student’s professional sphere and creative ambitions (LO1, LO3, LO5, LO6, LO8, LO11);
7. provide creative opportunities and equip students with the necessary skill-sets and knowledge that will ensure graduates are well informed, creative, technically able and work-ready (LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO8, LO9, LO10);
8. enable students to become effective, independent and confident self-directed learners empowered with creative and critical abilities and develop professional thinking and self-expression through an integrated programme of relevant academic, subject specific and work based learning (LO1, LO4, LO6, LO7, LO8, LO11, LO12);
9. support the growth of the individual; fostering self-directed study, transferable professional skills, practice positioning and ethical responsibility in relation to personal and professional ambitions and working with others (LO3, LO4, LO6, LO9, LO11);
10. foster critical understanding of the professional practice of furniture design for the interior, fashion and cross disciplinary alternative markets (LO1,LO2,LO3, LO5, LO6, LO9, LO10);
11. produce and champion high quality contemporary furniture practitioners and develop visual curiosity, independent enquiry and capacity to reason (LO1, LO2, LO5, LO8, LO9, LO10, LO11, LO12);
12. develop confident promotional, entrepreneurial, presentational skills and discipline related skills (including the range and scope of new technology and interdisciplinary approaches) necessary to be competitive and flexible within a dynamic field (LO4,LO5, LO6, LO7, LO8, LO12);
13. through the experience of materiality and making, enable diverse entry pathways into the furniture profession (with knowledge, efficiency, confidence and autonomy) LO2, LO4, LO6, LO9, LO11);
14. ensure an individual practice that is positioned in relation to economic, ethical, cultural, environmental, material and global needs (LO1, LO2, LO5, LO6, LO8, LO10, LO11).

Course learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding
1. recognise how furniture and products are situated within the broader histories and practices of material culture and the part that it plays in social and economic frameworks (CA2, CA3, CA5, CA6, CA7, CA8, CA10, CA11, CA14);
2. utilise a range of making and production technologies, material types and traditional and digital processes (CA7, CA10, CA11, CA13);
3. approach design questions, situations or problems through a systematic application of research, analysis and synthesis, using observation, recording, collaboration and creative thinking to develop design solutions that enhance human experience (CA1, CA2, CA4, CA5, CA6, CA7, CA9, CA10, CA14);

Cognitive Intellectual Skills
4. apply ‘reflection in practice’ in order to foster autonomy, independent thought and professional confidence in presentation (CA1, CA4, CA5, CA7, CA8, CA9, CA12, CA13);
5. generate relevant design propositions that challenge accepted paradigms and consumer expectations of contemporary furniture and product design (CA1, CA2, CA3, CA4, CA5, CA6, CA7, CA10, CA11, CA12, CA14);
6. recognise the symbiotic relationship of design and manufacture with design concept and theory and conduct informed making as an intellectual process and activity (CA4, CA6, CA8’ CA9, CA10, CA12, CA13, CA14);

Transferable Skills
7. present projects at various stages of development through visual, written and verbal presentations communicating knowledge and thought in practice (CA1, CA4, CA7, CA8, CA12, CA13);
8. recognise the effect of complex, multiple participant, and human factors upon creative thinking, project timescales and commercial constraints (CA1, CA2, CA3 CA5, CA6, CA7, CA8, CA11, CA12, CA14);
9. take responsibility for individual and group practice, developing professional interaction, collaboration, negotiation and communication within problem-solving (CA1, CA2, CA7, CA9, CA10, CA11, CA13);

Subject-Specific Practical Skills
10. make informed material choices and manipulate a range of traditional and contemporary processes, at scale and full size (CA2, CA7, CA10, CA11);
11. describe and practically implement data relating to ergonomics and anthropometrics and consider a full range of human and sensory factors with consideration of function and interaction upon human wellbeing (CA3, CA5, CA6, CA8, CA9, CA11, CA13, CA14);
12. analyse, communicate and represent structure, scale, form and material qualities through drawing, modelling, and visualisation skills (CA4, CA8, CA11, CA12).

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

Module Title Module Code Learning Outcomes

Critical and Contextual Studies: Foundation CP3010 LO1,LO3,LO6,LO9
Project AA3001 LO4, LO5,LO6,LO7,LO8,
Techniques AA3002 LO2, LO4,LO6,LO10,LO11
Formats AA3004 LO2,LO4,LO5,LO7,LO8,LO9,LO12,

Critical and Contextual Studies 1 (3D) CP4011 LO1,LO2,LO3
Workshop Practice DN4005 LO1, LO4 LO5, LO10, LO11
3D Design Principles DN4006 LO1, LO4, LO10
Visual Research and Communication DN4007 LO1, LO4

Critical and Contextual Studies 2 (3D) CP5011 LO1, LO2, LO3, LO6, LO7, LO12
Materials, Technology and Markets DN5021 LO2, LO3, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO8, LO9, LO12
3D Design DN5011 LO1, LO6, LO10,
Design Resolution DN5006 LO1, LO2 ,LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO10, LO11

Critical and Contextual Studies 3 (3D) Dissertation CP6011 LO1, LO3
World of Work DN6035 LO7, LO8, LO9, LO11, LO12
3D Project Design and Development DN6013 LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6,
Major Project Realisation; Furniture and Product Design DN6011 LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO8, LO9, LO10, LO11, LO12

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Subject Benchmark Statement; Art and Design (2017)

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy for the course has been designed holistically, to ensure manageable timing, workloading and clarity of expectations for students, and to avoid duplication of assessment of learning outcomes.

The assessment regimes for the modules and tasks are designed together with the briefs, prior to the start of the year, taking into account student, external examiner, professional collaborator and colleague feedback from previous instances. The requirements of briefs and their components, the assessment criteria, grading scheme and descriptors are published and explained to students at the start of the year and are designed to be used as consistently as possible, to avoid unnecessary complication. Assessment is related to the achievement of learning outcomes; qualification frameworks and subject benchmark statements are consulted to ensure clear language that is appropriate to level of study. Students are informed of the procedures for first, second and parity marking, and external examiner scrutiny of the assessment process and marks, to ensure that they understand and have confidence in the probity of the process and security of the final marks.

In every case, there is required formative assessment and feedback prior to summative assessment at set points. This is recorded so that it can be used by both students and staff to track further progress and engage support where it is required. Feedback follows good pedagogic practice in that it is constructed as ‘feed-forward’, with a focus on specific actions and strategies as to how to improve, not only on what requires improvement. Challenge to students is managed, so that students performing well in-year are encouraged to strive for excellence, while those performing less well experience clear, targeted and structured guidance, including notice of where they are doing well or are showing potential.

The course adheres to the University’s requirements for assessment and feedback turnaround times and to academic regulations for marking and second making sampling. Additionally, the course engages in Subject and School parity exercises to ensure that assessment standards are consistent. This is especially important in relation to studio delivery through which students on the same modules will be undertaking differing projects.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Work- related learning is embedded in the course both formally in the professional studies modules in levels 5 and 6 and throughout the course through live projects, industry visits, visiting speakers and events such as ‘Making a Living’ and ‘Celebration’ weeks.

Work-related learning is an integrated and mandatory part of the course, with at least
70 hours working on live projects for real organisations delivered through placement,
live briefs and real entrepreneurial activities built into the course. Students will experience a competitive recruitment process or pitching for opportunities, and they will be required to reflect on their experience of the project and undertake forward career action planning.

The majority of tutors and lecturers on the course are practitioners and share their knowledge and experience with students throughout their course of study. The studio delivery of the course means that opportunities for work-based learning through collaboration with external companies, agencies, institutions, competitions and professionals can be taken up as they arise, if appropriate to the programme of study. Studios function as simulations of professional workplaces, with expectations of professional standards, conduct and delivery building as the students progress from level to level. During their final year, students are expected to work independently towards completion of professional portfolio of projects, culminating in exhibition of these in the annual summer show and associated events.

Course specific regulations

ACADEMIC PROGRESSION: As a condition of progressing from level 3 to 4, level 4 to 5 and level 5 to 6, students are required to have gained 120 credits per level, that is, by achieving pass marks (40%) in all four modules in the preceding level of study.

COURSE COMPLETION
Level 6: In order to achieve an honours degree award on this course, students must have completed and passed each module at 40% or above.


PART-TIME MODE OF STUDY
Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, in part-time mode, the duration of study for a 480-credit degree will be 8 years. The pattern of study in CASS degrees shall be as follows:

Year 1: Project & Techniques or Critical and Contextual Studies: Foundation & Formats
Year 2: Project & Techniques or Critical and Contextual Studies: Foundation & Formats
Year 3: 3D Design Principles, Workshop Practice
Year 4: Critical and Contextual Studies 1(3D), 3D Visual Research and Communication
Year 5: 3D Design, Design Resolution
Year 6: Critical and Contextual Studies 2(3D), Materials, Technology and Markets
Year 7: 3D Project Design and Development, Major Project Realisation: Furniture and Product Design
Year 8: Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation(3D), World of Work

Modules required for interim awards

Critical and Contextual Studies: Foundation CP3010
Project AA3001
Techniques AA3002
Formats AA3004
Critical and Contextual Studies 1 (3D) CP4011
Workshop Practice DN4005
3D Design Principles DN4006
Visual Research and Communication DN4007
Critical and Contextual Studies 2 (3D) CP5011
Materials, Technology and Markets DN5021
3D Design DN5011
Design Resolution DN5006
Critical and Contextual Studies 3 (3D) Dissertation CP6011
World of Work DN6035
3D Project Design and Development DN6013
Major Project Realisation; Furniture and Product Design DN6011

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The School’s studio system of curriculum delivery embeds reflective learning and personal development planning throughout the course. Most summative assessment is at the end of year-long modules, with several formative assessment points formally instituted in the course of the year. At these interim formative assessment and feedback points, students reflect on their progress to date with their peers and course staff (with the benefit of feedback from professional partners), seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. The feedback and student reflection is recorded and forms an action plan for the next period of study. This system is highly individualised, but also benefits from peer engagement in studio critiques. The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Throughout the modules and the course therefore, in this way, students build bodies of work, including reflections on progress and achievement, and planning for their future achievement of targets.

In the foundation year the main outcome of the course is contained in the student’s portfolio of projects containing edited and organised versions of all the work the student has undertaken during the course. It is used both for the purposes of self-reflection and evaluation, formal assessment and, in various versions, to apply for jobs or courses. Building the portfolio is a continuous enterprise. Every project, practical or intellectual exercise can be represented in the portfolio but also has to contribute to the document as a whole and in its parts. Students learn to reflect on their work both as a specific item and in the context of their own developing profile in their portfolio.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

Successful completion of the course offers career opportunities within the furniture and product design profession and allied disciplines. The programme is also excellent preparation for postgraduate study and for mature students who wish to make a career change or return to work or study following a career break.

Graduates are prepared for business start-up in furniture and product design or making, and employment in established furniture and product design and manufacturing companies. Graduates gain transferable graduate skills and attributes and can use these to enter many fields of work, including the cultural industries and institutions, design journalism, retail or marketing, management or education. Graduates specialising in furniture and product design or making take part annually in exhibitions showcasing their project work and final pieces. These shows provide an important springboard for networking with representatives from the furniture and product industry and future employers.
Students can also benefit from support and guidance from the Careers and Employability services and the University’s business incubator unit, ‘Accelerator’.

Career opportunities

This furniture and product design degree will prepare you to enter the design profession within private companies, public institutions or as a self-employed designer. Roles you could pursue after graduating from this degree include:

  • exhibition designer
  • furniture conservator/restorer
  • interior designer
  • product designer

Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • at least one A level (or a minimum of 32 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification, eg BTEC Subsidiary/National/BTEC Extended Diploma)
  • English Language GCSE at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent)

You will need to attend an interview with your portfolio of creative work. If you live outside the UK, you will be required to submit a small portfolio of work via email.

To study a degree at London Met, you must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. If you require a Tier 4 student visa you may need to provide the results of a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

If you need (or wish) to improve your English before starting your degree, the University offers a Pre-sessional Academic English course to help you build your confidence and reach the level of English you require.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2019/20 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 15 Aug 2019 Last validation date 15 Aug 2019  
Sources of funding HE FUNDING COUNCIL FOR ENGLAND
JACS codes
Route code FUPDFY

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 03 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AA3001 Project Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
          CITY SPR+SUM THU AM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
AA3002 Techniques Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU PM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI PM
          CITY SPR+SUM THU PM
AA3004 Formats Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED PM
          CITY SPR+SUM TUE PM
CP3010 Critical & Contextual Studies: Foundation Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED AM
          CITY SPR+SUM TUE AM

Stage 1 Level 03 January start Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AA3001 Project Core 30        
AA3002 Techniques Core 30        
AA3004 Formats Core 30        
CP3010 Critical & Contextual Studies: Foundation Core 30        

Stage 2 Level 04 October start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP4011 Critical & Contextual Studies 1 (3D) Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
DN4005 Workshop Practice Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU PM
DN4006 3D Design Principles Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU PM
DN4007 3D Visual Research and Communication Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU PM

Stage 3 Level 05 Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP5011 Critical & Contextual Studies 2 (3D) Core 30        
DN5006 Design Resolution Core 30        
DN5011 3D Design Core 30        
DN5021 Materials, Technology and Markets Core 30        

Stage 4 Level 06 Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP6011 Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (3D) Core 30        
DN6011 Major Project Realisation: Furniture and Produc... Core 30        
DN6013 3D Project Design & Development Core 30        
DN6035 World of Work Core 30