The Course

The BA Design (Top Up) programme enables students to expand their design practice and further develop their knowledge, critical thinking skills and understanding of the subject specialism.

Students develop a greater appreciation of sustainable factors within the design industry while embedding the necessary expertise to critically evaluate concepts and apply them to real-world situations, developing both academic ability and crucial employable and entrepreneurial skills.

Studio practice is key to personal creative development and emphasis is placed on the integration of this with applied knowledge and skills within the BA Design (Top Up). The intention is to provide a flexible learning environment that will encourage students to achieve their full potential within a structured and rigorous framework.

At undergraduate level an increasing emphasis is placed on independent learning as students progress through the levels; at level 6 this independence is increasingly self-initiated, with students taking greater responsibility for the content and direction of their creative work culminating in a significant piece of work in the latter stages of the programme.

This programme is currently undergoing revalidation with the University of Hull to ensure you get the best experience and opportunity to achieve as an employment-ready graduate.


Whilst the title and award of the programme will likely remain unchanged or will be similar, other details such as the modules, teaching and learning strategy, contact hours and assessment strategies may change. Full details of the newly validated programme will be available from late January 2023.

Awarded by University of Hull

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View the policies and procedures that students registering on this programme would be agreeing to comply with.

Financial Information

Find the full details on the fees associated with this programme and the financial support available here.

  • What You Study

    Programme Aims:

    • Encourage the development of professional, entrepreneurial and employable skills such as technical ability, initiative and motivation, time and project management, communication and presentation skills essential to a range of contemporary design disciplines. 
    • Develop the ability to critically evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to problem-solving and apply these to work contexts within the design industry.
    • Develop an appreciation of the theories and principles of environmental and sustainable technologies and the impact of design decisions on communities, the natural world and its resources.
    • Produce capable and well-rounded independent graduates with higher level practical and communication skills that can contribute to the wider economy and developments taking place, particularly in relation to the design Industry.


    • Creative Research Project - 40 credits
    • Responsive Design - 20 credits
    • Portfolio Development - 20 credits
    • Final Major Design Project - 40 credits
  • Entry Requirements

    • Applicants should have a relevant Level 5 qualification.
    • Applicants need an appropriate academic reference.
    • Life and / or experience of non-traditional students will be taken into account when considering applications. The successful completion of an entry task may be required when considering applications without the required formal entry qualifications.
    • If your first language is not English, or a Tier 4 student visa to study is required and GCSE grade C / 4 English or equivalent is not held, English language proficiency level such as International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 6.0 overall (with a minimum 5.5 in each skill) will need evidencing.
    • Applicants will require a portfolio (unless you are asked to complete an entry task) prior to being offered a place on this programme.
  • Contact Time

    For each 20 credit module you will receive approximately 54 hours of class/contact time with your tutor. Students are also expected to carry out a significant amount of private study in addition to contact time (146 hours per module). Students can expect to receive their timetables during induction week.

  • Learning and Teaching Approach

    Level 6 studies are increasingly independent with projects based on realistic design scenario ranging from small scale domestic to larger commercial scale projects, forming a comprehensive design portfolio and culminating in a Final Major Design Project module. This requires the student to work autonomously to apply design skills acquired and showcase their subject knowledge, professional approach and creativity.

    Communication strategies are explored to support the development of employable and entrepreneurial skills, along with the academic rigour of the Creative Research Project module, which allows the students to complete an independent piece of work specialising in an area of research that reflects the multi-disciplinary nature of their degree programme.

  • How You're Assessed

    The proposed assessment methodology for each module will involve a variety of approaches demonstrating knowledge and skills across a range of contexts, reflecting an innovative and creative approach to assessment to cater for students’ individual learning styles.

    Students will develop an analytical and creative approach along with an inquiring mindset and entrepreneurial capability.

    Assessment methodology encourages independence of thought, judgment and critical awareness starting with underlying principles and level appropriate knowledge and skills. There are formative and summative assessment opportunities within each module and feedback on students’ work offers clear guidance for future development and progression.

    Opportunities for feedback on assessments are available prior to the final submission to support student development and achievement. Staff aim to return assessed work within a 15 working day timeframe (not including holidays) in order that students can most benefit from their feedback.

  • Progression

    Students can progress to study a Masters degree.

  • Careers

    Upon graduating, students can progress into a wide range of design-related disciplines, such as:

    • Interior Design practice (including working within an architectural practice) 
    • Hotel interior design
    • Kitchen design 
    • Exhibition and event design 
    • Caravan and leisure industry design  
    • Show home interiors
    • Office and commercial design 
    • Furniture design,
    • Visual merchandising
    • Graphic design practice (including in-house graphic designer)
    • Packaging design
    • Illustration
    • Freelance designer opportunities (i.e. the development of craft workshops, own business start-up)
    • Teaching opportunities (primary and secondary school opportunities in Design and Technology)
  • Equipment Required / Additional Costs

    Students are required to have a range of drawing equipment such as adjustable set-square and scale ruler, drawing pens and pencils, paints, marker pens, crayons, masking tape, glue, scissors etc. 

    You will also require portfolio / presentation folders, sketchbooks and a range of papers.

    A suitable electronic device, e.g. a laptop or tablet, with internet connectivity is required for accessing online learning.

    If you wish to utilise your own laptop for design work, investment in current design software will be essential. 

    Design students also invest in good quality printing and publishing of their work – prices for this vary according to size.

    There may also be additional costs for educational visits/trips.

    On successful completion of the programme, students have the opportunity to graduate at a ceremony wearing formal dress. The hire of the formal dress is an additional cost.

  • How To Apply

    Application is through UCAS using code W200.

    If you are currently studying for a degree at Bishop Burton and wish to 'top up' with this course, please apply via our online application form.

    Applications for the year you wish to study open in September the year before. Whilst UCAS advertise a January deadline, we continue to accept applications through to the September you wish to start with us, provided we have spaces available and the programme remains open.

  • Download Course Guide

    Download our guide to find out more about the BA Design (Top Up) programme.

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