Our Design Studio Practice (including foundation year) BA (Hons) is the perfect choice if you’d like to study towards a design degree but you don’t have traditional qualifications or can’t meet the requirements to enter the three-year undergraduate degree.
This four-year course has a built-in foundation year (Year 0), which is a preparatory year that will give you the chance to gain skills and techniques in design that are vital for study at an undergraduate level. You will graduate with the same award and title as students who begin their studies on the three-year course.
Our Design Studio Practice (including foundation year) BA (Hons) will give you the freedom to explore all areas of design and is ideal if you don’t want to be narrowly identified as a fine artist, graphic designer or product designer.
The foundation year is designed to prepare you for an undergraduate degree in design and to identify areas where you’d like to improve, according to your needs and aspirations. You’ll work with your tutors and fellow students, as well as independently, to polish your skills in writing, research and critical analysis, which are not only vital in higher education but also in a wide range of careers.
In addition to looking at design within historical, contemporary and cultural contexts we’ll help you develop techniques including technical and creative drawing, framing, 3D and 2D composition, as well as skills for work in studios and workshops. There will be a range of short and intensive studio projects in visual imagery and practical making, followed by open-ended longer projects, to help you establish a personal perspective and a sense of artistic direction.
Your foundation year will be shared with students from our other foundation year courses, allowing you to share your ideas and see art and design from different perspectives. For inspiration you can take a look at work produced by our students on their foundation year, including Hannah Townrow, Florence White and Teo Rava.
During your subsequent three years of study you’ll be joined by students starting on the three-year course, studying the same content and having the same choice of modules. To find out more about the subsequent three years of your course visit our Design Studio Practice BA (Hons) course page. If after the foundation year you decide to specialise in a different area of art or design, there will be some flexibility to allow you to do so.
You will be assessed via project work, essays and an individual portfolio.
In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:
You will need to attend an interview with your portfolio of creative work. We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
If you live in the UK, you will be invited to a portfolio interview. 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.
The modules listed below are for the academic year 2019/20 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.
Year 0 modules include:
The Critical and Contextual Studies module introduces a range of cultural and contextual practices and is diagnostic in helping students to identify areas of reading, writing, information gathering and research in relation to their abilities, needs and aspirations. The intention is to prepare students for critical and theoretical work in Higher Education.
The focus of the Critical and Contextual Studies module is on the ability to ask questions and find answers; specifically, those bearing on architecture, art, design and media in the broad sense and to the conventional means to present these. The experience of the module is structured by a sequence of three submissions: an initial patchwork assignment that includes a Learning Reflection element, an analysis of the works of a particular creative practitioner and a final submission is a self-directed essay.
The contents include answers to questions that range from practical or theoretical ‘how to’ or ‘what is’ exercises; to simple ‘what do you think?’ form of analysis or reflection; to complex structured responses in the form of the essay.
The module is constructed around three core blocks of intensive study. Each block has a thematic structure to allow the exploration of different topics and approaches, for example: ‘Contexts’, ‘Connections’, ‘Themes in creative practice’. The first assessment includes the Learning Reflection element.
The module aims to motivate and aid the student to find out about and engage in the practice and culture of architecture, art, design and media. The module should help inform the student about their future direction of study as well as providing useful insights into their potential and abilities. Students learn how to ask and begin to answer questions about the discipline they are interested in and its broader context. They should acquire a portfolio of methodological and critical writing and communication skills that enable them and know how to apply themselves to the various forms of study and assessment ahead following progression to the next level in Higher Education.
The Formats module is in a relatively objective position in relation to the Project and Techniques modules; whereas their focus is on aspects of an individual’s creative practice Formats addresses what is shared or common across creative practices, such as colour, composition, having and using ideas, collecting and categorising, curating, presenting and exhibiting. It is used to integrate the individual project-related work with knowledge, methods and formats from creative practice more widely.
Relations are explored between individual creative practice and other creative practices through producing work in different digital and analogue formats – including document, journal, process diary, book, album, brochure, instruction manual, worksheet, competition entry, exhibition, pop-up event, etc.
The different formats relate to ways of working and ways of thinking presented in different contexts; acting as multifunctional/responsive spaces that uses a range or combination of materials, methods and presentation environments, eg drawing, painting, photography, collage, transcribing, recording, notation, animation, film, commentary, diagram, on-line algorithm, collection and categorising, mind-maps, and ‘Thinking Hats’, etc.
There is an emphasis on the process of learning from self-evaluation and critical reflection towards propositions using both prescribed tasks and imaginative/conceptual interpretation eg colour theory – wheels/ swatches/ assemblage; reflection/ illustrated journal; composition/ narrative; exhibition/ publication; teamwork/ peer review; collecting/ curating, etc.
The module develops evidence of independent and discriminating thought and action in the research, approach and development of creative work using existing knowledge alongside diverse experience, self-reflection and critical reflection to learn about, understand and develop creative practice.
It introduces practical strategies for the formation and growth of nascent creative work and ideas; and seeks to introduce methods of thinking, recording, collecting, documenting, reading, mapping, reworking, reflecting and evaluating to evolve creative habits. It aims to evidence increasing subject-area knowledge and to develop understanding of the relationship between practical, conceptual and intellectual methods associated with different creative practices.
It encourages self-assessment of skills and knowledge to contribute to and participate in team-work and collaborative outcomes. It guides navigation between the rigorous/professional (criteria, formats and deadlines) and the imaginative/innovative (novelty, diversity and questioning).
A project develops ideas through conceptual and material processes towards outcomes that can be evaluated in relation to the initial idea; and other related contexts that may arise during the time-frame of the project. The Project module is an introduction to the project as a key feature of creative practice.
The projects in the Project module vary considerably in aim, structure and duration to reflect their application in a wide range of creative practices. The definition, implementation, development and outcome of the projects is transferred from tutor to student as the course proceeds. The projects are inherently student-centred with course demands satisfied by developing the student’s independent inquiry, discovery and production.
Each project requires direct engagement, participation and responsibility in relation to ideas, productivity and the reflection on and evaluation of creative work.
Practical elements of project-work are built-up by a close relation with the Techniques module. Critical reflection and self-evaluation encourage the development of self-organisation and effective time-management.
The Project module provides a broad, varied, stimulating and diagnostic experience of a range of creative practices that allows for self- assessment of individual interests and aptitudes towards developing a creative practice in relation to making an informed choice of a progression pathway ahead.
It enables the development of a productive, disciplined and critical approach to visual and practical enquiry; and to individual independent thinking, making and communicating. It develops the individual’s portfolio of work in a distinctive and ambitious way as evidence of a personal creative practice in the context of a specific subject area. Assignments and study trips will open up London as a source of limitless research potential and creativity.
The Techniques module delivers the skills-based, technical aspects of creative practices in relation having, developing and resolving ideas through processes towards media/material outcomes. It concerns the quality of making, considerations of care, appropriateness and endeavour. It encourages recognition of the intrinsic formal and structural qualities of different media as essential elements in visual/aural communication. The module involves a series of learning experiences that introduce and develop many of the key skills and techniques needed for a range of making practices across various subject areas; the outcomes are in the context of and further developed in close relation with the Project module.
The Techniques module introduces a wide range of materials, methods, techniques and processes to make work in a broad sense. It is closely aligned with the Project module to develop understanding of the limitations and potential of selected media, materials and techniques in the development project work. Responsible attitudes aligned to ethical and professional contexts are applied and considered in relation to imaginative experimentation and exploitation for innovation.
The Techniques module links the analysis and evaluation of technical quantitative properties with qualitative aesthetic discernment and judgment and introduces a common vocabulary, technical/professional language, core skills and reference models. It introduces safe and appropriate studio/workshop/site practice.
Year 1 modules include:
Successful 3D design outcomes are reliant on sound 3D design principles. These principles inform and create opportunities for students to apply their creativity to the conception, development and eventual realisation of effective 3D design solutions.
This module will introduce students to a range of contemporary and traditional discipline-related design approaches and processes, some of which will be tested in design exercises and some of which may be realised in studios and projects carried across other modules. Processes experienced will involve research, documentation and analysis, alongside experiment and discovery.
Design concepts will be tested through the application of workshop and studio methods. Materials, processes and technologies will be discipline-specific, developing creative outcomes relevant to the possibilities and constraints of the context intended.
Students will be encouraged to develop a critically informed and personal approach to the process of design. Studios and projects will encourage understanding of practice and engagement with materials, media and, processes in the context of a rapidly changing contemporary culture with ever-developing needs and problems.
This module introduces and develops a range of knowledge, skills and approaches in the research, sketching and communication of information and ideas for 3D disciplines and artefacts in visual form.
The ability to draw and communicate visually for research, as well as design development, is critical to the success of a designer in any 3D discipline. This module intends to make development of subject specialist skills in these fields a central component of the courses that it serves.
Students will take part in a range of studio sessions, workshops and lectures that introduce a wide range of traditional and contemporary drawing, visual research and communication media, methods and practices to help them explore, record, select from, analyse and interpret their environment and the world of images, spaces and artefacts for a range of purposes.
Through the regular practice of a wide range of drawing methods, whether for the recording and communication of information, the generation of concepts and design or the expression of ideas, students will develop confidence and a key resource to support their practice.
Discipline-specific projects will explore the recording and expression of line, colour, form, structure, light, space and perspective, texture, detail and context appropriate to the requirements of the field in a range of media and formats.
Critical and Contextual Studies 1 is an inter-disciplinary module taught across all disciplines in the Cass 3D subject area, including Design Studio Practice, Fashion, Fashion Accessories, Jewellery, Furniture and Product Design, and Textile Design. The module aims to orient and critically engage students in the history and theory of their respective disciplines, their scope, conventions, and broader social and material context in culture and contemporary practice.
The module helps students to reflect on what they see, and to read connections between different ideas that have shaped their discipline. In particular, the module investigates how thinking and articulating ideas about practice in their field might be framed – for example in relation to history, the economy, society and the environment, or through theory and practice.
The module introduces students to a range of academic skills needed to produce a graduate-level study in their final year. It helps students to develop their own interests, and to reflect on and take responsibility for the development of their own learning. This includes surveys in the history of their discipline, research and writing workshops, seminars, library sessions, visits and tours in addition to guided independent learning.
Good design and high quality artefacts are informed by knowledge of the potential and the limitations of relevant technologies and techniques, materials and processes. The focus of this module is on the development of understanding and ability in a range of key practical skills and an understanding of material and process through experience, experimentation and direct observation.
The module will introduce students to some of the key methods and principles of achieving high-quality outcomes, whether crafted, manufactured or constructed. It will develop capacity for informed decision-making about material experimentation and process investigation through the exploration of why particular choices of material, technique, process and technology are made in relation to factors such as aesthetics, function, scale and ethical considerations.
The module is taught within disciplinary specific studios, includes a range of relevant exercises and will aid realisation of designs and projects originated in other modules. The module will establish this knowledge through research into current practice, making and drawing workshops, as well as lectures, seminars and the utilisation of a wide variety of published sources.
This module aims to introduce key designer making skills and practical understanding of material, process and related issues, such as health and safety for workshop and other production contexts. Students will develop an appropriate level of competence in practical realisation through experience, experimentation and practice through exploration of material, processes, techniques and technologies. Through taught classes and this experience they will learn constructional requirements, scales, material values, economies of production, functional and aesthetic design constraints.
The module will enable students to recognise, and understand ethical issues surrounding the choice and use of material and production choices in the context of their discipline.
Year 2 modules include:
This module aims to develop designs in the context of our complex relationship with the designed world. Through selection and application of materials and processes students will problem solve with an understanding of human needs, physical, psychological, individual and/or collective. Responses may include conceptual, functional and questioning design methods that respond to user-centric needs including those that are imperfectly understood.
Students will be expected to demonstrate that design work and its outcomes are the result of credible research, and how it relates to users, (both principal and incidental), in practice. Workshop activities will explore and test ideas, resolving design issues and proposing solutions through modelling in traditional and/or digital materials and technologies. Material experimentation and knowledge will enhance both the concept and its communication.
Students will normally select from a range of studio projects, working with contemporary ideas and practising designers, mentored by professional practitioners as appropriate to the project. Responses to findings through design will demonstrate clear concept and purpose related to people, whether conceptual, narrative, ergonomic, ethical or other.
Students’ confidence will build and evolve a personal and distinctive approach to design through research and interpretation of findings together with professional communication and presentation skills.
Critical and Contextual Studies 2 is an inter-disciplinary module taught across all disciplines in the Cass 3D subject area, including Design Studio Practice, Fashion, Fashion Accessories, Jewellery, Furniture and Product Design, and Textile Design. It continues to orient and critically engage students in the history and theory of their discipline, its scope and conventions, and its broader social and material context in culture and contemporary practice. It builds on studies undertaken in Level 4 and prepares students as independent thinkers, capable of selecting an appropriate topic and producing a sustained piece of independent study in the form of a dissertation in Level 6.
The module continues to situate the student within the process of constructing knowledge about their discipline, its history, context, and its professional and ethical dimension. It rehearses the analytical and discursive skills students need to become knowledgeable about the theorists, objects and methods in their field; to understand the roles, locations and responsibilities of important authorities while examining the broader ethical questions relevant to their discipline; and to become conversant with current debates across the subject area. This process may be approached from the point of view of the producer or consumer, the critic or the professional, the academic or the practitioner.
Students are encouraged to think creatively and to take responsibility for the development of their own learning. The module recognises that the student is also an active contributor in the process: what students bring to the construction of knowledge counts – and how effectively they construct this knowledge depends on how well they understand the field of their discipline.
3D Design Resolution ensures confident realisation of design concepts through consideration and manipulation of the materiality (form, colour, surface and texture) that affects meaning and value in all design. This module requires critical attention to context, aesthetics and construction and intelligent choices of process and production to consider and express how material and making methods can be tested through models, prototypes and final outcomes. Students will realise relevant design solutions to studio briefs in response to end users and/or sites, learning to work to a high level of professional presentation.
Through in-depth practice-led research, students will consider the social, functional and environmental impacts of products, samples, material choices and the performance of these upon designed outcomes and their users.
Through the development of their design approaches they will discover a logical and creative method to problem solve, appropriate to the needs of users and clients. Students will engage in responsible design with awareness of relevant social obligations as well as the end-user’s personal, physical and sensory wellbeing.
This module enables the student to discover and examine the current pro-fessional environments for design, manufacture and production available within the discipline
Students will bring together their knowledge and experience of materials and making and re-examine them in the light of industry and real world needs. Students will develop and understand approaches to design, produc-tion and manufacture and to the introduction of efficient and industry rele-vant development and making practice.
The module introduces specialist methods, terms and approaches that are used to communicate technical specifications and visual form with precision and clarity. Students will further establish critical and evaluative processes to expand knowledge and understanding of materials, manufacture and the professional requirements underpinning ethical and sustainable values and responsibilities relevant to three-dimensional design. Students will discover how craft, design, technology, manufacturing and emerging material and process technologies can apply to contemporary practice and begin to rec-ognise their place in the designed and made world.
Through specialist industry contact and specific tasks, students will experi-ence critical debate, commercial response and career relevant development while identifying the commercial and professional context
The presentation and communication of all aspects of this module are key to the fulfilment of an understanding of industry practice vital for professional approaches to designing and making at level 6. Students will deliver presen-tations in appropriate disciplinary forms gaining confidence in presentation, collaboration and decision making including team working.
Year 3 modules include:
Together with the Major Project Realisation module, this module is intended to pre-pare 3D Design students for independent practice, entry into the professional work-place, or for higher studies.
Through synthesis of knowledge of processes and principles, using an appropriate range of intellectual, creative and practical skills, students will design and develop self-directed projects. These will require negotiated and approved project proposals. Students will undertake in-depth research, well constructed design and making strat-egies and the exercise of thinking skills resulting in a significant body of creative work for exhibition. Using creative exploration and experimentation, students will undertake research, idea generation, concept development, material investigation, sampling, modelling or prototyping and visualisations that lead towards the project proposals.
The module will require students to critique and reflect upon their own work, adopt the professional standards of their disciplines and their positions in their creative sectors. The module emphasises self-direction and personal focus whilst acknowledging ex-ternal and professional expectations and constraints.
Through the projects students will affirm their creative identities as they prepare to en-ter their professional fields and evidence their understanding of their future direction and position including in the context of professional responsibility and ethics.
Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) Level 6 results in an independent dissertation. It builds on two years of undergraduate study that critically engages students in the history and theory of their discipline, its extent and conventions, and its broader social and material context in culture and contemporary practice.
Students undertake an enquiry into a topic of their own choice and, based on this enquiry, develop a sustained critical study building on techniques and knowledge developed in previous years. This study demonstrates the student’s ability to research a topic thoroughly, use appropriate methods of investigation, and work in a methodical and organised way to develop a coherent argument. It affords a sophisticated instrument for interrogating, testing and presenting ideas, and encourages the student to deploy and develop a variety of skills to show how well they can conduct and present a critical investigation.
The module rewards criticality and innovation and provides a platform for ambitious, independent work. To this end, it offers individual supervision designed to support the student’s learning. The subject-matter of the dissertation can be theoretical, technical, or historical. In terms of format, the dissertation may be envisaged in different ways and can include visual, technical or other non-written material which may form the subject of the enquiry and comprise an integral part of the whole.
The dissertation may be practice-based and include field-work and primary research in its methodology; or it might be theoretical in its outlook and draw predominantly on secondary sources. Its form and approach can reflect a broad range of discipline-specific approaches based on discussion and agreement with the supervisor and/or course leader.
This Major Project module enables BA Design Studio Practice students to prepare for independent practice in the workplace or to progress onto higher studies. In this module, you will carry out the project conceived and developed in the parallel 3D Project Design and Development module (DN6013), fully realising it in appropriate physical form by the end of the module.
You will exercise and display your abilities in selecting, analysing and applying knowledge, skills and understanding to a negotiated and fully researched project in order to properly understand your strengths, interests and position in your field, and the potential for your future professional development.
You will show that you understand the complex and changing nature of problems in the professional disciplines of design studio practice and can devise and apply realistic strategies for constructing, applying and managing a process designed to provide effective and compelling outcomes.
A professional standard of realisation, contextualisation and presentation will be expected, providing the elements for a portfolio of practice with which you may enter the field of employment or self-employment or further studies.
This module requires students to develop the skills and knowledge required to undertake a researched, targeted exhibition or competition entry, or competitive submission for a commission, presenting the work they have developed within the major project in a professional manner. Students will apply understanding of the codes and conventions of competition, exhibition or commissioned work, contemporary curatorial practice, editorial and competitor approaches within a public exhibition. This will represent their independent critical position in relation to academic learning and professional practices.
The module demands a creative and disciplined approach to collaboration with relevant stakeholders and external partners. Within the module, students will experience work-related learning through live exhibition set up and realisation, submission for commission, competition or placement. Students will refine a range of transferable skills in communication, management, research and analysis and are encouraged to reflect and report on the work-relevant skills they develop throughout. Action planning, contribution to professional meetings, goal setting, negotiating, networking, project management, self-appraisal, team working are core to this module.
In the realisation of the exhibition/competition/commission students will develop and provide personal self-promotion outcomes to a professional standard, while negotiating the research aims of the brief and demonstrating mature creative practice.
The submission should reflect professional, creative and intellectual identity in preparation for entry to the workplace.
On graduation you’ll be equipped to pursue a career as a designer, but you’ll also possess skills to enter roles in design education, journalism or within cultural institutions.
This is a four-year degree course with a built-in foundation year (Year 0). It's the perfect route into university if you don't meet the necessary entry requirements for the standard undergraduate degree. You'll graduate with a full undergraduate degree with the same title and award as those who studied the three-year course.
Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.
Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.
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Apply to us for September 2019
Applying for a full-time undergraduate degree starting this September is quick and easy – simply call our Clearing hotline on or complete our online Clearing application form.
If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.
UK/EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University.
Non-EU applicants looking to study part-time should apply direct to the University. If you require a Tier 4 (General) student visa, please be aware that you will not be able to study as a part-time student at undergraduate level.
All applicants applying to begin a course starting in January must apply direct to the University.
The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.
If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.
Please select when you would like to start:
21-23 May 2019
Cass Furniture and Product Students exhibit project with leading designers SCP as part of Clerkenwell Design week 2019
Planning permission granted for Dulwich Pavilion designed by Cass alumnus Yinka Ilori with Pricegore for LFA competition.
Celebrated designer appointed as Visiting Professor at The Cass.
Latest yearbook celebrates student work and achievements in 2017-18 academic year.
Susanna Edwards has been asked to use her expertise to visualise what Southampton will be like in 2117.
Furniture and Product Design graduate, Mandie Beuzeval, has had a great success at the 2017 London Design Festival with her 'Great Dryer'.
Exhibition of student work and street party event at The Cass as part of London Design Festival 2017.
In celebration of its students, alumni, new home and London Design Festival, The Cass plays host to a series of exhibitions and workshops this September.
Art courses ranked second best in London again for student satisfaction, while the School of Computing and Digital Media's Maths course scores 10/10 for ‘Value Added’.