This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with a 60-credit design module, followed by 60 credits in your chosen second subject.
- Next, in Stage 2, you’ll study a further 60-credit design module, followed by a 60-credit module in your second subject.
- And finally, in Stage 3, you’ll study a final 60-credit design module. You’ll conclude your degree with 60 credits in your second subject.
Optional Access module – visit Am I ready? to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
Your first design module introduces the basics of the design process and creative thinking. You’ll sketch and model prototypes and present your portfolio of work in an online design studio, and investigate issues such as: design and the individual, design and society, and the global impact of design. You’ll then study your chosen second subject.
Your study of design will help you develop the skills and tools needed to research people’s needs, develop design concepts and turn concepts into well-specified products. You’ll continue to develop your modelling and drawing skills, including orthographic and perspective drawing, as well as learn about user research, creativity techniques and the use of materials in design. You also further your understanding and knowledge of your second subject.
As you deepen your understanding of design, you’ll examine how new ideas, designs and inventions are translated into product, service and system innovations and how they can help ensure a social, economically and environmentally sustainable future. A final assessed project brings together everything you’ve learned. In your second subject, you’ll build and consolidate your knowledge and skills, graduating with a strong, practical and analytical understanding of the relationship between the two disciplines.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 21 March 2018.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA/BSc (Honours) Design and Innovation uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- working with specialist reading material such as design drawings and plans
- working in a group with other students
- using and producing drawings, diagrams and photographs
- undertaking practical work such as 3D modelling
- researching external material online
- using specialist software (for example OpenDesignStudio, Computer-aided modelling, CES EduPack database)
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques (Engineering and Environment routes only).
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, depending on your second subject, you’ll be awarded either a BA or BSc degree.
- If you choose business or arts as your second subject you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) Design and Innovation degree.
- For design engineering or environment you'll be awarded the BSc (Honours) Design and Innovation degree.
You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.
At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.
Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you'll need to succeed. If you're not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.
Answer a few quick questions to check whether you're ready for study success
How much time do I need?
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
Counting previous study
You could save time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study towards this qualification if you have:
- already studied at university level (even if you didn't finish your studies)
- other professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
Find out more about credit transfer
Preparing for study with an Access module
If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You'll get:
- a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:
Arts and languages Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts and languages, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. It explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, modern languages, and also touches on the areas of creative writing and religious studies.
View full details of Arts and languages Access module
Science, technology and maths Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. The subjects included are science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.
View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module
Skills for career development
A design and innovation approach can bring value to almost any activity, and is increasingly in demand with employers – for example in education, business, local government, leisure services, engineering, environment, and health.
This degree course will develop your skills in design and innovation so that you can apply them to ‘embedded contexts’ – areas outside the creative industries that are not traditionally thought of as ‘creative’, but nevertheless benefit hugely from design thinking. As an Open University student you have a great advantage over other design students in that your learning can be put into practice as you study. The BA/BSc (Honours) Design and Innovation encourages you to apply the thinking, methods, and techniques you learn to your own context, enabling you to produce a portfolio of highly relevant design work. Additionally, the ability to think critically and responsibly about design problems is greatly valued by a wide range of employers.
Design and innovation play a central role in society, producing solutions to problems of all sizes in every aspect of our lives, not just in the creative industries. A design and innovation approach can bring value to almost any activity, and is increasingly in demand by employers. Graduates with these skills can find jobs in a wide range of fields including education, business, local government, leisure services, engineering, environment, and health.
Two routes through this degree – Design engineering and Environment – have been accredited for membership of the Institution of Engineering Designers (MIED). Established in 1945, incorporated by Royal Charter in 2012, the Institution of Engineering Designers is the only organisation in the UK to represent those working in the many fields of engineering (and product) design.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):
research and development (R&D) manager
Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.