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BA/BSc (Honours) Design and Innovation

This general design degree focuses on developing creative design thinking and practical work to address problems in every aspect of life, not just the creative industries. The design modules feature online design studios, social networking and inspiring study materials alongside a significant practical component. As well as design, you’ll study modules in complementary subjects gaining skills and knowledge in an area that fits your needs and interests.

Key features of the course

  • Teaches you about several different design specialisms
  • Focuses on the process and application of design and innovation in real-world contexts
  • Puts your learning into practice, building a portfolio of design work to show your ideas and skills
  • Accredited for membership of the Institution of Engineering Designers1

​1Accreditation with the IED is possible on the BSc route, depending on the options chosen.

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
Q61
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • In Stage 1, you’ll choose a designation – BA (Bachelor of Arts) or BSc (Bachelor of Science).
  • In each stage, you’ll study a 60-credit design module and 60 credits from a choice of modules in complementary subjects.
  • We’ve created themes for the complementary subjects to guide you and help you choose your modules.

Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

In Stage 1, you’ll study your first 60-credit design module. You’ll also decide which route to follow, BA (Bachelor of Arts) or BSc (Bachelor of Science), and study another 60-credits. You may study any of the modules with the designation you’ve chosen; however, we’ve created themes to help you with your module choice – you’ll find these further down the page, after Stage 3.

Stage 2 (120 credits)

In Stage 2, you’ll study your second 60-credit design module. You’ll also choose another 60 credits from whichever designation you choose at Stage 1 – BA or BSc. As in Stage 1, you may study any of the modules with your designation (as long as you complete any pre-requisite study); however, we recommend you continue with a theme – you can find these further down the page, after Stage 3.

Stage 3 (120 credits)

In Stage 3, you’ll study your final 60-credit design module. You’ll also choose another 60 credits from whichever designation you choose at Stage 1 – BA or BSc. As in Stages 1 and 2, you may study any of the modules with your designation (as long as you complete any pre-requisite study); however, we recommend you continue with a theme – you can find these further down the page, after Stage 3.

Themes

We’ve created nine routes (5 with the BA designation; 4 with the BSc designation) to guide you through the qualification and help you with your module choices.

BA (Bachelor of Arts)

  • Culture and aesthetics
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Management
  • Society
  • Sustainability

BSc (Bachelor of Science)

  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Engineering
  • Interfaces and interaction

Culture and aesthetics

ModulesCredits
Stage 1
You'll study the following:
Design thinking: creativity for the 21st century (U101)60
You'll choose one from:
Discovering the arts and humanities (A111)60
Voices, texts and material culture (A105)60
Stage 2
You'll study the following:
Design essentials (T217)60
You'll choose one from:
Creative writing (A215)60
Exploring art and visual culture (A226)60
Understanding music (A234) – planned for October 202060
Music, sound and technology (A232)60
Stage 3
You'll study the following:
Innovation: designing for change (T317)60
You'll choose one from:
Advanced creative writing (A363)60
Art and its global histories (A344)60
Central questions in the study of music (A342)60

Society

ModulesCredits
Stage 1
You'll study both of the following:
Design thinking: creativity for the 21st century (U101)60
Investigating the social world (DD103)60
Stage 2
You'll study the following:
Design essentials (T217)60
You'll choose one from:
Environment and society (DD213)60
Understanding digital societies (DD218) – planned for October 202060
Stage 3
You'll study the following:
Innovation: designing for change (T317)60
You'll choose one from:
Environmental policy in an international context (DD319)60
Making social worlds (DD308)60

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 19 September 2019.


Accessibility

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 Disability support to find more about what we offer.


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

Credit transfer

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 the designation you choose (or route you follow), you’ll be awarded either a BA or BSc degree.

  • If you choose the BA (Bachelor of Arts) designation (or follow the Culture and aesthetics, Health and wellbeing, Management, Society or Sustainability route), you’ll be awarded the BA (Honours) Design and Innovation degree.
  • If you choose the BSc (Bachelor of Science) designation (or follow the Energy, Engineering, Environment or Interfaces and interaction route), 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.

Regulations

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. 


Entry requirements

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.

If you choose the BSc designation, you’ll have to develop your mathematical skills. We’ll teach you the skills required, but a willingness to learn them is necessary.

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

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

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.

View full details of People, work and society 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

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or book a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you.

In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • If, like most OU students, you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,012*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £6,024*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £18,072*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2020. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a computer, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.


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.

Career relevance

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.

Accreditation

  • The Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) accredits the BSc (Bachelor of Science) designation.1

IED logo

​1Accreditation with the IED is possible on the BSc route, depending on the options chosen.

Other careers

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.

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):

  • design engineer
  • product designer
  • web designer
  • design consultant
  • industrial designer
  • research and development (R&D) manager
  • graphic designer
  • information architect
  • technical journalist
  • visual designer
  • sustainability designer
  • product developer
  • management consultant
  • freelance entrepreneur/innovator
  • researcher.

Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 05/12/2019

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