Product Design

Are you an inquisitive, creative, enthusiastic problem solver? Are you interested in how things work and why things look the way that they do? Do you want to create a better world through design? If the answer is yes, check out the events tab below.

Product Design is about shaping the world around us. Most objects, from toys to medical devices and from furniture to consumer electronics are subject to product design. This is possible because product design is a versatile process that can be applied to many different contexts. At its core, product design is about understanding people and how they experience and interact with their surroundings. This kind of training enables graduates to help make the world a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable place.

Check out a range of student work on our Facebook and Instagram.



Professor Alex Milton, Head of the School of Design introduces the School of Design:


Studying Product Design at NCAD will enable you to develop your skills within a creative art school environment, underpinned by technical expertise and extensive links with industry. The programme is delivered primarily within the design studio. The small size of each year-group, coupled with close and frequent contact with the tutors, creates an informal yet highly effective student-led learning environment. Product Design has been taught at NCAD since 1976, and has developed a strong international reputation for producing graduates whose common strengths lie in the creation of innovative designs, products and services.

What will I study?

Year 1 

The first year experience for BA students at NCAD begins with a foundational semester of interdisciplinary Art and Design creative practice and research. In the second semester all Design students undertake projects spent within selected design programmes. This is to give you a working taste of your chosen discipline and/or those that you are interested in and would benefit from experiencing. The second half of Semester 2 introduces students to key processes and practices in your chosen design discipline, encouraging the creative and critical development of a personal practice and introducing fundamental disciplinary design and technical methods. 

Year 2 

Students develop key skills and knowledge – including 2D and 3D sketching, computer-aided design, presentation techniques, model-making and rapid prototyping, design research methods, ergonomics, material science and manufacturing technology – and apply this learning through a series of design projects. Each of these projects prioritises a different core theme, such as human-centred design, inclusive design, sustainability, design for manufacture or design for social impact.

Year 3: Studio+ & International 

Studio+ is an optional year open to all Design students allowing you to engage with the world beyond NCAD by gaining practical work experience in the form of working within the NCAD Design Bureau on live commercial, social or community projects and/or undertaking approved internships and industry placements. Studio+ can also include a work placement abroad or a study abroad experience through the Erasmus programme with internationally recognised art and design faculties partnered with NCAD. 

Students who choose Studio+ will complete a 4 year BA in Product Design or a 4 year BA Product Design (International). 

Final Year: 

Students choose and develop their own self-directed design projects, based on their individual skills and interests. You will create a substantial body of work, which will allow you to demonstrate the skills and knowledge you have acquired over the previous years. You will also be supported in a sustained reflection on the discipline and on your personal strengths in relation to it, in order to help you identify your future path as a professional designer.

Critical Cultures 

A key component of your curriculum in every year is the study of Critical Cultures. This is where you study the connections between history, theory and practice in modern and contemporary contexts in order to become a critically engaged, reflective and effective practitioner.

How will I be assessed?

Coursework, essays, practical design projects and assessments take place at key points throughout the year. Formal assessment results are issued at the end of each academic year.

Opportunities after graduation

Product Design graduates have a wide range of local and global opportunities open to them. Designers may choose to specialise in a particular area, such as consumer electronics, furniture or medical devices, but many of the skills acquired are transferable between projects and products. Many graduates find employment with manufacturers or design consultancies. Some graduates have strong entrepreneurial skills, which will enable them to strike out on their own, designing and making their own products or providing design services for others.

Increasingly, graduates progress to further study at postgraduate level to refine their creative abilities and approach. The School of Design offers a range of innovative masters programmes, as well as a practice-based PhD programme.

Graduate Feedback - Adam Blagburn (BA Product Design Grad 2017)

Why did you choose to study Product Design?
I have always loved building and creating objects and product design seemed like a natural progression of my interests. I have always wanted to have a job that both challenges me creatively with new and exciting projects but also one that has a professional standard of work instead of the average mundane nine till five desk job. The creative aspect of this course and its future prospects are what initially drew me to choosing the coarse.

What did you like about it?
Product Design at NCAD combines both physical making and also digital design so it’s both a hands on and creative coarse. The most enjoyable and exciting aspect of the course in my opinion was the massive range and variety of products and projects that I was able to work on. Whether it was material choice or production route, each design was different and allowed me to learn and develop a new skill each time. Due to the nature of the course I now feel confident enough apply myself fully within any area of design or work at any job in the creative industry.

What are your plans?
I am currently interested in interior design and have just started working with an interior and furniture design company. In the future I plan on combining my passion for design with my love of travel by working in different cities throughout the world, soaking up new types of design while also experiencing new cultures as I go.


Download NCAD Prospectus

As a consequence of the range of skills acquired, Product Design graduates have a wide range of local and global opportunities open to them.

Designers often focus on a particular area, such as consumer electronics, furniture or medical equipment, but many of the product designer’s skills are transferable between projects and products. Graduates find employment within manufacturers and design consultancies, and have strong entrepreneurial skills which enable them to set up their own design companies, creating and producing products.

Increasingly graduates progress to further study at Postgraduate level to refine their creative abilities and approach. The School of Design offers a range of innovative Masters programmes, as well as a practice based PhD programme supported by the Graduate School for Creative Arts and Media (GradCAM).

The School of Design has actively participated in the EU-funded LDV (Leonardo Da Vinci) PLM (People in the Labour Market) programme since 2010 which offered recent graduates the opportunity to avail of 13 week internships in high profile design companies within the European Union. The LDV PLM  programme was designed to foster close industrial relations and collaborations in order to meet the needs of design graduates and the EU ‘creative industries’.

Over the past four years 102 graduates from across the NCAD design disciplines have successfully undertaken LDV PLM internships in many European countries. All gained a range of specific skills and work experience relevant to their sector within the 'creative industries'.  A number of participants continue to be employed on an ongoing basis by these companies, and the professional practice skills developed during the programme has had a significant impact on helping participants find employment within the creative industries in what are economically challenging times. Developing language skills, gaining inter-cultural awareness and a sense of being 'European' is in-built into the activity of going on an EU work-placement abroad. 

The hugely successful LDV / PLM programme came to an end in December 2014 and has been replaced by the EU-funded Eramus + Traineeship programme.

Please see the Study at NCAD section for full application details. 

Duration 3/4 Years BA 
Places 25

CAO Course Code:

AD212 Product Design 

Entry Requirements

Leaving Cert: 6 Subjects (2 X H5 and 4 X O6/H7)

Subjects must include English, Irish and one of the following: a third language or Art or Design & Communication Graphics (DCG)

Leaving Cert. Maths or Technical Subject at O6/H7

FETAC: 5 Distinctions Full Award + Leaving Cert Maths Requirement

NCAD Minimum Entry Requirements

Portfolio Requirement

NCAD Portfolio Submission

Click here for more info on Presenting a Portoflio for Product Design

Degree Awarded BA Product Design / BA Design ( International) 
All Undergraduate applications for Year 1 entry and Advanced entry through the CAO.

For further Information please contact:

School Secretary

David Bramley

Take a look at our Workshop on Product Design and Interaction Design from January 2022

Portfolio and Application Events

Each year we run a range of events to help applicants prepare their portfolio for application to Product Design.

Open Day

The NCAD College Open Day is in autumn each year. You can attend taster lectures, talks, demonstrations and view First Year Entrance Portfolios. All are welcome. Both staff and students will be on hand to answer your questions. 

Who should attend our events?

Anyone interested in applying for Product Design for entry in September 2022.

Art & Design/Technology/Engineering/DCG teachers and tutors helping students prepare an entrance portfolio for NCAD.

Further details of events will be posted on our social media accounts below.

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