This practical course encourages students to respond to three-dimensional design projects through the use of creative drawing and other visual recording techniques; model making and material experiments.  Students will evaluate their work and critically analyse the work of others.

In the first year students will explore Product Design, Architecture, Model Making, Critical Research and Materials Investigations.  

In the second year students develop individual projects driven by contextual research of designers, that reflect their interest in design such as: Product Design, Architectural Design, Interior Architecture, Lighting Design, Jewellery Design, Small Scale Furniture Design, Set Design, Landscape Furniture.  This project culminates with them producing an original and imaginative three-dimensional manufactured object.  

Student work is assessed through the production of project sketchbooks and a timed practical examination in the second year.


What goes well with this course?

Students can combine this course with a variety of subjects.  Many choose Maths or Physics as these subjects work well for students interested in Architecture and Engineering. Others combine it with Art & Design based subjects: Art (Fine Art), Graphics, Photography Fashion & Textiles, or creative subjects such as Film studies, Media Studies, Computer Science or Information Technology.

Combining Product Design with another creative subject is also a possibility but must be carefully considered as the amount of practical work required for the NEA projects can be very demanding.

Please note, if you want to study Architecture or Engineering at university then you will also need Maths and / or Physics.


Design plays an increasingly important role in the world. The skills that students learn on this course and the qualification at the end will support their application for an enormous range of careers and university courses. Product Design (3D design) could lead to a number of exciting careers including: Product Design, Design Engineering, Architecture, Landscape Design, Interior Design, Interior Architecture, Environmental Design and Teaching. Here’s a selection of some of the university and college courses our students have gone on to do:

  • Architecture: Bristol, Kent
  • Art Foundation: Central Saint Martins, Epsom College
  • Product Design: Bournemouth, Nottingham Trent, London South Bank
  • 3D Design: Plymouth
  • Interior Architecture & Design: Leeds Metropolitan
  • Product Design & Innovation: Portsmouth

Course Content

Year One

Students will produce a sketchbook showing the projects carried out in their first year.  These will include varied projects exploring product and architectural design along with experiments with a variety of materials including concrete, polymers and metals.

Skills gained in year one include:

  • Creative drawing and visual communication techniques
  • Model making
  • Critical analysis and research
  • Evaluation methods and reflective writing
  • Materials and processes experiments 

Year Two

Students will produce a Personal Investigation project which will focus on an area of design that the student has real interest in, this could be in one of the following disciplines:

  • Product design 
  • Architectural design
  • Interior architecture
  • Lighting design 
  • Jewellery design and body adornment
  • Small scale furniture design
  • Set design
  • Landscape architecture

The work produced for the Personal Investigation will build on the skills from the first year of the course and be driven by critical and contextual research of designers.  The project will culminate with students producing an original and imaginative three-dimensional manufactured object with a practical purpose.

At the end of the second year students will undertake an externally set practical examination. They will have eight weeks to complete the preparatory work and will produce their final piece during a 15 hour practical examination.  

Educational Experiences

Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences

Product Design (3D Design) students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course related experiences. In the last couple of years, these have included visits to:

  • Design Museum – with a collection made up of over 3000 objects that range from the early Modernism of the 1900s to the cutting edge of contemporary design. The Collection describes the history of design in mass production and includes furniture, lighting, domestic appliances and communications technology and is an important record of the key designs which have shaped the modern world.
  • New Designers Exhibition, London – this is the UK’s most important graduate design exhibition. This visit will not only inspire students in preparation for their second year project, but also help them to choose a HE course in the field of Design after leaving Reigate College.

Activities Programme

In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.

Work Experience

All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.


This A Level course has two assessments:

Component One: Personal Investigation Project (Non Examined Assessment) 60%
Component Two: Externally set practical examination (15 hours) 40%

All work produced will be assessed under the following areas:

AO1) Contextual understanding: developing ideas through focused contextual investigations, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding
AO2) Creative making: exploring and selecting appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes.  Reviewing and refining ideas as work develops
AO3) Reflective recording: recording ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress
AO4) Personal presentation: presenting a personal and meaningful response that achieves objectives

The exam board for this course is Eduqas.

Entry Requirements

All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme. 

In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirements:

  • Grade 5 in one of the Design Technology or Art & Design subjects

Students must be creative, self-motivated, enthusiastic about design, possess good drawing skills and demonstrate an interest in materials and manufacturing.

Students with no previous experience but with a strong interest and aptitude in this area may be accepted on this course at the course leader’s discretion, subject to demonstrating a passion for Design and presenting a suitable design portfolio.

How to Apply

Applications for entry September 2020

Students from partner schools (Reigate, Warwick, de Stafford and Oakwood) should complete an online application under the guidance of their school.

All other applicants should download and return the 2020 application form.

All applications will be considered according to the College’s Admissions Policy.

Please see the Admissions timetable for information about the College’s enrolment process.

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