Need To Accept Offers, Which Course In The Uk? Please help!


I have applied for Product Design and have gotten offers from Glasgow School of Art, Northumbria, Central Saint Martins and Dundee. Which one shall I put as my firm choice, and which one should I put as my second choice?

I love the very creative thinking side of product design, but I would enjoy the aesthetics and furthermore perhaps look at technology. I am tempted to go for Glasgow as they have an international reputation (the school itself), have a small class size (20-25) and do exchanges with Rhode Island School of Design and a few others in Europe such as KISD.

However I don’t want to overlook Northumbria, who seem to have a very varied, but great choice. They do two placements, - whereas Glasgow don’t build specific time in their course for this.

I also don’t want to look at Central Saint Martins or Dundee. Central seem to have the biggest reputation, but don’t do any exchanges. Dundee is a fairly new course, but they are based on making products that really work, and because of this they have worked with Microsoft on some projects! Help please! Which ones would you choose for 1st and 2nd? Which have the best reputation for actual product design in the UK and abroad?

Thanks very much!

da Vinci

Northumbria has very good links with industry, and I personally believe you’ll learn more in the workplace than at Uni itself. The product design course is currently well respected too.

Thats not to say the others don’t though, as I’ve no idea!

honestly, how are we supposed to know?

I would say, if it is a dead heat, you could look at location. You don’t just live at school. What place do you think will inspire you the most and foster you to meet the best people?

That is why I chose new york. you meet people every day, great studios and consultancies are just around the block…

something to think about.

I think that both Tim Brown and Jonathan Ive are from Northumbria…

If I was you I would put Northumbria as my first choice, I think it has the better reputation out of the options you have listed and better links with industry which will be the biggest plus, also the internships are the most important thing you will do on your course without question. I went to Loughborough so I dont know any of the courses you have listed massivly well but Northumbria’s work was the most impressive from your list at the New Designers show last year.

Thanks for the replies! Northumbria is quite impressive, however I am not sure what kind of international reputation Northumbria has in product design and also general art and design. This is a big deciding factor for me as I do want to work internationally in the future.

With that being said, there are qutie a few graduates from Northumbria who have worked abroad, but it does not compare to Glasgow where a large percentage do.

I am quite tempted to go for Glasgow, because of the exchange links, reputation and the location. The course seems quite interesting and in the right direction, although it isn’t as strong on placements.

I would say not to put too much stress on international reputation in the end it is the quality of your work which will get you in the door and not the school you went to. I would also look at where people intern as this is a really important part of your education, I feel that I learnt as much or more in one year as an intern than I did on 3 years of my course.

From personal experience, I did a study abroad program at Central Saint Martins and was thoroughly disappointed.

London is cool though :sunglasses:

Northumbria hands down mate. Uk reputation wise Loughborough, Northumbria and Brunel have the best “rep” Not to say you cant do great things else where. Like crutch said international rep i would say doesn’t matter, its whats in your portfolio that counts. Infact a fair few places will only take northumbria, lboro and brunel placement students.

Northumbria’s stand at New Designers last year was easily a step above the rest. But i do think that was aided by a massive space right at the front of the event.

From my understanding of the course its quite heavily focused on concept and thinking side rather than manufacture. I personally attend Loughborough and not Northumbria so i wouldn’t take my word for it. There are plenty of Northumbria students on here, get them to post up.

For me personally the stuff i see from CSM i just spend most of my time say ey? what is it? And also generally imo their skill sets are quite poor.

get on coroflot and compare the students work, i personally think you should also look at Brunel and Loughborough as a worthy choice. Both have strong links with industry and both encorporate time for placements, infact it is actively encouraged, i’ve just came back of placement this year and about 75%-80% went on placement, just food for thought.

Thank you for all your views, I really appreciate it. Spizzy I am happy you thought London is cool, although it is expensive :frowning: and probably not as friendly as other places! CSM does seem to get mixed reviews. One thing that CSM seems to have is industry links.

Yeah Tim Brown and Jonathan Ive did come from Northumbria. I am seriously considering Northumbria. It’s hard to fault it. I am very much on the concept and thinking side rather than manufacture which is why I went for some of my choices. Yeah, I guess I should look at all their recent work + where people went on placements in more detail.

Glasgow’s small but diverse class size of 20-25 would probably make me produce a better portfolio in some ways. I kinda think of Glasgow as the wild card choice as it has a lot of great factors, but not much is known about it.

I’m in my final year at Northumbria, which has a massive reputation. As of international rep, I’ve just finished a live project with Intel in Oregon, so i guess the reputation stretches pretty far!

As for contacts, we are constantly assured that we have more contacts here then most places. Yes, Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, David Fisher, Director SeymourPowell, Nick Oakley, Industrial Design Intel, and I believe head of design at Volvo is also an ex Northumbria grad, just to name a few.

And of cause Johnny Ive, who I was even lucky enough to meet when he came to open the new school of design building!!!

The placement are great and as some have mentioned, you learn more in a 3-6 month placement than you can ever learn in a few years of ‘traditional education’.

But add that in our second and third year almost all projects are live projects with massive companies like Intel, Motorola, Unilever, Mars and more. We’ve even had a live project with Apple in the past.

Sketchme- your right the course is more focused on concept, thinking rather than engineering or manufacture, having said that you get a good grounding in those things and your encouraged to find out more on your own time. The course can be quite broad if you want it to be, with some people concentrating on service design, interaction design etc.

However just note, there are two product design courses at Northumbria- ‘Desgin for Industry’ the course I’m on which has all the mentioned alumni, and 'Product Design Technology, which is based in the engineering school, and concentrates more on manufacture rather than concept.

Hope this helps.

Any more questions, just ask.

Good luck!


as an american that has looked into coming back to the UK for design school (St Andrews '05) it seems that Glasgow is leaps and bounds ahead as far as international reputation goes…and the exchange program with the US schools is pretty impressive.
i think this is where i’ll be applying in '09