• Application Deadline
  • 9 months
The Design Essentials programme offered at The Open University UK is for those who want to learn about the essential skills and practices that designers use to create detailed design solutions. 


The world is full of designed objects, from skyscrapers to products that fit into the palm of your hand. Designers have used their skills to translate ideas and needs into all the objects that you see around you. 

By studying the Design Essentials programme offered at The Open University UK you will develop your own ability to identify opportunities for design, meet the needs of potential users and create and communicate new design solutions. The knowledge and skills that you will gain are relevant in many design domains as well as a wide range of industries. 

At the end of this module you will be able to:

  • understand why designs take the forms that they do
  • create and develop design ideas through drawing and modelling
  • carry out user research and apply creative strategies for generating design ideas
  • turn ideas into detailed designs for manufacturing by specifying the form and materials of designs.

The knowledge and skills developed in this module are applicable in various roles within creative industries, product design, engineering and architecture.

Vocational relevance

The module will help you gain knowledge and skills that are applicable across many design fields, including product design, engineering, architecture and other creative industries. It can help you creatively engage with any situation that requires the identification and exploration of problems, the research and development of ideas as well as the translation of ideas and concepts into designs. The module also develops a broad understanding and appreciation of design and design processes applicable in education, business and other domains related to arts and technology as well as to design.  

The knowledge and skills learned in this module can be used in various roles in these different fields. They can be used to lead or facilitate research and creative thinking within teams, businesses and organisations and they may also be used as part of your development as a designer.

The module can also help you when you are considering studying design elsewhere by providing a good background on and experience of the essential skills and knowledge of designers.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Part-time
    • Average part-time duration 9 months
    • Part-time variant
  • Credits
    60 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    • Teacher support
      Continuous support with feedback on request, Proactive tutoring and support
  • More information Go to the programme website

Programme Structure

The module consists of five blocks:

  • Block 1 – Exploring designs and designing
  • Block 2 – Designing for people
  • Block 3 – Creative designing
  • Block 4 – Embodying designs
  • Block 5 – Design for making

English Language Requirements

This programme requires students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Academic Requirements

  • This is an OU level 2 module and you need to have the study skills required for this level, obtained either through OU level 1 study, or by doing equivalent work at another university.
  • Beyond basic study skills, nothing more specific is expected other than a curiosity about objects, why they are as they are, and how they might be different and better. We do not assume that you can already design, or even draw competently. You will be taught all the concepts and skills that you need, but if you already have some skills you will be able to develop them further.

Tuition Fee

  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    2928 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 2928 GBP for the full programme and a duration of 9 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.


Check the programme website for information about funding options.

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, StudyPortals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.