2014-15 University Calendar
Kwantlen Polytechnic University Calendar  2014-15  Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design  Product Design: Bachelor of Design

Product Design: Bachelor of Design


Among the first of it’s kind in Canada, this new Bachelor's degree program provides emerging designers with a dynamic inter-disciplinary education that links innovation and creativity through the transformation of ideas into marketable products. Product designers combine science, design and technology to develop new products or improve existing products that focus on innovative and responsive solutions for humankind’s interface with the world.

Product designers’ integral focus is on process, taking concepts and ideas to completion by analyzing and implementing product designs all the way to the manufacturing and distribution phase. Whether identifying underserved, existing opportunities in the marketplace or innovating new products to fill people’s needs, product designers are the leaders of tomorrow.

KPU’s Product Design degree provides a rigorous, hands-on education that combines a solid foundation in practical principles such as physics and economics with design, manufacturing and marketing techniques. Whether engaging in robust academic studies, intensive design studio sessions or collaborating with industry partners, graduates of this program complete their studies poised for success in the marketplace.

While product design can cover a wide range of industry, KPU’s program provides particular emphasis on the design and manufacture of “soft goods” such as recreational gear and technical goods, sportswear and accessories, protective, safety and rescue equipment to name a few. Students may also explore product design in medical, industrial and technological contexts as well as everyday consumer goods. These types of soft products are consistent and growing in demand by all sectors of society, ranging from children, adults and seniors to persons with disabilities and medical needs.

The stunning geography of British Columbia provides the perfect backdrop for you to earn your Product Design degree. Working in collaboration with professional associations and industry designers, as a graduate of this program you can expect to develop and design products that are relevant for Canadian and international economies, providing innovative solutions for emerging needs that can improve people's everyday lives and well-being.

KPU’s strength and expertise lies in providing a world-class balance of academic rigour and instruction delivered from highly trained and specialized professionals with hands-on, practical immersion from industry leaders and cutting-edge innovators. The Product Design (DEPD) program has been carefully developed with to uphold high academic standards and industry partnerships to ensure our graduates meet the needs of the marketplace. As a successful DEPD graduate you will develop a deep understanding of the connection between product design, industry, and the marketplace and be empowered to undertake leadership positions in design practices aimed at advancing the industry.

The Degree

Product Design is a four-year, selective entry degree program consisting of 120 credits of course work organized into eight semesters of full-time study. The Product Design program provides you with an interdisciplinary education that consists of three major streams: Creativity and Innovation, Technology, Interdisciplinary and Leadership, all woven into an integrated curriculum and timetable.

You will develop knowledge, skills and abilities from a variety of domains within these three streams that link design and technology to an understanding of social, cultural and historical contexts through elective access to the wide range of courses available at this unique polytechnic university. You will be skilled in applying design theory and processes with an emphasis on critical thinking and creative problem solving, and originate and produce products that focus on transforming pliable materials, such as natural and synthetic fibres, wood, and metal; understanding the constraints and potential of digital technologies; collaborating with industries and markets; and creating responsible leaders in society for the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Key features of this program include:

Visit the program's website at kpu.ca/productdesign or attend one of KPU's public information events for more information about Product Design at KPU.

Credit for Previous Learning

You may be eligible to obtain credit for segments of the Product Design program with results from courses taken in other programs at KPU, or at another institution. All applications for the transfer of credits will be assessed on an individual basis.

If you are an applicant with professional experience in the product design industry we welcome your inquiry about how you may acquire credits through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). All applications for the transfer of credits are assessed on an individual basis, typically through a portfolio and interview process. For more information how to apply for transfer credits or PLA, visit kpu.ca/transfercredit.html.

Student Profile

Applicants to design programs come from diverse backgrounds and age groups. You may be applying to the Product Design program as a graduate from high school, or you may be transferring from another KPU program, or from another institution, or you may be a design professional, wanting to upgrade your credentials. We'd be delighted to receive your application and discuss your possible educational pathway with you.

Perhaps your background includes an active interest in recreation, sports, dance, special occupations or an ambition to improve the design of items related to these pursuits, or as an entrepreneur wanting to improve the quality of life for groups under-represented by product design. Your creative skills might be in drawing, painting, photography, computer graphics, sculpture, crafts and other 3D work. You might simply be inventive and enjoy making gadgets and taking them apart. Whatever your profile, you are likely to be a risk-taker, problem-solver, willing to push boundaries, able to work independently and in teams, and engage in a rigorous design education.

It is strongly recommended that you have basic skills in English communication, word processing, basic mathematics, plus an awareness of product design, with ideas about how to improve current products and processes – in Canada and internationally.

Because of the varied profiles of our applicants, we will work with you to construct an educational pathway suitable to your goals. Our aim is to ensure that your time at KPU is enriching and enjoyable.

Career Opportunities

Product design is a relatively new and evolving design field, but with many very successful companies in Vancouver, known around the world for excellence in recreational and technical gear. There are also many opportunities that you might consider, overseas, in countries noted for manufacture of these items.

Upon graduation, you will have produced an extensive portfolio of innovative work, including a major research and development project that combines all the skills and knowledge necessary for this field. You would be prepared for such careers as:

You could work independently as a consultant, an entrepreneur, as a staff designer for an existing design studio, retailer, or manufacturer.

Program Admission Requirements

In addition to KPU's General university admission requirements, including the undergraduate-level English Proficiency Requirement, the following program admission requirements apply:

* Successful applicants will receive an invitation to the required Portfolio Review and Interview session. Alternative arrangements are possible for students who live outside the Greater Vancouver Region and who cannot attend in person. It is, however, in the best interest of applicants to make every effort to attend in person.

During the portfolio and interview process, faculty members evaluate each applicant for suitability for admission. 

Admission decisions to this program are based on interim grades therefore proof of grades must be submitted in accordance with the following deadlines:

For all other applicants, proof of having met the program's English proficiency requirement must be provided by March 31st.

Any applicant who has not submitted proof of grades by the specified dates will be removed from the list of eligible applicants.

Program Requirements

The Bachelor of Design, Product Design (DEPD) program consists of 120 credits, organized into eight full-time semesters, over a four-year period.

You may complete electives and other general education courses prior to entering the program, or at any time during your program.  See "Electives" below.

Note: DEPD courses are assessed Tuition Category 2.a.3 tuition and fees for domestic students.

Year 1: Fundamentals & Discovery


All of:
  DEPD 1100 Design Methods and Materials 3 credits
  DEPD 1110 Visualization for Product Design 3 credits
  DEPD 1120 Computer Fundamentals 3 credits
  DEPD 1121 Construction Technologies 3 credits
  ENGL 1100 Introduction to University Writing 3 credits


All of:
  DEPD 1130 Design Thinking 3 credits
  DEPD 1210 Three-Dimensional Design: Product Design 3 credits
  DEPD 1220 Digital Technologies for Product Design 3 credits
  FIND 1150 Designing For Humanity  3 credits
  FIND 1220 Interdisciplinary Design History II 3 credits

Year 2: Exploration & Divergence


All of:
  DEPD 1230 Transformative Thinking for Product Design 3 credits
  DEPD 2310 Design Explorations 1: Materials & Fasteners 6 credits
  DEPD 2320 Material Technology 3 credits
  MRKT 1199 Introduction to Marketing 3 credits


All of:
  DEPD 2410 Design Explorations 2: Materials in Context 6 credits
  DEPD 2420 Production Technology 3 credits
  DEPD 2430 Socio-Cultural Issues in Design 3 credits
  DEPD 2431 Human Factors for Product Design 3 credits

Year 3: Engagement & Practice


All of:
  DEPD 3510 Design Engagement 1: Leisure and Sports Gear 6 credits
  DEPD 3520 Production Technology-Sourcing 3 credits
  DEPD 3530 Semiotics for Product Design 3 credits
  Elective (see Electives below) 3 credits


All of:
  DEPD 3610 Design Engagement 2: Special Protective Gear 6 credits
  DEPD 3620 Product Manufacturing 3 credits
  DEPD 3630 Industry Experience 3 credits
  Elective (see Electives below) 3 credits

Year 4: Convergence & Realization


All of:
  DEPD 4710 Design Convergence 1: Research & Ideation 6 credits
  DEPD 4720 Products & Business Scenarios 3 credits
  MRKT 4177 Contemporary Issues in Marketing 3 credits
  Elective (see Electives below) 3 credits


All of:
  DEPD 4810 Design Convergence 2: Realization & Praxis 9 credits
  DEPD 4831 The Business of Product Design 3 credits
  Elective (see Electives below) 3 credits


During their third and fourth years in the DEPD program, students are required to complete four elective courses of 3 credits each. Electives must be KPU courses numbered 1100 or higher except FIND, FASN, FMRK, GDMA, or IDSN. Students are encouraged to select a range of elective courses that both broaden their learning and also assist them in their design studios and technology workshops.

Other Information

Laptop program

The Product Design program is delivered in an e-mobile environment which includes laptops, computers and software. Students may need to purchase laptop computers and requisite course software for the duration of the 4 year degree program. Specifications and requirements will be provided to successful applicants.

Credential Awarded

Upon successful completion of this program, students are eligible to receive a Bachelor of Design, Product Design.

Last Updated: Jun 4, 2014

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