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3D Design BTEC HNC (full-time)

  • HE

This one year programme is designed to be a diagnostic introduction to contemporary 3-dimensional (3D) design, for example: interior design, product design including jewellery and furniture design. During the course you will have the opportunity to develop methodologies for idea generation and strategies for contemporary making. You will be exposed to new materials employed within the 3D design field like Jesmonite. In addition you will engage in contextual understanding of European design and 3D Design from various cultures. The course is run by design practitioners in the purpose built South Bank Arts Centre. The course is supported by workshops delivered by guest lecturers, cultural visits abroad to Europe and American cities. In addition, we show at several design exhibitions such as New Designers in London. On completion of the 3D Design programme you will have the opportunity to progress to the one year Higher National Diploma in Interior Design or the one year Higher National Diploma in Product Design.


I’ve always loved Art & Design. I studied Art at GCSE and A-Level at school, and then came to Bedford College to study the Art & Design Foundation Diploma (Pre-Degree). This gave me a great insight into studying Art & Design at a higher level. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to specialise in Graphics or 3D Design, and the Foundation Diploma enabled me to try out both. After choosing 3D Design for my final project, my mind had been made up and I progressed on to the HNC followed by the HND.

When I first started out on the course, I enjoyed making the products more than the initial conception, but now it’s the other way round. I love looking at trends and then designing my own products in CAD – I have always enjoyed drawing and sketching ideas. My favourite projects have been a lamp made from jesmonite and a space saving desk. We get great support from our tutors, and, to be honest, they have been our saviours at times! It’s a really hands on course with plenty of materials available to you.

Last year I managed to secure myself a two day per week internship with Koti Studio near St Neots, which has been great, and I am now applying for full-time jobs in product or furniture design. For me, it’s definitely been a better option than university. My sister studied the Graphic Design HND here and went straight into a full-time job at the end of it; I’m hoping to do exactly that. 

Jack - 3D Design HND

Employer engagement

View this document to see a taste of the workshops and other events that students have experienced recently.

Student success

Past 3D Design HND students who specialised in jewellery design have both progressed to successful careers within the field. One is working for international jeweller Arabel Lebrusan and has been part of the designs for the most recent award nominated bridal collection. The other student is working for Rachael Jeffrey's jewellery school and has recently had her work published in Glamour Magazine.

Talented HNC/D 3D Design students from Bedford College took part for the first time in an international event, New Designers. Their work was seen alongside the most famous design universities in the UK.  Read more.

Design Factory 2015-16 competition set by the Design Museum
Three of the HNC students were three out of 40 shortlisted as part of the Design Factory 2015-16 competition set by the Design Museum.

HND student gains internship at bespoke design service Koti
A HND student has gained an internship at a bespoke design service called Koti. Koti Studio is a product design consultancy built around a passion for considered design. Collectively, Koti has a vast array of experience in product design, product development and branding.

Talented student
Bedford College student Gregg Hinds has been described as an 'endeavouring' product and furniture designer and is currently one of 40 finalists of the Design Factory competition launched by the Design Museum. Greg experiments with new composite materials and resins, focusing on texture as a main feature of his designs.


Entry requirements

You will need:

  • 32-48 UCAS points with some art, design and media element OR
  • Art & Design BTEC Level 3 Diploma OR
  • Art & Design Foundation Diploma (Pre-Degree) OR
  • Equivalent Level 3 qualification

Entry is subject to a successful interview, where you will be asked to bring along a portfolio of your existing work. Applicants from A-Level courses displaying high levels of creativity will also be considered. We welcome applications from mature students who will considered individually on experience rather than qualifications.

Course content

You will study core and specialist units with the emphasis on building a creative portfolio which can be used:

  • To develop workshop and design skills
  • As a vehicle for gaining work with a range of prospective employers
  • As a possible basis for gaining entrance to a final year on a degree programme.

You will be encouraged to develop a highly individual ideas-based portfolio, pursuing your personal specialist interests from theory to materials and techniques. Students engage regularly with 'live projects' and talks, and have an impressive track record of engaging with commissions and working with established designers and craftspeople.

You will study the following core compulsory units:

  • Visual communication in art and design
  • Ideas generation and development in art and design
  • Contextual and cultural referencing in art and design
  • Professional practice in art and design.

In addition you will study from a range of specialist units, including:

  • Design principles
  • Product design
  • Design for performing arts
  • Specialist 3D technology and processes
  • Interior design
  • Properties of 3D material
  • Product design
  • Critical study in art and design
  • Professional studies in art and design
  • Lighting
  • Digital image creation & development.

Some of these units are likely to be combined to form a Final Major Project with unit five, Project Design, Implementation and Evaluation. As the course progresses you will be expected to develop more independence and autonomy, and negotiate a personal learning plan to support your practice.

Assessment methods

During the course you will work with a range of specialist lecturers (including practising artists and designers) in well-equipped studios and workshops. Project briefs will be set for each assignment, and you are encouraged to develop a personal response to each task. All activities are supported through one-to-one tutorials and group discussions to inform personal progress and aid assessment. Assessment will be continuous throughout the course, with assignments being graded at the end of each task.


Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Art and Design (3D Design)

Further study and career options

On successful completion of the HNC, you can progress on to our own 3D Design BTEC HND, or choose to enter employment in a field such as jewellery design or model making.

Additional information

Additional costs

  • You will need a minimum of £100 per year for materials, dependent on project requirements. 
  • Resource fee of £150 to cover: Jesmonite, sheet acrylic, timber, sheet/tube/bar brass.
  • Train fares for (optional) visits to the Design Museum and Material Lab in London.

Material Lab are run and funded by the UK’s leading tile manufacturer Johnson Tiles. They responded to what the art and design community desired: a place where inspiration and creativity go hand in hand, where you can immerse yourself in surface coverings of every kind no matter what it’s made from. Plastic, leather, vinyl, ceramic, paper, textile, glass… if it’s on the wall or the floor they've got it covered.

To enrol on this course you must apply through the University & Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) using the institution code B23 and the course code 192W. Visit or call us on 01234 291000 for more information.

Pay by instalments

The College offers an instalment plan for Further Education and Higher Education courses to students where the total amount payable at the point of enrolment is £200 or more. Within the scheme there is an ability to pay up to 6 instalments, depending on the length of the courses and the final payment must be paid at least a month before the end of the course.

Please note: You will be required to attend college 2 days per week (Days to be confirmed)

Course Information & How to Apply

You will need to complete a UCAS online application form to apply for this course, available at The codes needed are located in the 'Additional information' section above. Please call the College on 01234 291000 if you have any queries about your application.

LengthStart DateFeesLocationCourse Code
1 year 27/09/2021 £5895 Cauldwell Street BBL502

Part-time course already started?

Our upcoming 2021-22 part-time courses will be out in May. Get alerted when they're released by selecting your campus of choice below and filling out the relevant form:

Bedford College Enquiry Form

Shuttleworth College Enquiry Form


Additional Learning Support
If you have a specific learning difficulty or disability, are deaf or hearing impaired, our Additional Learning Support team are on hand to give you assistance whenever you need it.  Find out more.

Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome Support
At Bedford College, we are committed to developing the provision for students on the autistic spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome.  Find out more.

We have access arrangements in place to help students with disabilities or any other particular needs. Call us on 01234 291000 for more information.

Additional formats
Course information sheets are also available in large print and audio formats. Call us on
01234 291000 to order your copy.