Course Overview


Blending innovation of new design principles and processes with hands on making the Contemporary Design Crafts course explores the adaptation of existing processes to arrive at new interpretations of materials, objects and ideas. Our students develop specialist material knowledge and visual language side by side on the journey towards becoming successful designer makers.  Challenging the traditional notions, students become the explorers of the visual and material worlds, pioneering the new and undiscovered. 

Materials and making is core to much of what we do. Our extensive workshop facilities provide the space to think, question and develop ideas. Here our students look beyond what is known; using sound knowledge derived from taught skills they are expertly guided by our workshop team to challenge and push existing boundaries into new realms. Our workshops represent the foundation and basis for skills, knowledge and processes. Masterclasses are delivered throughout the year by visiting lecturers specialising in a variety of material approaches and disciplines.

Our students continuously engage in critical discussion about contemporary crafts, in a context which is in constant flux. In this evolving environment our students are challenged to widen their conversations through regular critiques and one to one tutorials. Opportunity is provided at all levels to take these conversations into wider forums, engaging with others and bringing new perspectives.

As a group of makers we are nimble, we are the creators of opportunity. As a student at Hereford College of Arts, this means that projects often involve working within the booming crafts and design sector. Live briefs are available across all years, as well as a particular focus within the second year for gaining a work placement. Experiences such as these equip our students with the knowledge and understanding to develop fully structured business plans and professional portfolios. Networks and partnerships are part of the legacy our student’s graduate with; these provide support, challenge and continued opportunity for the development of success.

Critical Studies

These studies are entirely focused around the students’ course area, providing a solid grounding in subject history and in critical ways of thinking about creative practice. The Critical Studies programme enables students to set their own work in a wider context, and also helps them develop a better understanding of how creative work can be interpreted and assessed. Click here for more details.


What you will experience
  • We are a practice based degree, so students can expect to spend a large amount of time in workshops refining their skills and building new ones
  • We have a strong emphasis on learning through doing and encourage experimentation
  • All students are provided with their own individual design space, in large, bright design studios with unrivalled access to teaching staff
  • We involve students in a wide range of live briefs and encourage them to enter into competitions both nationally and internationally
  • You will gain experience of presenting your ideas and products to professional companies, galleries and crafts people within the creative sector
  • You will regularly take part in exhibitions, gaining valuable experience
  • There are many opportunities to be involved in masterclasses led by renowned professionals
  • Trips abroad, which have previously included places such as Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Paris and Venice
  • Final year students all have the opportunity to exhibit their graduate work at New Designers, the UK's most important exhibition for emerging design


Workshops and studios
We have superb Design Studios and 3D Workshops both on site at the new College Road Campus and at our other Campus on Folly Lane. All workshops are run by expert staff who are able to fully support your needs and the development of ideas. We are uniquely placed to be able to offer students large individual workspaces throughout their three years of study. We have laser cutters, 3D printers, small metals, wood and plastic forming workshops, ceramics, glass, textile and drawing studios. We are proud that all our students, regardless of their chosen degree pathway are able to access all our workshops to develop and advance their practice. We also have dedicated IT suites with both Mac and PC’s, large scale digital printers and the full range of high end programmers adept in the latest software to support your practice.

Entry Requirements

  • Minimum age 18
  • Successful portfolio interview
  • 80 UCAS Points New UCAS Tariff system for 2017 (equates to 200 UCAS points previous tariff) For more details on the new tariff system please visit
  • Mature Students with related experience
  • Applicants whose first language is not English - proof of IELTS overall score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all sections (reading, writing, listening & speaking)
  • Recognition of Prior Learning Opportunities - The college welcomes applications from students with prior learning and/or previous experience.  Further details on eligibility can be found on page 15 of our Admissions Policy.  Alternatively, please contact us at and we can advise you on the college’s and the University Awarding body requirements


You will be equipped with the skills and experience to become a self-employed designer-maker or take a role such as a set designer, prop maker, model maker or related creative roles in wider sectors such as automotive, material, and industrial design. Some graduates pursue further study within crafts (see our MA programme on page 66), or a qualification such as PGCE for a career in teaching or community arts.

What you will study:

During the first year of the course, you’ll be engaged in a wide variety of studio and workshop activities designed to introduce and develop strong visualisation, communication, creative and practical skills associated with wood, metal, ceramics and textiles in traditional and contemporary approaches to Contemporary Applied Arts. The course, which is primarily project based, encourages creative thinking and experimentation in both two and three dimensions. Particular emphasis in the first year is placed upon the development of appropriate visualisation skills using a variety of media, and the promotion of good problem solving skills through the exploration of materials and processes. An ability to communicate different creative aesthetics and understanding of contemporary and professional practice is continuously cultivated within studio and workshop based projects. Throughout the whole of year one, studio activity is underpinned by a Cultural Studies and Discourse lecture programme, in which issues of a broader cultural and contextual nature are explored.
Through a reflective and evaluative approach, Year Two will see you build upon the understandings and experiences of the first year, and begin to undertake more open ended and self-directed projects. Creative and practical skills incorporating more advanced research methodologies, as well as the development of a more ‘personal’ approach to contemporary practice, are paramount in establishing innovative practice. You will also have the opportunity to create and develop innovative solutions to real design problems by responding to a number of live briefs and national design competitions. In addition to the programme of Cultural Studies you commence in year one, you will begin formulating a business plan for development in year three.
The final year of the course provides you with a set of specific opportunities to assemble a highly specialist and professional portfolio of work. There is increased emphasis on research, critical thinking, and innovation. You’ll be expected to work in an increasingly self-directed manner to a professional level and have the opportunity to produce a body of work for public exhibition. At this stage, you will have the unique opportunity of profiling yourself and your practice to representatives of the creative industries through a series of appointments with gallery directors, craft shop owners, arts/crafts officers, etc. You’ll be given the opportunity to contextualise your own ideas and design philosophy by undertaking a critical enquiry project in the form of a dissertation or case study.