Coventry University

Degree level: Undergraduate

Automotive and Transport Design

There are other course options available which may have a different vacancy status or entry requirements – view the full list of options

Make sure you check on the university, college or conservatoire website for any updates about course changes as a result of COVID-19.

Course summary

This exciting course is designed to provide you the opportunity to develop the skills and expertise to produce innovative and visionary designs for every form of transport imaginable. This includes cars, motorbikes, boats, luxury yachts, construction vehicles and vehicle interiors, as well as emerging areas such as electric vehicles and personal mobility devices. Our excellent industry links, with diverse employers such as Jaguar Land Rover, Herman Miller, Lotus, Dyson, Aston Martin, Speedo, Ford and Electrolux, for example, provide opportunities for ‘live’ collaborative projects, work placements, industry visits, design competitions and expert advice through regular guest lectures. You can start building your contacts and gain the networking experience to establish yourself as a design professional long before you graduate. Coventry University has gained an international reputation for automotive research and teaching covering design, engineering, business and media. A former winner of ‘Best Design School’ in the World Automotive Design competition, we have hosted major symposiums on the future of transport design, including RINA conferences and the ITS-UK Automotive User Interest Group. You will be taught by specialists in automotive, transport and broader industrial design with expertise in concept, modelling, interior, exterior and design-led development of low carbon vehicles. Their extensive professional experience includes working for well-known companies like General Motors, Daihatsu, Nissan, Ford and JLR. The course is informed by and reflects the changing nature of the issues that drive automotive and transport design. Sustainability, social impact of designs, internationalisation, global branding and design in context are changing people’s perceptions about diversity in transportation. Such ‘drivers of design’ are embedded within coursework and we regularly review our curriculum in response to feedback from our many industry connections. We deliberately strike a balance between traditional hand-processes and emerging technologies. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in workshops for physical and digital model making, whilst having the opportunity to access state-of-the-art milling, rapid prototyping and 3D printing. Key Course Benefits:

  • Links with universities in Europe, Asia, China, North and South America provide opportunities to study abroad and gain an international perspective.
  • Extensive facilities include: state of the art laser cutting, rapid prototyping, desktop CNC milling, 3D printing facilities, paint spraying, scanners, two large block material workshops, large scale painting facilities, styling clay workshops and handwork shops.
  • Specialist design studios with presentation equipment and ample display and pin-up spaces, break out areas for small group work, wireless internet access in all areas, supported by a dedicated print bureau for 2D outputs up to A0 size and several art supplies shops.
  • The regular speaker programme makes use of our extensive links with specialists and current practitioners – with presentations from industrial leaders of various disciplines covering design and other areas relevant to our students development and understanding of professional activities.
  • Past graduates include Christopher Svensson, Design Director - The Americas at Ford Motor Company; William Thorogood - Senior Creative Director at LEGO System A/S; Mark Fetherston, lead designer for Mercedes-Benz; Matt Weaver, Design Director of Infiniti Europe; and leading F1 aerodynamicist John Iley.
  • Computing suites offer current modelling, animation and analysis software, as well as graphic, modelling and visualisation packages, including Alias, Maya, Adobe Creative Suite, Rhino, Vector works, Showcase, VRED and SRAMSIS and Jack ergonomics software. Our frequently updated software packages are compatible with those currently being used in industry.

Course details


Your main study themes are: Automotive and transport design Develops your ability to comprehend, evaluate and practise the specialist skills in the subject areas of automotive, transport, bike, boat and vehicle design. We focus on the specific skills and sensitivities required, including the implementation of relevant specialist technologies, human factors, brand identity, sustainability, shape, form, proportion, balance, line and colour. You will engage on projects using universal design processes as practised throughout the international design community. Each project will be initiated with a different ‘driver of design’ chosen to mirror the whole spectrum of design issues, concerns, opportunities and constraints. Vehicle architecture, materials and manufacturing Provides you with the knowledge and understanding necessary to perform critical analysis when developing and implementing new designs. We consider the nature and purpose of key architectural components of a vehicle, such as their function, size and location, as well as their interrelationships. You will analyse the materials and manufacturing processes of the key architectural components in the context of manufacturing volumes, current market trends and legislation. This will involve Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which is key for future vehicle technology and fuel comparisons, as well as Design for Disassembly (DfD) principles in compliance with Directive on End-of Life Vehicle 2000/53/EC, the first EU waste directive to introduce the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility. Automotive and transport model making You will be introduced to 3D sketch modelling using a mixture of materials and techniques as an integral part of the design process. Models may be used to establish the geometry, dimensional parameters and arrangement of parts within a designed object or for the purposes of evaluating functional and/or ergonomic properties. You will have the opportunity to learn to conduct an appropriate appraisal of spatiality, surfacing quality and surface connections and their representation. Free-form design work in 3D will be done using styling clay and virtually using surface modelling software. We will also cover the techniques required for preparing digital model files for physical output through additive (3D printing) and subtractive (milling) methods. Transport ergonomics To help develop your understanding of designing for a range of human requirements, you will be introduced to the complex interactions between the mechanical and electronic components which compete for space within all vehicles and their occupants. We consider geometric positioning and fit and physical and cognitive interaction between users and the components and systems of the vehicle. We consider the constraints generated by safety, construction and legislation and the opportunities afforded by emerging HMI (Human Machine Interface) technologies and road vehicle automation/collision avoidance technology. Marketing, branding and design research You will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of how the marketing of a product is influential to its acceptance and success and how branding, and the brand value of a vehicle, product or organisation, can be applied directly at the start of a design exercise. You will be introduced to the idea of a design brief and the basic tools of design research, including market trends, benchmarking and positioning diagrams. You will have the opportunity to learn how to undertake user research to inform design decisions, which meet the needs of the vehicle’s intended active users, passive occupants and other road/rail/waterway/airspace users. For more information about what you will study, please visit our website.

How to apply

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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

This course may be available at alternative locations, please check if other course options are available

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

All applications are considered on an individual basis and the whole application is reviewed which includes previous and predicted qualifications, experience, reference and your motivation to study the course. The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate / BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 National Diploma / BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry onto degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that total the equivalent of three A2 Levels. This may include subject specific requirements where necessary. If you are successful in receiving an offer, you will be invited to attend an Applicant Visit Day to discover more about the course and studying at Coventry University.

Additional entry requirements


Unistats information

Operated by the Office for Students

There is no data available for this course. For further information visit the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
Republic of Ireland £9250 Year 1

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.

Provider information

Visit our website

Coventry University
Priory Street

Clearing contact details

Recruitment and Admissions Office

02476 888888

Course Clearing information

Additional information

Thursday 18 August 08:00-20:00, Friday 19 August 08:00-18:00, Saturday 20 August 10:00-16:00, Sunday 21 August 10:00-16:00, Monday 22 August onwards (weekdays only) 08:00-18:30

Course contact details

Visit our course page
UK Admissions Office

024 7765 2222

European and International Admissions Office

+44 024 7765 2152

Automotive and Transport Design at Coventry University - UCAS