BRUNEI-MUARA – Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) officially launched its School of Design faculty on Thursday, as part of the varsity’s plans to expand its undergraduate programmes.

The school admitted its first cohort of students in July 2018, with 51 undergraduates enrolled in two new degree programmes in architecture and product design.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, officiated the opening of the new School of Design building during UTB’s convocation festival Thursday.

The complex, which is built adjacent to the university’s main campus, was completed within two months. UTB did not disclose the cost of the building.

HRH the Crown Prince (C) interacts with UTB’s official mascot, Awang Jubilee (A.J for short) as part of UTB’s Fifth Convocation Festival on September 13, 2018. Photo: Infofoto

In a previous interview with The Scoop, the school’s Deputy Dean Murhamdilah Morni said that both degree programmes were created with polytechnic graduates in mind, with diploma (Level 5), A Levels, or an equivalent qualification.

“UTB’s focus has always been to create marketable programmes relevant to the needs of students and industries,” he said. “This is the first time that both degrees will be offered locally.”

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“For the architecture degree, applicants may be considered for direct-entry into second year, depending on their academic results or industry experience.”

For students with dreams of becoming the next Jonathan Ive at Apple, Murhamdilah said the B.Sc in Product Design is a wide-ranging course that harnesses students’ creative potential.

“Whether you want to design mobile phones or video games, or even become a fashion designer, this is a programme that is applicable across many industries.”

The course focuses on design fundamentals and innovation, and also teaches students elements of material sciences, manufacturing processes and “technopreneurship”.

HRH the Crown Prince (2R) meet with UTB’s international students during the university’s Fifth Convocation Festival on September 13, 2018. Photo: Infofoto

The School of Design represents a new addition to UTB’s existing faculties, which include the Faculty of Engineering; School of Computing and Informatics; School of Business; and the School of Applied Sciences and Mathematics.

The expansion of the UTB’s undergraduate programmes is part of its aim to be among the top engineering and technology universities in Asia. This year, UTB entered the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asia University Rankings for the first time at 165.

The university also ranked ninth best for engineering and technology in Southeast Asia, and placed 30th overall in the ASEAN region.

In June, UTB made its first appearance in the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Ranking at 442.

“This is a huge achievement for such a young university, less than 10 years of age,” said Siti Asmahlati Bolkini Hj Ahmad, director of International and Public Relations for UTB. “Although UTB has been around since 1986, we only started offering degree programmes in 2009 when we were upgraded to a university.”

To date, UTB has produced over 5,000 HND graduates, 1,000 degree graduates and 70 master’s graduates. A further 461 students will be graduating at UTB’s fifth convocation, which is scheduled to take place on September 29.