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Product Design MDes, BSc (Full time) 2018 start

  • Overview

    Product Design touches every aspect of modern life, and there is growing demand from industry for students who are both creative and technically literate.

    This multidisciplinary course bridges the gap between arts and engineering-led courses. It offers an even balance of art and technology, allowing you to explore the links between the two. You’ll gain the broad base of skills to work with designers from both arts and engineering backgrounds to see a product development process through from initial concept to detail and production development.

    You’ll study at a university with an international reputation for design and innovation across many disciplines. All of our staff are experienced product designers or active researchers in related fields, which means that you’ll benefit from cutting-edge learning and teaching – and our strong links with industry ensure that course materials meet the needs of the sector.

    You can choose to take either the four-year Integrated Masters (MDes, BDes) or the three-year Bachelor’s (BDes) degree on this course.

    Specialist facilities

    As a design course based in the School of Mechanical Engineering, this degree will give you access to our computing and prototyping facilities, as well as the technical expertise of our staff. Our design studio is equipped with the latest design software such as SolidWorks, and the Adobe Creative Suite, and our model-making facilities include forming, laser cutting, foam model sculpting and CNC routing.

    In addition, you’ll have access to a 3D printing system that allows you to convert your ideas into physical prototypes to test for form, fit and function, allowing you greater freedom in designing and customising products.

  • Course content

    During the first two years, the course is divided into the following three broad subject areas:

    • Design studio modules: These modules will help you develop important design and communication skills through design project work.
    • Design technology modules: These provide you with the technological understanding to create and deliver efficient and effective designs, covering the basics of mechanical, electronic and materials engineering.
    • Design awareness modules: These modules include design context, history, psychology, creativity and innovation, design information, computer-aided design systems and business and marketing.

    Approximately half of Years 3 and 4 is dedicated to major design projects, which fall into thematic areas such as intelligent homes, medical devices and packaging. These are supported by a range of modules on topics such as manufacturing processes and user-centred design.

    You’ll develop a project from market need, through design generation and evaluation to a working prototype. As well as a technical understanding, you’ll gain the planning, time management, presentation and report writing skills that are in demand from employers.

    At the end of the project you’ll showcase your work at our annual Product Design degree showcase. Find out more about project work.

    Find out more about our Projects

    Engineering ethics

    You’ll study engineering ethics as part of your course, with lectures and/or seminars in each year of your study. Visit our engineering ethics webpage to find out more.

    Course structure

    These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

    Year 1

    Compulsory modules

    • Visualisation Techniques 10 credits
    • Materials Technology 20 credits
    • Contextual Studies and Ergonomics 20 credits
    • Design Studio 1.2 20 credits
    • Basic Electronics for Product Design 10 credits
    • Design Studio 1 40 credits

    Year 2

    Compulsory modules

    • Economics and Management 20 credits
    • Design Studio 2 60 credits
    • Creativity, Innovation and Shape Systems 20 credits
    • Advanced Electronics for Product Design 20 credits

    Year 3

    Compulsory modules

    • Additive Manufacturing 20 credits
    • Design Project 60 credits
    • Mechanical Systems 10 credits
    • Professional, Portfolio and Industry Awareness 20 credits

    Year 4

    Compulsory modules

    • Systems Thinking and Consulting Practice 15 credits
    • Team Project 60 credits
    • Design Research 20 credits
    • Design Communication 10 credits
    • User-Centred Design 15 credits

    For more information on typical modules, read Product Design MDes, BSc in the course catalogue

    For more information on typical modules, read Product Design BSc in the course catalogue

    Broadening your academic horizons

    At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. On this course you broaden your learning through core and/or optional modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

    Learning and teaching

    This course combines design theory and technology with practical design work. As a result, you’ll benefit from a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, design studio work, tutorials and interactive lectures that mix teaching with practical work. In Years 3 and 4 around half the course is dedicated to major design projects, which will allow you to develop your ideas and skills independently.

    Our personal tutorial system will provide academic and pastoral support. You will have a designated personal tutor throughout your studies at Leeds. He or she will be an academic member of staff: you will have weekly academic tutorials with your tutor throughout your first year, in your tutor group (of typically 5-7 students), as well as one-to-one meetings twice per semester.


    You will be assessed through both written examinations, held at the end of each year, and through coursework such as design portfolio work and exhibitions.

  • Entry requirements, fees and applying

    Entry requirements

    A-level: AAA excluding General Studies, preferably including an Art and Design-related A-level such as Design, Design Technology or Art and Design, and including a minimum grade B Mathematics and Science at GCSE or equivalent (where an A-level in Mathematics or Science isn’t taken).

    Where an A-Level Science subject is taken, we require a pass in the practical science element, alongside the achievement of the A-Level at the stated grade.

    Excludes A-Level General Studies or Critical Thinking.

    Extended Project Qualification - Whilst we recognise the value, effort and enthusiasm applicants make in the Extended Project, we do not currently include this as part of our offer making. We do however encourage you to provide further information on your project in your personal statement and if invited, at interview.

    GCSE: English Language at grade C or above (or an appropriate English language qualification), plus grade B in Mathematics and Science.

    • Access to HE Diploma

      Pass 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, 30 credits with Distinction and the remaining 15 credits with Merit or above, preferably including an Art and Design-related subject.

    • BTEC

      D*DD preferably including an Art and Design-related subject.

    • Cambridge Pre-U

      D3, D3, D3 preferably including an Art and Design-related subject.

    • International Baccalaureate

      35 points overall, with 18 points at higher level preferably including an Art and Design-related subject.

    • Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)

      H1 H2 H2 H2 H2 H2 preferably including an Art and Design-related subject.

    • Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

      AABBB overall and AA at advanced level including Design, Design Technology or Art and Design.

    • Other Qualifications

      Engineering Diploma: A (plus A or higher in design-related subjects at A-level).

    Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

    Alternative entry

    We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

    Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

    Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

    If you do not have the formal qualifications for immediate entry to one of our degrees, you may be able to progress through a foundation year. We offer a BSc Studies in Science for students without a science background at A-level and an Interdisciplinary Science Foundation Year for applicants who meet specific widening participation criteria.


    We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications.

    Foundation year

    If you have the ability to study for a degree but don’t have the qualifications to enter directly to level one, you might consider studying a foundation year. We have formal links with the following foundation year programmes:

    - University of Leeds International Foundation Year (IFY)

    - Northern Consortium of UK Universities (NCUK)

    - Study Group Leeds International Study Centre (LISC)

    If you are applying from an alternative foundation year provider, please contact our admissions team to find out if your qualification is suitable for entry to our courses.

    International Foundation Year Programme

    International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

    English language requirements

    IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in each section.. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

    International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

    How to apply

    Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

    International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

    Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

    Next steps

    Suitable applicants will be invited to an applicant day, for which we strongly encourage attendance, as this gives you the opportunity to meet our students, academic and admissions staff, and find out more about your course. You’ll take part in a practical engineering activity, working in teams in our design office to solve a fun engineering problem. This is followed by a feedback session and prize-giving.

    The tour of the School’s facilities includes interactive demonstrations of student activities and recent project work.

    An interview with an academic on either a one-to-one or group basis will normally form part of this process. This will give you the chance to discuss your application in more detail, check that it’s the right course for you and your career plans, have your questions answered and find out more about studying at Leeds.

    Admissions policy

    Faculty of Engineering Undergraduate Admissions Policy


    UK/EU: See fees section below

    International: £21,500 (per year)

    For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

    The fee for undergraduate students starting in 2019 will be confirmed in September 2018.

    The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% in 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

    The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students in 2018-19 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

    If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

    Read more about paying fees and charges.

    Additional cost information

    There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

    Financial support

    The School of Mechanical Engineering offer a range of scholarships for Home, EU and International students.

    Find out more about our Scholarships

  • Career opportunities

    Graduates can expect excellent career prospects, ranging from employment opportunities with manufacturers with in-house design departments to design consultancies.

    Other employers will be interested in skills and abilities developed throughout the course, such as communication skills and the ability to critically analyse and produce creative solutions to problems. Therefore, graduates will also be well placed to pursue and develop careers in marketing, advertising and management consultancy.

    Our graduates have gone on to work in roles such as visual designers, graphic designers, products engineers, prototyping technicians, design engineers and creative designers among others. Recent graduate destinations include: Tesla, Reckitt Benkiser, Proctor & Gamble, IBM, Disney, Dyson & Unilever.

    To gain employment in the design industry, it is important that you are able to present your work in the form of a portfolio. You will therefore take a purpose-built career development module where you will put together and critically appraise what is likely to be your first professional portfolio and CV.

    Read our alumni profiles to find out more about where our students are working

    Careers support

    You’ll have access to our dedicated Employability team, located centrally in our Employability Suite, who will provide you with specialist face-to-face support and advice to help you find relevant work experience, internships and year-in-industry placements, as well as graduate positions.

    You’ll benefit from timetabled employability sessions, ongoing support during internships and placements, and presentations and workshops delivered by employers. The team also works closely with the University’s Careers Centre, which is one of the largest in the country.

    Find out more about careers support and employability

  • Study abroad and work placements

    Study abroad

    On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

    Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

    Work placements

    With the help and support of our faculty Employability Team, you can choose to undertake an industrial placement year at one of the 100+ companies that we work with. If you decide to undertake a placement year this will extend your period of study by 12 months and, on successful completion, you will be awarded the ‘industrial’ variant in your degree title to demonstrate your added experience to future employers.

    As a BSc student you have the option to undertake the placement between years 2 and 3. MDes, BSc students can choose to do this either between years 2 and 3 or years 3 and 4.

    Find out more about work placements

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