Product design spans a wide variety of sectors and requirements by combining creativity with technical skills. The next generation of product designers could find themselves working on the design and development of physical products, such as electronics, furniture and other manufactured goods, but also on digital products such as software or apps.
Successful product designers bring together a variety of skills from different specialisms including the arts, engineering and technology, visualising and creating new products to meet the demands and challenges of the modern world.
Studying product design at Leeds will develop your abilities and knowledge and gain the broad base of skills needed to work with designers from both arts and engineering backgrounds. You’ll also understand how to see a product development process through from developing user insights and creating concepts through to detail design and production.
This is a practical course, so you’ll benefit from specialist facilities including computing and prototyping facilities, as well as the technical expertise of our staff. Our design studios are equipped with the latest design software including SolidWorks, and the Adobe Creative Suite, and our model-making facilities include forming, laser cutting, foam model sculpting and CNC machines. You’ll also have access to a 3D printing system to convert your ideas into physical prototypes and test for form, fit and function. All of this means you’ll have everything you need to get started on your career in product design.
Why study at Leeds:
- This course is accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Engineering Designers.
- Work on your own design projects, putting into practice what you have learned by designing and producing prototypes and testing their performance.
- Our world-leading research here at Leeds helps to solve real-world mechanical engineering problems and feeds directly into your course, shaping your learning with the latest thinking.
- Access specialist facilities, including a high-spec computer cluster and extensive laboratory space.
- Develop your experience and boost your career prospects with our industrial placement opportunities or study abroad programmes.
- Make the most of your time at Leeds by joining our student society for Product Design. It’s a great opportunity for you to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds who share your passion for Product Design.
Join our online taster courses
Our five-part series of short courses offers a great introduction to medical device design and the exciting future of medical technology. Join today on FutureLearn.
Accreditation is the assurance that a university course meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students.
This course is accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) as fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Registered Product Designer (RProdDes).
It also fully meets the academic requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng), and partially meets the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng).
Each academic year, you'll take a total of 120 credits.
Years 1 and 2
During the first two years, the course is divided into three broad subject areas: design studio, design technology and design awareness.
Design studio modules will help you develop important design and communication skills through design project work. These projects vary in length and focus. Some are driven by research, others are connected to national and international competitions, while others still are supported by industrial partners through ‘Live’ projects which have real world applications.
Modules on design technology provide you with the technological understanding to create and deliver efficient and effective designs, covering the basics of mechanical, electronic and materials engineering. This will support you to deliver solutions that have an awareness of state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, environmental implications of a design and the ability to engage with both user experience and user interaction for products that are becoming increasingly electronically focused.
The design awareness modules include visualisation techniques, design context and history, creativity and innovation, design information, computer-aided design systems and business. These form the basic technological and design process skills you’ll need to tackle complex design problems, giving you the ability to respond to any challenge you face in your professional career.
Approximately half of your final year is dedicated to a major design project where you’ll have the opportunity to develop a 3D design in an area of your choosing. This choice allows you to develop a project that is focused on an area of your interest and will give you the best opportunity to progress your career after you graduate. You’ll be supported by regular meetings with a project supervisor which will be a combination of small group sessions and individual 1-2-1s.
During this major project, you’ll be able to demonstrate all of your design skills and capabilities including user-centred design, mechanical and electronics design, low and high fidelity prototyping, design for manufacturing and business case development.
Additionally, you’ll develop a project from market and user needs, 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 event.
In your final year, you can select discovery modules to customise your study. Discovery modules allow you to choose subjects from across the university. Look online here at the subjects available. Current product design students choose a wide variety of subjects including colour science, geography, sustainability, innovation and languages.
One-year optional work placement or study abroad
During your course, you’ll be given the opportunity to advance your skill set and experience further. You can apply to either undertake a one-year industrial work placement or study abroad for a year, choosing from a selection of universities we’re in partnership with worldwide.
The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.
Year 1 compulsory modules
|Contextual Studies and Ergonomics||20|
|Engineering Analysis for Product Designers||20|
|Basic Electronics for Product Design||10|
|Design Studio 1||40|
Year 2 compulsory modules
|Economics and Management||20|
|Design Studio 2||40|
|Creativity in Professional Practice||20|
|Design for Manufacture for Product Designers||20|
|Advanced Electronics for Product Design||20|
Year 3 compulsory modules
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 workshops that mix teaching with practical work. In your final year around half the course is dedicated to a major design project, which will allow you to develop your ideas and skills independently.
You’ll have a designated personal tutor throughout your studies at Leeds, who will be an academic member of staff. In your first year, you’ll have academic tutorials in your tutor group (of typically 5 students). In addition, across all three years, you’ll have one-to-one meetings with your personal tutor once or twice per semester. In addition, our excellent student support team is based close to where you’ll work and study to help with anything from academic advice to timetabling and project submission enquiries. You’ll also receive support from fellow students through our peer mentoring scheme.
Our Virtual Learning Environment will help to support your studies: it’s a central place where you can find all the information and resources for your programme and modules.
You can also benefit from support to develop your academic skills, within the curriculum and through online resources, workshops, one-to-one appointments and drop-in sessions.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
You’ll be assessed through a variety of assessment approaches to test different knowledge and skills. Assessments will enable you to demonstrate your competency in a particular skill, as well as measuring the extent of your knowledge and understanding. They are designed to be fair and inclusive.
We’ll use different forms of assessment including written examinations (held at the end of each semester) and coursework that also develops key transferable skills that will be relevant to your future professional practice, such as design portfolio work and exhibitions, written reports, teamworking and presentations.
Assessments will develop your ability to bring together evidence from a variety of sources, and to critically understand and evaluate. You’ll also have frequent opportunities to develop your understanding of assessment and to improve your performance, for example through formative assessments with feedback, guided marking, peer review and opportunities to practise key assessment methods.
A-level: AAA in an Art and Design related A-level such as Design, Design Technology or Art and Design is desirable but not essential.
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.
Whilst a portfolio is not required as part of the decision/offer making process, successful offer holders will be invited to attend in-person offer holder events, which will include an interactive portfolio review session with department academics. This is a prime opportunity to get feedback, including areas of strength and for development, regarding your portfolio, so you will be asked to bring a piece of work or full portfolio with you if you attend such an event. Please note that digital portfolios cannot be reviewed on the offer holder events.
Applicants should include two to three projects which demonstrate design abilities. These can include extra-curricular design projects or samples of work which demonstrate skills associated with design, for example: art work, photography, CAD, engineering or technical projects.
Extended Project Qualification and International Project Qualification: Whilst we recognise the value of these qualifications and the effort and enthusiasm that applicants put into them, we do not currently include them as part of our offer-making. We do, however, encourage you to provide further information on your project in your personal statement.
GCSE: English Language at grade C (4) or above or an appropriate English language qualification, plus a minimum grade B (6) in Mathematics and B-B (6-6) in Combined Science or equivalent. We will accept Level 2 Functional Skills English in lieu of GCSE English.
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.
DDD in Product Design, Engineering or an Art and Design-related subject.
D3, D3, D3 preferably including an Art and Design-related subject (desirable but not essential).
35 points overall, with 18 points at higher level preferably including an Art and Design-related subject (desirable but not essential).
Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)
H1 H2 H2 H2 H2 H2 preferably including an Art and Design-related subject (desirable but not essential).
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers
AA at Advanced Higher level preferably including an Art and Design-related subject (preferable but not essential), and AABBB at Higher Level.
Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.
Were 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.
Typical Access to Leeds offer: ABB, and minimum grades of 5 and 6 (B) in Mathematics and Science (in any order) at GCSE.
Please note that the Access to Leeds offer is dependant on completion of the Access to Leeds Scheme.
For alternative qualification offers please contact the admissions team.
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 Studies in Science with Foundation Year BSc for students without a science background at A-level and an Interdisciplinary Science with Foundation Year BSc for applicants who meet specific widening participation criteria.
International Foundation Year
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.
Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.
UK: £9,250 (per year)
International: £30,250 (per year)
Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.
Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.
Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
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.
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.
Scholarships and financial support
If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.
Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.
We may consider applications submitted after the deadline. Availability of courses in UCAS Extra will be detailed on UCAS at the appropriate stage in the cycle.
Read our admissions guidance about applying and writing your personal statement.
International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK 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.
School of Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Admissions
The employment opportunities in the field of product design are far-reaching, with the potential to take you all over the world. The range of roles includes Design Manager, User Experience Designer, Product Engineer, Product Designer, Design Researcher, Enterprise Consultant and Brand Manager.
Plus, University of Leeds students are among the top 10 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2023, High Fliers Research, meaning our graduates are highly sought after by some of the most reputable companies in the field.
Qualifying with a degree in product design from Leeds will set you up with the core foundations you need to pursue an exciting career across a wide range of industries, including:
- Professional services
The breadth of knowledge and experience you’ll gain – including design, problem solving, design and engineering ethics, numeracy and analysis skills, together with communication and teamwork skills – are widely transferable and desirable to a whole host of employers.
Here’s an insight into the job roles some of our most recent graduates have obtained:
- Design Engineer, Dyson
- Design Project Leader – Jaguar Landrover
- Design Engineer, ETT Industries
- Mechanical Design Engineer, Tesla Motors
- Associate Consultant, Collaborative Solutions
- Experience Designer, Future Platforms
- Insights Researcher, Household
- Digital Analyst, BT
- Marketing Manager, Silver Fox
Read our alumni profiles to find out more about where our students are working.
At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one. Our Leeds for Life initiative is designed to help you develop and demonstrate the skills and experience you need for when you graduate. We will help you to access opportunities across the University and record your key achievements so you are able to articulate them clearly and confidently.
You’ll be supported throughout your studies by our dedicated Employability team, who will provide you with specialist support and advice to help you find relevant work experience, internships and industrial placements, as well as graduate positions. You’ll benefit from timetabled employability sessions, support during internships and placements, and presentations and workshops delivered by employers.
You’ll also have full access to the University’s Careers Centre, which is one of the largest in the country.
Study abroad and work placements
Studying abroad is a unique opportunity to explore the world, whilst gaining invaluable skills and experience that could enhance your future employability and career prospects too.
From Europe to Asia, the USA to Australasia, we have many University partners worldwide you can apply to, spanning across some of the most popular destinations for students.
This programme offers you the option to spend time abroad as an extra academic year and will extend your studies by 12 months.
Once you’ve successfully completed your year abroad, you'll be awarded the ‘international’ variant in your degree title upon completion which demonstrates your added experience to future employers.
Find out more at the Study Abroad website.
An industrial placement year is a great way to help you decide on a career path when you graduate. You’ll develop your skills and gain a real insight into working life in a particular company or sector. It will also help you to stand out in a competitive graduate jobs market and improve your chances of securing the career you want.
On this course, you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.
Benefits of a work placement year:
- 100+ organisations to choose from, both in the UK and overseas
- Build industry contacts within your chosen field
- Our close industry links mean you’ll be in direct contact with potential employers
- Advance your experience and skills by putting the course teachings into practice
- Gain invaluable insight into working as a professional in this industry
- Improve your employability
If you decide to undertake a placement year, this will extend your period of study by 12 months and, on successful completion, you’ll be awarded the ‘industrial’ variant in your degree title to demonstrate your added experience to future employers.
With the help and support of our dedicated Employability team, you can find the right placement to suit you and your future career goals.
Here are some examples of placements our students have recently completed:
- Product Developer, Axora
- Customs Design Engineer, MTO, DePuy Synthes
- Retail Design, L'Oréal UK Ltd
- Product Designer, Sensio Ltd
- Project Management Intern, BMW Group Financial Services
- Junior Producer, Glass Eye Ltd
Find out more about Industrial placements.
Student profile: Ruqaiya Al Balushi
The professors play a major role in our work as we constantly get the support and help we need, they are always ready to sit down with us and have a chat which creates a special dynamic.Find out more about Ruqaiya Al Balushi's time at Leeds