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School of Mechanical Engineering

Product Design MDes, BSc

MDes, BDes Product Design


Applications for 2016 entry are now closed. Applications for 2017 will open in September.

Product Design touches every aspect of modern life, determining the form and function of the products and technologies that we use every day. Good design combines creativity with an appreciation of the technologies that underpin modern products and an understanding of how they fit into our lives. There is growing demand from industry for students who are both creative and technically literate, and our product design degree addresses this need by bridging the gap between visual, arts-led and engineering-led product design courses.

Taken as either a three-year bachelors or a four year masters degree, the programme offers an even balance of art and technology, allowing you to explore the links between the two. Our goal is to develop creative students who are technically literate and able 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.

With an international reputation for design and innovation across many disciplines, and recognised excellence in research and teaching, the University of Leeds is ideally placed to offer this multidisciplinary degree. All of our staff are experienced product designers or active researchers in disciplines related to product design, which means that you will benefit from up-to-date, cutting-edge learning and teaching. The programme’s strong links with industry ensures that course materials accord with employers’ needs.

As a design programme based in the School of Mechanical Engineering, our students have access to the school’s computing and prototyping facilities, as well as the technical expertise of its staff. This is invaluable when it comes to making and testing prototypes to inform the design process.

During your time at Leeds you will take part in the Product Design Showcase.

UCAS Code: H790 (MDes, BSc) or H795 (BSc)
Our students typically undertake an integrated masters (MDes, BSc) which means your undergraduate degree can be extended to postgraduate level.
Industrial placements: Yes
Study abroad: Yes
Course duration: 3, 4 or 5 years depending on option taken.
Start date: September
Course fees (per year): UK/EU: £9,000; International: £19,000
Information about living expenses and financial support can be found on the University's website.
Scholarships: Scholarships worth up to £8,000 available.

Course Content

During the first and second years, the programme 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
Our design technology modules provide you with the technological understanding needed to create and deliver designs that will be both efficient and effective. These cover the basics of mechanical, electronic and materials engineering, and are specifically designed to meet the needs of the product design programme.

Design awareness modules
These modules include design context, history, psychology, creativity and innovation, design information, computer-aided design systems and business and marketing.

In your third and fourth year (MDes students), approximately half of the course is dedicated to major design projects. The projects fall into thematic areas, such as intelligent homes, medical devices and packaging, and are supported by a range of modules. You will develop a project from market need, through design generation and evaluation to a working prototype. As well as a technical understanding, you will gain the planning, time management, presentation and report writing skills which are in demand from employers. At the end of the project you will be given the opportunity to showcase your work at our annual Product Design degree showcase.

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

Our courses have a modular structure where you will be required to study 120 credits per year.


Graduates can expect excellent career prospects, ranging from employment opportunities with manufacturers with in-house design departments to design consultanies. Other employers will be interested in skills and abilities developed throughout the course such as communication skills and 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.

Recent Graduate destinations include:

• Visual Designer, Allryder
• Products Engineer, Cauldwell Engineering
• Graphic Designer, Creators Play
• Revit trainee, Hoare Lee
• Designer, Imagination Technology
• Graphic and Product Designer, Jack Quarmby Designs
• Creative Designer, Make it Rain
• Prototyping technician, MNL Prototyping
• Design Engineer, Sidhil Ltd
• Mechanical Design Engineer, Uniflare Limited
• Freelance Designer

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.

With the help of our Employability team, we will make sure you are given every chance to secure a position before you graduate.

Entry requirements

We welcome students with a wide range of qualifications. If your qualification does not appear in the list below please contact our admissions team.

Entry requirements for the Integrated Masters (MDes, BSc) and the standalone BSc are the same.

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 usually including a minimum grade B Mathematics and Science at GSCE level.

Engineering Diploma: Grade A (plus A or above in a design related subjects A-level).

BTEC Extended Diploma: D*DD.

IB: 35 points overall, with 18 points at higher level.

Country-specific equivalent qualifications
The Faculty's country-specific equivalent qualifications web page gives you an idea of the types of qualifications we accept.

English language requirement
GCSE English Language grade C (or above) or an equivalent recognised English Language qualification e.g. IELTS: 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component of listening, reading, speaking and writing.

Our Language Centre provide the Academic English for Undergraduate Studies Pre-sessional course, which is designed to help international students develop their language and academic study skills.

Access to Leeds
We have a policy of welcoming applicants from non-traditional academic backgrounds. If you do not meet our entry criteria above, you may be eligible via the Access to Leeds scheme.

Foundation courses
If you do not have the formal qualifications for immediate entry to one of our degree, you may be able to progress through a foundation year. The University offers a one-year 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.

Our International Foundation Year (IFY) is intended for international students who do not yet have the formal qualifications required for entry to level 1 of our degree courses.

How to apply

All undergraduate applications should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS).

Once you have applied and your application has been reviewed by our admissions tutor, suitable applicants will be invited to an applicant day, which we encourage you to attend.

Our applicant days are very different from the general university open days you may have attended. They will give you the opportunity to meet our students, academic staff and admissions staff, and find out more about your course, including a detailed look at the course contents, student activities, and teaching approaches. You will take part in a practical activity, which involves working in teams in the design studio to solve a fun product design problem. This will illustrate the kind of design work undertaken on the programme and how skills developed during your degree will support this.

You will also be taken on a tour of the school and campus by current students, and will see some of the key areas you will use during your time at Leeds, including lecture theatres, the protyping area, the Students’ Union and libraries.

We like to interview applicants before making an offer, so the applicant day will
also include an interview with one of our academics. 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.

We appreciate that not all applicants are able to attend an interview and in such cases the offer decision will be made based on the information on the UCAS form.

If you require any further information please contact our admissions team, e: t: +44 (0)113 343 2149