Product Design MDes, BSc

(Full time) 2020 start

Course information for 2019 start


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 design and production.

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.

Our active Industrial Advisory Board helps inform the development of this course to ensure that it is up to date with industry developments and requirements. This is one of the reasons why our graduates are so in demand from industry.

You can choose to take either the four-year Integrated Masters (MDes, BSc) or the three-year Bachelor’s (BSc) 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.


Our Product Design course is accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers (iED) and by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) under licence from the UK regulator, the Engineering Council.

Accreditation is the assurance that a university course meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students. An accredited course must meet the quality standards set by the awarding bodies.

The BSc is accredited as fully satisfying the educational base for an Incorporated Engineer by the iED and IMechE.

The MDes, BSc is accredited as fully satisfying the educational base for an Incorporated Engineer and Chartered Technological Product Designer by the iED.

An Incorporated Engineer is an engineer who has become professionally registered with the Engineering Council. After registration you’ll be able to use the initials ‘IEng’ after your name, which signifies that you have met the necessary competence and commitment standard.

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 visualisation techniques, design context, history, psychology, creativity and innovation, design information, computer-aided design systems and business.

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 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.

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

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

  • Visualisation Techniques 10 credits
  • Materials Technology 20 credits
  • Contextual Studies and Ergonomics 20 credits
  • Engineering Analysis for Product Designers 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 50 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 20 credits
  • Professional and Portfolio Development / Creative Professionals 10 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 and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Product Design MDes, BSc in the course catalogue

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please 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.

You will have a designated personal tutor throughout your studies at Leeds, who will be an academic member of staff. You will have fortnightly academic tutorials with your tutor throughout your first two years, in your tutor group (of typically 5 students), as well as one-to-one meetings 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 will be assessed in a variety of ways; through coursework such as design portfolio work and exhibitions, written reports and examinations.

Entry requirements, fees and applying

Entry requirements

A-level: AAA preferably including an Art and Design-related A-level such as Design Technology or Art and Design, and including a minimum grade B (6) in Mathematics and Science at GCSE.

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.

Applicants must also submit a design portfolio during an applicant day. International applicants must submit this via email. 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 - 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 (4) or above or an appropriate English language qualification, plus grade B (6) in Mathematics and Science or equivalent.

  • 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

    AA at Advanced Higher level including Design Technology or Art and Design, and AABBB at Higher Level.

  • 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 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.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information please contact the Admissions Team.

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.

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.

Applicant days

Suitable applicants will be invited to an applicant day, for which we 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 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, such as experiments with engines, materials and mechatronic systems, and recent project work. You will also view our thermofluids lab, the dynamics and control lab, the National Instruments LabVIEW Academy/ materials lab, and the prototyping and manufacturing lab.

During the day you’ll have the opportunity to meet academic staff, to have your questions answered and find out more about studying at Leeds

After you apply we will send you a link to book your place on the applicant day, but please let us know as soon as possible if you cannot attend, so your place can be allocated to another applicant.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Engineering Undergraduate Admissions Policy 2020


UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £23,750 (per year)

Tuition fees for 2019 entry 
For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2019, the fee for 2019/20 will be £9,250. 

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 starting in the 2019/20 academic year will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans for the duration of their course. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

Visit our Brexit page for the latest information on the effect of the UK's exit from the EU on current students and applicants to the University.

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.

Visit our Brexit page for the latest information on the effect of the UK's exit from the EU on current students and applicants to the University.

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.


Scholarships are available for international students for 2020 entry.

Career opportunities

Our degrees will equip you with the skills you need to succeed in industry, including design, problem solving, engineering ethics, numeracy and analysis skills, together with transferable skills, such as communication and working as a team.

98% of our recent graduates are employed or in further study within six months of graduating (latest Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2016/17). Graduates have secured positions including:

  • Visual Designer

  • Graphic Designer

  • Product Engineer

  • Prototype Technician

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. We have over 300 University partners 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.

Course terms and conditions