BSc Product Design and Management

Edward Rhodes

On my placement year I worked with Bang and Olufsen, helping to design their Harrods consession. The experience was invaluable."

Edward Rhodes
BSc Product Design and Management

Entry requirements

ABB - BBB (or equivalent) including a science or technical subject

Recent graduate destinations include design or technical roles for companies such as Sainsbury’s, Goodrich, TNA Europe, Rolls Royce and Husio International.   

Accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED)
Engineering at Aston is rated grade 5 for research
Integrated placement year
Close links to industry experts

Entry requirements

3 years full-time / 4 years full-time with integrated placement year

UCAS Code: H773

Typical offer level
A Level:
BTEC National Diploma: DDD in relevant National Diploma
IB: 32 points (including a science subject at Higher Level)

Specific subject requirements
A Level: A Science or Technical Subject
A Design, Art or Creative A Level is desired but not essential. (For those students who do not have formal qualifications in these subjects, a discretionary process where examples of work are provided can be arranged.) 

General Studies accepted
GCSE: Maths Grade C and English Grade C
A suitable combination of two A Level and two AS Level subjects may be accepted

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements 


£9,250 (£1,250 during placement year) for UK/EU students (2017/18)                             
£17,200 for Outside EU students (2017/18)
Placement Year: £2,500 for International Students

More on fees

Are you passionate about new ideas? Do you get excited when you discuss what you would like to make? To design is to create something new. This requires innovative thinking. Looking at products do you sometimes say “I could have designed this better”?

Do you want to work in an innovative and enterprising arena that would challenge your creative and problem-solving abilities? Our Product Design programmes offer all these opportunities.

The management of Product Design is a rapidly developing career. You will acquire business management skills together with other Product Design modules.


Subject guide & modules

In the School of Engineering and Applied Science we aim to develop a new generation of creative product designers with knowledge, skills and ideas that will be valued by all sectors of design, development, production and business. This aim is achieved by providing project driven degree programmes that include creative thinking and design visualisation, in parallel with studies in engineering science, materials and manufacturing and the management of innovation.

All our first year programmes give you a grounding in the principles of Product Design together with flexibility to change streams at the end of the first year to reflect your own design interests.

In the second and final year you will experience a common core of six design modules to support your specialist stream of four subject specific modules. In addition you will develop design projects that integrate your design specialism with the core aspects of Product Design.

Our design courses are stimulating, relevant, challenging and rewarding. We aim to provide you with the knowledge of materials, production processes and technology as well as skills in aesthetics, ergonomics and management that will enable you to develop a successful career in design. These aims include:

  • developing your understanding of the significance of design to the profitability of business, commerce and the economy as a whole
  • continual development of relevant skills including presentation, ICT and team working which are sought after by employers
  • expanding your knowledge, confidence, professional values and attitudes essential for a successful career in Product Design

Year 1

  • Design & Experimentation (ME1501) 
  • Prototyping & Development (ME1502)
  • Design Fundamentals (PD1800) 
  • Specialist Design Project (PD1801)
  • Engineering Principles (PD1803)

Year 2

  • Design and Engineering for the User (ME2501)
  • Engineering for Industry (ME2502) 
  • Specialist Design Project 2 (PD2001) 
  • Commercial Practice (PD2002) 
  • Engineering Principles (2) (PD2003)

Year 3 - Optional placement year

See placement year section or find out more about the Aston placement year.

  • EAS Study Placement Year (SEP001) 
  • EAS Industrial Placement Year (SEP002)

Final Year

  • Product Design Final Year Project (ME3047) 
  • Specialist Design Project 3 (Future focus) (PD3001)
  • Industrial Design (Global Focus) (PD3002) 
  • Professional Preparation for Industry (Business Focus) (PD3003) 
  • Design Competitions (PD3004)
Product Design 3

Our programmes are application-led through a provision of core case studies and projects, the majority of which are team-based and simulate the actual work of product development. You will also undertake individual projects throughout your studies, which will enable you to create a balance between group and individual work. Each year you will also carry out ‘live’ design projects with industrial partners.

To ensure you gain a thorough understanding of fundamental engineering principles as well as practical skills, the programme encompasses relevant analytical material, which is provided through lectures, tutorials, labs and directed study.

The programme is supported by additional lectures and seminars provided by specialists from industry. Assessment is by a combination of continuous assessment, case studies, design projects and written exams.

Our current and recent placement employers include companies in the UK and abroad such as: BNFL, ConocoPhillips, GSK, Kraft, Alfa Laval, Thames Water, AMEC and 3M.

Find out more about placement years at Aston.

iED logo
This course is accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED).
Product Design

Career opportunities exist for our graduates in design, general management and consultancy, technology, engineering and education (e.g. teaching), areas where Aston graduates have been successful over many years. Our students are able to demonstrate creative design skills alongside sound technical knowledge and experience, a balance which employers consider to be an advantage.

Recent graduate destinations include design or technical roles for companies such as Laing, Goodrich, Husio International, The Eden Project, J Engineering, SMK, The Marketing Company, Sainsbury’s, TNA Europe, Hives, Rolls Royce and Calsonic Kansei.
Recent graduate roles include:

  • Design engineers
  • CAD specialists
  • Management trainees
  • Further study in Industrial Design
  • General management, education and administration
You will have access to state-of-the-art computing facilities, including CAD (Computer Aided Design) labs loaded with some of the latest CAD software, design studios and PCs for word-processing and self tuition. You will develop your computing skills and use computers to help solve design problems. We provide extensive laboratories to demonstrate engineering and manufacturing principles as well as dedicated design studios and modelmaking labs for project work.

Elaine Mackie
Interim Undergraduate Programme Director: Product Design
Elaine joined Aston’s School of Engineering and Applied Science at the beginning of 2016, having previously been a Senior Lecturer in Automotive and Transport Design within the School of Art and Design at Coventry University. Prior to that she was a Senior Designer at Atkins Rail and Vehicle Designer at Interfleet Technology (which has been part of the SNC-Lavalin Group since 2011).

Dr Gareth Thomson 
Head of Department 
Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering 
Gareth joined Aston University in January 2009, having previously been the course director of the Mechanical Engineering course at the University of Dundee. In his time at Dundee he was involved in not only the Mechanical Engineering programme but also set up a joint Product Design degree with Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Prior to this he was a researcher involved in laser applications at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. 

Dr Philip Davies 
Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering 
Philip Davies is a member of the Sustainable Environment Research Group.  His main research activities are in developing renewable and efficient energy systems and in the treatment of water for drinking and sanitation.  Philip has held appointments at the University of Oxford, the Universidad Politécnica in Madrid, the University of Warwick, and in manufacturing and consulting companies. He holds a B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College, London, and D.Phil from the University of Oxford. 

Dr Mark Prince 
Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering 
Mark is a former Aston graduate with experience in mechanical design and analysis.  His research interests are in ophthalmic and medical device development and he has experience in designing microsystems for biological structure interfacing, and exploiting vision technologies. Mark has expertise in 3D computer solid modelling, rapid prototyping and rapid manufacture, computer aided engineering, electronic/mechatronic design, and optical and contact microscopy and imaging techniques.

Dr Laura Leslie
Laura teaches on the CDIO modules and the first year Engineering Science module. Her research interests include Biomaterials and medical device testing, the interaction between artificial implants and the human body and Alternatives to animal testing

Mr David Smith 
Projects Coordinator / Teaching Fellow

Dr David Upton 
Research Fellow  

Mr John Owen 
Design Lecturer
John's main area of industrial experience has been associated with ‘styling’ in the automotive industries, representing designs in three-dimensional form using high level computing and automotive clay modeling techniques. He has collaborated in producing concept vehicles, hybrid vehicles and devising training programmes for designers for a range of large and niche car companies.

Dr Becky Mallaband~
Lecturer in Product Design
Becky is a lecturer in Product Design and has been based at Aston University, in the Mechanical Engineering and Design department since 2015, having previously been a Research Associate and Lecturer in the Loughborough Design School. Her research and expertise are in the area of User Centred Design and much of her research has been conducted in the Domestic Energy domain. 


Interested? We'd love to hear from you.

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