Design Engineering

BEng (Hons)

Ignite your creativity and engineering capabilities by studying our design engineering degree, where innovation meets practicality for real-world change.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Full-time
Entry requirements
Duration

3 or 4 years

UCAS code(s)

H150

Start date

Course overview

By studying our accredited design engineering programme, you will embark on a journey of creativity and innovation. Recognised by the Institute of Mechanical Engineering, this dynamic course empowers students to Conceive, Design, Implement, and Operate using a practical learning approach. With a strong emphasis on technical skills, you will gain expertise in product design and mechanical engineering, bridging the gap between these disciplines. At Aston University, you will learn through hands-on experience, collaborating with engineers and designers to develop professional skills whilst mirroring the challenges of the real world.

design-engineering-course-page-testimonial

"My highlight of studying at Aston was my final year project, which gave me the freedom to explore a new area of interest for me. Being able to look at something in depth and taking the investigation in a direction that I wanted was liberating and very intellectually stimulating."

Tristan Stubbs 
BEng (Hons) Design Engineering
Design Engineer at Orbital Fabrications

Why Design Engineering at Aston University?

IMechE logo
Accredited
Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
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Gold standard teaching
Aston University was awarded Gold- the highest possible rating for Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)
Ranked 14th icon
2023 Longitudinal Education Outcomes
Aston engineering graduates at 14th in median earnings on average of £40,200 in the five years after graduation.

Course description

BEng (Hons) Design Engineering

Studying design engineering at Aston University will allow you to advance your creative skills and transform your ideas into reality, as you help to address global challenges for generations to come

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What we will provide
As well as membership for IMechE you will have access to state-of-the-art labs and equipment, including 3D printing and software such as Solidworks, commonly used in industry. You will have access to industry-standard software and receive all materials for your projects ensuring you have the necessary tools and resources to excel in your studies and prepare for the workplace.

We are an Adobe Creative Campus meaning you will have access to top-notch software licenses, including Adobe and Solidworks, commonly used in industry. To find out more, visit here.

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What you will provide
You must embrace a growth mindset, acknowledging that intelligence and success are achieved through effort and continuous learning. You should possess a genuine interest in personal and professional development, being open to challenges and viewing failure as a valuable learning experience within a supportive environment. Critical thinking is a crucial skill for any Design Engineer and you will be encouraged to think creatively, pushing the boundaries of conventional ideas and approaches. 

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What skills we teach
During your design engineering course at Aston University you will gain proficiency in CAD tools to boost your ability to create innovative ideas and develop design concepts. You will learn how to translate your conceptual ideas from paper to computer, honing in on your modelling skills using 3D printing, foam, clay and metalwork. With an emphasise on teamwork and effective communication, you will work on collaborative projects mirroring the working environment you will one day embrace in your career. This course helps build on problem-solving abilities, addressing technical and knowledge-based challenges. Sustainability, ethics, and social impact are crucial underlying themes you will master along with critical thinking. 

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Placement year
We highly encourage you to seize the opportunity of your placement year on the design engineering course and use the skills learned through the CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate) methodology to help not only with the interview process but in real working-life scenarios. Aston University students have secured placements in the past with prestigious companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, Caterpillar Ltd and BMW Group. In addition to the placement year, local industry professionals often visit the university to discuss the wide array of opportunities available to students and our excellent careers and placements team are always at hand to assist. 

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Career prospects
Your career prospects once completing the design engineering course at Aston University are limitless, with previous years graduates going on to secure jobs as CAD technicians, Production Engineer, and Product Design Engineer. The Design Engineering course at Aston University offers excellent career prospects highlighted by being ranked 1st in the UK for Graduate Career Prospects according to the Complete University Guide 2024. Career paths include design engineering, consultancies, project management, and entrepreneurship—an emerging area with promising growth potential.

How you will learn

In our design engineering course at Aston University we embrace the CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate) teaching style. CDIO equips our students with the ability to conceive innovative ideas, design practical solutions, implement them effectively, and operate within real-world contexts. Through this framework, you will gain the skills and mindset necessary to excel in your future engineering careers, addressing complex challenges whilst making a positive impact on society. 

You will also have a wide range of exciting extra-curricular activities available to partake in. You can participate in Engineering Without Borders, join the Formula student team for a thrilling racing experience, and engage in summer internships and projects. Various societies, including WEST, CAD, and Engineering societies all offer you interesting opportunities with like-minded students. The industry club helps you gain key industry connections, while the annual CDIO trip includes international conferences and collaborative challenges with other universities across the globe. Finally, the Aston Inspire design show allows students each year to exhibit their design-focused final-year projects and celebrate their achievements.

Engineering

Design Engineering at Aston

We spoke to design engineering student Wan about his experience so far including his placement.

Facilities

Whilst studying design engineering at Aston University, you'll have the opportunity to learn in our cutting-edge facilities. Our engineering laboratories offer hands-on experience with practical experiments. In our design studios, you'll work with advanced CAD software, and our prototyping and fabrication facilities house a variety of 3D printers. Additionally, you'll have access to workshop spaces, machine and model shops, an engine test lab, two professional garages, clay modelling facilities, a solar array simulator, dynamometers, and more to enhance your hands-on project work.

We may update our courses to reflect best practices and academic developments. If we do, we’ll let you know of any changes at the earliest opportunity by updating our course webpages. If you have already received an offer, we’ll write to you directly to let you know of the changes.

Entry requirements

  • A Levels

    BBC including Maths and one other STEM (a) subject
    BCC including Maths and one other STEM (a) subject (with an EPQ or Core Maths* at grade B)
    CCC including Maths and one other STEM (a) subject (contextual offer)

List of STEM (a) subjects: Further Maths, Statistics, Physics, Design Technology, Chemistry, Engineering Science, Computer Science, Biology and Electronics.

*List of core maths qualifications we accept:  AQA Certificate in Mathematical Studies, City & Guilds Certificate in Using and Applying Mathematics, NCFE Level 3 Certificate in Mathematics for Everyday Life, OCR (MEI)* Certificate in Quantitative Problem Solving, OCR (MEI)* Certificate in Quantitative Reasoning, Pearson Edexcel Certificate in Mathematics in Context, WJEC Eduqas Certificate in Mathematics for Work and Life and Level 3 Core Math

  • Contextual offers

    Aston Ready is our contextual offer scheme that could reduce your undergraduate offer by one or two grades. Assessed at the point of application, there are no additional forms to fill in.

Contextual offer criteria

  • Extended Diploma and National Extended Diploma (Engineering): DDM including the following units at Distinction (QCF): Mathematics for Engineering Technicians and Further Mathematics for Engineering Technicians, OR (RQF): Calculus to Solve Engineering Problems and Further Engineering Mathematics.
  • Extended Diploma and National Extended Diploma (Any Subject): DDM and A Level Maths at minimum grade B.
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering with an overall grade of Distinction with the following units at Distinction: - Mathematics for Engineering - Calculus to Solve Engineering Problems or Further Engineering Mathematics.
  • National Diploma and Diploma (Science/Technical/Engineering types): DM including the following units at Distinction (QCF): Mathematics for Engineering Technicians and Further Mathematics for Engineering Technicians OR (RQF): Calculus to Solve Engineering Problems and Further Engineering Mathematics. This BTEC requires 1 A-level at a minimum Grade B.
  • Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering with an overall grade Distinction plus an A-Level in any subject at grade C,  with the following units at Distinction: - Mathematics for Engineering - Calculus to Solve Engineering Problems or Further Engineering Mathematics.
  • OR Achieve overall grade Distinction plus a BTEC Sub Dip/ Extended National Cert in any subject grade Merit, with the following units at Distinction: Mathematics for Engineering - Calculus to Solve Engineering Problems or Further Engineering Mathematics OR Achieve overall grade Distinction plus an A-Level in Math at grade C.
  • Foundation or 90 credits Diploma (Science/Technical/Engineering type): DM plus 2 A-levels at a minimum grade B. Diploma should include the following units at Distinction if A level is not in Mathematics: (QCF) Mathematics for Engineering Technicians and Further Mathematics for Engineering Technicians OR (RQF): Calculus to Solve Engineering Problems and Further Engineering Mathematics
  • Foundation or 90 credits Diploma (any subject): DM plus 2 A-levels at a minimum grade B in Mathematics and Physics or similar physical science A level subject.
  • National Extended Certificate or Subsidiary Diploma (science/ technical/ engineering type): M plus 2 A-levels at a minimum Grade B. Diploma should include the following units at Distinction (QCF) if one of the additional A level is not in Mathematics: Mathematics for Engineering Technicians and Further Mathematics for Engineering Technicians OR (RQF): Calculus to Solve Engineering Problems and Further Engineering Mathematics
  • National Extended Certificate or Subsidiary Diploma (any subject): M plus 2 A-levels at a minimum grade B in Mathematics and Physics or similar physical science A level subject.
  • Certificate/ National Certificate Level 3: Not accepted
  • 29 overall points with 5, 5, 4 in Higher Level subjects, including Higher Level 5 in Maths and Physics.

Access to Higher Education

Subject related Access with at least 30 Distinctions and 15 Merits at Level 3 including at least 15 credits at Level 3 in Mathematics and at least 15 credits at Level 3 in Physical Science

Non-standard qualifications

Degree

  • Year 1 entry: We may consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a 1st year degree elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
     
  • Year 2 entry: International students can enter at Year 2 of this course having completed an undergraduate year one programme at the required academic level with these approved teaching partners: Kaplan International College London or NCUK. Please note that other second year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up to the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, applicants for second year entry must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have gained (or be expected to gain) 65% overall and 120 credits  on an equivalent programme at another recognised university. The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
     
  • Year 3: We will not be able to consider any application for Year 3 View our Admissions Policy.

 

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and the whole application is reviewed which includes previous and predicted qualifications, any experience, references and motivation.

The following T levels are accepted qualifications for this course:

  • Design and Development for Engineering Manufacturing Grade D
  • Engineering Manufacturing Processing and Control Grade D
  • Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering Manufacturing Grade D

Additionally to our Level 3 requirement, you will also need to have achieved:

GCSE English Grade C/4 or above and Maths Grade C/4 or above

Non-standard qualifications

Degree 

Year 1 entry: We may consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a 1st year degree elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent Level 3) requirements as listed. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference from your current institution.
 
Year 2 entry: Please note that second-year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up to the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space in that year of the programme.
Typically, applicants for second-year entry must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have successfully passed (or be expected to pass) your first year with 120 credits on an equivalent programme at another recognised university with very similar module content.

The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference from your current institution.
 
Year 3: We will not be able to consider any application for Year 3. 

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

International students can enter at Year 2 of this course having completed an undergraduate year one programme at the required academic level with approved teaching partners ONCAMPUS Aston or NCUK.

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£9,250
During placement year:£1,250

International students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£21,100
During placement year:£2,500

Fees listed are for 2024 entry. For Sandwich courses the placement fee is £1250 for Home/UK students and £2,500 for International students. For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies. For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees

For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy.

For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.

Explore our scholarships 

Assessment

You will be assessed through a diverse range of methods that mirror real-world industry practices. For your first year, 30% is exam-based, while your remaining assessments focus on skills development through logbook keeping, practical builds and team performance. You will be evaluated through reports, presentations and portfolios. Design modules prioritise coursework over exams, where you will build a comprehensive design portfolio ready to showcase your work to potential employers.

Career prospects

Your career prospects for studying on the design engineering course are excellent for employability, this is reflected in the complete university guide 2024 where design engineering graduate prospects are ranked 1st in the UK. You will have an abundance of career opportunities, including design engineering, consultancy, and project management. In the past graduates have been placed in esteemed roles, such as a design engineer at Wickins Engineering, Logistics Officer in the British Army, Sports Coach, and Administrator at Little Lions Luxemburg SARL, and many other esteemed positions. Where will your degree take you?

Graduation

Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why study Design Engineering at Aston?

If you’re interested in a career in industry or commerce, using your engineering skills, this course will give you the necessary academic knowledge and understanding. 

How will a placement year benefit me?

We think that the knowledge you gain through your studies are best applied to real life and the most effective way to do this is by working in a company. As well as the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned, you’ll also gain invaluable communication and team skills. 

We have excellent links with industry and will help to arrange this placement for you. 

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

Chat with our students

 

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