Course overview

Study our dynamic accredited product design and management course and equip yourself with the skills to tackle future design challenges whilst integrating essential engineering knowledge to bring your products to life. Through live briefs with real companies, you will gain valuable industry exposure and hands-on experience, perfecting your problem-solving abilities and cultivating a strong professional network.

Product design testimonial image

"Aston provided me with better knowledge of the design process and fulfilled the academic requirements for chartership, which helped me gain my current position. My advice to future students would be to make the most of all the resources Aston provides, including academic and social!"

Jonathan Rabbette
Designer at Macfarlane Packaging

Why Product Design and Management at Aston University?

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Accredited
Institution of Engineering Designers for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirements for Registered Product Designer (RProdDes).
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Gold standard teaching
Aston University was awarded Gold- the highest possible rating for Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)
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Excellent graduate prospects
Manufacturing and Production Engineering ranked 1st in the UK for graduate prospects Complete University Guide 2024
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Excellent teaching quality
Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering was ranked 9th in the UK for teaching quality 2023 Sunday Times

Course description

BSc (Hons) Product Design and Management

Our product design and management course will ensure you develop a range of industry-ready skills, preparing you for whatever future you have in mind, whether that’s in-house design or setting up your own business.

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What we will provide
Our Product Design and Management course offers a range of perks such as membership to the Institute of Engineering Designers, use of first-rate software (Adobe, SolidWorks, KeyShot licenses), and 24/7 access to the Design Studio for all design students. With round-the-clock access to cutting-edge facilities, equipment, and materials, students can bring their ideas to life and engage in practical, contemporary projects.

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 
We are looking for students who can embrace challenges, and have a passion for creativity and problem-solving whilst being able to learn from failure in a supportive environment. We value critical thinking, imagination, and time management skills as essential qualities for pioneering and driving innovation to diverse range of industries.

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What skills we teach
During your time on our product design and management course, you will learn a comprehensive range of skills, including CAD proficiency, ideation tools for innovation, user-centered design, hand and digital sketching, prototype development, practical testing, model-making (3D printing/foam/clay), teamwork, communication, technical problem-solving, and critical thinking. Our program equips students with the multidisciplinary toolkit needed to excel in the ever-evolving field of product design and management.

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Placement year
We offer a highly encouraged placement year as part of the product design and management course. Previous students have successfully completed placements with renowned companies such as Cadbury, IBM, and Caterpillar, helping them to establish crucial industry connections. This valuable experience enriches your practical skills, enhances your employability, and provides real-world insights into diverse sectors, making you industry-ready upon graduation.

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Career prospects
The career prospects for our product design and management course are hugely varied and rich in exciting opportunities. Previous year graduates have secured positions at esteemed companies such as LR (surfacing design), Seymour Powell, Dyson, Mattel (game design), and Cancer Research. The course also opens doors to managerial and leadership roles where design plays a central role.

How you will learn

This course adopts a unique teaching style, with no exams and a 100% coursework assessment approach. Teaching is predominantly conducted in studios with project-based formats, emphasising practical and applied learning. You will benefit from a sense of community which is highlighted by a private, 24/7 access design studio. While theory-based lectures are also included, you will primarily focus on hands-on, experiential learning.

There is a vast amount of exciting extracurricular activities for you to partake in when studying the Product Design and Management course with us. These include involvement in Engineering Without Borders, participation in the Formula Student team (racing at Silverstone), opportunities through Design Factory Birmingham for summer internships and live industry projects, engaging in Design Live challenges with paid company briefs, joining societies like WEST/CAD/Engineering, being a member of the Industry Club, and showcasing design-focused final year projects at the annual Aston Inspire Design Show.

What you will learn

Driven by the needs of industry and individuals, our course provides you with a comprehensive understanding of key product design and management concepts and an ability to critically analyse these, alongside the opportunity to specialise in areas of product design that interest you.

First year

During your first year, you will develop and enhance your design and management skills through project-based learning, with a focus on both creative and technical aspects. Collaborative group work projects with engineers offer practical experience, with a particular highlight of building a car to race around campus.

Second year

For your second year, you will further refine your digital design skills, including advanced CAD techniques. The curriculum also offers specialized modules that allow you to delve into the distinct areas of product design management, providing a comprehensive and focused learning experience.

Placement year

You will gain a greater understanding of the career paths, opportunities, and typical working life in the field area you chose to specialise in. As well as a deeper understanding of the working world you will create strong industry connections and depth to your portfolio/CV ready to tackle employment and recruitment upon completion of your course.

Final year

For your final year you will undertake an individual project, dedicating your year to its development. Your remaining time at Aston University focuses on technical and theory-based studies, allowing you to delve deeper into Product Design and Management whilst applying your knowledge to real-world scenarios.

Product Design

Product Design graduate to IBM

Teodora talks about her experience at Aston

Facilities

We’re proud to boast world-class facilities that enrich our product design and management course no end. The design studio provides a collaborative and creative environment available to all design students 24/7 throughout the year, equipped with Wacom tablets, students can engage in interactive sketching. The model shop offers 3D printing capabilities, laser cutting, and water jet cutting for diverse project needs. Additionally, our wood shop facilitates hands-on craftsmanship and material exploration. These top-notch facilities will empower you to bring your design ideas to life with precision and innovation. 

Course objectives

  1. Provides you with appropriately structured curricula, combining teaching and learning in theoretical design issues with practical skills training.
  2. Provides you with an up-to-date and professionally focussed curriculum; and offers you the opportunity to obtain relevant industrial experience by providing the option of a sandwich placement year.
  3. Provides you with a grounding in the principles of design management in technology, manufacturing, and concept development.
  4. Provides you with additional business and management content in market, intellectual property and product development management.
  5. Prepares you to be highly valued by a range of employers in both the product design and business management sectors.

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Year 1 modules

In your first year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Introduction to Engineering and Design30
Design Practice30
Design Fundamentals30
Engineering Principles 115
Engineering Practice15
Total120

Year 1 outcomes 

On successful completion of the first year, you will be able to:

  • Be able to demonstrate the basic mathematics, science and technology underpinning management and product design.
  • Have the knowledge of fundamental concepts, principles and methodologies of product design.
  • Be able to utilise basic design techniques appropriate to managers in the engineering and design sectors.
  • Be able to demonstrate the ability to select, test and exploit materials and manufacturing processes in the synthesis of product design solutions.
  • Be able to demonstrate the ability to analyse and solve simple design problems.
  • Be able to demonstrate the ability to evaluate and integrate information from a variety of sources.

Year 2 modules

In your second year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Design and Engineering for the User30
Design Studio30
Design Management and Innovation15
Product, Market and Intellectual Property15
Digital Design Skills15
Product Experience15
Total120

Year 2 outcomes 

On successful completion of the second year, you will be able to:

  • Be able to demonstrate visual literacy and use proprietary CAD/CAM packages including 3D solid modelling.
  • Be able to utilise analytical skills using a range of IT and CAD based software.
  • Be able to demonstrate modelling skills using appropriate prototyping processes.
  • Be able to demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate a complicated design problem, and create a solution to the design problem (being aware of business constraints and environmental impact) and evaluate the design and make improvements. 
  • Be able to demonstrate the ability to balance engineering constraints with the design intent 
  • Be able to demonstrate the ability to explain design management and management activities around design and to evaluate basic design strategy and business elements. 

Placement year modules

If you opt for an integrated placement year, you will spend your third year on placement. You will be fully supported throughout the process by our award-winning Careers and Placements team.

Placement Year

Module TitleCredits
EPS Placement Year120

Placement year outcomes

On successful completion of the placement year, you will be able to:

  • Develop an understanding of business and the relevant commercial environment and/or intercultural study and their role within it.
  • Gain knowledge of key aspects of good practice relevant to industry and/or intercultural study context..
  • Develop new knowledge and understanding appropriate to the industrial, business, study or research sector related to degree programme..
  • Communicate effectively in a variety of ways in a professional and industrial environment and/or in an intercultural study context.

Final year modules

In your final year, you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Product Design Final Year Project60
Advanced Design Management and Innovation15
Design Competitions15
Professional Preparation for Industry15
Total120

Final Year Outcomes 

On successful completion of the final year, you will be able to:

  • Use fundamental concepts, theories, principles and methodologies of product design into the problem-solving process. 
  • Demonstrate creativity, consultancy, time and resource management and user-centred problem-solving skills.
  • Demonstrate the ability to learn independently and to facilitate professional development.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the role of the designer in society including professional skills, ethics and sustainability.
  • Acquire design management and design practice skills. 

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 a science or technical subject
    BCC including a science or technical subject (with an EPQ or Core Maths* at grade B)
    CCC including a science or technical subject (contextual offer)

  • Science and technical subjects accepted include: Art and Design, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Further Maths, Biology, Design Technology, Engineering Science 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 Maths.
  • 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 (science/technical/engineering types): DDM
  • Extended Diploma in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering with an overall grade of Distinction
  • National Diploma and Diploma (science/technical/engineering types): DM plus 1 A-level at minimum Grade B
  • Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering with an overall grade of Distinction plus an A-Level in any subject grade C OR achieve overall grade Distinction plus a BTEC Sub Dip/ Extended National Cert in any subject at grade Merit
  • Foundation or 90 credits Diploma (science/ technical/ engineering types): DM plus 2 A-level minimum grade B 
  • Foundation or 90 credits Diploma (any subject): DM plus 2 A-level minimum grade B including a science or technical subject.
  • National Extended Certificate or Subsidiary Diploma (science/ technical/ engineering types): M plus 2 A-level minimum Grade B
  • National Extended Certificate or Subsidiary Diploma (any subject): M plus 2 A-level minimum Grade B including a science or technical subject.
  • Certificate/ National Certificate Level 3: Not accepted.
  • 29 overall points with 5, 5, 4 in Higher Level subjects including a science or technical subject at Level 5. 

     


     

Subject related Access (science or technical) with at least 30 Distinctions and 15 Merits at level 3.

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: 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 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.

The following T levels are accepted qualifications for this course:

  • Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction Grade D
  • Digital Production, Design and Development Grade D
  • Building Services Engineering for Construction Grade D
  • Onsite Construction Grade D
  • Digital Business Services Grade D
  • Digital Support Services Grade D
  • Health Grade D
  • Healthcare Science Grade D
  • Science Grade D
  • 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 Maths Grade C/4 and English Grade C/4 and above

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

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

Students in our product design and management course are assessed solely through coursework, with no exams. The assessments are predominantly project-based, allowing you to apply your skills and knowledge to real-world design challenges. Assessment methods may include the development of portfolios, practical project deliverables, presentations, and other creative outputs that showcase your abilities and achievements.

Career prospects

Our graduate prospects for our product design and management students are vast and hugely exciting. Previous graduates have excelled at renowned companies such as Bentley Motors Concepts, Gas Data Limited, Fitch, Invizil, IBM, Samsung, Goodfish Ltd, DK, Elestial, and Gilroy. These roles span across design engineering, UX/UI design, product management, technical sales support, and digital design, reflecting the diverse and promising career prospects available for 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 Product Design and Management at Aston?

If you want to develop the skills and experience you need to build a successful career in product design, which combines a thorough understanding of engineering and design principles alongside practical project work and a solid foundation in marketing and management, this could be the course for you. 

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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