Product Design Technology


Product Design Technology

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Architecture and the Built Environment
Four years sandwich; three years full-time
Full-time, Sandwich
Programme leader:
Phil Bommer
Key fact:
Learn how to design great products that work beautifully. Study on a friendly and creative course with tutors who are highly experienced professional designers.

Page last updated 11 September 2017


Why study BSc(Hons) Product Design Technology?

Combining creativity and practicality, product design technology bridges the gap between product design and design engineering. It focuses on the ability to create innovative new concepts and transform them in to real working products.

Why study our course?

On this course, you will develop the creativity, skills and confidence to take new and exciting concepts and transform them into real working products. Learning from friendly tutors with extensive industry expertise, you will work on a series of projects. These involve examining real problems, developing an understanding of people and their needs, and then developing innovative solutions. You will then develop these through concept sketching, making working prototypes, engineering analysis, CAD, design for manufacture and beyond.

Real world experience

As you progress, you will work on design briefs for live projects for a range of industry clients. In previous years, these have included Jaguar Landrover, Dremel Bosch, Omlet and Virgin Marussia Formula 1. You will have the opportunity to take part in exhibitions and grow your network at industry presentations.

Where it can take you

On graduation, your in-depth understanding of technology, sustainability, materials, and the ability to solve human-centred design problems will equip you for a range of careers. Most of our graduates go straight into jobs in design and product development for design consultancies or in-house design teams for manufacturers and major brands. Others have been inspired to launch their own products or establish themselves as freelance design consultants.

Accreditations and partnerships:



Year 1

The first year lays a foundation in the skills for a professional designer, through tutorials and design projects. Including 3D design, sketching, concept generation, presentation skills, CAD skills, practical workshop skills and understanding how products work.

  • Product Design Studio 1
  • Mechanisms and Structures
  • Design Communication
  • Graphic Design
  • Design in Context

Year 2

You will develop understanding of human-centred design, innovative design process, CAD, materials and manufacturing, and technical skills such as using computational stress analysis to design structure of products.

  • Product Design Technology Studio 2
  • Product Design Engineering
  • Product CAD
  • Materials and Processes
  • Physical Computing

Optional Placement Year

Students who undertake a placement year must complete an industrial placement module. We will provide you assistance to develop your portfolio and CV, helping you to get the placement you want.

Final Year

You will work on a range of studio based projects, often working with real companies (Brabantia, Dremel, Bloodhound and Piper Moto), on real briefs, to tight deadlines. Culminating in an individual major project to research, design and develop a product. All working to develop your portfolio to market yourself in product design, design engineering or the diverse creative technology industry where your passion will continue to grow.

  • Individual Project Product Design
  • Design Research Methods
  • Product Design Studio 3
  • Mechanical Design
  • One optional module from the list below:

Optional modules

  • Design in Practice
  • Industrial Placement

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

The design lecturers all came to UWE following years of professional practice within the design industry, therefore the teaching always has an emphasis towards professional practice and preparing students for careers in design.

The Product Design Technology degree places considerable emphasis on hands-on project based learning.

For more details see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Percentage of time spend in different learning activities, per year.

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check


Assessment is based predominantly on project work and the presentation of a portfolio of design and development studies. Four modules have assessment which includes conventional examinations.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.

Percentage of time spend in different assessment methods, per year.

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check


Professional accreditation

This degree has been accredited as fulfilling the requirements for membership of the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED).


Students who do a work placement are more likely to graduate with a better degree and get higher quality work on graduation. So as well as helping hone your professional skills, industry knowledge and network, a placement will make you highly employable on graduation.

We have many placement opportunities for students in the UK and Europe, the US and China. Past students have worked for in-house design teams, design consultancies and manufacturers. These were with companies such as Opel cars, Disney, Omlet, Kinneir Dufort, Trunki, Mathmos, Mira Kohler and many small design firms.


Annual field trips to destinations such as Barcelona or Milan Design Festival inspire students to learn more about the state of the art in design.

Study facilities

Our facilities are designed to simulate industry and stimulate creativity.

  • Brainstorm concepts in our dedicated Design Studio.
  • Learn industry-standard CAD software in modern computer labs.
  • Make models and prototypes using 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC routers, in our Product Design Workshop.

Let our Product Design students show you where you'll be studying.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.

Learn from industry

To give you industry insight we arrange for professional designers to come and present guest lectures. We also arrange for employers to provide help with CV writing, portfolio reviews and interview techniques.

Showcase your work

Our students regularly showcase their final year projects to family and friends as well as regional employers at the annual degree show. Take a look at some of our students' exhibits on Tumblr.

Graduates also exhibit at the annual New Designers exhibition in London where awards and media interest are a springboard for graduate careers. 


Careers / Further study

On graduation, there are career opportunities available all over the world. These are in a range of creative professions including: product design; industrial design; design engineering; user experience; graphic or web design; teaching; and exhibition and packaging design. Many graduates have also been inspired to launch their own products or establish themselves as freelance design consultants.

We have strong links with local companies who also provide graduate employment opportunities. Most of our graduates go straight into jobs in design and product development for design consultancies or in-house design teams for manufacturers and major brands.

Award-winning Careers Service

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and initiatives nurturing talent and innovation, you will have opportunities to gain valuable real world experience, allowing you to graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Visit our Employability pages to find out about careers, employers, real world experience and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

Be inspired

Read how Product Design graduate Will was shortlisted for a James Dyson Award for his therapeutic hand massager designs.

Read how Product Design graduates, Matt, Doug and Neil designed fairground rides for Gravitron.


Full time course

FeesAmount (£)
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594

Full time course with placement year

FeesAmount (£)
International-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year12750
International-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594
International-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1594
International-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year11156

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year300

Supplementary fee information

The additional costs listed are those that students could reasonably expect to incur during their studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.

For information about funding for undergraduate courses see our funding pages.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 112
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C/4 or above in English Language and Mathematics, or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • A-level subjects: One from the following: Art; Biology; Chemistry; Computing/Computer Science; Design and Technology; Electronics; Engineering; ICT; Maths/Further Maths; Music Technology; Physics; Product Design; Statistics. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of two A-Levels.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: One of the following BTEC Diplomas: Aeronautical Engineering; Applied Science; Art and Design; Construction and the Built Environment; Creative Media Production; Electrical / Electronic Engineering; Engineering; Land-based Technology; Manufacturing Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Operations and Maintenance Engineering; Production Arts; or similar.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; to include 15 level 3 credits at merit in one of the following: Art; Design and Technology; Mathematics; Product Design; or similar.
  • Baccalaureate IB: To include a pass at higher level in one of: Design Technology; Mathematics; Visual Arts; or similar

Entry requirements

This course is for those without specialist mathematical and scientific expertise and education beyond GCSE but who, nonetheless, have a strong interest in technology and desire to pursue a career in this area.

If you don't meet the entry requirements of this course, you may be eligible for Foundation Year entry into this or other related degree courses.

Applicants who have successfully completed an Arts Foundation course are welcomed.

In addition to the 'typical offer' given here, please read the general information about entry requirements.

UWE Bristol's International College
International students who do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

Advice on submitting portfolio

Once UWE  has received your UCAS application, we may ask you to give us access to an online portfolio. Once we have received the links (URLs) to your portfolio, Product Design lecturers will review your application and portfolio. We may also ask applicants for a telephone interview, to discuss their applications and portfolios in more detail.

What to include in your portfolio:

Your portfolio should be a selection of your artwork, drawings, sketchbook pages, photographs, models, design work, etc, that reflect the range of your abilities, your creative process, and your interest in the course that you have applied for. 

  • Your portfolio should include finished work, and also work in progress to show your working process, such as sketchbook work or development sheets.
  • It should include an introduction or cover page. Then the first project should be your best or most recent work.
  •  It should definitely include hand drawing; both observational and ideation sketching.
  • You can include you course work, sketchbooks, photographs, drawings, paintings, models, prototypes, sculptures, digital artwork, websites, links to videos anything that supports your application.
  • Your portfolio is likely to be made up predominately of the Art or Product Design projects you have undertaken on your current or most recent course of study. We are also very interested in seeing projects, interests and passions outside of your school work.
  • It should visually communicate who you are, show what excites and interests you, what you consider to be good design, and why.
  • Staff are interested to see how your ideas and development work, these show how you think, much more than just the finished design.
  • If you feel you need some extra content, you could set yourself a '1 hour design challenge'.
  • In general a portfolio is about visual communication rather than written communication. Try to minimise writing; where necessary add a title, and a few sentences for each image, explaining the project to a viewer.
  • Presentation is very important, a portfolio should be well organised, clear and well presented.
  • Amount: Your online portfolio should showcase approximately 10-15 projects spread over 15 - 20 pages (equivalent to A3 or larger pages).

General portfolio advice:

Your portfolio should show a high level of commitment to your studies and evidence of fundamental design skills. We are looking for enthusiasm for your chosen subject, strong visual communication skills, evidence of problem-solving, clear working procedures showing the development of your ideas, experience in a range of different media and materials - 2D and 3D, and an awareness of contemporary designers and the history of design.

For more advice and examples, ask your current teacher or lecturer for assistance and web search keywords such as 'Product Design portfolios' 'Industrial Design portfolios' or 'how to make a product design portfolio'. Please don't feel intimidated by the high levels of skill and design ability shown in professional portfolios online, We don't expect applicants to match professionals that's what you come to university to learn.

It takes a lot of time to prepare a good design portfolio and making one is a great learning opportunity; it showcases your ability and is very rewarding.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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