Mini robot designed by student


Product Design Technology (with Foundation Year)

Please note the tariff points stated for this course are indicative. The tariff points for 2018 will be published by August 2017.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Architecture and the Built Environment
Four years full-time; five years sandwich
Full-time; sandwich
Programme leader:
Wendy Colvin
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 28 June 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.

The products of design surround us, from the everyday objects we use to the spaces we occupy both inside and outside.  There are many design disciplines which practice at a variety of scales to form our human environment. Through developing your design process and understanding at a variety of scales in your first year, you will be better equipped for your chosen degree.

Why Study Our Course?

On this BSc(Hons) Product Design Technology 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:



Foundation year (Year zero)

You will study the Foundation year alongside students from our other Architecture and Product Design courses, and so you may be able to transfer to a course in one of these areas at the end of the Foundation year.

  • Foundation Mathematics: Algebra and Calculus
  • Foundation Design Communication
  • Foundation Design Studio
  • Foundation Design History.

The normal expectation is that you must pass all Year zero modules before progressing to Year one.

Year one

This 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 two

You will develop understanding of human-centred design, innovative design process, CAD, materials and manufacturing, as well as 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 with 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. Each element of this aims to develop your portfolio to market yourself in product design, design engineering, or the diverse creative technology industry.

  • Individual Project Product Design
  • Design Research Methods
  • Product Design Studio 3
  • Mechanical Design

In addition, you will study one optional module from the list below:

  • Design in Practice
  • Workbased Research Project.

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 Bristol 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 course places considerable emphasis on hands-on project based learning. Teaching methods are varied depending on the module; lectures, project work and tutorials all have a part.

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


For your foundation year assessment is achieved through a balance of coursework and examinations. Examinations are held in either January or May/June. Coursework will be a variety of essays, reports, surveys, design projects, teamwork or progress tests.

From Year 1 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.


Professional accreditation

This course is accredited by 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 smaller 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 Bristol has to offer.

Learn from industry

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

Boost your skills

There are lots of opportunities for you to meet and socialise with like-minded students. We have thriving Architecture Societies, which arrange regular lectures, socials and fieldtrips. Some of our students also get involved helping develop the infrastructure in third world countries through initiatives like Engineers without Borders.

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.

Graduates 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.


Indicative Additional Costs

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

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

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: 88
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C or above, or Grade 4 under newly reformed GCSE grading, 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: No specific subjects required. Points from General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of one A-Level.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; no specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

The 'Typical offers' information above is only for full-time students entering the foundation year.

We are happy to consider applicants with a mixture of A levels and BTEC qualifications.

We welcome applications from highly motivated students who do not meet the usual entrance requirements given above, but who have gained equivalent knowledge and skills from substantial relevant work or other experience.

Students who expect to achieve a higher tariff score may also be interested in our BSc(Hons) Product Design Technology course.

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.

Please read the general information about entry requirements.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

You might also like

Back to top