Design Engineering BEng (Hons)

Course overview

  • Course level
  • Course type
  • Duration
    3 years full-time / 4 years full-time with integrated placement year
  • Course options
    Integrated placement, Optional placement year
  • UCAS code(s)
  • School

Entry requirements

  • A levels (2020 entry)
    BBB-BBC to include Maths and a physical science or technology subject (e.g. Physics, Electronics, Computer Science).
  • BTEC
    DDM. Distinction (D) grade in both Mathematics and Further Mathematics for Engineering Technician units within your BTEC Extended Diploma in Engineering.
  • International Baccalaureate
    31 overall points with 5, 5, 5 in Higher Level subjects, including Higher Level Maths and Physics.
  • GCSE
    English Grade C/4 or above and Maths Grade C/4 or above
More information
Apply via UCAS

Key Dates

  • Start date
  • Open Days
    Our next Open Day is taking place on:
    Saturday 23rd November

Ranked Top 10 in the UK for Graduate Prospects (Complete University Guide 2018)

Accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)

Integrated placement year

Gain specialist knowledge and skills to kickstart your career in design engineering

Course summary

Recent graduates found positions in companies including BAE Systems, Army/Royal Air Force, Nissan, Jaguar, and EDF Energy.

Entry Requirements & Fees for 2020

Entry requirements 

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

UCAS Code: H150

Please note:

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

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.

 Whilst the grades listed here are our entry requirements, we understand that predicted grades are only an estimate. We will therefore consider applicants with predicted grades of CCC if the application is of a high standard which includes a strong personal statement and academic reference. However, any offer made will not be lower than stated below.

More on Admissions Policy

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. For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.

Applicants receiving offers are invited to an Applicant Visit Day.

Tuition fees:

£9,250 (£1,250 during placement year) for UK/EU students (2020/21)                             

£19,400* for Outside EU students (2020/21) 
Placement Year: £2,500 for International Students

*Tuition fees are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

More on fees

Typical offer level 

A level

BBB-BBC to include Maths and a physical science or technology subject (e.g. Physics, Electronics, Computer Science).


Extended Diploma and National Extended Diploma (Science/Technical/Engineering types): DDM including the following units and at Distinction: Mathematics for Engineering Technicians, Further Mathematics for Engineering Technicians, Mechanical/Electrical Principles, Further Mechanical/Electricial Principles.

National Diploma and Diploma (Science/Technical/Engineering types): DD including the following units and at Distinction: Mathematics for Engineering Technicians, Further Mathematics for Engineering Technicians, Mechanical/Electrical Principles, Further Mechanical/Electricial Principles, plus 1 A-level at a minimum Grade B.

Foundation or 90 credits Diploma (any subject): DD plus 2 A-levels including Maths and a physical science or technology subject at a minimum grade B 

National Extended Certificate or Subsidiary Diploma (any subject): D plus 2 A-level Maths and a physical science or technology subject Grade B.

Certificate/ National Certificate Level 3: Not accepted

International Baccalaureate

31 overall points with 5, 5, 5 in Higher Level subjects, including Higher Level Maths and Physics.

Access to Higher Education

Subject related Access with at least 30 Distinctions and 15 Merits at level 3 including only Distinctions in Mathematics and Physics

Non-standard qualifications


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 

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Course outline

We believe our students should be supported as you develop into inquisitive and enthusiastic problem solvers. Using a range of underpinning knowledge and technical skills, you will be able to tackle problems faced by industry today and into the future.

Design show10

Our programmes introduce a full range of core engineering science modules coupled to practical projects, ensuring a highly integrated and industry-relevant degree programme.

As a design engineer you can expect to work in taking concepts from initial ideas to commercial reality over a range of sectors including consumer products, the automotive sector and industrial systems.

From your first year you'll be working on major projects, often in partnership with commercial engineering companies. You will work with colleagues, staff and engineers from industry to develop real solutions to live problems.

Subject guide & modules

Our degree programmes are driven by the demands of industry to produce graduates with extremely strong engineering and scientific skills coupled to strong skills in project management, team work and commercial awareness.

Our BEng degrees are either a 3-year full-time or 4-year sandwich programme incorporating a year of relevant professional experience. The first year of our programme encompasses a broad study of the fundamental disciplines of mechanical engineering. These feature academic classes in engineering science and mathematics combined with large integrated projects to embed the learning in practical settings. In the projects we expect you to use and develop your skills and we help you understand new technology and concepts. You reflect industry practice and work in groups taking products from initial concept to built and tested prototype.

Your second year follows on with a similar structure of academic classes coupled to major group projects however the focus very much shifts from developing your basic skills to preparing you to become a professional engineer. This year also introduces modules specifically tailored to improving your commercial design awareness. You can then enter your placement or final year well equipped to meet all that will be demanded of you. Your final year features a major project, involving design, experimental or analytical work can also be tailored to suit your own interests.

The flexible structure of our degrees enables transfer between Mechanical and ElectroMechanical and Design Engineering programmes after first year. You can also transfer between full-time and placement programmes up to the end of second year.

The broad basis of our programme, together with the possibilities for specialisation, will make you attractive to employers from a wide spectrum of industries.

Year 1


  • Design and Experimentation 
  • Prototyping and Development 
  • Electronic Engineering Foundations
  • Engineering Science
  • Engineering Mathematics 1

Year 2


  • Engineering Mathematics 2
  • Engineering Materials 1 
  • Solid Mechanics 
  • Dynamics and Control Systems 
  • Design and Engineering for the User 
  • Engineering for Industry
  • Digital Design Skills
  • Industrial Product Design

Year 3 - Optional placement year

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

  • EAS Study Placement Year 
  • EAS Industrial Placement Year 
  • EAS Study/Work Placement Year 

Final Year


  • Energy Efficiency
  • Design Failure Analysis
  • Final Year Project 
  • Advanced Dynamics and Control Systems 
  • Advanced Systems Design 
  • Solid Mechanics and Finite Element Analysis 
  • Engineering Design and the Environment
  • Advanced Industrial Product Design
Learning, teaching & assessment

You will benefit from a wide range of teaching methods and learning styles, including:

  • hands-on practical project classes
  • lectures, tutorials and seminars
  • video and computer-aided learning
  • lab classes and project work
  • a strong personal tutor system

Assessment is by a combination of exams, continuous assessment and projects. Students are also able to take part in major projects such as the Formula Student Racing Car Project, at which Aston teams have enjoyed a strong track record.

CDIO (Conceive, Develop, Implement and Operate)

We want to ensure our students engage in practical project-based work, learning through doing and creating things. We use the CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement and Operate) to make this happen. 

The CDIO philosophy aims to develop students into successful and impactful engineers and designers by building on their practical engineering skills, social awareness, team and project management abilities.

Our students work in small groups on practical projects relevant to real world engineering. Students from Mechanical Engineering, Design Engineering and Product Design disciplines work together to learn from each other's expertise. You will develop a broad skill set will enable you to solve problems and prepare you for a career in industry.

The CDIO philosophy is supported by 50 of the world’s top technical institutions, including Aston, who have gathered to share best teaching practice in what is known as the CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement & Operate) initiative. Universities we work with on this initiative include Liverpool and Queens (Belfast) in the UK, MIT and Purdue in the United States, Chalmers and the Danish Technical University in Scandinavia and Tsinghua in China.


Placement year

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.

Professional accreditation

This course is accredited by both the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) for the purpose of partially meeting the educational requirements of Chartered Engineer (CEng)


Career prospects

Our close links with industry and the broad basis of our degree programme ensures our students have excellent career opportunities upon graduating. You might want to go into careers in:

  • research, development and design
  • automotive engineering
  • manufacturing systems engineering
  • power generation
  • advanced technology and computer-aided design
  • accountancy, management, marketing
  • Navy, Army and RAF Officer training

Our graduates work for automotive, aerospace and electronics companies, pharmaceutical and chemical organisations and computer software houses. Our recent graduates found graduate engineer, and consultancy positions with companies including Corus, IMI Plc, Army/Royal Air Force, Yamazaki Mazak, Carillion, BOC, NTL, BAE Systems, Nissan, Lloyds TSB, Phillips, Jaguar, TRW and EDF Energy. 

Facilities and equipment

You will have access to state-of-the-art computing facilities, including CAD labs, numerically controlled machine tools, document production, research and self-tuition. You will develop your programming skills and use computers to solve engineering problems and to simulate and analyse engineering systems. 

The School of Engineering and Applied Science has invested heavily in the creation of state of-the-art computer laboratories. Our Mechanical Engineering and Product Design students have their own access to specific computer facilities for design.

Contact us

EAS Undergraduate Admissions Office

+44 (0)121 204 3400

What's it like to study at Aston?

Lecturers at Aston encourage you to challenge yourself and adopt a mature approach to your learning. Projects are focused on real world problem-solving, and they enhance the skills required to work in industry.

Amy Thomas

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