Product Design and Management BSc (Hons)

Course overview

Entry requirements

  • A level (2020 entry)
    BBB - BBC, including a science or technical subject.
  • BTEC national diploma
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma
    29 overall points with 5, 5, 4 in Higher Level subjects including a science or technical subject.
  • Further requirements
    GCSE Maths Grade C/4 and English Grade C/4 and above.
More information
Apply via UCAS

Key Dates

  • Start date
  • Open Days
    Our next Open Day is taking place on:
    Saturday 23rd November
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Placement Stories: Mandeep, BSc Product Design & Management

Placement stories from 4th year students of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Aston University. Mandeep worked for McDonalds in the Operations, Training and Equipment Team during her placement.

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

Accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED)

Engineering at Aston is rated grade 5 for research

Integrated placement year

Course summary

Recent graduate destinations include design or technical roles for companies such as Worcester Bosch, Mondelez International, Reed, Pentaxia, and Capgemini.

Entry requirements and fees for 2020

Entry requirements

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

UCAS Code: H773


£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

Please note:

GCSE requirements: Maths Grade C/4 and English Grade C/4 and above

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 future webpage.

All applicants will be invited to an Applicant Visit Day.

Typical offer level:

A levels 

BBB-BBC including a science or technical subject.

A Design, Art or Creative A Level is desired but not essential. (For those students who do not have formal qualifications in these subjects, a discretionary process where examples of work are provided can be arranged.) 

General Studies accepted.


  • Extended Diploma and National Extended Diploma (Science/Technical/Engineering types): DDM
  • National Diploma and Diploma (Science/Technical/Engineering types): DD plus 1 A-level at minimum Grade B.
  • National Diploma and Diploma (any subject): DD plus 1 A-level at minimum Grade B in science or technical subject.
  • Foundation or 90 credits Diploma (any subject): DD plus 2 A-level minimum grade B including a science or technical subject.
  • National Extended Certificate or Subsidiary Diploma (any subject): D plus 2 A-level minimum Grade B including a science or technical subject.
  • Certificate/ National Certificate Level 3: Not accepted

International Baccalaureate Diploma

29 overall points with 5, 5, 4 in Higher Level subjects including a science or technical subject. 

Access to Higher Education

Subject related Access with at least 30 Distinctions and 15 Merits at level 3


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: 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 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

Are you passionate about new ideas? Do you get excited when you discuss what you would like to make? To design is to create something new. This requires innovative thinking. Looking at products do you sometimes say “I could have designed this better”? 

Do you want to work in an innovative and enterprising arena that would challenge your creative and problem-solving abilities? Our Product Design programmes offer all these opportunities. 

The management of Product Design is a rapidly developing career. You will acquire business management skills together with other Product Design modules. 

Subject guide and modules

In the School of Engineering and Applied Science we aim to develop a new generation of creative product designers with knowledge, skills and ideas that will be valued by all sectors of design, development, production and business. This aim is achieved by providing project driven degree programmes that include creative thinking and design visualisation, in parallel with studies in engineering science, materials and manufacturing and the management of innovation.

All our first year programmes give you a grounding in the principles of Product Design together with flexibility to change streams at the end of the first year to reflect your own design interests.

In the second and final year you will experience a common core of six design modules to support your specialist stream of four subject specific modules. In addition you will develop design projects that integrate your design specialism with the core aspects of Product Design.

Our design courses are stimulating, relevant, challenging and rewarding. We aim to provide you with the knowledge of materials, production processes and technology as well as skills in aesthetics, ergonomics and management that will enable you to develop a successful career in design. These aims include:

  • developing your understanding of the significance of design to the profitability of business, commerce and the economy as a whole
  • continual development of relevant skills including presentation, ICT and team working which are sought after by employers
  • expanding your knowledge, confidence, professional values and attitudes essential for a successful career in Product Design

Year 1


  • Design & Experimentation 
  • Prototyping & Development 
  • Design Fundamentals 
  • Engineering Principles 1
  • Engineering Practice

Year 2


  • Design and Engineering for the User 
  • Design Studio
  • Digital Design Skills
  • Product Experience 
  • Design Management and Innovation
  • Property, Market and Intellectual Property

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


  • Product Design Final Year Project 
  • Advanced Product Experience 
  • Professional Preparation for Industry 
  • Design Competitions 
  • Advanced Design  Management and Innovation
Learning, teaching and assessment

Our programme consists of core case studies and projects, and many of these are team-based and simulate product development in the working world. You will undertake individual projects throughout your studies, creating a balance between group and individual work. There are also opportunities to undertake projects that have industrial partners.

The programme encompasses analytical material provided through lectures, tutorials, labs and directed study, to ensure you have a solid understanding of engineering principles. Additional lectures and seminars provided by specialists from industry will support your learning. 

You will be assessed by a combination of coursework, case studies, design projects and in class tests.

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 the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED). iED logo

Career prospects

Past Aston graduates have succeed in careers in design, general management and consultancy, technology, engineering and education (e.g. teaching). Our students are able to demonstrate creative design skills alongside sound technical knowledge and experience, which employers consider to be an advantage.

Recent graduate destinations include design or technical roles for companies such as Laing, Goodrich, Husio International, The Eden Project, J Engineering, SMK, The Marketing Company, Sainsbury’s, TNA Europe, Hives, Rolls Royce and Calsonic Kansei.
Recent graduate roles include:

  • Design engineers
  • CAD specialists
  • Management trainees
  • Further study in Industrial Design
  • General management, education and administration
Facilities and equipment

You will have access to the Adobe Suite of programmes such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign in dedicated design studio. Surface modelling uses Solidworks or Alias and Keyshot for product rendering. Model making workshop facilities typically include CNC milling, turning and laser cutting together with rapid prototyping machines. We also have a 'maker lab' with 3D printing facilities and extensive laboratories to demonstrate engineering and manufacturing principles.

Teaching staff

Miss Elaine Mackie
Undergraduate Programme Director: Product Design 
Elaine joined Aston’s School of Engineering and Applied Science at the beginning of 2016, having previously been a Senior Lecturer in Automotive and Transport Design within the School of Art and Design at Coventry University. Prior to that she was a Senior Designer at Atkins Rail and Vehicle Designer at Interfleet Technology (which has been part of the SNC-Lavalin Group since 2011).

Dr Becky Mallaband
Senior Lecturer in Product Design
Becky is a lecturer in Product Design and has been based at Aston University, in the Mechanical Engineering and Design department since 2015, having previously been a Research Associate and Lecturer in the Loughborough Design School. Her research and expertise are in the area of User Centred Design and much of her research has been conducted in the Domestic Energy domain.   

Dr Timothy Whitehead 
Lecturer in Product Design 
Timothy joined Aston University is 2017 having previously been a programme leader of Digital Product Design and at De Montfort University. He has previous experience as an industrial designer and works on research relating to the design of products for low income economies.

Dr Gareth Thomson 
Gareth joined Aston University in January 2009, having previously been the course director of the Mechanical Engineering course at the University of Dundee. In his time at Dundee he was involved in not only the Mechanical Engineering programme but also set up a joint Product Design degree with Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Prior to this he was a researcher involved in laser applications at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.  

Dr Philip Davies  
Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering 
Philip Davies is a member of the Sustainable Environment Research Group.  His main research activities are in developing renewable and efficient energy systems and in the treatment of water for drinking and sanitation.  Philip has held appointments at the University of Oxford, the Universidad Politécnica in Madrid, the University of Warwick, and in manufacturing and consulting companies. He holds a B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College, London, and D.Phil from the University of Oxford.  

Dr Mark Prince  
Head of Mechanical Engineering
Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering 
Mark is a former Aston graduate with experience in mechanical design and analysis.  His research interests are in ophthalmic and medical device development and he has experience in designing microsystems for biological structure interfacing, and exploiting vision technologies. Mark has expertise in 3D computer solid modelling, rapid prototyping and rapid manufacture, computer aided engineering, electronic/mechatronic design, and optical and contact microscopy and imaging techniques.

Dr Laura Leslie 
Head of Group, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering

Laura teaches on the CDIO modules and the first year Engineering Science module. Her research interests include Biomaterials and medical device testing, the interaction between artificial implants and the human body and Alternatives to animal testing

Mr David Smith  
Teaching Fellow 

Dr David Upton  
Industrial Placement Officer

Mr Jon Hewitt  
Visiting Teaching Fellow 
As a practicing designer, Jon brings day to day experience from the commercial world into the learning environment at Aston. His work affords opportunities to design for differing consumer markets and demographics, working with varied sizes of company and studios globally.  Jon's students benefit from this industry exposure in terms of learning approaches that are focussed on creating relevant, compelling and meaningful product experiences. 

Mr John Owen
Teaching Fellow

John's main area of industrial experience has been associated with ‘styling’ in the automotive industries, representing designs in three-dimensional form using high level computing and automotive clay modeling techniques. He has collaborated in producing concept vehicles, hybrid vehicles and devising training programmes for designers for a range of large and niche car companies.

Contact us

EAS Undergraduate Admissions Office
+44 (0)121 204 3400

What's it like to study at Aston?

I’ve loved the opportunity for collaboration between students and staff. The placement year was also really valuable.

Alex Perkins

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