BEng (Hons) single honours Product Design Engineering with Foundation Year 2019/20

Year of entry

Clearing places available

Our Product Design Engineering BEng is for people interested in designing and improving the usability of everyday products – from hockey sticks to industrial fencing. This innovative course has been designed in collaboration with industry and you’ll have the excellent opportunity to work with a range of employers. The Foundation Year will prepare those who are changing careers or who require additional subject knowledge before studying at degree level and working in this exciting area.

Great news!

We’re building a new £60m Science, Engineering, Technology and Health facility on our main campus in Canterbury, equipped with the latest technology and bespoke learning spaces for our engineering students. We’re planning to open Building 2 in September 2020, with building work now well underway.

Are you keen to design and improve the usability of everyday products such as mobile phones and household appliances to meet the needs of the elderly, or redesign items so they are easier to recycle? If so, choose product design engineering.

The contribution of design engineers is key to a variety of industries designing a whole range of products and parts for mass manufacture, from hockey sticks to industrial fencing. Industry 4.0 technology has enabled engineering designers to creatively design and rapidly prototype bespoke products or test products for mass manufacture, shortening the time from initial concept to product ready for market.  

“We think a lot about design, but appearance always goes hand in hand with how something works."

Peter Gammack, Director of Design, Dyson, The Guardian 2016

This innovative course has been designed in collaboration with industry and you’ll have the excellent opportunity to work with a range of employers. We offer a truly immersive learning opportunity where you will work with your peers and other fields of engineering to apply your theoretical learning to solving industry supplied work related/work based problems. This course enables you to develop your science and maths knowledge to pursue your product design degree and also provides professional product design practice and the opportunity to build professional networks with industry.

Jonthan Ives’ (Apple's Design Chief) road to Apple was via product design engineering in the UK working on bathrooms fittings.

The Guardian, 2018

This course is particularly for you if you would like to contribute to designing products that are of benefit to all of society, for example, designing a robotic tool that can safely cut and pick broccoli in a field in all weather conditions. 

The BEng Product Design Engineering Degree with foundation year provides creative and talented students, career changers, or those with experience and passion for the subject, with a direct route to an engineering degree.

This course is for you if:

  • You didn’t continue to study science and maths beyond GCSE level, are doing well in your chosen post 16 studies and have the mindset and habits required for a career as a product design engineer.
  • Your career plan is to get into product design engineering and you need to strengthen your knowledge and understanding in science and maths.
  • It’s been a while since you last studied, particularly science and maths, and you would like to change career to become a product design engineer.

This four-year course starts with the foundation year, to help build your engineering skills and knowledge while preparing you for your engineering degree. During the foundation year you will build your knowledge, understanding and confidence in areas of applied mathematics, science and computer programming. You’ll gain the engineering skills and knowledge needed to study at BEng level where you’ll use the pioneering CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement and Operate) engineering education approach developed by MIT to tackle real product design problems for local industry.

We are one of only a handful of universities in the UK to offer the CDIO international engineering education model that allows you to learn in a practical, hands-on way to find solutions to industry related engineering challenges. You will have the opportunity to work with industry, appreciate the industry’s requirements and network with future potential graduate employers.

At the end of the Foundation Year, you will continue with the BEng Product Design Engineering and will be supported to develop your employability and job application skills. You will have the opportunity to apply for an optional placement to help yourself stand out in the job market and pursue graduate employment with large organisations such as Wire Belt Company, BAE Systems, Siemens and Cussons.

Whilst studying on the BEng course you will work with our BA Product Design students to develop your shared learning and conceive, design, rapid prototype build and evaluate a product to meet both a client’s functionality and form requirements.

This course equips you to be a practising professional graduate product design engineer and on completion of the BEng you will be on track to become an Incorporated Engineer (IEng).

Did you know, in the UK alone, there will be 1.86M new job openings for engineers by 2020.

IMechE 2016

During the foundation year, you will develop your fundamental knowledge and understanding of:

  • Applied engineering
  • Physics
  • Digital and analogue electronics
  • Mathematics (in context for product design engineering). 

Over the course of the BEng Product Design Engineering degree, the modules you study will build your knowledge of:

  • Applied physics and mathematics
  • Mechanical and material structural dynamics
  • Design for computer aided manufacture
  • Designing complex geometry
  • Material selection
  • Tool design
  • Human factors. 

Common themes embedded within the core modules include:

  • Engineering professional practice and development
  • Engineering’s role in society
  • Health and safety
  • Quality control
  • Legal, ethical, and environment regulations
  • Policy and practice
  • Employability development for placement and graduate roles.

As a product design engineer, you will be able to use your creative talents and flair to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team designing all kinds of products that meet customer requirements. You could work alongside manufacturing engineers, production engineers, maintenance engineers, service engineers and sales teams to innovate new products ranging from finding everyday packaging solutions to designing bespoke equipment for government departments and domestic markets. Examples of the work undertaken by practising product design engineers include:

  • Designing bathroom fittings for able, elderly and disabled users
  • Designing and prototyping parts for the Ministry of Defence to post fit to existing equipment
  • Designing exclusive street light housing and poles to European and Local heritage standards
  • Designing packaging solutions to protect products during the delivery process
  • Designing tools and fittings for CNC machines to aid mass production
  • Undertaking concept design and prototyping new products for market evaluation in the domestic home market
  • Designing and prototyping engineering toys for the domestic market.

As a graduate of product design engineering, you could be in demand by employers in a variety of other industries, for example:

  • Embedded systems suppliers, where product design engineers help to designing the casing for electronics such as laptop casing and WiFi router boxes.
  • Engineering fabrication workshops, where product design engineers design, manufacture and fabricate bespoke parts and prototypes for variety of customers.   
  • Financial organisations, where product design engineers use their skills in data processing and analytical strengths to carry out industry audits, accountancy and consultancy.
  • The legal sector, where product design engineers are sought after for technical reviewing, advising and approving patents.
This list represents possible career opportunities and in some cases you may be required to undertake further studies or gain relevant work experience and/or professional accreditation in order to pursue particular roles. Further academic study can enhance your career prospects and lead you to senior and specialist positions both within engineering and also teaching or research-related roles.


The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £6,575 £8,500
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £11,900

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

* The tuition fee of £9,250 relates to 2019/20 only. Please read the 2019/20 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2019/20 tuition fees and mid-course year on year fee increases.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

Travel There will also be additional costs incurred for possible visits to industrial facilities within Kent and at partner institutions in Europe.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

The first year of study is your foundation year (year 0) where you will study a range of engaging and inspiring modules. These modules will enable you to develop academic and practical skills that will build your confidence and equip you with the fundamental knowledge required to embark on your degree.

Each 20 credit module will typically consist of 20 hours of lectures, 40 hours of laboratory work and 10 hours of tutorials. Modules are led by senior lecturers, principal lecturers with laboratory learning supported by senior and junior technicians as well as postgraduate demonstrators.

As you progress with the BEng Product Design Engineering degree (levels 4 to 6) you will study a range of modules which (per module) will typically consist of 24 hours of lectures and 24 hours in laboratories/tutorials/workshops, depending on the individual module. For example, the Process Design 40 credit module could consist of 12 hours of lectures, 24 hours of tutorials and 48 hours in computing and chemical engineering laboratories.   

In addition to the structured teaching times, you will also be required to undertake self-study. The typical amount of time for all activities associated with one 20-credit module is 200 hours which is made up of class contact time in lectures, tutorials and workshops, laboratory sessions, module preparation, module learning contextualisation, assessment research, development and submission and examination revision.

To help develop your employability skills, additional drop-in academic and peer learning mentoring sessions may be timetabled to support you with developing skills and knowledge in specific topics.

The BEng modules are typically led by senior lecturers, principal lecturers and readers with laboratory learning supported by senior and junior technicians and postgraduate demonstrators. The academics are typically specialists and researchers in a particular field, for example, control and instrumentation or thermodynamics.

The foundation year will consist of coursework assessment and examinations. Coursework assessment will includes online tests, development of a laboratory book and scientific report, a laboratory practical and write up, and tutorial problems. 

As you progress with the BEng Product Design Engineering degree (levels 4 to 6) you will undertake coursework assessments and examinations. The coursework aims to be balanced in type, variety and appropriateness across each academic year and assessment could involve case study analysis, group project based learning, laboratory investigations and write up, online tests, tutorial problems and questions, individual and group presentations, completion of a laboratory book, viva voca, conceive, design, implement, and operate (CDIO) projects, dissertation and work-related/based activity. For written assessments, the word count or equivalent is provided.  

During each of the three years of study of your degree, you will have the opportunity to work on a substantial group CDIO project (worth 20 credits) that will provide you with the opportunity to build your technical and professional practice skills. The pioneering CDIO approach is designed to enable you to develop your creative skills in order to find solutions based on applied science and engineering principles that provide practical benefits to industry For example could you prototype the packaging for a locomotive engineering toy?

Our new multi-million-pound facility for Science, Engineering, Technology and Health is expected to be opened in September 2020, equipped with the latest technology and bespoke learning spaces for our engineering students.

It will take advantage of our strong links with industry and employers to produce work-ready engineering graduates who can make an active contribution to 21st century society. It will be home to the Kent and Medway Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise (EDGE) Hub.


Our main campus in Canterbury has city centre facilities on its doorstep and, of course, you will benefit from all the new building has to offer.

The course has links to major organisations such as Pfizer, Berkeley Modular, local food manufacturers and engineering manufacturing firms.  


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Part-time study

Apply directly to us


Full-time study

Need some help?


For advice on completing your application please contact the Admissions Enquiry Team:

Email: admissions@canterbury.ac.uk
Tel:+44 (0)1227 782900


Contact our International Team

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • H151 Product Design Engineering with Foundation Year

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 4 years full-time

    8 years part-time


  • September 2019

Entry requirements

  • A typical offer would be between 32 and 112 UCAS Tariff points depending on your Level 3 subject mix, your experience if appropriate and what you say about studying Engineering in the UCAS Personal Statement. Plus, 5 GCSEs at grade C, or above (or equivalent) including maths, science and English language.

    Further entry requirements

    If you haven't taken Level 3 qualifications in subjects traditionally aligned to Engineering (e.g. maths, science), are returning to education or are changing careers, the foundation year provides you with the opportunity to build the knowledge base required to continue onto the BEng.

    If you already have maths or science qualifications at Level 3 then we would require 32-88 tariff points for entry onto the Foundation Year.

    If you do not have the necessary entry qualifications, we will consider you if you can demonstrate that you can study at a suitable level. You may be invited to attend an interview.

    More entry requirement details.



Last edited 14/08/2019 09:56:00

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Last edited: 14/08/2019 09:56:00