Design Engineering

Fuse design thinking with engineering knowledge and practice in this highly creative integrated Master’s degree.

Key information




4 years


Typical offer

Three A-level offer: A*AA–A*A*A

See full entry requirements

Applications : admissions ratio

8 : 1

Based on 2017 entry data

  • UCAS course code: 28G3
  • ECTS: 270
  • Start date: October 2018
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Design engineers are problem solvers who bridge the gap between traditional engineering and design. It's a discipline which draws on knowledge of manufacturing techniques, product development, technical design and rapid prototyping to bring new innovations to market. It also focuses on improving existing products and the processes used for making them.

This course aims to develop a range of fundamental design and engineering skills, with a particular emphasis on creativity, computer-aided engineering tools, optimisation, human factors, design process, and the enterprise skills and industrial experience necessary to launch brand new products to market.

Study programme

During the first two years you will study a series of compulsory modules focusing on foundational engineering, computing, mathematics and human factors to give you a solid scientific and design basis to build on. These cover subjects such as mechanics, electronics for product and system design, and mechatronics and robotics.

The third and fourth years include a greater emphasis on advanced modules in design and engineering, as well as enterprise and entrepreneurship skills. You will have a choice of optional modules in areas such as design rationale, human factors and advanced engineering tools, allowing you to specialise in the areas you are most interested in.

A six-month paid placement in industry from April in your third year will enable you to gain valuable practical experience.

In your fourth year you will undertake Master’s level modules, and complete an extensive individual project.

Design Engineering studentsProject work

This course contains a substantial number of project and coursework modules of increasing scale throughout the programme.

You will incrementally combine your engineering and design skills with business knowledge in successive projects, working both in groups and independently. This will culminate in an Enterprise Roll Out module in your final year, in which you will expose one of the products you have made to market reaction.

You will benefit from access to extensive hackspaces and workshops throughout the degree to support the development of your ideas.

Industrial placement

All students will undertake a six-month industrial placement from April in the third year. The placement will be on-site with an industrial partner and supervised jointly by the partner and Imperial.

A substantial number of companies have already expressed an interest in hosting placements (including Dyson, IDEO, Arup, McLaren, Adidas, Bosch, Proctor and Gamble, PDD, IDC, Airbus, Jaguar Land Rover, and others). It is expected that you will have choice from a variety of partners and projects for your placement.


Please note that the curriculum of this course is currently being reviewed as part of a College-wide process to introduce a standardised modular structure. As a result, the content and assessment structures of this course may change for 2018 entry. We therefore recommend that you check this course page before finalising your application and after submitting it as we will aim to update this page as soon as any changes are ratified by the College.

Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about changes we have made.

Year 1

Core modules

  • Communication in Design
  • Computing 1
  • Design 1
  • Engineering Analysis 1.1 - Mechanics
  • Engineering Analysis 1.2 – Energy and Design
  • Engineering Analysis 1.3 – Electronics
  • Engineering Mathematics
  • Production and Materials

Year 2

Core modules

  • Big Data
  • Computing 2
  • Design 2
  • Engineering Analysis 2.1 – M4DE (Mechanics for Design Engineers)
  • Engineering Analysis 2.2 – Computer Aided Engineering
  • Engineering Analysis 2.3 – Electronics for Product and System Design
  • Engineering Design Project
  • Gizmo (Physical Computing)

Year 3

Core modules

  • Engineering Design Management and Rationale
  • Group Project
  • Industry Placement A
  • Robotics 1

Optional modules

You choose two modules from below.

  • Audio Experience Design
  • Biomimetics
  • Business for Professional Engineers and Scientists*
  • Design Led Innovation and Enterprise
  • Imperial Horizons*
  • Industrial Design

* You can choose up to one Imperial Horizons or Business for Professional Engineers and Scientists module within your degree

Year 4

Core modules

  • Enterprise Management
  • Enterprise Roll Out
  • Industry Placement B
  • Optimisation 1.1 (Advanced Computer Aided Engineering)
  • Solo Project

Optional modules

You choose two modules from below.

  • Advanced Human Factors
  • AID (Artificial Intelligence and Design)
  • Business for Professional Engineers and Scientists*
  • Design for Additive Manufacturing
  • Engineering Design Analysis
  • Imperial Horizons*
  • Optimisation 2
  • Robotics 2

* You can choose up to one Imperial Horizons or Business for Professional Engineers and Scientists module within your degree

Professional accreditation

This degree welcomed its first intake in October 2015 and is in the process of achieving triple accreditation. The course achieved accreditation by the following professional body in 2017, covering the intakes 2015–2020:

  • Institution of Engineering Designers (IED)

The course will also seek accreditation from:

  • Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
  • Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

The accreditation process for these two bodies can only be completed when the first intake of students reach their fourth year, in 2018–19. If successful, accreditations will be retroactively applied to all graduates of the course.

Achieving a professionally accredited degree demonstrates to employers that you have achieved an industry-recognised standard of competency. It also brings international recognition of your qualification, which is particularly useful for students preparing for a career abroad.


As well as your main Imperial degree, you will also receive the award of the Associateship of the City and Guilds of London Institute (ACGI) on completion of this course.

The City and Guilds of London Institute is one of three historic Colleges that came together to form Imperial College London in 1907.

Find out more about our Associateships.

Teaching and assessment


You will be taught in lectures, tutorials and workshops, ensuring there is a balance between theory and practice.

Teaching, independent study and placement hours

 Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Lectures, seminars and similar 497 (33%) 300 (20%) 247 (17%) 205 (9%)
Independent study 1,003 (67%) 1,200 (80%) 843 (58%) 1,445 (64%)
Placement 360 (25%) 625 (27%)
Based on the typical pathway through the course; percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number


This course uses a variety of assessment methods, including:

  • Critiques
  • Group projects
  • Individual projects
  • Industrial placement
  • Laboratory practicals
  • Presentations to staff and students
  • Report writing
  • Written examinations

Assessment types

 Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Coursework 44% 51% 73% 80%
Practical 15% 31% 11% 17%
Written 41% 18% 16% 3%
Based on the typical pathway through the course; percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number

Compare this course

See how this course compares with similar courses at different institutions using the Unistats Key Information Set (KIS).

You can use the KIS to find out how this course compares in areas such as the proportion of time spent in timetabled teaching and independent study, how the course is assessed, student satisfaction and what our graduates are doing six months after completing this course.

Please note this course is new and therefore the employment and student satisfaction data provided below is an illustration of provision in the subject area rather than specific data for this course. The surveys this data is drawn from are completed after all four years of the course, and this course was first available in 2015/16.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis – see selection process below.

For advice on the requirements for the qualifications listed here please contact the Department (see Contact us).

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. If the requirements for your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page for guidance on which qualifications we accept.


Typical offer range

As a guide, the typical offer made in 2016 to at least 85% of applicants studying A-levels was A*AA–A*A*A.

Subject and grade requirements (2018 entry)

We expect applicants for 2018 entry to meet the following grade requirements in these subjects:

  • A in Mathematics

Both scientific and non-scientific A-levels are welcomed.

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.

Practical endorsement (practical science assessment)

If you are made an offer you will be required to achieve a pass in the practical endorsement in all science subjects that form part of the offer.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer range

As a guide, the typical offer made in 2016 to at least 85% of applicants studying IB was 38–39 points overall.

Subject and grade requirements (2018 entry)

We expect applicants for 2018 entry to meet the following grade requirements in these subjects:

  • 6 in Mathematics at higher level

Advanced Placements

Our minimum requirement for this course is grades 5, 5, 5 to include:

  • 5 in Calculus BC

Selection process

Assessing your application

Admissions Tutors consider all the evidence available during our rigorous selection process and the College flags key information providing assessors with a more complete picture of the educational and social circumstances relevant to the applicant.

Some applicants may be set lower offers and some more challenging ones. It is the College’s policy to not make offers below three A’s at A-level in relevant subjects, 38 IB points with at least a grade 6 at higher level in relevant subjects, or their equivalent.

A typical range of offers made by this Department in 2016 (encompassing at least 85% of applicants who studied A-level or IB) is shown above.

Post-application open day and interview

If your UCAS application indicates that you are likely to satisfy our requirements and you live within reasonable travelling distance of the College you will be invited to visit the Department for an interview conducted by a member of our academic staff. The aim of this interview is to assess applicants’ aptitude for the course and also to give them an opportunity to raise questions about both the course and the College.

You should expect your interview based around a range of questions and problems, and to last for approximately 25 minutes. Applicants may bring along examples of their work, though this is not compulsory, and you should not bring along a full portfolio.

Overseas applicants may be offered an interview via Skype.

English language qualifications (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for undergraduate applicants.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students who apply for this course.

For more information about the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), please see the International Student Support website.

Tuition fees and funding

We charge tuition fees for every year that your course lasts. The fee you will be charged is based on your fee status, which is determined by government regulations.

Tuition fees (Home and EU students)

2018 entry
£9,250 per year

The above fee applies to the academic year 2018–19 only.

The fee for Home/EU students is controlled by the UK government.

Please note that the fee you pay may increase annually by an amount linked to inflation and approved by Parliament under the Student Fees (Inflation Index) Regulations 2006 – currently the measure of inflation used is the RPIX.

Government funding

If you're a Home student, you can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the UK government to cover the entire cost of tuition for every year of your course.

You can also apply for a means-tested Maintenance Loan to help towards your living costs.

EU students

The UK government has confirmed that funding arrangements for EU students starting a course in 2018 means they will continue to pay the Home rate of tuition and have access to the Tuition Fee Loan for the duration of their course.

This will remain the case even if their course finishes after the UK's exit from the European Union.

Tuition fees (Overseas and Islands students)

2018 entry
£29,000 per year

The tuition fees for Overseas and Islands students are set by Imperial College London.

You should expect and budget for your tuition fee increasing each year by an inflationary amount. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2019 will apply to fees for the academic year 2019–2020.

Additional course costs

This section outlines any additional costs relevant to this course, which are not included in your tuition fees. It is possible that all, or only some, of these will be relevant to you.

Please note that the figures provided are usually based on the cost in the most recent academic year. These are likely to change from year to year. However, it is useful for you to be aware of the types of things you may have to pay for and their approximate cost to help you budget for student life at Imperial.

This section indicates whether any additional costs that apply are mandatory or optional. Mandatory costs are those that you will need to pay to fully participate in and complete your studies. Optional costs are not essential to your studies so you will be free to opt out of these.

DescriptionMandatory/optionalGuide to cost
Equipment (course materials) Mandatory Provided
Equipment (laptop computer) Mandatory £100 (refundable)
Placement (travel) Mandatory Variable
Please review the information below for more information on the costs listed in the table.

Laptop computer

You will need to have a laptop computer for some classes and coursework. It must meet the following minimum specification:

  • Windows 10 capable
  • Intel i5/i7 6th/7th generation processor
  • 16Gb RAM
  • 256 Gb SSD HDD
  • NVIDIA K1100M or higher graphics card

The School has a number of laptops available for loan for the duration of your course. A deposit of £100 is required, refundable when you return the laptop at the end of your course.

You will have the chance to indicate whether you wish to take part in the laptop loan scheme when contacted by the School in the September before you start your course.

If you choose to borrow a laptop, you will be sent an invoice for the deposit amount which is payable online via a variety of payment methods before the start of term.


You will spend time on an industrial placement between April and September in your third year. You will receive a stipend from your industry host to reimburse you for any additional costs incurred through completing the placement, such as travel costs.

Project materials

The School will provide you with the materials you need to complete practical projects as part of the course. These materials will be provided free of charge, within reason.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

Over 90 per cent of Imperial undergraduates choose to live in our halls of residence in their first year. You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.


Like graduates of our postgraduate courses, who have gone on to highly successful careers in companies such as Samsung, Apple and Bentley, and launched startups such as Bare Conductive and Omlet, this course is designed to equip you with creativity, enterprise skills and industrial experience that will appeal in a wide range of industries.

How to apply

UCAS key information

  • UCAS course code: 28G3
  • UCAS institution code: I50

UCAS Apply system

To apply to study at Imperial you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Application deadlines

All applications, other than those which include choices for medicine at Imperial, must be submitted to UCAS by 18.00 (UK time) on 15 January 2018 for entry in October 2018.

The deadline for medicine courses at Imperial starting in 2018 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2017.

Tracking your application

Once you’ve completed and submitted your application through UCAS’s online Apply service, you can use UCAS’ Track system to follow its progress and manage your choices.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.

You may also be interested in the following related departments and the courses they offer:

Contact us

Design Engineering students

Got a question?

Alex Marsh
T: +44 (0)20 7594 7342

Read more on the Dyson School of Design Engineering website.

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Further information

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Living in London

London’s fusion of culture and charm will give you a student experience unlike any other, and our first-year accommodation guarantee means that you'll have the perfect base from which to explore this exciting city.

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Student finance

We want to attract the very best students, regardless of their financial background. That's why we offer the most generous bursary scheme of any UK university, as well as a range of scholarships.

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International students

Imperial is proud to be the most international university in the UK, welcoming students from over 130 countries.