Bachelor of Science in Product Design and Technology
Are you curious and imaginative? Do you like problem-solving? Would you enjoy creating solutions that improve the quality of people’s lives? Then product design and technology might be the course for you.
What is product design and technology?
Product design is the design of products and systems that enhance people’s lives, such as a diabetes monitor or an underwater search and rescue system. The areas within which product designers work is extensive, ranging from digital product development to innovative medical device design to user experience design.
In recent years, industries are recognising the positive impact design can have on both business and society, opening up new roles for design led thinkers.
Why Study Product Design and Technology at UL?
Product Design and Technology (PDT) is a learning environment that cultivates exploration and creativity. Here design students are challenged to question norms and create innovative solutions that positively affect future life experiences. Our values lie in human-centred, responsible and collaborative approaches with technological know-how.
60% of the learning takes place in a studio-based environment through hands-on practical projects. Purpose built workshops and visualisation labs along with experienced design lectures and technical staff support the students learning.
Our strong links with industry and community partners, along with an 8-month industrial placement, offers our students real-world experience during their programme of study, ensuring they are best placed for employment upon graduating. Opportunities to study abroad are extensive due to our network of partners across Europe, India and the US.
During four years of design education, students design products and services across a broad range of themes and subjects including digital technologies, healthcare and well-being, consumer electronics, sustainability, social impact, as well as user experience. International guest lecturers, masterclasses and field trips are also part of the curriculum to ensure a comprehensive learning experience.
PDT has had multiple design award winners in competitions such as The Dyson Award, The Universal Design Challenge, The IDI Awards, The Enterprise Ireland Entrepreneur Awards, and The Undergrad Awards.
Product Design and Technology is an internationally recognised degree - accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers, UK.
What you will Study
The Product Design and Technology course structure is built around a design studio based approach, with complementary subjects run in parallel such as; ergonomics, psychology, manufacturing, engineering, management, and entrepreneurship.
Design studio compromises the core element of the programme, where students focus on basic skills acquisition in year 1, development of thinking tools, visualisation skills, CAD, user-centred design research, and design in context in year 2.
Design fluency and refinement are honed during the first semester of year 3 followed by an opportunity in the second semester for students to study abroad or undertake an 8-month work placement.
In year 4 students work in teams with an industry partner over an intense 6 week period, followed by an individual Design Project – a self-selected design brief focused on any area of personal interest.
|Semester 1||Semester 2|
|PD4101||Design Studio 1||PD4012||Design Studio 2|
|ME4121||Engineering Science 1||MT4932||Materials for Design|
|PN4111||Introduction to Materials Processing||PT4112||Manufacturing Technology 2|
|MT4101||Introduction to Materials Science||ID4112||Design Mechanics|
|Semester 3||Semester 4|
|PD4043||Design Studio 3||PD4044||Design Studio 4|
|PD4003||Ergonomics Foundations||PD4004||Design Visualisation|
|PD4053||Design Research in Practice||MF4756||Product Design and Modelling|
|MA4701||Technological Mathematics 1||PD4124||Contemporary Design Culture|
|Semester 5||Semester 6|
|PD4105||Design Studio 5 (Industry)||Cooperative Education|
|PD4115||Design Studio 6 (Community)||or|
|PD4026||Design Ergonomics||Study Abroad|
|PD4024||Design for Environmental Sustainability|
|PD4005||Advanced Modelling of Form|
|Semester 7||Semester 8|
|PD4017||Design Project 1||PD4018||Design Project 2|
|EP4005||New Enterprise Creation||IE4248||Project Planning and Control|
|PT4427||Design For Manufacture||MF4728||Occupational Psychology|
|CAO points history||
401* - Portfolio Required
Applicants are required to hold at the time of enrolment the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with a minimum of six subjects which must include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.
In addition, applicants must hold a minimum grade O3/H7 in Mathematics and grade O4/H7 in any one of the following: Applied Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Physics with Chemistry, Engineering, Design & Communication Graphics/Technical Drawing, Technology, Computer Science, Construction Studies, Agricultural Science, Biology.
A Special Mathematics Examination (Higher Level) will be offered at UL following the Leaving Certificate results for those students who did not achieve the Mathematics requirement.
We welcome applications from mature students. Mature applicants must apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1 February.
Application information for mature student applicants (PDF)
As of 2019 all applicants (School Leavers and Mature) to the BSc. Product Design + Technology at UL must submit a digital portfolio or a mini project and written statement for assessment. These submissions must be used to demonstrate the applicants’ APTITUDE for, and INTEREST in Product Design. Portfolio submission details will be selected to suit the CAO application schedule.
Statement of Interest
The statement of interest should help the faculty understand your motivation for wanting to do the course and why you believe that you would be well suited. It should highlight the skills and interests you have that could be transferrable to the course. Your statement of interest should be no more than 500 words. The declaration of originality should be included at the end of your statement to confirm that all work in your portfolio or your Mini project is your own.
Declaration of Originality
I, the undersigned (name)have by declared that this portfolio submission is entirely my own work.
Applicants will be contacted by academic registry regarding how to submit their Portfolio/Mini project after the CAO closes on 1st February.
Mini Project: If you do not have enough work to include in your Portfolio, perhaps try the Mini Project.
The Admissions office in the University of Limerick will contact you once you have applied through the CAO regarding how to submit your Portfolio or Mini Project. The closing date for submission is 24th March 2023.
Portfolio Entry: Guidelines for submission of Portfolios (examples)
The Admissions office in the University of Limerick will contact you once you have applied through the CAO regarding how to submit your Portfolio or Mini Project.
|Non-EU Entry Requirements||
How to Apply
|Where are you applying from?||How to Apply|
|Ireland||Irish students must apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found here.|
|The UK||Students who have completed their A-Levels can apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found on the Academic Registry website.|
|The EU||EU Students can apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found on the Academic Registry website.|
|Non-EU country||If you are outside of the EU, you can apply for this degree here.|
Fees and Funding
Student course fees are broken into three components - Student contribution, Student Levy and Tuition Fees.
A number of illustrative examples of fees for this course based on the current fee levels have been set out in the tables below.
An explanation of the components, how to determine status and the criteria involved is provided below the examples as is a list of possible scholarships and funding available.
EU Students with Free fees status in receipt of a SUSI grant
|HEA pays||Tuition Fees||€4,262|
|SUSI pays||Student contribution||€3,000|
|Student pays||Student Levy||€96|
EU Students with Free fees status not in receipt of a grant
|HEA pays||Tuition Fees||€4,262|
|Student pays||Student contribution||€3,000|
|Student pays||Student Levy||€96|
Students with EU fee status not in receipt of a grant
|Student pays||Tuition Fees||€4,262|
|Student pays||Student contribution||€3,000|
|Student pays||Student Levy||€96|
|Student pays||Tuition Fees||€20,542|
|Student pays||Student Levy||€96|
Student course fees are comprised of three components:
Annual charge set by the government for all full-time third level students. All students are liable unless they have been approved for a grant by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please refer to https://www.studentfinance.ie to determine your eligibility for a grant and for instructions on how to apply. The curent student contribution is set at €3000.
All students are liable to pay the Student Levy of €96. Please note the Student Levy is not covered by the SUSI Grant.
These are based on Residency, Citizenship, Course requirements.
Review the three groups of criteria to determine your fee status as follows
- You must have been living in an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland for at least 3 of the 5 years before starting your course
- You must be a citizen of an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland or have official refugee status
(all must be met)
- You must be a first time full-time undergraduate (Exceptions are provided for students who hold a Level 6 or Level 7 qualification and are progressing to a Level 8 course in the same general area of study).
- You must be undertaking a full-time undergraduate course of at least 2 year’s duration
- You cannot be undertaking a repeat year of study at the same level unless evidence of exceptional circumstances eg serious illness is provided (in which case this condition may be waived)
Depending on how you meet these criteria your status will be one of the following -
- Free Fee Status: You satisfy all three categories (1, 2 and 3) and therefore are eligible for the Higher Education Authority’s Free Fees scheme.
- EU Fee Status: You satisfy the citizenship and/or residency criteria but fail to satisfy the course requirements and are liable to EU fees
- Non EU Fee Status: You do not meet either the citizenship or residency criteria and are therefore liable to Non EU fees.
More information about fees can be found on the Finance website
These scholarships are available for this course
|AutoDesk, ProCAD Prize||Computer equipment and designer software||1|
|Designer of the Year - Logitech Prize||1|
|Johnson and Johnson WiSTEM2D Programme|
|The Ei Electronics Women in Engineering Scholarship||€2,500 for 3 years||1|
|Women in Engineering Bursary Awards||€500||8|
These scholarships are available for all courses
|All Ireland Scholarships - sponsored by J.P. McManus||€6,750||125|
|Cooperative Education Award||1 medal per faculty|
|Elaine Fagan Scholarship||€5,000||5|
|Financial Aid Fund|
|Higher Education Grants & VEC Grants|
|Paddy Dooley Rowing Scholarship||€2,500|
|Plassey Campus Centre Scholarship Programme|
|Provincial GAA Bursaries Scheme||€750|
|Stuart Mangan Scholarship|
|The Michael Hillery and Jacinta O’Brien Athletics Scholarship||Various benefits equating to over €7,000 in value|
|UL Sports Scholarships||Varies depending on level of Scholarship||Multiple|
Your Future Career
Employability skills from this degree
- Communicating (verbal and written)
- Understanding user experience
- Working independently using personal initiative
- Using commercial and entrepreneurial skills
- Presentation skills
- Ability to work to deadlines
- Visual and spatial awareness
- General and specialist IT skills (e.g. CAD)
The year after graduating with this degree
The University of Limerick Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS) is a detailed review of the employment outcomes of UL graduates conducted annually by the University and supported by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). The survey forms part of a nationwide review of the employment outcomes of Irish University Graduates. The table below illustrates a five-year trend for UL graduate employment levels and location the year after graduation.
|Employed in Ireland||Employed abroad||Further study||Not available||Seeking employment||No. of responses||Total no. of graduates||Year|
Further Study Options
- MA in Business Management
- MA in Technical Communication and E-Learning
- Masters in Management and Marketing
- Masters in International Entrepreneurship Management
- MSc in Marketing, Consumption and Society
- Research Master's in Design
Job titles for graduates with this degree
Graduates progressing directly into employment take up a wide variety of roles. The following provides a sample of initial roles listed on the Graduate Outcomes Survey by graduates approximately one year after graduation:
- Associate Product Development Engineer
- Associate Research & Development
- BIM/CAD Designer
- CAD Design Engineer
- Data Analyst
- Design Engineer
- Document Controller/Project Administrator
- Graduate Design Engineer
- Graduate Industrial Designer
- Head of Design
- Manufacturing Engineer
- Mechanical Design Engineer
- Mechanical Engineering Intern
- Technology Transfer Engineer
- Process Developer
- Product Design Associate
- Product Designer
- Product Development Engineer
- Product Engineer
- Product R&D
- Project Manager
- Prototype Technician
- R&D Engineer
- Service Engineer
- Temporary Associate R&D Engineer
- UX and design
- Web Designer
Student Profile - Maya Brennan
I chose to study at UL both for its amazing campus facilities and its unique selection of courses. UL is one of only a small handful of colleges in Ireland that offer my course (Product Design) and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
When I was deciding on a future career, I was torn between studying Art or Engineering. Then I discovered Product Design and Technology, the perfect mix of both! I was first drawn to the course’s hands-on approach to teaching, as there seemed to be a great balance of lectures, labs and workshops.
Product Design and Technology has a really great variety of modules. I especially enjoyed our Design Studio modules, where we learned about sketching, model making, graphics, problem solving and computer aided design. The best part is that we have our own studio space, workshop and computer lab open to all product designers.
Once of the best things about Product Design is that I was constantly pushed to learn different skills and explore new ideas. Each project allowed me to express my creativity, broaden my skillset and work with super talented people. The course also presented me with huge opportunities like winning the AutoCAD Design Student Award in first year, and the Johnson & Johnson’s Women in STEM2D Scholarship in second year.
I was lucky to go on Erasmus last year, to the world-famous TU Delft in Holland. Although my travels were cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was still an incredible experience. In the weeks I was there, I learned so much about design and dutch culture – I also made loads of new friends from all around Europe.
Outside of my studies, I have always enjoyed taken part in UL’s vibrant student life. The campus is fun and modern, with everything from restaurants, lecture halls and student villages all at walking distance from eachother. When I first started out at UL, I made loads of friends by joining the Drama Society and becoming First Year Rep. After that, I joined the Dance Society which was a great way to meet new people and stay in shape during my studies.
Student Profile - Chris Barrett
My initial draw to UL was the intriguing product design studio. At the open day, I was enthralled by the exciting studio environment, with busy students sketching, prototyping and photographing concepts.
The practical elements of sketching, model-making and prototype testing are complimented by a learned ability to create digitally through apps like Photoshop or Illustrator to CAD modelling on Solidworks. I thoroughly enjoy our Design Studio modules, where we, the students, have a large amount of creative control and can a guide a project in whatever direction we’re interested in. In terms of technology, we have 3D printers, CNC machines and a laser cutter at our disposal, which are working non-stop developing prototypes.
A hugely rewarding element of product design is that by your third year, you’ll have a portfolio of work to an industry standard. This is brilliant for students, as it differentiates us from other courses, where we have a physical, tangible output at the end of every project.
In second semester of third year, I did a four-month internship with Circular Design Europe in Barcelona. I worked on a team of students from all around the globe, creating sustainable solutions for international clients. I can safely say it was the best few months of my life, with some unforgettable experiences. We’re blessed in UL to have this opportunity to travel and it’s genuinely the most enriching thing you could do.
Graduate Profile - Kieran Normoyle
As a child I loved playing with Lego, and spent endless hours in my dad’s garage building all sorts of crazy contraptions. At secondary school, I really enjoyed subjects like Technology, Tech Drawing and History so my careers advisor directed me towards Product Design & Technology here at the University of Limerick. The course is incredibly broad, and educates you on field research, concept generation, concept development, prototyping /model making, 3D Modelling, design for manufacture, and the creation of marketing material for your new innovative products. As a student on this course, you will receive an incredible amount of mentoring from the lecturers, who spend endless hours in the studio, offering constructive criticism on your work. As part of a relatively small course of 50 to 60 students, you will make some great friends.
In 4th year, you will develop your own product as part of your final year design project, in an area of interest to you. It is a lot easier to commit to designing a product that you believe in. As a trained pool lifeguard and a medic with the army reserve, I felt there was a fatal flaw in lifejacket design. Current lifejackets keep users afloat but fail to protect against hypothermia. In the research stage of my project, I got to go out and meet the men and women of the rescue services - people who risk their lives every day in the hope of saving the lives of others. They were incredibly generous with their time and resources, and I loved listening to their stories, recording pain points on existing designs and examining their equipment that they use, which included the Air Sea Rescue Helicopter. As a result, I came up with a new design – a three-piece lifejacket that mitigates the effects of cold water shock, sea spray, hypothermia and secondary drowning.
As a graduate of the Product Design course at UL, my product Hydros was shortlisted in the top 20 in the world in the James Dyson Awards. I also received awards from the Irish Design Institute Ireland, the Nexus Innovation Centre, and a €2000 summer research bursary at the University of Limerick. Since graduating, I have set up my own design consultancy Norm Design, where I complete graphic and product design projects. I am currently working on commercialising my final year design project. Product Design and Technology at the University of Limerick is a great course; if you work hard and believe in yourself, the design world is yours for the taking!
Graduate Profile - James D'Arcy
Since graduating from PD&T course at UL, I have worked in many different areas of product design. The creative skill set that I acquired meant that I was very much at ease with slotting in to various roles. The design process that you learn over the 4 years is mirrored in real world projects and it becomes second nature by the time you graduate. The different design projects that I worked on gave me a broad range of skills that are now invaluable in my everyday working life. Employers look for creative graduates with a good understanding of manufacturing and the technical aspect of this course at UL gives it a big advantage over many design courses at other universities.
For me, one of the best experiences from my time at UL was the opportunity to work in industry. I chose to work abroad in the Netherlands. You quickly realise that the skills you have learned from the course are exactly those that you use on a daily basis. The experience of working in a professional environment really helps in preparing you for life after college and also looks good on your CV. While on work placement, I was constantly using all the relevant computer-aided design applications and this meant I was well prepared for when I returned to UL for my final year project. My project was a summary of everything I learned during my time in UL and it was a really rewarding experience. At the end of the academic year, we were encouraged by our lecturers to enter our projects into the James Dyson Design award, which is a very prestigious competition. I designed the Flo2w oxygen delivery system and my invention was lucky enough to make it into the last 15 in the global final of the competition. For me, this success has been a tremendous spring board towards many different career prospects. I look back on my time at UL as a huge development path, both on a personal and professional level.
James currently works as Creative Director at NT-MDT Service & Logistics Ltd
Graduate Profile - Kate Corish
Since graduating from this course I have been working as an R&D Design Engineer for one of the world’s largest medical device companies. I’m based in the structural heart division where we work on heart valve replacement systems. I have been nominated by my company for the Graduate Employee of the Year award.
During my time in UL, my Final Year Project (FYP) won two national awards. The PD&T degree gave me so much of the practical skills I use on a daily basis. After graduation, this course gives you a useful and real world approach to problem solving, engineering and design by using practical tools and skills that are recognised as the standard in industry today.