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Are you curious and imaginative? Do you like a creative challenge? Would you enjoy developing solutions that improve the quality of peoples lives? Then product design and technology might be the course for you.
What is product design and technology?
In recent years industry and society are recognising the positive impact design can have on both business and people. Understanding user’s needs is central to the UL design philosophy; we combine this with knowledge of technology, materials and manufacturing to ensure products are realisable and useful. PDT will bring you through a thinking process in creative design where human-focused research helps to reveal unmet needs and leads to ideas that are tested, developed and brought to life through sketching, model-making, computer aided design and cutting edge manufacturing techniques.
Our strong links with industry and community partners brings a real-world focus that reflects professional design practice and helps designers build strong portfolios which strengthen their job prospects. The products that UL students design are many and varied and include medical devices, furniture, transport vehicles, consumer goods and services, household items, communication technologies, display systems, sports equipment and anything else they can imagine.
Why Study Product Design and Technology at UL?
- Practical project-based learning
- Purpose built studios, workshops & computer labs
- Links with leading industry partners
- Tutors with design experience
- Internationally recognised degree - accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers, UK.
- Visiting lecturers, masterclasses and field trips
- Design competitions
- Co-Operative Education
- Study Abroad opportunities
- Be part of the ‘Design @UL’ community
- Build your own future through your final year design project
- Showcasing work in public exhibitions
- Collaborative projects
Through your four years of design education you will design products and services across a broad range of themes and subjects including future technologies, healthcare and well-being, consumer electronics, sustainability and social impact, as well as user experience. Our creative and technical staff will teach you how to combine imagination with practical skills and cutting edge technologies to innovate, create and embody your design ideas. Where else can you design and build the future as you see it?
The course is divided up into eight semesters. Each semester comprises a mix of studio based projects to encourage “learning by doing” and technical subjects. The first year design studio focuses on teaching key design skills and building technical understanding. Over six 4-week projects you will work through design briefs that develop your skills in 2D and 3D drawing, model-making and visualisation. Outside the studio you will take modules in various subjects such as engineering science, electro-technology, materials, design mechanics, manufacturing technology etc.
In year two the design studio introduces you to the tools, techniques and methods applicable to effective problem solving. The projects are challenging and fun, ranging from self-propelled go-carts to toys and rehabilitation devices. Year 2 also sees the introduction of Computer Aided Design. The module on contemporary design culture includes a field trip to a European design capital. Modules in Ergonomics, Usability and Materials complement the Design Studio classes.
In semester one of year three you will be working with industry and community partners on ‘live’ project briefs. These projects will bring you through the entire design process from early research and conceptualisation to final design and design for manufacture. In semester two you will undertake an industrial placement (Co-Op internship) or a period of study abroad in a European or international university. Our international partners include universities in Finland, Hungary, The Netherlands, Romania, US, New Zealand and Singapore.
Year four begins with the ‘Real-World Studio’ where you will work in a design team to tackle a design brief from a real client. Here you will get to work with experts and deliver a professional project that directly impacts on industry.
In the final 6 months of year four you will undertake an individual major design project of your choosing. The theme usually stems from your interests, experiences or an opportunity you’ve identified. The graduating class showcase their work at the annual Design@UL exhibition where potential employers, industry representatives and family and friends are invited to view the work from our creative graduates.
|Year 1||Semester 1||Semester 2||Summer|
|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|
|Year 2||Semester 3||Semester 4||Summer|
|PD4043||Design Studio 3||PD4044||Design Studio 4|
|PD4003||Ergonomics Foundations||PD4004||Design Visualisation|
|PD4023||Design Research & Specification||MF4756||Product Design and Modelling|
|MA4701||Technological Mathematics 1||PD4124||Contemporary Design Culture|
|Year 3||Semester 5||Semester 6||Summer|
|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|
|Year 4||Semester 7||Semester 8||Summer|
|PD4017||Design Project 1||PD4018||Design Project 2|
|PD4027||Human Factors in Design||IE4248||Project Planning and Control|
|PT4427||Design For Manufacture||MF4728||Occupational Psychology|
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, Art, Engineering, Design & Communication Graphics/Technical Drawing, Technology, Construction Studies, Agricultural Science, Biology.
A Special Mathematics Examination 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.
As of 2019 all applicants (School Leavers and Mature) to the BSc. Product Design + Technology at UL must submit a digital portfolio 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. You can see more details and examples of portfolios here.
If you do not have enough work to include in your Portfolio, perhaps try the Mini Project. This year's design brief is now available.
Portfolio Entry Deadline
Two extended deadlines have been added for Late Applicants and Change of Mind applicants.
- Late Applicant portfolio submission deadline: 13th May 2019
- Change of Mind portfolio submission deadline: 8th July 2019
Portfolio’s must be emailed as a PDF document to firstname.lastname@example.org before these dates.
The document name must include your CAO number and full name. For Example: 18999999_David_Smith.pdf
You will receive feedback through the Admissions Office in UL within 2 weeks to confirm whether you have passed or failed the portfolio review.
Career opportunities for Product Design and Technology graduates will be in roles such as Design Consultant, In-House Designer, Manufacturing Technologist with design capability or Designer with technological capability, and in such varied areas like:
- Consumer Products
- Medical Devices
- Mobile and Assistive Technologies
- Packaging and Display
- User Experience Design
- Computer-Aided Design
- Design Engineering
- Toys and Entertainment
- Sports and Lifestyle Equipment
- Environmental Design
- Design for Social Impact
- Interactive Media
- Design Innovation
- Design Strategy and Management
- Design Research
PD+T graduates have followed careers in a wide variety of fields including in-house designers for manufacturing companies, contractors undertaking commissioned work and more recently, they have been snapped up by bio-medical design companies where they have been at the cutting edge of new surgical instrument design
Want to find out more about possible careers with this degree? Click Here
Our PDT Graduates have excellent creative skills, a capacity for innovation and deep technical knowledge which could lead to research opportunities with our Design Factors research group or for start-up support with UL’s NEXUS Innovation Centre. Graduates might also opt for postgraduate study in related UL courses such as:
- MSc. Design for Health and Wellbeing (starting Sept. 2019)
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!
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
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.