School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Digital Design and Engineering

UCAS tariff 96 - 112
UCAS course code W2BB
Institution code P60
Duration 3 years (+ optional placement)
Assessment breakdown 100% coursework
Course type Full-time
Location Plymouth

Digital technologies such as 3D printing and immersive media are driving the creative industries, influencing the development of products, spaces and services we engage with daily. This is yielding new jobs and market opportunities for creative thinkers able to understand the intersections between technical and design thinking. This course will allow you to seize these opportunities by increasing your skills in design technologies and ensuring you can tackle challenges in emerging markets.

Digital Design and Engineering
Careers with this subject

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a digital design and engineering degree, and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers.

What can you do with a design degree?

Key features

  • Develop valuable transferable skills in digital design, design thinking and digital fabrication applicable to a range of industry sectors such as manufacturing, advanced construction and industrial design.

  • Benefit from our newly developed workshop spaces, with state-of-the-art equipment and technical support for digital fabrication and immersive visualisation.

  • Gain workplace experience with a year-long placement in industry in the UK or abroad between years 2 and 3. Our industry links will help you find a placement and develop contacts that can lead to future employment.

  • Explore the Industry 4.0 revolution with site visits and field trips, where you will observe a range of sectors, innovative solutions and technology development and practices within and outside the UK.

  • Share skills and knowledge to reach your full potential; collaborate with other courses such as MA Smart Urban Futures, MSc Advanced Engineering Design, MA Digital Media Design, MA/MSc Integrated Design Innovation and MSc High Performance Buildings and be inspired to pursue postgraduate studies.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • Year 1 will introduce you to basic digital design and fabrication technologies. In a project-based environment, you will apply those skills in the resolution of industry challenges with the support of associate tutors, technical and academic staff.

    Core modules

    • Introduction Studio (DDE401)

      This Module builds the basis of the course skillset by delivering knowledge on foundational aspects of the programme's curriculum such as design thinking, technical design, and design for fabrication. These will be implemented throughout the resolution of a series of challenges aiming at developing an awareness of technological design literacy, design methods and design communication.

    • Digital Fabrication Studio (DDE402)

      This Module focuses on the resolution of design challenges through a combination of digital design and fabrication methods such as prototyping. By familiarising themselves with concepts such as 'design for fabrication' and 'communities of making', students will gain a thorough understanding of digital technologies within critical contexts of creative and technical design practice.

    • Computer-Aided Design (DDE411)

      Students are introduced to specialist computer aided design workflows and software, including introductory content on Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). This Module clusters software training and hardware inductions required to construct an introductory skillset supporting the studio course. By completing this Module, students are able to utilise CAD methods such as geometric modelling and visualisation, basic digital fabrication techniques, and design representations through drawing, renders and 2D production files.

    • Digital Fabrication (DDE412)

      This Module advances the students' knowledge of design for fabrication tools and methodologies supporting the studio course via hands-on projects, technical inductions and demonstrations. With a focus on the understanding, modelling and prototyping of 3D geometries, digital fabrication skills such as 3D printing, 3D scanning, understanding of printing materials, and CNC milling technologies are delivered through software training resources and technical inductions.

    • Stage 1 Placement Preparation (FAPY100)

      If you’re undertaking a company placement in your third year, this module helps you find a suitable placement, and prepares you for the placement itself.

  • Year 2

  • In Year 2, your skills will be further developed through advanced modelling and fabrication techniques. A system of electives will allow you to acquire knowledge and skills associated to design thinking and methodologies, as well as subject specific knowledge in the form of elective courses to support your own professional interests and employability opportunities in advance of the optional placement year.

    Core modules

    Data Studio (DDE501)

    The Data Studio course will allow students to engage with data-driven design methods such as parametric and generative modelling, simulation, and optimisation methods applicable to technical design challenges. By developing a thorough understanding of the role and opportunities offered by data in a design process, students will gain an in-depth understanding of contemporary design technology and industrial frameworks of digital design.

    Interdisciplinary Studio (DDE502)

    The Interdisciplinary Studio Module allows students to engage with creative opportunities outside the boundaries of the creative economy, and meaningfully learn from other areas of expertise by tackling design challenges in areas such as marine, engineering, energy, food, robotics and computing, effectively developing multidisciplinary teamwork, research, and technical skills.

    Data-driven Technical Design (DDE511)

    This Module helps student develop data-focused skills, knowledge, and contemporary research supporting the delivery of Data Studio projects. This includes basic creative computing and visual coding skills, geometric and production optimisation software, technical inductions, and simulation software to assess mechanical and lifecycle aspects of technical design challenges.

    Common Challenge (DDE512)

    The Common Challenge Module is a cross-programme course, inviting students to engage with cognate areas of teaching and learning and team up with diverse groups of students from across your host institution on resolving challenges derived from the UN Sustainability Goals agenda.

    Core modules

    • Industry Placement (FAPY602)

      A 48-week period of professional training spent as the third year of a sandwich programme undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for the student to gain relevant industrial experience to consolidate the first two stages of study and to prepare for the final stage and employment after graduation.

  • Optional placement year

  • The optional placement year gives you the opportunity to engage with revolutionary industry digitalisation technologies by working in the UK or abroad. Throughout the placement year your learning will be monitored and supported by academic staff, in order to assure the relevance, mentoring and professional development required at this stage of the course.

  • Final year

  • In your last year of studies, you will join the course to conduct your final project. This year includes a dissertation component to allow you to engage with an emerging intellectual territory, as well as business and entrepreneurship skills to increase your employability opportunities and further develop your understanding of economic, regulatory and intellectual property aspects of your professional field.

    Core modules

    Innovation Studio (DDE601)

    With a focus on entrepreneurship and professional skills, the Innovation Studio allows students to engage with innovation delivery strategies to develop technical design ideas into proof-of-concept, minimum viable products, and prototypes aiming at evaluation, commercialisation and deployment in industrial, technological, creative or artistic environments.

    Advanced Project Studio (DDE602)

    The Advanced Project Studio is a core Module which delivers the last project of the course. This is expected to be a substantial piece of design and technical resolution, supported by relevant research and a highlight of students' professional portfolios. The project will follow students' interests and areas of expertise, and will invite them to think strategically on developing their own brief, methods and technologies.

    Common Dissertation (ADA600)

    The module engages students in situating practice through research, contextualisation and critical reflection, in relation to their final stage study and post University aspirations. Programmes can offer: a traditional dissertation; preparation for an extended dissertation; situating existing practice; or the construction of a new body of work as practice-based research.

    Research Project (DDE612)

    The Research Project is an individual Module where students will consolidate their lines of inquiry into a well-researched, in-depth and structured research project submission. Here, the nature of the research project will be negotiated through by different methodologies and techniques, including literature, design through making, co-design or prototyping approaches.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Digital Design and Engineering Programme Specification 6855

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

96 - 112

A level
Minimum of 2 A levels; General Studies accepted.

International Baccalaureate
28 points overall. If overseas and not studying English within IB, must have IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 in all other elements.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma

DDM (Distinction Distinction Merit).

All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction.

Progression from Extended Science
Students who pass the Extended Science year are guaranteed progression to one of the Faculty’s BSc (Hons) courses and detailed advice will be provided by the Admissions Tutor.

English language requirements

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications, please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,600 £16,300
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business additional costs.

How to apply
All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Learn from leading experts in their field

Research on creative and social innovation

This course is taught as part of an ambitious knowledge exchange and research agenda, working with industry partners and engaging with cross-sectorial social innovation in areas such construction robotics, additive manufacturing, e-health and data.
Our work is externally funded through government and professional bodies including the Chartered Institute of Building, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and the South West Creative Technology Network (Research England).

robotic art workshop


Thomas Duggan Studio


Thomas Duggan Studio

"Thomas Duggan Studio has been an industry partner of the University of Plymouth over the last two years, collaboratively exploring the potential of robotic and 3D printing technologies for creative applications, developing sculptures and installations exhibited at the Tate St Ives. At a time when innovation has and will continue to be the driving force behind environmental and societal solutions, I am incredibly grateful for the University of Plymouth, who are at the forefront of innovation within design."
– Thomas Duggan, Industry Partner and Sponsor of the Innovative Placements Scheme

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