School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Digital Design and Engineering

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 on a daily basis. Emerging technologies are providing new jobs and market opportunities for creative thinkers able to understand and effectively leverage the intersections between technical and design thinking.

According to NESTA (2014), 'employers are crying out for talent with a mix of arts and science knowledge'. This course is perfect for people who want to engage with this mix of design and technical thinking. Graduates from this degree will be highly skilled and knowleagable on design technologies such as digital fabrication, and will be able to creatively tackle challenges in emerging markets such as industrial design, automation and manufacturing.

A top 10 UK Young University for Art, Design and Architecture

Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2020

University of Plymouth ranked top for Design & Crafts in the Guardian's 2021 university rankings

  • 1st for 'Satisfied with Course' (92.5/100)
  • 2nd for 'Satisfied with Teaching' (92.7/100)
  • 7th overall for Design & Crafts (90.8/100)



Key features

  • Join fast-growing industry sectors with a degree from the number a top 10 UK Young University for Art, Design and Architecture (Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2019) and in the First-Class Category of Sustainable Universities in the UK (People and Planet Green League 2015).
  • 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 multidisciplinary experience in a vibrant project-based learning environment by working alongside BA/BSc students, associate tutors from industry and academic staff from the School of Art, Design and Architecture, and the School of Engineering.
  • Gain valuable 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, boosting your studies with practical experience and developing the contacts that can lead to future employment.
  • 100 per cent coursework. No exams!
  • 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.
  • Opportunity to pursue postgraduate studies as well as cross-collaboration with other courses such as, among others, MA Smart Urban Futures, MSc Advanced Engineering Design, MA Digital Media Design, MA/MSc Integrated Design Innovation and/or MSc High Performance Buildings.

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. Your studio course is additionally supported by electives in semester 2 that will help you develop the skills necessary to meet the requirements for either your BA (Art and Design) or BSc (Engineering) degree.

    Core modules
    • DFAB402 Project Studio 1.2

      Based on a combination of individual and teamwork (yet assessed individually), this Module delivers a project-based learning experience addressing students’ technical and detailed resolution of an industry challenge through the use of design and technology skills (namely digital tools and methods such as digital fabrication) and competences, as well as multidisciplinary peer-learning across the technical development of a proposal and creative/design thinking opportunities.

    • DFAB421 Collaborative Design and Fabrication Technologies 1.1

      The Module focuses on the students¿ individual development of transferable and practical skills/knowledge relevant for a digital design and fabrication process, for BA and BSc students. Basic contents (e.g. digital modelling and fabrication) are introduced, practised, and ultimately transferred to the project studio course via the development of a design proposition to tackle a project brief.

    • DFAB431 Project Studio 1.1

      This Module operates through a combination of individual and teamwork, and is assessed individually. Students will work on the development of a solution to an industry challenge through the use of design and technology skills (namely digital tools and methods such as digital fabrication) and competences, enabling collaborative peer-learning across the technical development of a proposal and creative/design thinking opportunities.

    • DFAB432 Professional Skills: Design Thinking and Making 1

      Based on individual work, this Module enables the specialisation of BA students by delivering contents specifically relevant for the Art & Design subject benchmark. By enrolling in this Module, students will be exposed to design theories, critical thinking skills and methods enabling the creative and aesthetic resolution of design challenges through digital means.

    • ENGR102 Engineering Practice and Experimental Techniques

      The mainly experimental basis of this module allows students to extend their engineering knowledge and practical competence using a guided, student-centred, and laboratory-based approach to develop fundamental understanding of a range of engineering topics. The module will help students acquire good study skills and competency in technical communication.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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.

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

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2020 2021
Home £9,250 To be confirmed
International £13,800 To be confirmed
Part time (Home) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of 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. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

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 international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Start your journey with us

Engage with a mix of design and technical knowledge through 'real world' projects in partnership with industry.

Study under industry, academic and technical leading experts on digital design and fabrication, design technologies and data.

Prototype anything! From small and intricate jewelry to large building components: in this course you will have access to our newly developed, state-of-the-art Digital Fabrication and Immersive Media Laboratories.

Develop your professional network and entrepreneurial skills through our optional placement year - anywhere in the world.

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

Cutting edge facilities

Facilities

You'll have access to our new Digital Fabrication and Immersive Media Labs in the Roland Levinsky Building.

Our studio spaces are located in a vibrant creative environment alongside architecture, product design, digital media design & illustration students.

In our new laboratories you will be able to prototype anything, including detailed medical devices, dental casting moulds, product prototypes, and large building components. You will be able to 3D scan a building, or capture human movements. The combination of resources in our laboratories is unique to the region, and the possibilities are endless!

Ground-breaking research

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).

People