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Design Engineering (A Level)

Manufacturing is more than just putting parts together. It's coming up with ideas, testing principles and perfecting the engineering, as well as final assembly’. James Dyson

Design Engineering is focused towards engineered, mechanical and electronic products and systems. Students completing the course successfully will have taken design risks, showing innovation and enterprise whilst considering their role as responsible designers and citizens. 

The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates that ‘the UK will need more than a million new engineers and technicians by 2020 to meet industry demand.’ A wide variety of possible careers stem from this course, that could include many kinds of engineering and technical careers such as electrical/electronic engineer, special effects, animatronics, computer programming, microcontroller programming, music technology, lighting engineer, games programmer, robotics, control engineer, motor vehicle engineering, aviation/aeronautical engineering or designing any electronic product from mobile phones to spacecraft etc.

There is no shortage of jobs within Engineering. Destinations for A-Level Engineering students have, in the past, included Engineering degrees at Cambridge University, University of Sheffield, Leeds University and other institutions on courses including Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechatronic and Robotic Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Design for Industry and Civil and Structural Engineering.

Entry Requirements

Grade 5 or above in a DT GCSE or level 2 equivalent and grade 6 or above in Maths.

Qualities Required

A passion for solving problems and designing and making functional products or systems. An interest in electronics and/or mechanics is a huge advantage. This must be an interest that you are keen to take beyond merely theoretical knowledge that you could gain elsewhere, but to realise that knowledge into actual products that work. You should enjoy understanding how things work, taking things apart, building things, fixing them and analysing a problem.

Links with Other Subjects

Design Engineering  is part of a suite with STEM subjects. Maths and Physics should be seriously considered by anyone looking to pursue engineering at a higher level after sixth form.

Exam Board


Method of Assessment


  • 50% Externally Assessed Iterative Design Project
  • 50% Internally Assessed
Units of Study
  • Analyse existing products 
  • Demonstrate technical knowledge of materials, product functionality, manufacturing processes and techniques 
  • Demonstrate applied mathematical skills 
  • Demonstrate understanding of wider social, moral and environmental issues that impact on design/manufacturing industries
  • Apply  knowledge, understanding and skills of designing and manufacturing prototypes and products 
  • Demonstrate  higher thinking skills to solve problems and evaluate situations and suitability of design solutions
  • Iterative Design Project: The ‘Iterative Design Project’ requires learners to undertake a substantial design, make and evaluate project centred on the iterative processes of explore, create and evaluate.  Learners identify a design opportunity or problem from a context of their own choice, and create a portfolio of evidence in real time through the project to demonstrate their competence.