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What is the Product Design, Innovation and Management programme?

A formal approach to the development of ‘discontinuous’, or ‘breakthrough’ products is explored in the Master of Design in Product Design, Innovation and Management. This course aims to produce a new type of professional; a leader who is both a strategist and an innovator. The programme aims to develop individuals who can think creatively, plan, manage and lead multidisciplinary teams. Individuals who have the intellectual and management capability to make informed innovation and design planning decisions, dealing with new and emerging technologies and developing new product platforms. In order to bring to the market place discontinuous products requires an in depth understanding of the practice of design and approaches to innovation in a global context. Success in developing discontinuous concepts is characterised by the successful marriage of, and interplay between the market, design and technology to bring into being the products of the future.

Structure of the Programme

12 Months Full-time
2 years (minimum) Part-time

The structure of the MDes can be divided into three segments (levels) corresponding to the outputs of PgCert, PgDip and MDes (see structural diagram on Page 16).

PHASE I (PgCert) Semester 1

An experiential module called Product Design Innovation and Management is undertaken by all students.

All students choose a series of three modules chosen from either of two strands to support the above project.

Strand One: Design for Today

  • User Centred Design and Product Semantics
  • Principles of Design Visualisation and Simulation
  • New Technologies and Design Realisation
Strand Two: Design for Tomorrow
  • Product Forecasting and Breakthrough Design
  • Innovation, Design Management and Intellectual Property
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Globalism
PHASE II (PgDip) Semester 2

Design Project: A commercially driven project
You will carry out a specialist project under academic supervision that is derived from the commercial market place and/or in the from of a placement. The project will provide practical experience of resolving commercial problems and dealing with design and technology issues at a strategic level. You will be encouraged to use your creative skills and management abilities to develop innovative breakthrough concepts that meet commercial expectations and professional standards. If you choose this placement opportunity then you will work for a minimum of 90 days in a relevant professional context. During the placement you will complete a number of assignments to gain the academic credit, e.g. research, project work, case studies, critical appraisals, etc. A University link tutor visits you during the placement and provides supervision and support.

Semester 3

Phase III (MDes)

The final component in the programme is the preparation and writing of the thesis in which you will address important design, innovation and management issues identified in your Phase II project, or as a result of an identified commercial need or a personal enthusiasm. A thesis proposal and research plan will be submitted for approval in Semester 2 and work on the thesis will commence in your third semester of study.

You will be given academic support by a personal supervisor who will act as a guide and advisor to ensure you use your newly acquired knowledge and understanding. Submission of the 15,000 word thesis will be in bound form, with two copies provided for assessment, one of which will be kept by PDE. Each year all the thesis submissions will be collated and published. PDE 4600 is a non-attendance, self-paced study module.

MSc Design Engineering

12 Months Full-time
2 years (minimum) Part-time

The aim of this programme is to produce commercially focussed design & development engineers, building on the skills of recent design graduates, to meet the needs of industry.

The structure of the MSc can be divided into three segments (levels) corresponding to the outputs of PgCert, PgDip and MSc.

The outline structure of the programme is shown below:

Intensive one week Induction – Compulsory for all students
(Including an introduction to industrial partners)

As a precursor to the programme, all students will undergo a compulsory, intensive one week introduction to engineering. This is also an opportunity to meet prospective industrial placement partners.

Semester One (All at 10 Credits except where stated)

  • Applied Mathematics for Design Engineers
  • Manufacturing Processes and Materials
  • Computer Aided Engineering
  • Validation of Design Concept
  • Design Development Project (20 Credits)

In Semester one, all students follow five compulsory modules. PDE 3060 - Applied Mathematics for Design Engineers, is a key module in which the students will refresh their skills in mathematical applications and gain an understanding of engineering principles related to applications in Design Engineering (a recognised weakness in design graduates).

The following three modules will be taught sequentially over three week periods i.e. finishing in Week 9. PDE 4070 – Manufacturing Processes and Materials is a vital element of knowledge required of any engineering designer. PDE 4080 – Computer Aided Engineering will allow the students to re-skill on the use of new tools, or develop their existing skill-set further in areas such as simulation and stress analysis. PDE 4090 – Validation of Design Concept will give students the a bility to validate designs. Deciding what testing is required, proposing test methods, designing simple test rigs and evaluating the results are crucial to proving the design.

Finally, the PDE 4100 – Design Development Project provides a home to demonstrate these new skills within a real-world problem solving exercise.

Semester Two:

  • Industrial Placement (60 Credits)
    (Duration three months)

The Placement module (PDE 4550) cannot begin until the student has successfully completed the Design Development Project (PDE 4100) module.

During Semester two, students undertake a three month placement with one of our industrial partners. The aim is to use our existing network of industrial partners, who helped shape the programme content, to place all the students. All students will be visited twice whilst on placement by PDE staff supervisors.

Semester Three:

The Thesis module (PDE 4601) cannot begin until the student has successfully completed the Placement module (PDE 4550). This final phase of the MSc consists of the submission of a 15,000 word Thesis and viva voce presentation (60 credits), based on the project work gained through the placement.

Following on from the thesis preparation programme, and in the light of experience gained during the industrial placement, all students will complete a 15,000 word Thesis (PDE 4601) to enable in-depth study, discourse and critique in an area that relates to their developed specialism.

Part-Time Study Mode

Students who wish to take the MSc on a PT basis (maximum of 40 credits per semester), can only do so by following the following module format:

  • SEM 1: Yr 1 – PDE 3060, 4070, 4080, 4090 (40 Credits)
  • SEM 1: Yr 2 – PDE 4100 (20 Credits)
  • SEM 2: Yr 2 – PDE 4550 (60 Credits) [Note: At this point students must go to FT mode].
  • SEM O: Yr 2 – PDE 4601 (60 Credits) FT Mode.

To obtain the MSc award, the part-time student would have to transfer to full-time mode at the beginning of semester two of year 2, and continue in this mode until the completion of the programme. The minimum time to complete would therefore be 24 months.

For further information please contact:

Dr Andy Bardill Curriculum Leader
T/F: ++ (0)20 8411 5135
Department of Product Design and Engineering
Middlesex University, London N14 4YZ


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