Are you a dreamer, a thinker and a problem solver? Do you like a creative challenge? Would you enjoy making things 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
• Visiting lecturers and field trips
• Design competitions
• Co-Operative Education
• Study Abroad opportunities
• Be part of the ‘Design at UL’ community
• Build your own future through your final year design project
The course will develop your skills in design
to allow you to plot your own future career
through creative thinking processes. You
will learn to research and understand user
behaviours so you can provide them with the
products and services that best suit their needs.
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, and 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
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
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.
In year four you will undertake an individual
major design project of your choosing. The
topics usually stem from your own experience
or an opportunity you’ve identified. The
“Design@UL” annual showcase is open to
family and friends as well as industry luminaries
who will be invited to view the newest crop of
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.
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
PD+T graduates have followed careers in a wide variety of elds 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?
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:
MTech in Computer Aided Product Design Engineering
MSc. in Marketing, Consumption and Society
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.