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Design and Technology A level

What will I study in Design and Technology A level?

“A subject full of content and new experiences; it definitely develops personal responsibility and determination, and the satisfaction of the rewards is everlasting” Artem, Year 13.

Almost every part of modern life has been designed; from sporting equipment to iPads, cars to mobile phones, furniture to buildings. Design and Technology offers pupils a unique opportunity to apply their mathematical and scientific understanding to creative situations, solving problems for others and identifying openings for technology to be harnessed. It is a multidisciplinary subject, and one where mastering the skills of design thinking benefts far-reaching aspects of life; The subjects focuses on the concept of continual improvement, and understanding the process involved in this.

Entry requirements

Pupils should have studied Design and Technology, or similar equivalent, at GCSE. A minimum grade 5 from GCSE is required to continue to Level 3 study. They should also have achieved a minimum grade 4 in GCSE Maths.

Units of study

The A level course covers a range of topics including;
  • Unit 1: Materials
  • Unit 2: Performance characteristics of materials
  • Unit 3: Processes and techniques
  • Unit 4: Digital technologies
  • Unit 5: Factors influencing the development of products
  • Unit 6: Effects of technological developments
  • Unit 7: Potential hazards and risk assessment
  • Unit 8: Features of manufacturing industries
  • Unit 9: Designing for maintenance and the cleaner environment
  • Unit 10: Current legislation
  • Unit 11: Information handling, Modelling and forward planning
  • Unit 12: Further processes and techniques

Pupils individually, or in consultation with a client/end user, identify a problem and design context. They will develop a range of potential solutions which include the use of computer aided design (CAD) and evidence of modelling. Pupils are expected to make decisions about the designing and development of the prototype in conjunction with the opinions of the client/end user.


  • Component 1: Principles of Design and Technology. Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes (50%)
  • Component 2: Independent Design and Make Project. Non-examined assessment (50%)

Where could it lead?

There is a wealth of current careers that could follow A level Product Design including Aerospace engineering; Architecture; Set Design; Interior Design; Industrial Design; Footwear Computational Design; Graphic Design; Product Design - various specialisms; Automotive and Motorsport Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Sustainable Manufacture; and Games Design, and many more.