A Level DET: Design Engineering

A Level DET: Design Engineering


Pupils must be studying maths and/or physics at A level

Course description

Design Engineering focuses on the application of scientific principles and mathematical calculations to solve real world problems. The course covers engineered and electronic products and systems; the analysis of these in respect of function, operation, components and materials, in order to understand their application and uses in engineered products/systems. Reflecting authentic practice, giving an insight into the way that creative, engineering and manufacturing industries function. Applying mathematical and scientific knowledge and developing problem solving skills reflects the importance of Design Engineering as a pivotal STEM subject. Central to the content of Design Engineering is the requirement for learners to understand and apply processes of iterative design and engineering practice. Demonstrating knowledge, understanding and skills through interrelated iterative processes that ‘explore’ needs, ‘create’ solutions and ‘evaluate’ how well the needs will be met. There is distinct content for the exam and non-exam assessment, which is bound together via 9 topic areas that shape all components and give clarity, these are:

  • identifying requirements
  • learning from existing products and practice
  • implications of wider issues
  • design thinking and communication
  • material considerations
  • Engineering Principles
  • manufacturing processes and techniques
  • viability of design solutions
  • health and safety

Materials and components are studied from the perspective of analysing modern engineered products that are designed to meet identified needs, their design and manufacture. These are taught within the context of product development and industrial and commercial practices considering the wider issues affecting engineering decisions are also covered. Pupils will gain practical experience of using computer engineering and simulation, materials, components and systems through applied practical activities, set within realistic engineering scenarios. Developing the skills to engineering solutions, make and test systems, products and prototypes.

Suggested Packages

Design Engineering



Further Maths

Computer Science

Assessment structure

NEA Iterative Design Project 50%

  • A non-examined ‘Iterative Design Engineering Project’ is a design, make and evaluate project centred on the iterative processes of explore, create and evaluate.
  • Design Engineering will focus on the functional requirements and/or systems of a product.
  • Pupils are required to use their problem solving skills to apply scientific principles and mathematics to solve a design opportunity or problem from a context of their own choice.
  • Innovative engineering approaches will be required resulting in a final prototype that can stand the rigor of real world tests and computer aided engineering analysis for its intended function.

Principles exam 27%

  • Demonstrate applied mathematical skills, technical knowledge and understanding of materials, product functionality, manufacturing processes and techniques
  • Demonstrate an understanding of design thinking and wider social, moral and environmental issues that impact on the engineering and manufacturing industries.
  • The paper is 1 hour 30 minutes long.


Problem Solving 23%

  • Critically evaluate an engineering problem by considering the wider issues using the information provided in the resource booklet
  • Demonstrate the ability to evaluate a problem and apply technical knowledge to create an engineering solution to a problem
  • Demonstrate problem solving skills by solving a mathematical engineering problem using an unseen scientific equation


OCR H404

Contact for further information

Mr JA Inglis: jai@wellingtoncollege.org.uk