The University of Southampton

ELEC3210 Design Studies

Module Overview

The design of an artefact is a complex sociotechnical problem. The module is designed to extend the students’ knowledge of the design process beyond normally expected of a graduate engineer (as defined by the accreditation process). The module in part will take a Design Thinking approach, which considers the cognitive processes involved in design. While the technical problems are widely understood, a holistic view of the design process includes considerations of problems of how the design team captures the design rationale, what are the risks associated with the design relative to the costs of mitigation, how is the IPR in the additive manufacturing process. In taking the module student will gain an in depth understanding of design processes and how the sociotechnical issues will impact on the pure technical challenges.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The module aims at extending the students’ knowledge of the design process beyond that normally expected of a graduate engineer.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Understand the design process from the perceptive of various stakeholders
  • Formulate and articulate a design problem correctly
  • Be capable of making informed design decisions based on known parameters
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Communicate the design solution effectively
  • Work as part of a small group or team in a professional manner
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use tools to both capture the design rationale and undertake its analysis


What is design. Iconic Designs. - What is design thinking and how does it influence the designer and the design process. The wicked problem. - Why does a design fail - materials and processes. - The design process - assessment, problem formulation, abstraction, analysis, implementation. - Design for X and n th generation design. - Design Knowledge. Capture and Reuse; Representation and codification; web based systems. How does a design team operate - Risk, how to measure and avoid. ALARP - Quality - what is quality, how can it be measured? TQM, six sigma, Deming Wheel, Quality. Functional Deployment - Additive manufacturing - the IPR and legal challanges

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will be seminar based, with a high level of student participation through the study and presentation of industrial and research case studies.

Completion of assessment task69
Preparation for scheduled sessions12
Wider reading or practice33
Follow-up work12
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Design 50%
Exercise 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: ELEC2205 OR ELEC2209 OR ELEC2217

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