Is A-Level Maths *really* your only compulsory subject?

Although lots of other engineering courses ask for Physics and also Further Maths at A Level, we are looking for a diverse cohort with a wide ranging academic background.  This means that we look on applicants who are taking Maths, Design Technology and Music as favourably as those taking Maths, Physics and Further Maths.

If you can demonstrate (in your personal statement and your interview) that your chosen subjects relate to Design Engineering and are ones that you are passionate about then we will accept you with ‘unconventional’ subjects. This includes non-scientific subjects.

Study your passions and strengths and demonstrate how they relate to Design Engineering.

I speak English as a first language, will I need an English Language qualification?

Yes you will. All our students need to have a GCSE B grade in English Language.  If you do not have a B grade, this will not affect whether or not you receive an offer, but you will have to obtain an alternative qualification (or retake the GCSE) to meet your offer conditions.

Accepted English Language qualifications can be found here:

Do you look at my GCSE results?

Other than your English language grade, we do not look at your GCSE grades.  We look at your predicted grades at A-Level or equivalent.

We may look at the GCSE subjects you have studied, if they are relevant, such as Art or Design Technology.

I’m doing an extended project/AS level/STEP/another qualification, will this enhance my application or count towards the academic requirements?

Our offers are not based on UCAS points but specific qualifications, therefore additional qualifications will not exempt you from meeting our A*AA minimum offer.

However, if the additional qualification demonstrates skills and interests that are relevant to Design Engineering, this will strengthen your application.

I’m not predicted A*AA, can I still apply?

If you are not predicted at least AAA then your application will be rejected before the School can read it. 

If you are predicted AAA the other parts of your application will have to be very strong for you to receive an offer.  Our minimum offer is A*AA, so in such instances you would need to perform better than your predicted grades to meet our offer conditions. Please note; equivalent predicted grades such as A*AB would meet our minimum threshold for consideration. However, final grades of A*AB would not be considered to have met our minimum academic entry requirement. 

I have retaken some of my A-Levels/modules, is that ok?

We don’t mind if it takes you longer than the usual two years to achieve your A-Levels. As long as your predicted grades at the time of your application are at least AAA we will view your application on an equal footing with those who have completed their A Levels in one sitting.

Do you accept university foundation year courses?

The only foundation course that we accept is Warwick’s International Foundation Programme in Science and Engineering.

We do not accept other foundation courses and Imperial does not run its own foundation course.

If you have taken a foundation year in Art, this will strengthen your application but you will still need to have met our A-Level, or equivalent, requirements.

UCAS Application

UCAS Applcation

What are you looking for in my personal statement?

Personal statements need to reflect who you are. For example they can include your interests, achievements and experience.

Some applicants are able to talk about work they have done, others choose to talk about their school or personal design project or perhaps items they have made.  Some will discuss activities they have engaged in. So it is a very personal statement – personal to you.

We are keen to see whether an application is aligned to the type of degree we are offering. Our degree has a mix of design, manufacture, analysis, creativity, innovation and design-engineering. We do not expect students to arrive with all these skills, instead we expect to be able to gauge the level of interest and aptitude from the statement.

Your course is different to my other choices, can I submit a separate personal statement?

We do not accept additional personal statements but we do not count it against applicants if their personal statements state a preference for another course.  We are a new and rare course in the UK so we are aware that students will be applying to other courses as well as Design Engineering.

We recommend that, without explicitly stating our course title, you include the skills, qualities and experience that you feel are relevant to Design Engineering. These are skills that will make you a strong applicant for any similar or related course.

Do I need to have work experience?

We do not expect our applicants to have professional work experience.  However, it is worth telling us about any relevant volunteering or amateur projects / research you may have participated in.

Do I need to be able to sketch?

Being able to sketch will put you at an advantage, but sketching is a fundamental skill, such as Electronics or Mechanics, that we will be teaching in our First Year to ensure that everyone has the knowledge and skills necessary for the course.



Do you do interviews?

Yes we do hold interviews and every successful candidate will have been interviewed.

When will I hear if I have an interview invite?

Interview invites are sent via email.  Please check your spam filters regularly as invites are sometimes lost in them.

The earliest interviews are in December and they are usually completed by early March.  You will be given at least a week’s notice of any interview date.

Do you interview everyone?

No, we only interview the strongest applicants based on their UCAS applications.

What if I can’t make it to an interview?

If you are unable to attend an interview in person (if you live overseas, for example) we will arrange a Skype interview with you.  We do prefer to interview people in person but it will not count against you if this is not possible.

What will happen in the interview?

The interview will test you on your design, technical and mathematics skills as well as your motivation for applying to the subject.  The interview will be entirely spoken although you will have some paper to work problems out if you wish.

Do I need a portfolio for my interview?

You do not need to bring a portfolio to your interview.  If you have an existing portfolio, you can bring it along with you but we cannot guarantee that you will have time to discuss your portfolio and if you do have the time, it will likely only be 5 minutes maximum.



When will I hear if I have received an offer?

The earliest that offers will be made is mid-January (after the UCAS deadline). You should hear one way or the other by the end of March.

Do you ever make offers below A*AA?

No. A*AA is our minimum offer and we would not make an offer below that.

(NB. If you are taking the SIPCAL, Scottish Highers or if you completed your English A-Levels before 2010, then our offer will reflect that you will not be awarded A*)

Do you ever make offers above A*AA?

Yes. Depending on various factors, including your interview performance, we may make you a higher offer of A*A*A or equivalent.

If I’m doing more than 3 A-Levels will you offer on more than 3 A-Levels?

Our standard offer is A*AA or equivalent. In some circumstances we might make slightly higher offers, but this would be usually involve asking for higher grades on three A-Levels rather than asking for four A-Levels.

Deferrals and Gap Years

Deferrals and Gap Years

Can I apply now and defer a year?

As we are a young course with a growing cohort we prefer applications to be made the year before you intend to join us.  So if you wish to join us for the 2017-18 academic year, you should apply in the 2016-17 UCAS cycle.

If you want to attend in the 2018-19 academic year, please wait until the 2017-18 UCAS cycle to apply.

Will taking a gap year count against my application?

Taking a gap year will not count against your application however there are certain activities in your gap year that will strengthen your application.  If in your gap year you participate in activities that demonstrate a continuing interest in design, engineering or mathematics this will count in your favour. You should be sure to include these in your Personal Statement.

NB. Please see our note about deferred applications above.

Mitigating Circumstances

Mitigating Circumstances

There are Mitigating Circumstances affecting my current qualifications, what should I do?

If there are circumstances during your A-Level years that you believe will affect your A-Level performance you must do two things as soon as possible:

  • Firstly, notify your school of these issues.  Your school will notify your exam board/s and it is up to the exam board/s to adjust your grade as you see fit. We cannot assess the impact circumstances have had on your A-Levels.  That can only be done by your school and exam board.
  • Secondly, you need to notify us of these circumstances before your results are released.  We will make a note that of your circumstances on your record.
    As a general rule, we will not accept you with lower results because of mitigating circumstances. Your school and exam board should have already taken those circumstances into account when awarding your grades. However, there are other times when we may consider your application in the light of mitigating circumstances, such as if we have space for ‘near miss’ candidates on results day  or when assessing your interview performance. Such information will also help us support you if you do come to study with us.

Please note, we may request formal proof of your circumstances from you or your school.

Transfers from other courses or universities

Transfers from other courses of universities

I am currently studying at a different university/different course at Imperial, can I transfer to your course?

We do not accept transfers into later years of the course.  If you have studied for a year at another university or course then you are welcome to apply to start our course from the first year.

You will also have to achieve the equivalent of 60% in a UK degree during your existing year at university. 

If there are any mitigating circumstances affecting your existing studies, you must raise these with your existing university as we are not in a position to assess the impact of such circumstances on your current studies.

Visiting the School

Visiting the School

Do you run open days?

The Dyson School of Design Engineering will be represented at all undergraduate open days. All information regarding open days can be found here: