University of Cambridge




Engineering is about designing processes and making products to solve real-world problems. Our course enables you to develop your engineering knowledge, skills, imagination and experience to the highest levels in readiness for your future career.

UCAS code H100 MEng/E

Duration Four years

Colleges Available at all Colleges
Some Colleges encourage Engineering applicants to defer entry.
See the Department website for details.
2013 entry Applications per place: 7
Number accepted: 294

Open days and events 2015 College open days (sciences)
Cambridge Open Days

Related courses
Contact details 01223 332625


The following specialisations are available within our Engineering course:

  • Aerospace and Aerothermal Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electrical and Information Sciences
  • Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Information and Computer Engineering
  • Instrumentation and Control
  • Mechanical Engineering

See the Course outline tab or Department website for further details.

Engineering at Cambridge

The Cambridge course is unique. It isn't a 'general' course but allows you to keep your options open while equipping you with all the analytical, design and computing skills that underpin modern engineering practice.

Part I provides a broad education in engineering fundamentals, enabling you to make a genuinely informed choice about the area in which to specialise from your third year (many students change direction as a result). Part II then provides in-depth training in your chosen professional discipline.

Department and facilities

The Department is a leading international centre for research, consistently ranked the highest amongst British universities. We also have strong links with industry, with many research projects funded by industrial companies.

Our facilities are excellent: the Design and Project Office is equipped with more than 80 workstations; the library has 30,000 books and takes about 350 journals; and extensive mechanical and electrical workshops are available. The Department's Language Programme for Engineers offers specialised courses at all levels in French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.


The course is accredited by the Engineering Council and by all the major institutions, including the Institutions of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), Engineering and Technology (IET), Civil Engineers (ICE), and Structural Engineers (IStructE), the Institute of Measurement and Control, the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, and the Royal Aeronautical Society. An appropriate combination of Part II papers is required in each case.

Industrial experience

You're required to complete four weeks of industrial experience by the end of the second year, and a further four weeks by the end of the third year, obtained by deferring entry or during vacations. Our full-time Industrial Placement Co-ordinator helps deferred entrants and undergraduates to find suitable placements (in the UK and abroad) and sponsorship.

Exchange programmes

About 10 per cent of our students spend their third year studying abroad through our exchange schemes with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), École Centrale Paris, and the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Changing course

Students may transfer to Chemical Engineering after the first year, or to Management Studies or Manufacturing Engineering after completing Engineering Part I.


When you graduate, you're fully qualified in your chosen area, knowledgeable across the range of engineering disciplines, and able to apply new technologies in novel situations, giving you an advantage over engineering graduates from other more narrowly focused courses. Employment prospects are typically excellent, with 99 per cent of our students finding a job within six months of graduating. The average starting salary of Cambridge Engineering graduates in 2012 was £29,500.

Course outline

Teaching is provided through a mixture of lectures, practicals, projects and supervisions, and in Year 1 you can typically expect around 22 hours of teaching each week.

Year 1 (Part IA)

The broad foundation of the first two years (Part I) gives you an understanding of the basic principles of a wide range of subjects, together with an appreciation of the external pressures under which these ideas are likely to be applied.

In Year 1, you take four papers and sit a three-hour written exam in each:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Structures and Materials
  • Electrical and Information Engineering
  • Mathematical Methods

You also undertake several coursework activities and projects, on topics including structural design, product design, presentation skills, drawing, laboratory experiments and computer programming.

Year 2 (Part IB)

You study eight papers on core subjects at a more advanced level:

  • Mechanics
  • Structures
  • Materials
  • Thermofluid Mechanics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Information Engineering
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Business Economics

In the third term, you select two topics from seven engineering disciplines plus a language option. These topics emphasise engineering design and introduce the more specialised work of the third year.

Coursework includes laboratory experiments and computing exercises. Several experiments are linked around the common theme of earthquake-resistant structures. A highlight of the year is the compulsory Integrated Design Project where you work in teams to design and build robot vehicles which are then tested against each other.

Year 3 (Part IIA)

Professional specialisation begins in earnest and you study 10 papers from an extensive portfolio, from which a core is associated with one of the following disciplines:

  • Aerospace and Aerothermal Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electrical and Information Sciences
  • Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Information and Computer Engineering
  • Instrumentation and Control
  • Mechanical Engineering

In the final term, you choose two from a variety of design and computer-based projects, projects in a foreign language or a surveying project. A few students graduate after three years with the BA Hons degree.

Year 4 (Part IIB)

Progression to Part IIB is dependent on examination achievement in Parts IB and IIA, and successful completion of Part IIB leads to the BA and MEng degrees.

In Part IIB, further specialisation is possible and you select eight papers from nearly 100 options which vary each year.

These papers benefit from the Department's research and are taught by experts in the particular field. As a result you graduate with a masters-level appreciation of theory and practice in your chosen area.

A major project occupies about half of your time throughout the final year. Many projects are associated with current Department research and have direct industrial input and application. Recent projects include: remarkably shaped structures; preliminary design of a solar electric vehicle; strategy development for fuel restricted F1 races; medical imaging and 3D computer graphics, and the aerodynamics of power kites.

Entry requirements

Typical offers require
A Level:
IB: 40-41 points, with 776 at Higher Level
Some Colleges may also require STEP Mathematics.
For other qualifications, see our main Entrance requirements pages.

Course requirements

Essential A Level/IB Higher Level Mathematics and Physics
Highly desirable A Level/IB Higher Level in a third mathematics/science/technology subject

Further Mathematics is strongly encouraged. If unavailable or you've recognised its desirability too late, we'd advise you to do as much additional pure maths and mechanics as possible, eg by taking stand-alone units or Further Mathematics AS Level/IB Higher Level.

Please refer to the Department of Engineering's Guide to Undergraduate Admissions for the views and preferences of individual Colleges concerning academic requirements for admission to Engineering.

All Colleges, except Trinity, welcome applications from students taking A Level Mathematics and a suitable vocational qualification, eg a BTEC Higher National Diploma in an engineering discipline. Applicants are expected to achieve the highest possible grades in A Level Mathematics and the vocational qualification. Those taking the Single Award Applied A Level in Engineering or the Principal Learning components of the Advanced Diploma in Engineering must also be taking A Levels in Mathematics and Physics. The Level 3 Certificate in Mathematics for Engineering is a suitable alternative to A Level Mathematics for these purposes.

See the Department of Engineering's Guide to Undergraduate Admissions for details.

Some Colleges encourage Engineering applicants to defer entry. See the Department website for details.

Check College websites for College specific requirements. See also Entrance requirements and our Subject Matters leaflet for additional advice about general requirements for entry, qualifications and offers.

Admissions tests and written work

The table below sets out the ways in which each College assesses applicants for this subject. For more information about these methods of assessment and why we use them, see the main Admissions tests and written work page.

College Assessment of applicant for this subject
Christ's Interview only; Possible STEP requirement
Churchill Test at interview
Clare Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA); Preparatory study at interview
Corpus Christi Test at interview
Downing Mathematical test at interview
Emmanuel Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)
Fitzwilliam Test at interview
Girton Interview only
Gonville & Caius Mathematical test at interview
Homerton Test at interview
Hughes Hall Interview only
Jesus Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA); Preparatory test at interview
King's Class at interview; Test at interview; Problem solving during interview
Lucy Cavendish Test at interview
Magdalene Test at interview
Murray Edwards Interview only
Newnham Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA); Test at interview
Pembroke Preparatory test at interview
Peterhouse Test at interview; Problem solving at interview; Possible STEP requirement
Queens' Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)
Robinson Test at interview
St Catharine's Interview only
St Edmund's Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)
St John's Short maths test at interview; Preparatory study prior to interview; Possible STEP Requirement
Selwyn Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)
Sidney Sussex Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)
Trinity Test at interview
Trinity Hall Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)
Wolfson Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA); Test at interview
How to apply

If you are interested in applying for this course, please see our Applying section for more details.

Further Resources

Find out more about Engineering at Cambridge

  • Course website - Explore the Engineering degree in more detail on the course website.
  • Staff profiles - Find out more about the people who'll be teaching you during your Engineering degree.
  • Course FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about the Engineering course.
  • Why Engineering? - The key question you should be able to answer!
  • Why Cambridge? - The advantages of studying Engineering at Cambridge in particular.
  • Teaching style - Information about the styles of teaching used in the Engineering degree course.
  • Facilities - Information about the facilities available to Engineering students.
  • Course guide - A detailed guide to the Engineering degree.
  • Engineering Department newsletters - News about Department staff, students, alumni and research.

Improve your knowledge of Engineering

  • Preparatory reading - Guidance on preparatory reading for applicants interested in Engineering.
  • Maths notes for teachers - Guidance for teachers on the maths skills that Cambridge is looking for in Engineering applicants.
  • Gap year info - Information about potential gap year activities for prospective Engineering applicants.
  • engNRICH - Mathematical conundrums with an engineering twist...

Tools to help you with your Engineering application

Engineering and your future

  • Graduate profiles - Some recent graduates reflect on their experience studying Engineering at Cambridge and on their subsequent careers.
  • Career opportunities and industrial experience - Information about the careers opportunities available to you after studying Engineering at Cambridge, and information on opportunities to build up industrial experience during your degree.
  • Course accreditation - Information on the accreditation of the Engineering degree by professional bodies.
  • Transferable skills - A guide to the transferable skills you can develop during the course of an Engineering degree.

The student experience

  • Student profiles - Some current students describe their experience of studying Engineering
  • Extra-curricular activities - Information about the various extra-curricular activities Engineering students get involved in to further enjoy and learn about their subject.

Unistats info

Contextual Information

From September 2012, every undergraduate course of more than one year's duration will have a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS allows you to compare 17 pieces of information about individual courses at different higher education institutions.

However, please note that superficially similar courses often have very different structures and objectives, and that the teaching, support and learning environment that best suits you can only be determined by identifying your own interests, needs, expectations and goals, and comparing them with detailed institution- and course-specific information.

We recommend that you look thoroughly at the course and University information contained on these webpages and consider coming to visit us on an Open Day, rather than relying solely on statistical comparison.

You may find the following notes helpful when considering information presented by the KIS.

  1. The KIS relies on superficially similar courses being coded in the same way. Whilst this works on one level, it leads to some anomalies. For example, Music courses and Music Technology courses can have exactly the same code despite being very different programmes with quite distinct educational and career outcomes.

    Any course which combines several disciplines (as many courses at Cambridge do) tends to be compared nationally with courses in just one of those disciplines, and in such cases a KIS comparison may not be an accurate or fair reflection of the reality of either. For example, you may find that when considering a degree which embraces a range of disciplines such as biology, physics, chemistry and geology (for instance, Natural Sciences at Cambridge), the comparison provided is with courses at other institutions that primarily focus on just one (or a smaller combination) of those subjects.

  2. Whilst the KIS makes reference to some broad types of financial support offered by institutions, it cannot compare packages offered by different institutions. Different students have different circumstances and requirements, and you should weigh up what matters to you most: level of fee; fee waivers; means-tested support such as bursaries; non-means-tested support such as academic scholarships and study grants; and living costs such as accommodation, travel.

  3. The KIS provides a typical cost of private (ie non-university) accommodation. This is very difficult to estimate as prices and properties vary. University accommodation can be substantially cheaper, and if you are likely to live in College for much or all of the duration of your course (as is the case at Cambridge), then the cost of private accommodation will be of less or no relevance for you. The KIS also provides the typical annual cost of university accommodation and the number of beds available. Note that since most universities offer a range of residential accommodation, you should check with institutions about the likelihood of securing a room at a price that suits your budget. Knowing the number of beds available is not necessarily useful: it may be much more important to find out if all students are guaranteed accommodation.

  4. Time in lectures, seminars and similar can vary enormously by institution depending on the structure of the course, and the quality of such contact time should be the primary consideration.

  5. Whilst starting salaries can be a useful measure, they do not give any sense of career trajectory or take account of the voluntary/low paid work that many graduates undertake initially in order to gain valuable experience necessary/advantageous for later career progression.

The above list is not exhaustive and there may be other important factors that are relevant to the choices that you are making, but we hope that this will be a useful starting point to help you delve deeper than the face value of the KIS data.