Engineering

  • Intake: 18 - 20 
  • Offers: A*A*A 
  • Essential Subjects: Mathematics/Physics 
  • Desirable Subjects: Further Mathematics 
  • Faculty website: www.eng.cam.ac.uk 

Tripos

The Cambridge Engineering course lasts four years and culminates in the award of the M.Eng degree. The first two years cover all the major engineering disciplines, allowing you to develop a broad understanding of a wide range of subjects without having to commit to a speciality so soon in your further education. In the final two years, you may specialise as much as or as little as you like, choosing projects and modules from a large selection spanning all the engineering disciplines. You can expect around 22 hours of teaching each week, in a mixture of lectures, classes, practicals, projects and supervisions.

While most students progress uninterrupted through the four-year Engineering Tripos, some switch to Chemical Engineering after the first year, while others opt for Manufacturing Engineering after the second year. There are opportunities to participate in international exchange programmes with selected universities during the third year.

The detailed course syllabus and its delivery are the responsibility of the Department of Engineering, which provides its own undergraduate admissions prospectus online: see admissions.eng.cam.ac.uk for more information on the benefits of studying Engineering at Cambridge, the course content and options, A-level choices, and employment prospects.

Engineering at Queens’

Choosing a College is a matter of personal preference. We encourage you to come and visit the College at Open Days to see what it is like. We are always happy to receive email from potential applicants, so please do not hesitate to contact us.

Compared with the experience at many other Colleges, Engineering at Queens' is different. We place great emphasis on our teachers and students collaborating to build a strong and inclusive academic community: this ensures the best possible environment for personalised teaching and also peer support. We encourage independent learning and go out of our way to support students who wish to broaden their knowledge through extracurricular, engineering-related activities.

We achieve these goals through two innovations. The first is that we provide every student with just two academic supervisors during the first two foundation years. You will see each of these supervisors every week. Broadly speaking, one of them teaches mechanics, structures, materials and thermofluids; while the other teaches electricity, electronics, information and mathematics. At other Colleges, you might be provided with a different supervisor for each of the four papers in the first year, and for each of the seven papers in the second year, seeing each supervisor relatively infrequently. At Queens', students and supervisors see each other more often and consequently get to know each other much better. Supervisors invest a lot of energy in their students, take a keen interest in their progress, and are able to adapt their teaching style to each student's individual needs.

The second innovation concerns our extensive use of whole-cohort examples classes during the first two years. The Cambridge norm is to provide all engineers with roughly two supervision a week, or four per fortnight. At Queens', we provide three supervisions per fortnight, supplemented by two whole-cohort examples classes. The use of larger classes for some of our teaching allows us to increase contact hours by one hour per fortnight. We tend to tackle the frequently asked questions in examples classes, freeing up the small-group supervisions for more individualised teaching and learning. Most importantly, we find that getting all the Queens' engineers together, every week for an examples class, increases group cohesion and encourages peer support. Queens' has an exceptionally well-integrated undergraduate engineering society, organising formal events (dinners, speaker evenings etc.) but also, more generally, just being there for each other.

Not only is the Queens' style of teaching popular and effective, it is also more efficient than the traditional approach, freeing up funds to support other types of learning. All Queens' engineers are able to access the Queens' Undergraduate Engineering Learning Fund (QUELF), which they can use to help purchase essential equipment (e.g. tablets and laptops) and also pay for extracurricular learning opportunities during the vacations. For example, in recent years the QUELF has funded trips to academic conferences, courses on bicycle frame building, equipment for a new robotics society and accommodation expenses during periods of industrial experience.

Finally, Queens' is well located for both the town centre and the Department of Engineering, and admits a healthy cohort of 18-20 engineers every year. This means that you are highly unlikely to find yourself academically isolated studying Engineering at Queens'. Even when you specialise in the third and fourth years, there are bound to be other Queens' engineers studying the same papers as you.

Interviews

There will be two interviews. In the first, we explore topics in mechanics and electricity. In the second, we assess your mathematical knowledge and dexterity, as well as your motivation to study Engineering. You will be asked to bring along an example of engineering-related project work to discuss in the second interview. Both interviews are a little like Cambridge supervisions, in that we try to establish the limits of your knowledge and then see how you respond when we teach you a little more. There is absolutely nothing to fear: indeed, many candidates comment on how much they enjoyed the experience!

Candidates will be required to take a pre-interview assessment. This will consist of two papers. The first will comprise a large number of short, multiple-choice questions on Maths and Physics, assessing candidates' breadth of knowledge and numerical/algebraic proficiency (80 minutes). The second paper comprises a small number of more substantial Maths and Physics questions, assessing candidates' problem solving skills (40 minutes). More information can be found here.

Gap years

Queens' welcomes applications from final-year school candidates intending to take a gap year, and from post-qualification applicants embarking on a gap year. Most such students spend the year gaining valuable industrial experience, often through the Engineering Development Trust's Year in Industry scheme. They maintain their mathematical fluency by following the LUMEN distance learning maths course, which goes beyond Further Mathematics A-level to cover some first year university material. At Queens', we find that the life skills acquired during gap years, and particularly the experience of living and working independently, stand students in good stead for university life.

Queens’ Engineering Fellows

Dr Tore Butlin

Current research: Vibration of complex structures with localised non-linearities; sensitivity and uncertainty in complex structures, dynamics and control of oil-well drills; friction-induced vibration. 

http://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/dr-tore-butlin

Professor David Cebon, Assistant Director of Studies 

Current research: Design and dynamics of heavy vehicle suspensions, road damage and the micromechanics of asphalt failure, traffic instrumentation, computers in engineering design and education, materials information management software.

http://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/professor-david-cebon

Dr Andrew Gee, Director of Studies 

Current Research: Medical engineering, particularly CT imaging and applications of computer graphics. Also working on innovative techniques for delivering undergraduate engineering education, with a current emphasis on Lego! 

http://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/dr-andrew-gee

Dr Graham McShane 

Current research: Mechanics of materials, composite and lattice materials, dynamic behaviour of blast and impact resistant structures, size dependent behaviour of crystalline materials, material characterisation at the MEMS scale, microstructure evolution in friction welding. 

http://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/dr-graham-mcshane

Professor Richard Prager 

Current research: Medical ultrasonic imaging: three-dimensional ultrasound, image enhancement using deconvulation, modelling of ultrasound propagation and scattering, estimation of ultrasound speed and material properties, parallels between ultrasound and sonar, use of graphics processors for efficient implementation.

http://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/professor-richard-prager

Professor Ashwin Seshia 

Current research: Microsystem Design, Integrated Vibratory Microstructures, Chemical and Biological Sensors, Nanostructure fabrication and assembly

http://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/professor-ashwin-seshia

Dr Graham Treece 

Current research: Medical imaging and computer graphics, with a particular emphasis on applying engineering techniques to solve clinical problems. Works mainly in algorithmic and system design, for instance 3D acquisition and visualisation of ultrasound data.  

http://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/dr-graham-treece

I had a fantastic experience at Queens'. Examples classes supplemented lectures perfectly, and repeated contact with the excellent supervisors led to more personally tailored learning, allowing me to reach my full potential.  

- Devang, fourth year engineer.

The Queens' Engineers are the most collaborative, mutually supportive, cohesive, friendliest and most fun subject group I've encountered at Cambridge, an opinion shared by many across other Colleges and subjects. There is a strong feeling that we're in it together and that there's always someone there to help.

- Kostas, fourth year engineer.

 

All my supervisors wanted to help me as much as they could, for example responding by email almost immediately, all through the year, if I was ever stuck!

- Laurence, third year engineer.

Engineering at Queens' is great due to the quality of the teachers and the proximity of the College to the Engineering Department. Studying Engineering provides the best balance between theory and practice. No other course opens as many doors. 

- Nicholas, third year engineer.

Engineering is a fun and interesting course covering a wide range of topics, and Queens' is an excellent place to study Engineering. We are always pushed to do our best and are supported by a great team of teachers and by our fellow engineers.

- James, third year engineer

There is a great sense of community among Queens' engineers, stemming from the social events that we organise together as well as the whole-cohort classes provided in the earlier years. 

- Callum, second year engineer

Uniquely, Queens' engineering is one team with a strong bond both academically and socially which will support you to succeed.

- Charlotte, second year engineer

The teaching environment at Queens' is very friendly, and gives me both support and challenge when I need it.

- Ulrika, second year engineer

Queens' unique approach to engineering teaching and learning has been a blessing during my first year. As a student here, you never feel like 'just another undergraduate' that teachers have to deal with on top of their research commitments. I have made friends with engineers at many other Colleges, and now being able to better appreciate the differences, I would still choose Queens' if I had to start over.

- Basil, first year engineer.

Queens’ offers a friendly and nurturing environment to study engineering. We are encouraged to challenge, question and think about the problems and information set in front of us. With our weekly supervisions and whole-cohort examples classes, we get to ask questions and voice our opinions in a private setting, and also learn from each other in a larger group.

- Ciara, first year engineer

Queens' is an incredibly supportive place to live and study, especially for engineers. The teachers work hard to make students feel comfortable with the challenging subject matter. There is a healthy emphasis on getting the work-play balance right, making sure students rarely feel overworked.

Fran, first year engineer

Queens' unique combination of engaging supervisions and interactive classes makes it a great place to study Engineering.

Ben, first year engineer