Engineering is about solving problems: about designing processes, products and systems to improve the quality of human life. From reservoirs to robots, aircraft to artificial hips, microchips to mobile phones − engineers design and manufacture a huge variety of objects that can make a real difference to both individuals and to societies.
At the University of Cambridge, the engineering degree provides students with all the analytical, design and computing skills that underpin modern engineering practice, while encouraging the creativity and problem-solving skills that are so important to a good engineer.
Members of the EDC develop and deliver educational material for the Cambridge Engineering course, both at Bachelors and Masters level. This material is informed by research conducted in the Centre and is distributed through the four-year undergraduate course and in special courses aimed at research students, as described below.
There are three major design courses in the first year. In Drawing, students learn to develop the 3-D visualisation and communication skills needed for engineering design. In Product Design they receive an introduction to creativity and the design process and then apply that to an individual project. In Structural Design, they work in teams to plan, design, manufacture and test a simple structure, and then test it to destruction.
The second year design courses include an Integrated Design Project, where students work in multidisciplinary teams to design a system that incorporates mechanical, electronic and software systems. Students also study two Electives from a choice of five. These courses provide case studies and related exercises associated with a much larger project than the students could tackle themselves in the time available.
In the third year, students undertake two 80-hour projects, many of which are design projects. One example of this is Light Aircraft Design, which involves teams of three students taking responsibility for the aircraft's structure, aerodynamics and flight mechanics. The project provides students with the opportunity to explore the interactions between different technical design disciplines.
Fourth year (MEng)
Many of the fourth year courses have a design element to them, but two modules in particular focus completely on design. Design Methods provides students with a toolkit of systematic design approaches, including probabilistic design, functional decomposition and Quality Function Deployment. Two Design Case Studies are taught, one focussing on design for production and the other focussing on design for users.
Research students are typically required to take three courses, chosen either from the fourth year offerings or from courses that are only available to postgraduate students. For students whose research focuses on design, the EDC has developed courses on Research and Communications Skills, Design Research Literature and Integrated System Design.
Further details on the structure and content of the Cambridge Engineering course may be found here.