Fourth Year Manufacturing Engineering
The structure of the final year of the course is very different from a standard undergraduate course. Teaching is organised in intensive modules interspersed with periods in industry doing real industrial projects. Terms are longer than standard Cambridge teaching terms, and learning is achieved through seminar-style sessions and practical experience rather than from formal lectures. Assessment is based on project reports, a number of short tests through the year, and two synoptic three-hour written examinations at the end of April.
Modules cover the full range of manufacturing industry and have a strong practical orientation, focusing on the application of academic concepts to technological and business problems in industry. Modules cover:
- Production technology and materials
- Manufacturing systems engineering
- Industrial systems, operations and services
- Managing people
- Technology and innovation management
- Strategy and marketing
- International enterprise and manufacturing policy
- Sustainable manufacturing
The manufacturing systems engineering module is complemented by a robotic assembly exercise, in which students work in teams of up to 10.
Drawing on material covered in the course, you undertake about six weeks of industrial projects. In pairs or small groups you work on site in a company, tackling a real problem of current importance to them. Although support and guidance is provided, you have to be largely self-reliant and use your own initiative and resources. At the end of the project you make a presentation of your findings to the company, and complete a full written report a few days later. The course concludes with a substantial individual project, which again is aimed at solving a real industrial problem and which may take place in Cambridge, elsewhere in the UK or abroad. Recent projects have included assessing the carbon footprint of Network Rail, and introducing PET bottle recycling in Jordan.
Overseas Research Project
The finale of the two-year programme is the overseas research project, which is largely organised by students. You devise and research a topic, set up company visits, arrange transport and accommodation, and raise funds from UK industry. The findings from the investigation are presented to sponsors and other interested industrialists in a written report. Recent tours have visited China, the USA, Brazil and India.