Guide to Undergraduate Admissions in Engineering


The University of Cambridge Department of Engineering teaches and conducts research in all the main branches of engineering except for Chemical Engineering, which is a separate department. There are some 1,200 undergraduate students (the annual intake being around 320) and about 800 postgraduate students in the Department. The Department was the top-rated Engineering Department in the country in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, and achieved an excellent result (23 out of 24) in the most recent (1998) Teaching Quality Assessment.

The Department runs two courses in Engineering. Both last four years and, at the end of the fourth year, lead to the degrees BA and MEng. For the first two years, all students reading Engineering follow the same course (the Engineering Tripos Parts IA and IB). This covers all the main branches of engineering at a fundamental level with the aim of giving students a wide general knowledge of the field.

From the third year, students concentrate on their chosen branch of engineering and the course divides into two:

Other courses often taken by students admitted to read Engineering are Chemical Engineering (which is entered after the first year) and Management Studies (which is entered after the second year).

Because the first two years of the course are common to all undergraduates, applicants for admission do not need to specify the field of engineering in which they intend to specialise at the point of application. The only exception to this rule is for applicants intending to transfer to Chemical Engineering after the first year, who need to apply for Chemical Engineering via Engineering in order to be guaranteed a place on the Chemical Engineering course.

Further information on the courses offered by the Department is contained in:

It is important to note that undergraduate admissions at Cambridge are handled by the individual Colleges. The majority of applicants specify a College on their application, but it is also possible to make an Open Application. If you do this, your application will be allocated by computer to a College which, in that year, has fewer than the average number of applications per place for Engineering. From then on, an Open Application is treated like all others to that College.