Which Oxford Engineering Course Combination Should I Choose?

Deciding what Oxford Engineering course combination to take can be a difficult decision, but what are the different combinations to choose from?

Last Updated: 18th April 2022

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Many Oxford Engineering graduates will want to become corporate members of a Professional Engineering Institution and seek Chartered Engineer status.

Satisfactory completion of an accredited university course is the first step towards full membership of one of the main Engineering Institutions.

University courses are considered for accreditation by each major institution separately, and this approval is reviewed regularly.

But what are the accredited combinations of course options at the University of Oxford?

The Oxford Engineering Course Combinations

In the third and fourth years this is when you have the opportunity to specialise into one of six branches of Engineering.

These branches are:

Decisions about which of these will be your specialisation can be deferred until the third year.

The course is accredited every four years by the major Engineering institutions in respect of the initial requirement for the designation of Chartered Engineer.

If you are seeking membership of a Professional Engineering Institution (PEI) you must complete one of the above pathways for your degree to be accredited; you will be asked this information when you apply to the PEI, and they will want to see a university transcript as evidence of papers taken and the titles of your project work.

It is your responsibility to select your options based on what matches your career choice and intended membership of one of the PEIs.

A good piece of advice is to become a student member of your preferred PEI as early as possible.

Early preparation is the key to a successful Oxford Engineering application.

Writing the perfect Personal Statement, scoring highly on the PAT and interviewing like a pro is how you get your dream Oxford Engineering offer.

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About the course combinations

Biomedical Engineering

The Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME) is an interdisciplinary technology-focused research institute located at the heart of the University of Oxford’s Medical Sciences campus, adjacent to the Churchill Hospital.

Establish in 2008, the IBME offers a world-class venue for cross-disciplinary Biomedical Engineering research, where engineers, scientists, and clinicians work together within a single ecosystem on addressing unmet needs in the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of major diseases and conditions.

The Institute’s core research missions are to develop novel medical devices, technology and systems capable of delivering substantial healthcare benefits, and to translate new Engineering technologies into clinical practice.

Chemical Engineering

As the fourth largest Engineering discipline, Chemical Engineers are employed in a wide range of industries – food and drink, materials, chemicals, oil and gas, biomedical, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, biotechnology, water and power utilities, renewable energy and space exploration.

Taking this specialisation you will cover essential thermodynamics, reactor design conversion and separation processes, process design, safety and hazard analysis, biotechnology, environmental technology, chemical product design and much more.

Throughout the course, teaching by university staff is supplemented by invited lecturers from industry.

In the final year, there is an extended project in which the student works closely with a member of academic staff on some hot new technology topic, concerned with design, research, modelling and development.

The course is accredited by the UK Institution of Chemical Engineers, as meeting the academic requirements for Corporate membership and also for stage 1 registration on the UK Engineering Council’s Register of Chartered Engineers.

Civil Engineering

Unlike Civil Engineering departments at many other universities, the Civil and Offshore Engineering Group operates without boundaries between the subdisciplines.

You are therefore able to foster collaborations across a broad range of research areas in Civil Engineering. This means you will be able to foster collaborations across a broad range of research areas in Civil Engineering.

The course is accredited every four years by the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation and the Institution of Highway Engineers.

Electrical Engineering

Taking the Electrical Engineering path allows students to get to grips with the discipline but undertaking a design project. Previous projects include Electric and Hybrid Formula Student Race Cars based around the Formula Student competition. 

Other projects completed by students include a semi-autonomous wheelchair providing assistance for patients suffering from tremor-based conditions. As well, another project which developed ways to provide older people with a safe and comfortable home environment, including energy, communications and monitoring. 

Information Engineering

The Information and Network (INS) Lab conducts research wide variety of information and communication theories and technologies at many different scales and for a broad array of applications. The current focus of the Lab ranges from information-theoretic research on structural compression methods to studies of new modulation techniques and even electro-fluidics.

An area of the Lab’s research that has recently gained the attention of industry and government has been related to the quantification of complexity and structure in spatial networks.

The INS Lab is currently studying how network functions such as routing and topology discovery can be enhanced with knowledge of the network entropy.

Mechanical Engineering

This is one of the largest groups in the Department of Engineering, having grown in size over recent years.

Research in Solid Mechanics has a long tradition in Oxford, initiated by Hooke, whose work on the elasticity of springs may be regarded as the foundation of the mechanics of deformable solids. At present activities encompass many techniques (experimental, theoretical and numerical) and spread over a wide range of materials (composites, metals, polymers, biomaterials, etc.).

The course is accredited every four years by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


Ultimately the course combination which you choose to pursue comes down to what speciality you are wanting to be accredited in.

However, if you still remain undecided in the latter years of the course you can opt to continue on an unaccredited General Engineering path. This allows you to continue developing your transferable skills that are relevant in many fields.

There is no right answer, as to which Oxford Engineering course combination to take it truly comes down to you and where your passion and interest lie.

Our expert tutors will guide you to Oxford Engineering success.

Applying to Oxbridge is immensely competitive, and you must give yourself the best chance of success. We help you craft the perfect Personal Statement, achieve a highly competitive PAT score and teach you how to Interview effectively – covering all areas of your Oxbridge application.

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