Which Area Of Cambridge Engineering Is Right For You?

Cambridge University allows you to specialise in many areas of engineering. Engineering at Cambridge is a broad-based course, unlike other universities where specialisation in a particular area of engineering is undertaken from the first year of study.

Author: Rob Needleman

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The University of Cambridge enables you to specialise in many Engineering areas. 

Engineering at Cambridge is a broadly based course, unlike at other universities where specialisation in a particular engineering area is done from the first year of studies.

 

The Engineering course normally lasts four years and leads to the M.Eng. degree, although it is possible to leave after three years with a B.A. degree. It isn’t a ‘general’ course but allows you to keep your options open while equipping you with all the analytical, design and computing skills that support modern engineering practice.

To qualify in a particular Engineering area, you must take a minimum number of modules falling within that area in your third and fourth year. From third year, Manufacturing Engineering Tripos (MET) is offered which is a distinct course accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineering (IMechE). The MET applies engineering knowledge in a business context. 

In a nutshell, the following specialisations are available within the Engineering course at Cambridge:

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering covers a very broad field. The main areas are mechanics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, materials, and design, but topics in control and instrumentation are also relevant. 

 

Many students choose to specialise either in the “dry” side of the subject (mechanics, materials, design) or the “wet” side (fluids and thermodynamics), but combinations of courses can be found to suit many different career paths, some of which cut across this divide.

Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

Power generation and environmental engineering are central to the advancement of a sustainable future in developed and emerging economies. Energy engineering and sustainability are broad interdisciplinary subjects. This Engineering Area offers the opportunity to draw together modules across electrical, mechanical and civil engineering, with application areas ranging from power generation in gas and steam turbine plants, to fuel cells and renewable energy technologies, to buildings and infrastructure.  

Aerospace and Aerothermal Engineering

Aerospace and Aerothermal Engineering is an interdisciplinary blend of subjects ranging from fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, structures, instrumentation, control, electronics and design to manufacturing. Essentially, Aerospace Engineering is concerned with flight and Aerothermal Engineering with the associated propulsion systems. Read on to learn how to convey your passion for Engineering in your Personal Statement.

In the past, development in these fields has been driven by technological issues. In the future, environmental concerns, minimising noise and pollution, and relentless pressure on design and manufacturing turnaround time will lead to novel solutions.  

Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Intending Civil, Structural or Environmental Engineers are advised by the university to study the broadest possible range of relevant courses. These courses include: foundation and construction engineering, concrete structures, pre-stressed concrete, structural steelwork, architectural engineering, plate and shell structures, sustainable water engineering, sustainable energy, advanced building physics, construction management and many others. This engineering area has many shared modules with Energy, Sustainability and the Environment Engineering Area.  

Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Electrical and Electronic Engineering covers the range of topics which best represent the current trends in circuits, devices and systems for hardware implementations.  

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Electrical and Information Sciences

Electrical and Information Sciences covers a broad area of studies. This includes electronic circuits and devices as part of module B and the digital representation and processing of signals, and manipulation of data in computers in module F. 

If you’re interested to see what life is like to study Engineering at Cambridge, read on here.   

Information and Computer Engineering

Information and Computer Engineering covers the digital representation and processing of signals and systems.  It extends from the theory of signals and systems to the manipulation of data via computer programs. In addition to all of the information modules, this professional area includes modules from the Computer Science Tripos.

Instrumentation and Control Engineering

Instrumentation and Control covers a range of topics that are important to the monitoring and control of modern systems. There are three sets of modules. The Electrical Engineering modules cover basic circuits and device technology and the Information Engineering modules cover the representation, capture and manipulation of signals. The Mechanical Engineering modules cover the relevant engineering aspects of mechanical systems.

BioEngineering

Bioengineering is a rapidly growing field encompassing the use of engineering tools to solve problems in medicine and biology as well as new quantitative approaches to biological systems based on engineering principles. Before the third year, only one optional introductory BioEngineering module is offered.

Still Unsure?

There is no reason to worry if you are still unsure which engineering area suits you best, even by the end of your third year!

 

You can simply choose your favourite modules and qualify for the “general” Engineering Area. The University of Cambridge has decided to deprive its students from the pressure of having to choose a specific engineering area, while allowing them to be highly employable with a broadly based degree.

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