The roof of King's College Chapel: Fourth years with Cesare Hall (Director of Studies)
Welcome to the Engineering subject page at King's! Here you will find an overview of the Cambridge Engineering course, the people who teach and research in Engineering at King’s, plus information about applying for the undergraduate course.
- Engineering at Cambridge and at King's
- Student perspectives
- Fellows in Engineering
- Applying for Engineering at King's
- What are we looking for?
- Reading, resources and events
- Further information
Engineering at Cambridge and at King's
Andrei, Neil, Charalambos, Alex and Linda on graduation day
Engineering at Cambridge is a broadly based course, unlike those at universities that have separate departments of civil, mechanical and electrical engineering. All students study a common core of subjects in the first two years. The course is not simply vocational, but aims to provide a broad scientific foundation on which to base the principles of engineering analysis and design.
All courses in Engineering are for four years and lead to the degrees of BA and MEng. After the broad Part IA and Part IB Tripos examinations in years one and two, students may choose to spend their third and fourth years taking specialist papers in their chosen field of engineering from Part IIA and Part IIB of the Engineering Tripos or Part I and Part II of the Electrical and Information Sciences Tripos, the Chemical Engineering Tripos or the Manufacturing Engineering Tripos, or they may divert to other subjects such as the Management Studies Tripos.
The Department of Engineering is one of the largest in the university with over 1000 undergraduates and 350 research students. King's College admits about nine undergraduates and about five or six graduates to study Engineering each year. Many undergraduates have spent a year in industry, often with a sponsoring firm, between school and university. You might like to consider defering entry in order to gain experience of the engineering profession before starting your degree course, however this is not a requirement.
The university department provides most of the teaching, and this includes not only lectures but also experimental work including both experiments and extensive project work. The department is conveniently situated just 9 minutes' walk down the road from King's (it is marked by the red pin on this map). College teaching, known as supervision, usually in groups of two, is given in the first two years mainly by the teaching fellows of the college. In the third and fourth years supervision is arranged by the college, but is often given by experts in particular branches of Engineering, who may not be members of King's.
Amy and Mark have written accounts of their experiences of King's Engineering, including freshers' week, the course and supervisions, lab work, exams, King's Engineers and the wider college community, and the application process. These accounts are well worth reading to get a sense of what studying Engineering at King's is really like.
Fellows in Engineering
Mark Ainslie is in the Bulk Superconductivity Group at the Department of Engineering. He is interested in the electrical engineering applications of high temperature superconductors.
Nick Atkins (Director of Studies) is interested in the flow and heat transfer within the internal or secondary air systems of both aero propulsion and energy based gas turbines.
Timothy Flack is in the Electrical Group in the Electrical Engineering Division and works particularly on electric machines and drives, and on numerical simulation of electromagnetic fields.
Cesare Hall (Director of Studies) is a University Lecturer in Turbomachinery. He is currently researching an aeroplane engine that uses less fuel and therefore emits less CO2.
Cam Middleton (Director of Studies) is a Senior Lecturer in Structural Engineering. His specialism is bridge engineering, particularly yield-line analysis and reliability analysis of bridges.
Geoff Moggridge is the Director of Studies in Chemical Engineering at King's and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. His research is concerned with structured materials, with a particular interest in environmental issues.
John Young is interested in thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. Although most of this work is connected in some way to the power generation industry, he is particularly interested in fundamental problems which have a broader range of application.
Applying for Engineering at King's
Mathematics and Physics to A level or equivalent are required subjects for Engineering. We strongly prefer applicants to study a third science / mathematics subject at the same level: Further Mathematics would be excellent wherever possible. Chemistry, Computing, Design & Technology or Electronics may also be useful options. Chemistry is an essential subject for those planning to take Chemical Engineering via Engineering. Further information is given on the Faculty website.
We welcome suitably qualified applicants from all backgrounds, all over the world. Women are underrepresented in university Engineering courses. We therefore actively encourage applications from women to study Engineering at King's. Details of our most common offers in a range of examination systems are available on the entrance requirements page.
You will find a step-by-step guide to the application process on the how to apply page, and we advise you to read this thoroughly. Engineering candidates invited for interview usually have one interview with two Engineering fellows at King's. Whilst in Cambridge, candidates also have a short seminar on an area of maths and/or physics which will be unfamiliar, followed by a written test based around the seminar material. There is also a more general Maths and Physics written test for which no specific preparation is required.
In admitting students to study Engineering, motivation and promise of achievement are sought by interviewers, rather than just attainment of high grades in school examinations; candidates' interest in, and knowledge of the creative aspects of Engineering is explored.
What are we looking for?
The most important criteria are enthusiasm, dedication and potential and we consider each case on an individual basis. This course requires a considerable commitment in terms of time and energy. But, as our many successful previous students will tell you, it is well worth the effort!
We will be interested in:
- your existing examination results which we consider carefully, taking into account your personal and educational background;
- your academic interests and motivation as explained in your UCAS personal statement and explored further in interviews;
- your school reference and predicted grades for any exams you have yet to take;
- your performance in the Maths and Physics written test, which candidates invited for interviews take with no preparation;
- your performance in a written exercise based on material we teach you in the Engineering seminar (see section above);
- how you approach questions designed to make you think in interviews - our interviewers will work closely with you to assess your suitability for the challenges of Cambridge Engineering.
At King's, we are looking for promise and potential. So although existing and predicted grades form a central criterion for admissions, we are careful to interpret grades in light of your personal and educational background. We assess each application individually. We are interested to learn about your existing knowledge and skills, but we endeavour also to find out how you would deal with the new materials and ideas you would encounter at Cambridge.
Listen to Mark Ainslie giving advice about how to prepare for your application to study Engineering, and what to expect in your interviews.
Reading, resources and events
- King's provides general advice about developing your interests.
- Your school work in Mathematics is essential preparation for Engineering at Cambridge. See useful topics, curriculum links and the explanation of 'rich' tasks. If you are studying in a different qualification system and wish to consult an A level textbook, we suggest L. Bostock and S. Chandler. 1990. Core Maths for Advanced Level. 3rd edition. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.
- If your school does not offer Further Maths, you may be able to get support through the Further Mathematics Support Network. See the flowchart.
- The ability to link Physics and Mathematics knowledge in developing mathematical models or descriptions of physical situations is fundamental to the study of Engineering at Cambridge. This skill is often underdeveloped at school but there are excellent resources available on the NRICH website. See in particular mathematical issues, and the engNRICH and physNRICH sections.
- If you would like to practice solving problems relevant to Engineering, please see i-want-to-study-engineering.org
- The book by Professor M J French Invention and Evolution – Design in Nature and Engineering (Cambridge University Press) is a useful introduction. Further reading suggestions are given on the faculty website.
- The subject resources page has a tag for sciences posts, which you might like to browse.
- Events and schemes which may be of interest in the year before you apply (year 12 in the UK) include Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences, CU Masterclasses, Cambridge University Science Festival, Headstart, Engineering Education Scheme, and Nuffield Bursaries, and King's Open Days (if you come to the July ones, you can also get tours of the Faculty - it's the only time you can do this). Students from backgrounds where there is little tradition of entry to Higher Education might like to apply for Sutton Trust Summer Schools or the CUSU Shadowing Scheme.
- Course outline
- Engineering faculty website
- Engineering Gap Year information
- Applying with limited support or advice
- International Students
- Extenuating circumstances form
- If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to email King's Admissions Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).