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.
Engineering Department Courtyard. Credit: Engineering at Cambridge
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.
Fraser, 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.
James Taylor (Junior Research Fellow) has research interests in the aerodynamics of compressors, 3D flows and their structure, those which limit the efficiency and stability of an aircraft jet engine.
Applying for Engineering at King's
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.
The application process for all subjects is explained on our how to apply page, which we advise applicants to read thoroughly in combination with the details below about the Engineering subject requirements, pre-interview-assessment, and interviews.
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 ideal 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.
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.
All candidates for Engineering at King's are asked to take a pre-interview written assessment for Engineering, which will take place in schools and other assessment centres on 2 November 2016. You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment. The registration deadline is 15 October 2016. Your assessment centre must register you for the pre-interview assessment (you can't register yourself).
Information about written assessments
Including assessment centres and how registration works
The pre-interview assessment for Engineering
The format, a detailed content specification and example questions.
Your performance in the pre-interview assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application (see What are we looking for?).
Most (but not all) candidates are invited for interview and further assessment in King's in early December. 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 exercise based around the seminar material. There is also a more general King's Maths and Physics written test, which lasts one hour.
Further general general information about interviews is available, and if you are applying from overseas, please read about the the interview options for international candidates on the International Students page. NB. Engineering candidates who are interviewed overseas do not have the seminar and the maths and physics written test described in the paragraph above.
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 pre-interview written assessment for Engineering;
- [If you are invited for interview at King's or overseas]: 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.
- [If you are invited for interview at King's] your performance in the King's Maths and Physics written test.
- [If you are invited for interview at King's] your performance in a written exercise based on material we teach you in the Engineering seminar (see section above).
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. Please note that the information about what happens when you come for interview is from 2015.
Reading, resources and events
- King's provides general advice about developing your interests.
- Your school work in Mathematics and Physics is essential preparation for Engineering at Cambridge. We advise all applicants to read the list of core topics in the pre-interview assessment content specification and to use the i-want-to-study-engineering website as a study resource.
- If your school does not offer Further Maths, you may be able to get support through the Further Mathematics Support Network. See the flowchart.
Once you are familiar with the core material:
- If you would like to practice solving problems relevant to Engineering, please see i-want-to-study-engineering.org
- 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. See also useful topics, curriculum links and the explanation of 'rich' tasks.
- 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.
Engineering Open Day, 2015.
Credit: Engineering at Cambridge
- 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).