Engineering at Cambridge is a broad-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. The Department of Engineering is one of the largest in the university with over 1000 undergraduates and 350 research students.

Course Structure

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 in related subjects such as Electrical and Information Sciences, Chemical Engineering or Manufacturing Engineering. Some students may also divert to other subjects such as Management Studies.

The University department provides most of the teaching, and this includes not only lectures but also experimental and extensive project work. College teaching, known as supervision, is given in the first two years mainly by the teaching Fellows of the College, and usually in groups of two. 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.

Engineering at King's

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 deferring entry in order to gain experience of the engineering profession before starting your degree course, however this is not a requirement.

Fellows at King's in Engineering:

Professorial Fellow

Structural engineering; bridges; computational collapse analysis; non-destructive testing; structural health and sustainability monitoring.

Ordinary Fellow, Learning Support Tutor

Electrical engineering applications of high temperature superconductors; power system protection and energy storage.

Ordinary Fellow

Flow and heat transfer within the internal or secondary air systems of both aero propulsion and energy based gas turbines.

Ordinary Fellow, Senior Tutor

Electric machines and drives; numerical simulation of electromagnetic fields; automotive electrical power systems.

Ordinary Fellow

Aerodynamics of compressors, 3D flows and their structure; efficiency and stability of aircraft jet engines.

Professorial Fellow

Design and development of chemical products; production and control of microstructures; environmental issues.

Life Fellow

Thermodynamics; fluid mechanics and dynamics; power generation; turbulent particle transport and deposition.

Applying for Engineering at King's

King's admits about nine undergraduates and 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 deferring entry in order to gain experience of the engineering profession before starting your degree course, however this is not a requirement.

We welcome suitably qualified applicants from all backgrounds, all over the world. Women are underrepresented in university Engineering courses, and we therefore actively encourage applications from women to study Engineering at King's.

Subject Requirements

The required subjects for Engineering are Mathematics and Physics to A-level, IB Higher Level or equivalent. We strongly prefer applicants to study a third science or mathematics subject at the same level: Further Mathematics would be ideal wherever possible and is strongly encouraged. 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.

If you can't take an A-level (or equivalent) in Further Mathematics, or you’ve realised too late that it would be useful, we advise you to do as much additional pure maths and mechanics as possible. You may be able to take stand-alone units of Further Mathematics at AS Level.

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.

Pre-Interview Assessment

All candidates for Engineering are required to take the pre-interview admissions assessment for Engineering, which will take place in schools and other assessment centres. You must be registered in advance to take the assessment.

Written Work

Applicants are not expected to submit any written work as part of their application.


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.

Candidates invited for interview at King's also have an additional 'Engineering Seminar' on an area of maths or physics which will be unfamiliar, followed by short exam questions based around the seminar material. This additional opportunity will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.

Thinking of applying to Cambridge? See here for details of how to apply, and why King's might be the right College for you.
Find out about how to register for your pre-interview assessment and see specimen papers from previous years.
Candidates for some subjects are required to submit written work as part of the application process - see more here.
It's completely normal to be nervous about coming to interview, but here's some practical advice about how to prepare for the process.

Student Perspectives

Fraser and Shreeja 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.

Fraser is from Market Bosworth and studies Engineering. He did his A-levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry.
Shreeja studied Engineering at King's from 2013-17, specialising in Mechanical Engineering. She is from Hounslow in West London.

Reading, Resources and Events

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, linked below. See in particular mathematical issues, and the engNRICH and physNRICH sections.

The book by Professor M J French, Invention and Evolution – Design in Nature and Engineering (Cambridge University Press), is also a useful introduction. Further reading suggestions are given on the faculty website.

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 in the Links section below.

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, Saturday Masterclasses, Cambridge University Science Festival, Headstart, Engineering Education Scheme, 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.

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