Undergraduate study - 2018 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2017/2018

BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering

Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: The Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Final award: BEng (Hons)
Programme title: Mechanical Engineering
UCAS code: H300
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Engineering
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: John Chick
Date of production/revision: July 2012

External summary

Mechanical engineers are responsible for the analysis, design and manufacture of an enormous range of industrial products and systems – almost anything with moving parts, from washing  machines to aircraft. You will use fundamental physics, complex mathematics and state-of-the-art engineering software, as well as your creative and inventive skills, in designing and improving products. The main applications of Mechanical Engineering are usually thought of as planes, trains and automobiles. These industries have Mechanical Engineering people at the core of their

businesses but the discipline opens doors to an increasingly diverse range of subjects, including bioengineering, medical engineering, nanotechnology, sports engineering and renewable energy.

The Mechanical Engineering degree programmes equip students with a thorough core knowledge, together with analytical, practical, design and communication skills so that they can go on to join a design, production or research team. World class research activities strongly enhance our teaching, and undergraduate students have opportunities to carry out research projects in these areas.

Our main aim is to produce mechanical engineers with the knowledge and skills required to contribute to the mechanical engineering discipline of today and tomorrow.

Educational aims of programme

The programme aims are:

  • To provide a flexible structure and broad-based approach to the subject of Mechanical Engineering.
  • To concentrate on the core subject areas of Mechanical Engineering.
  • To provide a thorough appreciation of the relationship between engineering theory and industrial practice.
  • To give students a firm foundation in reporting and communication skills.
  • To develop in students a disciplined and deep approach to learning, as a foundation for future self-learning and continued professional development.
  • To provide an awareness of the wider commercial, management and legal aspects of engineering.
  • To ensure that students recognise the need to operate within the code of conduct defined by the relevant professional body.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

The programme outcomes reflect the Engineering subject benchmark statement, the requirements of UK Spec, and the distinctive nature of the Edinburgh degree programmes. The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas.

Students will be able to:

A1 demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of essential facts, concepts, theories and principles of their engineering discipline, and its underpinning science and mathematics. They must have an appreciation of the wider multidisciplinary engineering context and its underlying principles. They must appreciate the social, environmental, ethical, economic and commercial considerations affecting the exercise of their engineering judgement;

A2 apply appropriate quantitative science and engineering tools to the analysis of problems. They must be able to demonstrate creative and innovative ability in the synthesis of solutions and in formulating designs. They must be able to comprehend the broad picture and thus work with an appropriate level of detail;

A3 understanding and apply mathematical principles necessary to underpin their education in their engineering discipline and to enable them to apply mathematical methods, tools and notations proficiently in the analysis and solution of engineering problems;

A4 have an awareness of the framework of relevant legal requirements governing engineering activities, including personnel, health, safety, and risk (including environmental risk) issues;

A5 understand the need for a high level of professional and ethical conduct in engineering.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

Students should be able to:

B1 Knowledge and understanding of scientific principles and methodology necessary to underpin their education in their engineering discipline, to enable appreciation of its scientific and engineering context, and to support their understanding of historical, current, and future developments and technologies;

B2 Ability to apply and integrate knowledge and understanding of other engineering disciplines to support study of their own engineering discipline.

B3 Ability to identify, classify and describe the performance of systems and components through the use of analytical methods and modelling techniques;

B4 Ability to work with technical uncertainty.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

Students should be able to:

C1 Understanding of contexts in which engineering knowledge can be applied (eg operations and management, technology development, etc);

C2 Use creativity to establish innovative solutions;

C3 Learn independently at levels appropriate for BEng study.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

Students should:

D1 have developed transferable skills that will be of value in a wide range of situations. These are exemplified by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority Higher Level Key Skills and include problem solving, communication, and working with others, as well as the effective use of general IT [information technology] facilities and information retrieval skills. They also include planning self-learning and improving performance, as the foundation for lifelong learning/CPD [continuing professional development].

D2 have a good understanding of appropriate codes of practice and industry standards;

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

Students should be able to:

E1 Effectively manage time and resources;

E2 Make proficient use of general IT tools including word processing, email, spreadsheets and the web;

E3 Have a good understanding of and ability to apply a systems approach to engineering problems.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Students should:

F1 possess practical engineering skills acquired through, for example, work carried out in laboratories and workshops; in industry through supervised work experience; in individual and group project work; in design work; and in the development and use of computer software in design, analysis and control. Evidence of group working and of participation in a major project is expected. However, individual professional bodies may require particular approaches to this requirement.

F2 have effective workshop and laboratory skills

F3 be able to interpret the results of laboratory experiments and simulations and present them in written reports and oral presentations.

F4 be able to plan and carry out an individual or group experimental or design project, taking account of resource constraints and responding flexibly and effectively to unanticipated difficulties that arise

F5 be able to report on an extended project, either as an individual or as a group member contributing to a group report, meeting deadlines and presenting written and graphical material in a properly structured and literate way.

Programme structure and features

The programme is offered only as a full-time course.  Its normal duration is four years and leads to a BEng (Hons) degree at the end of year 4.  Direct entry to year 2 or 3 is possible for suitably qualified applicants.  Alternative exit points are available at the end of each year of the 4-year programme, but is primarily designed for the full 4-year structure and not all its aims are met even partially by earlier exit.

The programme is arranged into 4 x 2 semesters.  Each semester contains 60 credit points.

Students in years 1 and 2, with the consent of both parties and the advice of their Personal Tutor, can transfer to other programmes in the College of Science and Engineering.  The Personal Tutor will advise on the best choice of courses to keep open the option of transfer to any particular Science programme.  Students who complete year 3 may graduate with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering; or if an average across of at least 40% is attained across all Level 9 subjects, may proceed to BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering.  Students who attain an average of at least 55% may transfer to MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering.

The tables below detail the courses taught over the four-year degree.

Year 1

Units of Study

SCQF Level

Credit Points

Potential Awards

Mathematics for Science and Engineering 1a

8

20

Mathematics for Science and Engineering 1b

8

20

Engineering 1

8

20

Mechanical Engineering 1

8

20

Cert. HE (120 credit points)

Further courses

8

40

Progression Requirements In order to proceed to Year 2 of Mechanical Engineering, a student must satisfy (i) the University requirement of having accumulated sufficient number of credit points (120 credit points).

Year 2

Dynamics 2

8

10

Fluid Mechanics 2

8

10

Engineering Thermodynamics 2

8

10

Structural Mechanics 2A

8

10

Materials Science and Engineering 2

8

10

Power Engineering 2

8

10

Mechanical Engineering Design 2A

8

10

Mechanical Engineering Design 2B

8

10

Industrial Management 1h

8

20

Mathematics for Science and Engineering 2a

8

10

Dipl. HE (240 credit points)

Mathematics for Science and Engineering 2b

8

10

Progression Requirements In order to proceed to Year 3 of Mechanical Engineering, a student must satisfy (i) the University requirement of having accumulated sufficient number of credit points (200 credit points) and (ii) passes in Dynamics 2, Fluid Mechanics 2, Engineering Thermodynamics 2 and Structural Mechanics 2A.

Year 3

Computer Aided Engineering 3

Dynamics 3

Fluid Mechanics (Mechanical) 3

Manufacturing Technology 3

Solid Mechanics 3

Thermodynamics 3

Control and Instrumentation 3

Computer Methods for Structural Engineering 3

Mechanical Engineering Practice 3

Mechanical Design Principles 3

Mechanical Engineering Design 3

Mechanical Design Project 3

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

BSc Mechanical Engineering (360 credit points)

Progression Requirements In order to proceed to Year 4 of Mechanical Engineering, a student must satisfy (i) the University requirement of having accumulated sufficient number of credit points (360 credit points) and (ii) attain an average of 40% across all 120 credit points of Year 3 courses. Resit examinations are not allowed to improve marks or gain credit points to achieve progression to Honours. The Board of Examiners have the responsibility to decide which students can progress to the next year of study. Progressing students must attain at least 80 credit points and be awarded an aggregate pass for the 120 credit points of study. Students meeting all progression requirements who attain an average of 55% across all 120 credit points of Year 3 courses may opt to transfer to the MEng Mechanical Engineering programme, and progress to Year 4 of that programme.

Award of BSc Mechanical Engineering In order graduate with BSc Mechanical Engineering, a student must (i) satisfy the University requirement of having accumulated sufficient number of credit points (360 credit points), and (ii) attain an average of 40% across all 120 credit points of Year 3 courses. The Board of Examiners have the responsibility to decide which students can graduate. Graduating students must attain at least 80 credit points and be awarded an aggregate pass for the 120 credit points of study.

Year 4

Mechanical Engineering Group Project 4

BEng Mechanical Engineering Project 4

Four from:

Dynamics 4

Energy Systems 4

Fluid Mechanics (Mechanical) 4

Solid Mechanics 4

Finite Element Methods for Solids and Structures 4

Two from:

Polymers and Composite Materials 4

Supply Chain Management 4

Engineering in Medicine 5

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

11

20

40

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

10

BEng Mechanical Engineering (480 credit points)

Award of Honours (BEng) In order graduate with BEng Mechanical Engineering, a student must (i) satisfy the University requirement of having accumulated sufficient number of credit points (480 credit points), and (ii) attain an average of 40% across all 120 credit points of fourth year courses. Resit examinations are not allowed to improve marks or gain credit points. The Board of Examiners have the responsibility to decide which students can graduate. Graduating students must attain at least 80 credit points and be awarded an aggregate pass for the 120 credit points of study. For the award of Honours a minimum mark of 40% must be attained in the BEng Mechanical Engineering Project 4. Degree classifications are based on the University common marking scale. The final classification is based on a weighted mean mark, 50% of which is based on third year and 50% on fourth year.

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching methods include lectures, workshops, tutorial classes, laboratory classes, computing classes, design project classes and self-study projects.

A1 is acquired in through participation in programme courses.  Students also have the opportunity to take courses from outside of the engineering subject area in Year 1 which reinforce the social, environmental, ethical, economic and commercial considerations.

A2 Intellectual ability is applied and assessed in all courses across all years of all Mechanical Engineering programmes.

A3 is primarily acquired through the Mathematics courses in Year 1 and 2.  Further specialised mathematics provided in some courses in Year 3 (Computer Methods for Mechanical Engineering 3, Control and Instrumentation 3, Solid Mechanics 3, Dynamics 3)

A4 is introduced in Mechanical Engineering Design 2A and developed in design courses and projects, and Mechanical Engineering Practice in Year 3, Individual Project and Group Design Project 4.

A5 is introduced in Engineering 1 and developed in Mechanical Engineering Practice 3 and Mechanical Design Principles 3.

B1 is acquired in almost all taught courses in mechanical engineering across all years.  Students also have the opportunity to study additional courses in Physics, Chemistry and Materials in Year 1.

B2 is acquired though courses shared with other engineering disciplines (especially Year 2), courses taught by other engineering disciplines for Mechanical Engineering students (e.g. Instrumentation and Control) and Group Project 4.

B3 is introduced in Engineering 1 and mechanical Engineering 1courses and developed mainly through the design teaching (Mechanical Engineering Design 2A/B, Mechanical Design Principles 3) and the Years 3 and 4 Group Design Projects, and the Individual Project. 

B4 is introduced in Years 2 and 3 design courses and projects, and applied in Group Design Project 4.

C1 Covered in Design courses (and projects) in Years 1, 2 and 3, and Group Design Project 4.  Management aspects covered in Year 4 management courses.

C2 is introduced in Mechanical Engineering Design 2A/2B and developed in the design courses, design projects and Mechanical Engineering Practice in Year 3, Individual Project and Group Design Project 4.

C3 is encouraged by the use of project work in the 3rd year and 4th year design courses, the 4th year BEng Final Year Project, and course work assignments in Honours courses.

D1 is introduced in the Engineering 1 course and developed mainly through the design teaching, Honours Group Design Projects, and the Individual Project.  CPD introduced to students in first year through the “Careers in the Curriculum” initiative in Engineering 1 and reinforced in Mechanical Engineering Practice 3 by external speakers and talks from the careers service.  Report writing and presentational skills are developed across all years of the programmes.

D2 is introduced in Years 2 and 3 design courses and projects, and applied in Group Design Project 4.

E1 is fostered progressively by increasing demands for the timely submission of coursework in a number of parallel subjects. Time and resource management are developed with the 4th year study and design projects.

E2 Students are introduced to general IT skills from week 1 of the 1st year course and subsequent years make increasing demands in the IT area.

E3 is developed mainly through the design teaching (Mechanical Engineering Design 2A/B, Mechanical Design Principles 3) and the Years 3 and 4 Group Design Projects, and the Individual Project. 

F1 Practical and laboratory skills are developed in many courses from the first to the third year.  Workshop skills are developed in the Engineering Applications programmes in second and third year, and the strip-and-build exercises in Mechanical Engineering 1.  Computing skills are developed across second, third and fifth year through the use of industry-standard engineering software packages.  The skills acquired above are applied through group projects and the individual project.

F2 Workshop skills covered in Strip-and-Build section of Mechanical Engineering 1, Engineering Applications 2 and 3, and Individual Project.  Laboratory skills acquired across taught courses with laboratories in Years 1, 2 and 3.  Also covered in Individual Project.

F3 is acquired through laboratory and design teaching in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years of the course and the individual and design projects in the 4th year, all of which have a literature/web search component, together with the 3rd year Industrial Visits programme which includes discussions with plant managers and personnel.

F4 is largely associated with the design and Individual projects in the 3rd and 4th year.

F5 figures in nearly all the practical activities up to and including the 4th year projects. Reporting of results is required in all cases and takes the forms of group and individual written and oral reports, and poster sessions.

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 136640
Year 235650
Year 338620
Year 428720

Assessment methods and strategies

Assessment of knowledge and understanding is tested through a combination of written examinations and assessed coursework. The yearly weighting of written examinations and coursework averages 60% and 40% respectively. Particularly in Honours years of the programme, written papers comprise compulsory questions to test for competence in all learning outcomes. Knowledge and understanding of mechanical engineering fundamentals is also assessed with the material covered in the project work and assignments associated with design teaching.

Although some written examinations are set, much of the assessment of analytical skills is conducted by use of marked coursework exercises and the marking of the 3rd and 4th year design and individual projects.

Practical skills are assessed in the form of marked reports, dissertations, posters and oral presentations. Much emphasis is placed on the ability to work well in group situations.

Feedback is provided for all written submissions, including examinations, and on oral presentations. Thus all summative assessment has a formative element. In addition, there are opportunities for formative work in computing exercises and practice exam questions in first year and in tutorials, workshops and project meetings across all years of the programme.

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 172622
Year 267033
Year 346351
Year 447053

Career opportunities

Engineering graduates have a number of excellent career options available to them. Studying Engineering at the University of Edinburgh prepares you for a career as a professional engineer in the UK or abroad and all courses meet the requirements of the UK professional engineering bodies. Typically many of our graduates move on to work in internationally leading engineering companies in technical, consultancy and managerial roles, including company directorships.

Alternatively, the skills and experience you gain through your degree will also equip you for a career outside engineering and many of our graduates have gone on to work in other areas, including the Civil Service, education, the armed forces and the financial sector. Engineers enjoy some of the highest starting salaries of any graduates.

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