Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2018/2019

BEng (Hons)/MEng (Hons) in Engineering

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: Depends on final chosen degree programme
Final award: MEng (Hons)/ BEng (Hons)
Programme title: Engineering
UCAS code: H100
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Engineering
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: Dr Brian Flynn
Date of production/revision: June 2012

External summary

The degree programmes in Engineering are designed to produce graduates who will be able to pursue successful careers in a range of professional areas, both within and outside Engineering. Graduates will be capable of original investigation through work in the laboratory, individual and group projects and independent study.  

Graduates who intend to develop careers outside Engineering will have a broad range of transferable skills. Graduates will have experience of a range of computer software packages, some specialised and others of general use in written and graphical presentations.

The various Disciplines within the Engineering degree programmes can be investigated through a selection of required and elective courses. These allow the student to develop generic transferable skills which are acquired while they follow a programme path of increasing specialisation.

In Edinburgh it is possible to enter the Engineering degree programmes and to have a taste of many different areas of Engineering. Students starting Engineering in the first year, have the opportunity to leave their final choice of the specific degree programme until the end of their first year.

Educational aims of programme

The programme aims are:

  • To give students broad knowledge and understanding of the theoretical foundations of engineering;
  • To develop the analytical and mathematical expertise necessary for research, design, development or production work in industry, academia or government service;
  • To make students aware of the commercial and environmental context of engineering;
  • To develop the general skills and attitudes expected of an engineer;
  • To retain professional accreditation by the relevant professional body;
  • To develop in students a disciplined and deep approach to learning, as a foundation for future self-learning and continued professional development.
  • To provide breadth and depth of study in engineering and related disciplines.
  • To develop skills of working alongside engineers of other disciplines in design.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

The foundations are laid in courses in the pre-honours years, when students are introduced to basic concepts in Engineering. These foundations are based on an understanding of chemistry, mathematics and physics, which are taught in a engineering context in courses in the first year. Courses in later years build progressively on these foundations and develop further understanding of experimental research methods.

Students must be able to 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.

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

Through a combination of laboratory practicals, research projects and group work, students learn current skills and approaches in engineering research. An understanding of scientific method, allied to the ability to construct alternative arguments and hypotheses leads our students to develop an ability to explore and evaluate evidence for and against particular points of view. Students will learn to report research data and conclusions through written reports and competent oral presentations, drawing on the outcomes of their skills in research and enquiry.

Students must be able to apply appropriate quantitative scientific 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.

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

The development of critical thinking lies at the core of the intellectual training provided in the Engineering degree programmes. Students develop an increasing competence to deal with intellectual concepts and scientific discussion, and to evaluate contradictory arguments through both report writing and laboratory research.

Student must be able to apply scientific and mathematical methods to the analysis of problems, and be creative and innovative in developing new solutions to problems.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

The development of communication skills occurs throughout the degree programme and is staged so that the students’ development is matched to the SQCF level. Communication skills are important in several different contexts: to communicate scientific knowledge and discoveries to other scientists, to inform and communicate science to the wider community and to demonstrate graduate attributes to employers. Skills comprise:

  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. Such written communication will include various types of report, project plans and posters;
  • Work effectively in a group, either as group leader or as a team member.

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

Student personal development is achieved through a number of interconnected learning processes and interaction with other students, staff and their individual Personal Tutor. Development is designed to enable students to grow in confidence and ability throughout the successive SQCF levels. These processes include:

  • Effectively manage time and resources;
  • Make proficient use of general IT tools including word processing, email, spreadsheets and the web;
  • Evaluate and appreciate the wider implications of technology.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Students must 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].

Over the degree programme students gain the following skills/experience:

  • Safely and effectively operate chemical engineering laboratory equipment and plan and carry out series of readings under varying conditions, modifying the planned readings in the light of results already obtained.
  • Interpret the results of laboratory experiments and simulations and present them in written reports and oral presentations.
  • Make effective use of scientific and commercial information sources and of information gained by plant inspection and conversations with operating personnel.
  • 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
  • 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

This programmes fits within the general structure of the University’s Curriculum Framework.

Courses and Progression

Students take courses totalling 120 credit points in each year of the programme. The programme is full time for 4 years (BEng) or 5 years (MEng).

The degree regulations and programme of study, along with the degree programme table for all Engineering degrees can be found at: http://www.drps.ed.ac.uk

Year 1

First year comprises two courses in each of Mathematics and Engineering.

During the first semester students attend a general Engineering course Engineering 1, which contains assistance on appropriate physical principles to provide the necessary background for students admitted without Higher physics or its equivalent.

In the second semester students take the Engineering course(s) of their intended Engineering Discipline.


The pass mark in all subjects is 40% for both written examination and coursework components. Progression into 2nd year requires passes in Maths 1, Engineering 1 and the Engineering course of their chosen Discipline.  Students may be permitted to progress carrying up to 40 points, but if more than 20 points are to be carried progression depends on an interview.

Year 2

On successful completion of Year 1, students will transfer to their chosen degree programme.  A full list of degree programmes is available at: http://www.drps.ed.ac.uk

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Year 1

  • Laboratory Reports; formative feedback is provided early in the first semester followed by summative feedback contributing to course results.
  • Reports; students are provided with written feedback.
  • Assessed Problems; students are provided with written feedback.
  • Written Degree Examinations; students are invited to view their examination scripts.

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 134660
Year 234660
Year 333670
Year 425750

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 programmes, written papers comprise compulsory questions to test for competence in all learning outcomes. Knowledge and understanding of chemical 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 later year group design and individual research 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 question 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 170624
Year 2701416
Year 362533
Year 450248

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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