About the Course

The Engineering course at Oxford is of four years’ duration. The first and second years give a broad base in Mathematics and the main branches of Engineering Science, namely Mechanical, Electrical, Information and Civil Engineering, plus Materials and Energy Systems. It is not until the third year that the Engineering Science degree divides into Mechanical, Civil, Electrical, Chemical, Biomedical and Information options. There is also the possibility of selecting the new Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Management course.

The fourth year of the course is entirely specialised and you have a wide choice of subjects from which to choose from.

Practical work in the first two years consists of a mixture of set experiments, designed to develop practical techniques and to illustrate key aspects of the lecture courses, and open-ended “design-buildtest” projects, giving you more freedom to explore the nature of Engineering.The second year culminates with a series of “coursework modules” where you choose from a wide range of subjects and explore them in detail for a whole week at a time. In the third year of the course, you undertake a group design project, co-operating with a group of other students to look at all aspects of a realistic Engineering design project. For example, Dr Morris runs a third year project to design a laser system for fabricating nanotechnology. In the final year, you will have an even more demanding, but deeply interesting individual research project, which counts for 50% of the year.

Compared with most Engineering courses in the country, you will find that the number of timetabled lectures is rather small. Do not be deceived by this! A key feature of Oxford education is the demand on the students to prepare work by themselves in their own time. You are aided in this by College tutorials in the first two years of the course. These are normally held twice a week in small groups of two or three students, or even one student at a time when this is appropriate. Tutorials have three main roles. The obvious one is to check that you are tackling the problem sheets handed out by lecturers in the Department, but if you experience difficulties the tutorials can act as specific remedial sessions.

The tutorials also act as a stimulant to encourage you to think more widely about your subject. Most of your tutorials will be taken by one or other of the two Engineering tutors at Jesus, but they will be supplemented by experts from outside the College when necessary. In the third and fourth years of the course, when the subjects are more specialised, the Department organises problems classes in place of College tutorials.

Following a recent course revision, there are now University examinations at the end of each year. In addition, colleges maintain a more even pressure by setting their own examinations called Collections. Be assured that success in Engineering comes from a steady and sustained effort throughout the course: last minute cramming can never substitute for this!

Subject notes

To see the latest subject notes for Engineering - which contain information about our tutorial fellows, the admissions process and the course itself - please consult the below link.