UCL Engineering


Engineering Foundation Year - What you will learn (2023 entry)

The Engineering Foundation Year will give you a solid grounding in all the skills you need to continue onto an engineering undergraduate programme at UCL.

The purpose of the Engineering Foundation programme is for you to develop academic and study skills, subject-specific knowledge and confidence in your ability to gain an undergraduate degree in engineering in the future. That’s why this programme helps to nurture the range of skills it takes to become a future engineer.

A holistic approach to your future

The varied modules on this programme range from theory to practical activities, and cover all the knowledge you need to go on to do an engineering degree. The subject-specific knowledge is mostly focused on mathematics and science, and includes lab work using UCL’s world-renowned facilities.

We recognise that it takes more than knowledge to thrive during an engineering degree, which is why we include sessions on developing your academic and professional skills. This covers everything from essay writing techniques and help with English, to time management skills, how to use the library and revision study tips.

And finally, you will also work on hands-on projects that run throughout the Engineering Foundation Year. You’ll work in a number of different teams with other students to solve real world problems, putting all your learning into practice. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop good team working skills and to see engineering come to life.

How you’ll be taught and assessed

We teach all the material on this programme using a variety of methods, which includes group work, project-based learning, activities and workshops.

You’ll be assessed by a mixture of exams, work portfolios, quizzes, peer grading and practical activities.

We understand that your educational background may mean you lack confidence in some areas of learning or assessment. As a result, this programme offers substantial additional support to enable you to reach your potential.

The timetable for the Engineering Foundation Year has been designed with flexibility in mind. This means that you’ll attend for a total of 2.5 days per week, helping you to achieve a balance between your education and other commitments you may have.


Introduction to Engineering Mathematics and Science

Covering all the knowledge you need to continue on to do an undergraduate engineering degree, this module ensures you gain the required maths and science skills that can be applied to engineering.

The Introduction to Engineering Mathematics and Science module is taught through a tailored method that depends on your starting point for learning. The 30 credit module is delivered across two terms and covers all the relevant parts of A-Level maths and science that are needed for the engineering context.  The aim of this module is to ensure you are comfortable applying mathematical techniques to engineering problems, and we can provide extra support to those who need it.
By the end of the module, you will understand how mathematics is used in engineering processes and how it can be used to predict the behaviour of engineering systems. You will also be able to use mathematics and science knowledge to solve engineering physics, mechanics and electromagnetics problems. 

What you will learn
The focus of all the topics covered in this module is on how to apply concepts to engineering problems, and how to combine mathematics and science to analyse engineering designs.

Pure mathematics
Topics include: quadratics, functions, coordinate geometry, circular measurement, trigonometry, logarithmic and exponential functions, vectors and scalars, series, differentiation, integration, numerical solutions of equations, differential equations and complex numbers.

Probability and statistics
Topics include: representation of data, permutations and combinations, probability, discrete and continuous random variables, normal and Poisson distribution, sampling and estimation.

General engineering
Topics include: SI units and prefixes.
Topics include: forces and equilibrium, kinematics of motion, dynamics, energy, work and power, momentum, properties of matter, electric circuits, fields and waves.

Topics include: formulae, equations and amounts of substance, atomic structure and bonding, equilibria and energetics.

How you will learn
•    Software tools and connected learning activities for core mathematical topics including pure maths, probability and statistics will support your self-study.
•    You’ll take part in tutor-led and student-led activities focusing on different mathematical topics. 
•    Group problem-based tutorials will focus on learning maths skills and assessment literacy.
•    Group learning seminars will help you get to grips with key aspects of physics, mechanics and electromagnetics.
•    Lab sessions will help to build your knowledge of physics, mechanics and electromagnetics using engineering mathematics.
•    You’ll be able to put your learning into practice through the other modules on this programme, in particular the Design Engineering Project.

How you will be assessed
Assessment on this module is designed to be supportive and continuous, focusing on learning opportunities instead of extensive formal assessment. 

•    You’ll use online tools in pure maths, statistics and probability that provide automatic feedback on your work.
•    You will submit assignments on engineering science topics.
•    You will regularly submit laboratory log-books and reports that will be assessed by programme leaders 
•    You will complete a series of online and in-class tests on the topics you learn.
•    A two hour examination will complete the assessment for the module.

Academic and Professional Skills

Helping you develop all the skills you need to succeed at university and as a future engineer, this module gives you a versatile set of academic and professional skills.

The Academic and Professional Skills module helps you develop the core skills needed at both university and in the workplace. The 30 credit module is taught over two terms and covers everything from how to tackle university assignments, to designing potential solutions to problems. Engineers must have problem-solving skills, excellent communication skills appropriate for different colleagues and clients, and a professional approach to their work. You will develop and practice these skills through this module so you can thrive both at UCL and in your future workplace.

By the end of the module, you will understand the role of professional skills in the engineering field, and you will be able to communicate effectively using different media. You’ll have knowledge about how different behaviours contribute to successful engineering design teams and you will know how to support equality, diversity and inclusion. Ultimately, you will have a range of key academic and professional skills that you can apply to your continuing education and future career.

What you will learn
•    You will learn how to communicate efficiently and effectively in a number of ways, including presentation skills, working within teams and essay writing skills.
•    You will gain tools and techniques for developing problem-solving and analytical skills, which includes how to think creatively and critically.
•    You will build your confidence when working with peers and presenting to others, learning team leadership skills and how to be a good team member.
•    You will develop academic confidence and skills in a number of areas that are important for your studies at university, including how to approach different types of assignments, help with English if you need it, how to use the library and how to access good quality evidence to support your assignments. You will also gain support with skills such as time management, how to revise and how to prepare for exams.
•    You will gain awareness of cultural, ethical, economic and social issues in engineering.

How you will learn
•    Lectures, seminars and tutor-led e-learning will help to broaden your knowledge of academic skills that relate directly to studying engineering.
•    Peer and student-led e-learning, as well as problem-based group learning, will enable you to apply professional skills to real world contexts.
•    Guest lectures and e-learning in employability will enable you to see how academic and professional skills are used in the undergraduate degrees and in the workplace.
•    You’ll be able to put your learning into practice through the other modules on this programme, in particular the Design Engineering Project.

How you will be assessed
Assessment on this module is designed to be supportive and continuous, focusing on learning opportunities instead of extensive formal assessment. 
•    You will keep a reflective journal and take part in peer/tutor-led sessions as part of a self and peer assessment process.
•    You will receive feedback on regular work you submit that is not formally assessed, so that you can confidently submit work for formal assessment later in the programme.
•    Your assessment for this module is based on coursework, which comprises a portfolio of work you do throughout the module, including reports and reflections.

Engineering Design Project

Enabling you to put your growing engineering knowledge into practice, this hands-on module helps you understand what it means to be an engineer by solving real life problems.

Delivered using Project-Based Learning (PBL), this module mimics the engineering workplace to give you an enhanced understanding of what it is to be an engineer. This is where you will put all the skills you learn from the other modules into practice, working alongside others to come up with solutions. This module will also show you the benefits of our Integrated Engineering Programme model, which is all about developing real world problem solving skills.

By the end of this module, you will have developed inventive and creative problem-solving skills, and you’ll have an understanding of systems thinking and design processes in the engineering context. You’ll be able to prototype and demonstrate engineering designs you have worked on. You will also have good interpersonal and team working skills, and have a greater overall understanding of the application of science and maths to creating engineering solutions.

What you will learn
•    You will learn how to practically apply the theory of maths and science to create engineering solutions.
•    You will gain knowledge of a range of tools and techniques to address engineering challenges.
•    You will understand how problems can transform into engineering solutions through teamwork and an interdisciplinary approach.
•    You will learn about the design cycle in engineering projects.
•    You will gain a solid grounding in the design tools used in engineering.

How you will learn
This module uses Project Based-Learning (PBL) as the main vehicle of learning. The concept of PBL gives you an open-ended question or challenge, providing you with an opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in order to address the problem. PBL helps you develop critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration skills. It also gives you some autonomy in how you decide to approach the problem and refine the solution you create based on feedback.
•    You will undertake a total of five projects throughout the programme. This includes two larger projects in term one, two smaller projects in term two, and a capstone project in term three.
•    Each project will enable you to incorporate different areas of learning you have gained from your other modules.
•    All projects will include initiation and planning phases, an implementation phase and a reflection and consolidation phase. 

How you will be assessed
•    For each of the five projects you do on this module, you will submit a short report and do a demonstration, presentation or video. Some of these outputs can be included in your final 10,000 word portfolio, that you will be assessed on to complete the module. 
•    You will also take part in peer and tutor-led sessions as part of a self and peer assessment process, which will help you submit your strongest work for your final assessment.


A package of bespoke wraparound support is integrated into the Engineering Foundation Year. Find out more about the available support.