Engineering is a broad discipline, covering everything from the more traditional subjects, such as Civil Engineering and Aeronautics, to the new subjects such as Nano-electronics, Machine Learning and Bioengineering.

The Cambridge course reflects this, so that students study a general course with relatively little specialisation for the first two years, and then concentrate their efforts for two further years on a few topics selected from a wide range. More detail is available via the Department's prospectus.

The number of areas covered allows you to see what the different subjects are all about, before having to commit yourself to one field. It does not, however, put you at a disadvantage when applying for jobs afterwards; because Cambridge attracts high quality students, it means that topics can be covered more quickly, and if you choose to specialise in one subject later in the course (say Civil Engineering), you will probably have covered as much Civil Engineering material as students who have been to a university offering a specialist Civil Engineering course. At the same time, you will have studied basic Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, as well as Thermodynamics and Materials Science, all of which makes you very attractive to potential employers. A similar depth of material is covered if you choose to specialise in one of the other disciplines, but you can choose to take a range of courses in the final years to keep a general Engineering base.

The depth with which the subjects are covered means that Engineering is not a ‘soft option’, and it is not a watered-down version of Natural Sciences. There will be many lectures and laboratory classes to go to, and many examples papers to work on; but you will be working with a group of students with similar abilities, and the College provides supervisors to help you with your studies.

Emmanuel takes slightly more Engineering students than the average across the colleges, typically 16 each year. Because there are Fellows of the College who specialise in all the main subject areas, you can expect to have most of your supervisions in the College from a specialist who is also from Emmanuel. In the few subjects where we do not have expertise, or to cover periods of leave, we bring in suitably qualified supervisors from outside.

At Emmanuel, we look for students who know why they want to study Engineering, who have an awareness of where Engineering fits into society, and who have the ability to communicate their interests and knowledge to others. We would expect you to be reasonably well informed about world events, perhaps by reading a ‘quality’ paper regularly, and also to have some understanding of what is going on in the world of science and engineering. A regular look through New Scientist, Scientific American, or one of the journals that relates to your own interests is likely to be useful preparation. Above all, we are looking for those students who have open, enquiring minds, so that you will be able to appreciate why we are teaching the subjects that you will study, and how they will be applied after you leave.

Many students want to take a year out before coming up to study Engineering. We are happy for you to do that, especially if you can use the time constructively by getting a job with an engineering firm. You will be more mature when you come, you will see the relevance of some of the things you will be taught, and, if you can get sponsorship from the firm, you will have some extra money in your pocket. Unlike some colleges, however, we do not insist on a gap year or sponsorship. We recognise that a year out before starting a four-year course will mean that you will be about 23 before you graduate, which some students regard as too late.

Admissions Information

Standard offer: A-level - A*A*A with A* in Mathematics and Physics; IB - 776 at Higher Level with 7 in Mathematics and Physics, 42 points overall; Advanced Highers: A1A1A2 with A1 in Mathematics and Physics; other exam systems.
Course requirements: A-level Mathematics and Physics are essential (see standard offer); Further Mathematics is useful, but if this is unavailable, we would encourage you to take pure and mechanics modules rather than statistics.
Course outline: Further details are available on the Department's website.
Applying: For information on how to apply: University application process and Emmanuel application timeline.
Admissions Assessment:

All applicants will take the Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT). You must register for the pre-registration assessment in advance separately from your UCAS application.

Registration Deadline - Monday 16 September 2024

Assessment Date - Tuesday 15 or Wednesday 16 October 2024


Candidates should normally expect two interviews. The interviews will take place during the period Monday 9 - Wednesday 18 December 2024. Specific subject dates will be emailed to applicants in November.

Applicants will be asked to select, from lists sent on receipt of their application, a topic and an appropriate Engineering subject, and be prepared to discuss the topic in one of their interviews.

Course enquiries: Emmanuel Admissions Office