Undergraduate Teaching 2017-18

Director of Studies briefing notes - Easter term supplement

Director of Studies briefing notes - Easter term supplement

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Table of contents

Information for students

The following documents will be emailed to students by Thursday 14 April.

Part IA - Briefing notes, examples rota, lab and coursework schedule

Part IB, - Briefing notes

Part IIA - Briefing notes

Part IIB - Briefing notes

You are asked to discuss the Accreditation information with your second and third year students when advising them about their options for the following year.

Student records

Please ensure that you notify the Teaching Office immediately if you become aware of any student who withdraws or degrades from the course during the year. Please also let the Teaching Office know of any student who will not be returning to CUED next year e.g. changing course, or graduating after Part IIA.  We do not always hear directly from Tutorial Offices. 

Could you also inform us if there is a change in Director of Studies for your College.

Part IB Paper 8

Easter term lectures

Topics in seven professional engineering areas are taught in the context of design:

  • Civil and structural engineering: Design and construction of underground space
  • Mechanical engineering: Renewable energy systems
  • Aerothermal engineering: Design of a jet engine
  • Electrical engineering: Micro and nano-electronic devices
  • Information engineering: Photo editing and image searching
  • Bioengineering: Engineering applied to the living world
  • Manufacturing and Management: Bringing technology innovations to market.

Students may, if they wish, start off by attending lectures for more than two topics, in order to decide which two they would like to study for the examination.  Students will not be required to specify which topics they intend to follow.  Each course has 16 timetabled slots (4 per week), equivalent to  14 lectures and 2 examples classes - although in some cases explanation of examples may be spread throughout the course.  There will be the equivalent of two examples papers per topic with fully worked solutions being made available for students to see.  There are no supervisions for these courses.  The material in these selected topics is not a prerequisite for third-year courses, although some preliminary reading may be expected by those who have not taken a topic.


The examination for Paper 8 will be of 2.5 hours' duration, except for those candidates taking the foreign language option, for whom the examination will be of 1.5 hours' duration.

Compulsory section: Introductory Business Economics

The examination for paper 8 will be divided into 8 sections, labelled A-H.  Section A is compulsory and each student must answer one of the questions therein on the Introductory Business Economics course (lectured in the Lent term).

Selected topics

Sections B-H correspond to the 7 Engineering Electives.  Students who are not taking the Foreign Language option must answer four questions taken from only two of sections B-H.  Not more than two questions from each section may be answered.  Students who are taking the Foreigh Language Option must answer two questions from one of the sections B-H.

Foreign Language Options

The credit scheme for candidates who have elected to take a language course as one of their two options in Part IB Paper 8 is shown on the examinations notice board in the Inglis corridor.

Candidates who have registered to take the language option in their Selected Topics for Paper 8 should answer two questions from only one of the sections B-H on the examination paper.

Part I Examples Papers and cribs

Please remember to update the supervisor's database in case of any change or additions to your list of supervisors for the Easter term as soon as possible.

All examples papers and cribs will be posted online:

Solutions of the examples papers will be released electronically to the students on the day of the corresponding examples class.


Third-year choices

It is expected that the Faculty Board will approve the list of modules to be offered in 2016/17 at its meeting on Monday 9 May.  The information will be made available shortly afterwards on the undergraduate teaching pages.

The Options document states that all second year students will be required to log on to COMET (Cambridge Online Management of Engineering Teaching) and make a provisional selection of your third-year modules between Monday 23 May and the end of Full Term, Friday 10 June.  Students may make changes to their Michaelmas selections up to the end of the first week of that term (and further changes to choices of Lent modules up until January).

Students hoping to take Manufacturing Engineering must complete an MET application form and should indicate their choice on COMET, but are also required to enter a 'back-up' selection of IIA modules. These students will be contacted by email nearer the time with full instructions.

Students who have been selected to spend next year at MIT, National University of Singapore or Ecole Centrale Paris, or are planning to transfer to another Tripos (eg Management Studies), should indicate this on COMET.

Manufacturing Engineering Tripos (MET) Open Afternoon and applications

MET will be holding an open afternoon on Wednesday 4 May 2016, 1.00-3.00 pm at the Institute for Manufacturing to explain the course to interested students (and staff).  Refreshments will be served and MET staff and current students will be on hand to answer all your questions.

Students who are interested in taking the Manufacturing Engineering Tripos for their third and fourth years should visit the MET website, download and complete the application form  and email it to the MET Office by Friday 20 May  stating their name, College and Director of Studies.  Directors of Studies will be asked to supply brief references for applicants and all students will be invited to attend a short interview in the early part of the week following the IB exams.  Places will be offered shortly after the announcement of the IB results.  Students who have applied for the MIT exchange and hope to come back to MET IIB for their final year should follow the same procedure.

Transfers to MET from Chemical Engineering

Applications to MET are welcomed from second-year students studying Chemical Engineering. Such students do not require Faculty Board permission to enter MET Part IIA.  MET or IB Directors of Studies are requested to inform the MET office of any such applicants.  It would be helpful if the applicants' email addresses and the name and e-mail of their present Director of Studies could be given.

MET Term Dates

The METIIA course will begin on Monday 3 October 2016, and the students should expect to follow a full-time Induction programme until lectures commence on Thursday 6 October 2016.

METIIB has extended term dates in Michaelmas. The course will begin on Monday 26 September 2016 and ends on Friday 9 December 2016.

Incomers to Engineering Part IIA and MET IIA

Procedure to be followed for students wishing to transfer from other Triposes into Engineering Part IIA or MET Part IIA

Students who have obtained Honours in Tripos examinations other than IB engineering may, with the approval of the Faculty Board, be admitted to Engineering or MET Part IIA. Applications from such students will usually be taken at the July meeting of the Faculty Board (after Part IB results are known). If cases are brought to Faculty Board earlier in the year they will be subject to confirmation when IB results are known.

The procedure to be followed for METIIA is: 

The MET Course Director should make a brief case for acceptance of students from triposes other than Engineering and Chemical Engineering who have been offered places on MET.

The procedure to be followed for Engineering Part IIA is:

Students who believe they meet the acceptance criteria should first meet with the Engineering Director of Studies at their College, who should ensure that the procedures below are followed.

Students are required to discuss their application with the Director of Undergraduate Education (DUE) in advance of their case being taken to the Faculty Board. The DUE can then check that they are adequately prepared for the transfer, and can hold discussions with the Director of Studies.

The Faculty Board requires transfers to be endorsed by the DUE before considering them.

Criteria for acceptance:

- Students should normally have reached at least II.1 standard in their Part IB examinations;

- they must have six weeks of relevant industrial experience before the start of the IIA examinations.

Documentation required:

- Statement from the student about why they wish to transfer into Engineering IIA;

- CV of student;

- letter from accepting Director of Studies supporting the transfer and providing a provisional set of module choices for Part IIA.

Additional information and requirements for Vets and Medics wishing to take Engineering Part IIA.

There has been a steady trickle of students taking this option, but the number is rising sharply; this is encouraged by the Department.

Vets and medics are asked to make contact with Dr Graham Treece, who is in overall charge of the Bioengineering teaching group. He is gathering information and advice from previous students, and will be able to advise on appropriate module choices.

He will also provide some advice on what is regarded as ‘relevant industrial experience’ for vets and medics, which may be rather different from what is appropriate for mainstream engineers.

Industrial qualification

Directors of Studies are particularly asked to warn intending incomers to third-year courses 2016/17 that they must obtain the appropriate industrial experience qualification as early as possible and certainly before the start of the Easter term 2017.

October registration

Directors of Studies should make sure that incomers to Engineering will be in residence early enough to register at the same time as the first year students, ie during the first day of Full Michaelmas term, Tuesday 4 October 2016.  The exact time of registration for each college will be given in the Michaelmas briefing notes.

Fourth year modular courses

Students will take eight modules during their fourth year, each corresponding to approximately sixteen hours of timetabled periods.  It is expected that the Faculty Board will approve the list of courses to be offered in 2016/17 at its meeting in May, and this information will be made available to students shortly after.

Students will be required to log on to COMET and make a provisional selection for their fourth year modules between Monday 23 May 2016 and the end of Full Term, Friday 10 June 2016.  You will be able to make changes to your selection up to the end of the first week of term (and further changes to Lent modules until January) except for 4M9 and any language option (see below).

Modules are offered subject to demand.  If the numbers for any module are very low, it may be withdrawn or given as a directed reading module rather than a taught course.

Fourth year language modules: 4M1, 4M2, 4M3, 4M4

In order to enable us to plan whether or not to run the fourth year language modules we require students to commit to any language module that they wish to take by Friday 10 June 2016.  After this date all selections of language modules for both Michaelmas and Lent terms will be final.  Students will not be able to change these selections at any later stage.  These selections will be used to decide which modules will run.

Although choices for most other modules can be changed up to the end of the first week of the term in which the modules are delivered, choices for language modules will be fixed after 10 June 2016 and students who have signed up will be firmly committed to taking the courses.

It is particularly important that students should note that there are language pre-requisites for these modules. They should discuss whether they have the required language knowledge for the modules with Mr Tual before selecting them.

4I1 Strategic development

The number of 4I1 places available to Part IIB engineers is limited.  Students who have not taken 3E3 will be given priority.  The names of students wishing to take this module will be extracted from COMET, and a ballot will be held if the module looks likely to be oversubscribed.  The ballot will take place on the first day of lectures of the Michaelmas term. Students interested in taking this module therefore need to ensure that their choice is registered in COMET before this date.

4I9 Low power embedded systems; 4I12 Social and technological network analysis; 4I13 Flow of networks (all imported from the Computer Lab)

If these modules are offered there will only be a small number of places are available, so it is likely that a ballot will have to be held on the first day of lectures of the Michaelmas term.  Students interested in taking these modules need to ensure that their choice is registered in COMET before this date.

Module 4M9 Surveying

This module will be held in Scotland from Sunday 26 June 2016 to Saturday 9 July 2016 (i.e. at the start of the Long Vacation and 3 months before other Part IIB modules).  All interested students should contact Mr Aylmer Johnson as early as possible, and by Friday 20 May 2016 at the latest and make sure that they keep these dates free of other commitments.  The number of places is limited, and if oversubscribed, a ballot will be held in the week 23-27 May 2016, with priority given to students taking Engineering Area 4: Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering.  The list of those accepted will be published by Friday 27 May 2016. 

Students wishing to take this module should preferably have some prior surveying experience, eg from the Survey Extension Activity or Part IIA projects GD5/GD6.  Please note that each student will be asked to contribute £154 towards the cost of accommodation.  This module is already very heavily subsidized by the Department and the University, and no further central funds are available towards the £154 cost.


On-line timetables

The University-wide online lecture list for Engineering cannot be guaranteed as accurate by the Department.  It is available to download to smart devices for this term but should be checked against the timetable on the Department website as there may have been changes to lecture times since the University-wide lecture list was produced.


Next meeting for Directors of Studies

The scheduled summer meeting of the Directors of Studies Committee will take place on Monday 27 June 2016 in the Board Room at 10am.  Please contact Alexandre Kabla with any items for discussion.

Pre-residence material

The 'Preparatory Problems for Engineers' has been transferred to Moodle.  This will require offer-holders to be registered with Guest access using their private email addresses.  Information will be sent to Admissions DoS with instructions as to how to provide the list of email addresses for their students.  It is expected that new additions will be enrolled by the Teaching Office at the end of each month.


Students should receive four supervisions for each single IIA module: three supervisions on examples papers plus one revision supervision (which may be in Lent for Michaelmas modules). Additional supervisions will not normally be authorised.

Third year Module Leaders are responsible for finding and appointing supervisors for their module. Use the web-based Supervisor Marketplace to advertise for supervisors, and to look for potential supervisors offering their services. Potential supervisors should be approached early on. Supervisors may be drawn from teaching staff, research students and post-docs. Supervisors must attend a Supervisor Training course before they may supervise. Supervisions are paid for by Colleges, and supervisors must submit reports and claim payment through CamCORS.

Ideally, students should be supervised in pairs. If you are unable to find enough high quality supervisors, you should increase the group size rather than enlist less capable supervisors. It is essential that all students taking a module receive comparable supervision (same number of supervisions, equivalent group sizes). Singleton supervisions should not be given without the prior consent of the Director of Studies; Colleges may refuse payment for such supervisions.

For some E-modules, the problem of finding enough high-quality supervisors has proved insuperable and special arrangements have been put in place with the agreement of the Subject Group Chairman and the Teaching Office. For these modules only, examples classes are held in lieu of the normal small-group supervisions. These appear on the lecture timetable. There is no charge to Colleges for these classes, but individual feedback to students is necessarily limited.

Module Leaders should provide supervisors with completed handouts, examples sheets and cribs in good time.  They should hold at least one informal discussion to exchange best practice in how to supervise topics that are commonly found difficult.

The COMET system (Cambridge On-line Management of Engineering Teaching) provides a provisional list of the students expected to be taking your module. Some changes will occur at the start of the term in which the module runs, with final listings being available from Thursday of week 2 of each term.

Supervisor allocations should be circulated to students and supervisors (e.g. put up in a lecture, followed by e-mail) as soon as possible. It is important to get going with supervisions quickly: fitting three supervisions into the term means they should start ideally in Week 3.  Supervisions should not be bunched at the end of term as this places undue pressure on students.  If it emerges that there are problems with supervisors (in particular, unable to supervise to an acceptable standard) it is up to the module leader to remedy the situation swiftly.

Last updated on 13/04/2016 15:27