Undergraduate Teaching

Part IIB guide

Part IIB guide

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Table of contents

Supplementary information will be issued in the Lent and Easter terms and in the termly briefing notes.

Part II aims & objectives

Teaching aims

The aims of Part II of the Engineering Tripos are to encourage and enable students to:

  • specialise in considerable depth in a chosen area of engineering;
  • acquire up-to-date knowledge and understanding of theory and practice in a chosen area of engineering, in an atmosphere informed by research;
  • continue to develop skills in modelling, analysis and problem solving;
  • develop creativity, synthesis and design skills, and the ability to create engineering design solutions;
  • design and evaluate experiments and computer software;
  • continue to develop communication, teamwork, management and leadership skills;
  • develop an awareness of the international role of the engineer;
  • develop the facility for independent learning, open-mindedness, and the spirit of critical enquiry;
  • develop the ability to tackle unforeseen technical and management demands and to apply new technologies in novel situations with confidence and competence;
  • develop their full potential as innovators and future leaders in industry, the professions, public service, academic teaching and research.

General objectives

At the end of Part II undergraduates should:

  • by means of lecture courses, associated course requirements, examples papers and appropriate reading have gained an understanding in depth of engineering science in specialised areas;
  • have progressed further with all but the first of the general objectives for Part I of the Engineering Tripos;
  • by means of team projects have developed cooperative, management and communication skills as well as practical professional knowledge;
  • by means of a major project in either design or research have developed creativity, innovation and a capacity for independent learning and enquiry.

The progress of each undergraduate is measured by Tripos examinations and by assessed coursework. Tripos classes and details of marks are notified to undergraduates through CamSIS or by their Colleges, and progress with coursework is communicated by staff marking individual coursework activities.

Detailed objectives for each element of the course are given with the syllabuses for each series of lectures and with the instruction sheets for coursework.

Balance of work

  Michaelmas Lent Easter
Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Lectures X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X                
Coursework X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X                
Project Work X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X       X X X X X
Examinations                                 X X X          



Part IIB is based around a flexible modular scheme, in which strong specialisation is possible.  About 75 modules are available, from which you choose eight. Most opt for four in each of the Michaelmas and Lent terms, but this is not a requirement.  If you do wish to take an unbalanced selection, it is usually preferable to undertake the greater share in Michaelmas (e.g. 5:3), since past experience shows that project pressure tends to be higher in the Lent term.  The decision is also influenced by the coursework load of your modules. You are advised to discuss your choice with your director of studies, particularly if it is not a balanced selection of 4 in each term.

Each module has 16 timetabled slots, in the Michaelmas or Lent term (with the exception of a small number of vacation modules).  Exam-only use all 16, including examples classes; this is reduced to 12-14 slots for 25% coursework modules. Coursework modules use as many of the 16 slots as are appropriate to cover the course, including coursework briefing. All module examinations are held in the first three weeks of the Easter term.

NB. There are no supervisions for Part IIB modules, only examples classes.


Module assessment is of three types:

  • 100% exam;
  • 75% exam + 25% coursework;
  • 100% coursework. 

All Part IIB exams are of 1.5 hours duration and are held at the start of the Easter term. Dates for specific modules will be posted online during the Lent term.

See the information about marking & classing criteria for information about how Part IIB is classed.


The Faculty Board's list of modules & sets is published in May for the following academic year and is subdivided into Groups A to G, I and M, as in Part IIA, with the addition of Group R.  The number of modules in each of Groups A-G will normally be not less than six and not more than ten, although the number and the topics covered will vary slightly from year to year.

Note that the modules available may vary slightly from year to year.

Group A

Energy, fluid mechanics and turbomachinery

Group B

Electrical engineering

Group C

Mechanics, materials and design

Group D

Civil, structural and environmental engineering

Group E

Management and manufacturing

Group F

Information engineering

Group G


Group I

Imported modules

These modules are offered by other Departments or other courses within CUED.

Group M

Multidisciplinary modules

This group includes the surveying field course (which takes place in the summer vacation preceding Part IIB), mathematical modules, and foreign language modules (which lead on from language skills developed in the Part IIA Easter term language projects).

Group R

Research modules (available to students who have been classed with a First at Part IIA of the Tripos)

These modules are of interest principally to those wishing to pursue a career in research.


Rules and restrictions

Engineering Areas

Guidance on module choices for students wishing to qualify in particular engineering areas can be found here. There are also conditions specific to professional institutions accreditation.

Timetable arrangements and sets

Please refer to the Faculty Board list of modules and sets for the definitive list .

Other considerations:

  • modules may be further restricted as indicated in the ‘Special Conditions’ section at the top of the syllabus;
  • by arrangement with the Faculty Board you may choose to submit a dissertation of 4,000 – 5,000 words in place of one module.

Language modules

Students who wish to take a language module in Part IIB must make a binding commitment to take 4M1 French, 4M2 German, 4M3 Spanish or 4M4 Japanese when they enter their preferences in COMET towards the end of the Easter term.

When COMET closes on the the last day of Full Term in June all language module selections will be locked. It will not be possible to change them either at the start of the Michaelmas term or at the start of the Lent term.

Module 4A4 (Aircraft stability and control)

The flight test course associated with 4A4 has a limit of 30 participants, so a ballot may be necessary. The module can, however, be taken without going on the flight test course. Please also note that the first 4A4 lecture will be a briefing session only (lectures start in week 5). Attendance at the briefing is essential; if you are forced to miss it, contact the course leader by the end of week 1 at the latest.

Module 4I1 (Strategic valuation)

This module will be given as a 3-day workshop the week after the end of Michaelmas Full Term, provisionally timetabled 9am-5pm from 5-12th December 2016. Details are on the syllabus. Please ensure you will be available for all of these days before signing up for this module.

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 6 October 2016, after which the Teaching Office will be in touch with any unsuccessful applicants to ask them to select another module.

Ballots and special conditions

If numbers are particularly high for any module, the need for a ballot will be announced at the first timetabled period.


Module selection on COMET

You are required to log on to COMET to make a provisional selection of your Part IIB modules in the last two weeks of the preceding Easter Term. You will be able to make changes to your selection at the start of the Michaelmas term (and further changes to Lent modules until January), except for 4M9 and any language options.

Your selection must be finalised each term by midnight on Wednesday of week one. Shortly after each deadline, you will confirm your selection for that term as a binding exam entry that may not subsequently be changed or discounted (i.e. after the Michaelmas deadline you will not then be able to discount any module for which you were entered in the Michaelmas Term).

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 as a taught course.

Although you are not required to finalise your choice of modules straight away it is important, if at all possible, to attend the first timetabled period of any module of interest since it is then that the leader will give a general description of its content.

COMET will notify you if your module choices are invalid or do not fit into your chosen engineering area, in which case you must revise your selection. 


Module administration

Queries about particular IIB modules should be addressed to the module leader in the first instance (as detailed in the syllabus). 

Procedures regarding IIB coursework hand in (Coursework Candidate Numbers)

All IIB coursework is marked anonymously, and each student is given an individual coursework candidate number (CCN).  It is your responsibility to enter your CCN onto the coversheet.  You will be able to access this number on COMET

Please ensure that your name does not appear anywhere on the coursework.

Coursework hand-in contacts


Locations for handing in IIB Module reports


Ms W Raymond

Post box outside room BE2-03, 2nd floor Baker Building


Mr K Barney

EIETL, 2nd floor Inglis Building


Mrs H Fernandez

Room BE3-39, 3rd floor Baker Building


Ms Karen Mitchell

Structures Lab, mezzanine floor, Inglis Building


Mrs M Wilby

Teaching Office, room BEO-04, Office floor, Baker Building


Mrs L Segar

Room BNO-37, Office floor, Baker Building


Mrs H Fernandez

Room BE3-39, 3rd floor Baker Building


Mrs M Wilby

Teaching Office, room BEO-04, Office floor, Baker Building

4M (language modules)

Mrs L Morrow

Language Unit, Baker South Wing, 2nd floor

4M (non-language modules)

Mr K Barney

EIETL, 2nd floor Inglis Building

Related forms

Part II spare lecture notes & examples papers distribution system

All Part II subject groups have a designated area where either racks and/or filing cabinets are provided in which lecturers can deposit spare copies of lecture handouts and examples papers, and from where students and staff can collect copies.  The designated areas are as follows (if handouts are not there, please contact the relevant module leader directly):

  • Group A (modules 3A* and 4A*):  some handouts are available from the Hopkinson Lab
  • Group B (modules 3B* and 4B*): racks (Part IIA) and filing cabinet (Part IIB) in the EIETL
  • Group C (modules 3C* and 4C*): racks in the Centre Wing Mechanics Lab
  • Group D (modules 3D*, 4D* and 5R5): racks on the Inglis Mezzanine
  • Group E (modules 3E* and 4E*): racks (Part IIA) and filing cabinet (Part IIB) in the EIETL
  • Group F (modules 3F* and 4F*): racks (Part IIA) and filing cabinet (Part IIB) in the EIETL
  • Group G (modules 3G*): racks in the EIETL
  • Group I (modules 4I*): filing cabinet in the EIETL
  • Group M (modules 3M*, 4M* and 5R1): racks (Part IIA) and filing cabinet (Part IIB) in the EIETL

Lecture & lab start times & lateness penalties


Lectures run from five minutes past the hour to five minutes to the hour, with the following exception:

Part IA and IB lectures in LT0 will start promptly at 9am and 10am.  Lecturers will start lecturing at precisely 9am in order to fit in the full 50 minutes of teaching that they need to deliver:

  • First lecture 09.00-09.50 (non-standard)
  • Second lecture 10.00-10.50 (non-standard)
  • Third lecture 11.05-11.55
  • Fourth lecture 12.05-12.55

This schedule allows LT0 to empty and refill at 11am. Students should leave LT0 by the doors at the front and on the North side at the back (leading to the roadway), allowing  students to enter from the foyer and the courtyard.

Lab times and lateness penalties

Morning laboratory/coursework sessions begin at 5 minutes past the hour.

Afternoon activities start on the hour.

  1. Students arriving up to 10 minutes late will be penalised 1 mark for late arrival, but may be excluded entirely at the discretion of the demonstrator in charge.
  2. Students arriving more than 10 minutes late, will be automatically excluded from any laboratory experiment. For other coursework activities (e.g. computing, drawing, IEP etc.) the student may, at the discretion of the demonstrator, be allowed to take part in the activity, but will be penalised for late arrival.
  3. Students who arrive late due to circumstances beyond their control should first try to rearrange the coursework activity. If this is not possible they may make an application for recovery of marks using the standard allowance procedure.

Part II exam period, location & timetable

General information

Exams for Part II modules begin on Monday, 24 April and end on Monday, 8 May. There will be no exams on Bank Holiday Monday, 1 May. All exams will take place in the Inglis Building on the main site with MET exams taking place at the IfM.

The exam timetable can be found here and will be displayed on the exams noticeboard in the Inglis corridor before the end of the Lent term. More information and reminders about the exams will be emailed to you in April.

Part IIA overview

Single modules (16 lectures) are each assessed by a 1.5-hour examination and double modules (32 lectures) by a 3-hour examination. 

The total available credit for examinations is 600 marks (which is added to your coursework total, where the maximum available is 240).  For further information see the Part IIA exam and coursework credit notice.

Part IIB overview

Each module is marked out of 60, and your total out of the 480 marks available is added to the marks for your project, for which 360 marks are available. For further information see the Part IIB exam and coursework credit notice.

All written examinations are of 1.5 hours’ duration, whether they count for 100% or 75% of the module credit.

Guidelines for Examiners and Assessors: Part IIB supplement

Style of the exam papers

The style of the paper should be in keeping with a Part II examination that is the final examination of the four-year course.

Project assessment guidelines

  1. For a mark breakdown see the project, coursework & examination credit notice for Part IIB.
  2. The marks for Progress and Industry are awarded by the Project Supervisor.
  3. All other elements of the project are marked independently by two markers. The first marker is the Supervisor. The second marker (Assessor) is appointed by the Group Coordinator, who is also the Group Examiner (Projects). Normally the same Assessor is appointed for the Michaelmas and Easter presentations and also for all aspects of the project assessment. 
  4. It is the responsibility of the Coordinator to arrive at a single mark for each aspect of the assessment for each student.  In cases of difficulty, or when the Coordinator has reason to believe that marks do not conform with guidelines, it is the responsibility of the Coordinator  to discuss the matter with the Supervisor and Assessor before setting the moderated mark.
  5. No scaling of project marks is carried out.
  6. Particular attention is to be paid by Supervisors, Assessors, and Coordinators to projects judged to be at the first-class threshold (overall mark close to 70%, i.e. 252) since the mark may influence the award of a Distinction, to projects judged to be at the II.1 threshold (overall mark close to 60%, i.e. 216) since the mark may influence the award of a Merit, and to projects judged to be of third-class standard or lower (overall mark below 50%, i.e. 180), since the mark may affect overall success or failure. A mark below 50% indicates that in the markers’ opinion the project has failed to reach M.Eng. standard.


See the prize guidelines for Part IIB Examiners.


Additional information

Advice on good practice in examining

Practical information about Part II exams

Form & conduct of the examinations (the notice for the 2017 exams will be published after the November meeting of the Faculty Board)

Part IIB project, coursework and examination credit notice

Marking & classing criteria

Exam data retention policy

Regulations for the Engineering Tripos

Project assessment overview & submission dates

Assessment overview

Assessment of your project work is based on the following elements:

Element Credit Timing/deadline
Michaelmas term presentation  20 Michaelmas term, week 7 or 8
Michaelmas term progress and industry  20 Michaelmas term, Friday weeks 5 and 9
Technical milestone report  40 Lent term, Thursday week 1
Lent term progress and industry  20 Lent term, Friday weeks 5 and 9
Technical abstract and final project report 200 Easter term, Wednesday week 5
Easter term presentation  40 Easter term, week 6 or 7
Overall progress and industry  20 Throughout year

The total credit available is 360.

It is important to maintain a steady work-rate throughout the year. Progress and industry marks are allocated on the basis of four half-termly meetings in Michaelmas and Lent, and also according to your supervisor’s year-end judgement of your overall approach.  The half-termly assessments will typically be made during a normal project meeting.  Feedback will be provided via e-mail, within 48 hours.  It is your responsibility to ensure that the progress review meetings are arranged by the associated deadlines, giving your supervisor at least a week’s notice.  If you have good cause for postponing a meeting beyond its deadline (e.g. due to illness), you must request an extension from the Teaching Office using the allowance form.

If you are working in collaboration with another student or as part of a team, you must nevertheless write your own reports. If there are results obtained jointly, it is acceptable for you to present copies of graphs and tables produced in collaboration, suitably referenced. The text of the reports must be your own. In summary, the golden rule is that “the Examiners must be in no doubt as to which parts of your work are your own original work and which are the rightful property of someone else”.

Your logbook (or electronic equivalent) is not assessed as a separate item, but you must submit it together with the two copies of your final report. It will be taken into account when a mark is allocated for the report by the assessor.  An extra copy of your technical abstract is to be submitted with the two copies of your final report and this will be archived for reference by future staff and students.

Submission dates for 2016-17

  1. 4pm on Thursday 19 January 2017 for the technical milestone report (two copies);
  2. 4pm on Wednesday 31 May 2017 for the technical abstract (three copies), final project report (two copies) and logbook (or electronic equivalent).

These documents should be handed in to the group centre.  They will be date-stamped and automatically passed on to your supervisor and assessor for assessment.

One copy of your technical milestone report and one copy of your final report is kept by your supervisor. The second copy and the project record are held until after the meeting of the Part IIB examiners.  The Teaching Office will schedule a couple of sessions where you can collect your project work should you wish to keep it.  Please liaise directly with the Teaching Office at the time you hand in all your coursework.  All unclaimed copies will be destroyed at the end of summer.

Project group centres

Detailed guidance in your project work is primarily the responsibility of your supervisor. However, overall control within each group is in the hands of a Group Coordinator. Much of your day-to-day contact will be with the group centres, which provide a channel for communication and source of information for both students and staff. You should familiarise yourself with the details and routine practices of your group early in the year in order to maximise the support on offer and to avoid confusion over handing in times, etc.

Overall project coordinator: Prof N Swaminathan

Group A – Thermodynamics and fluid mechanics

Chief technician:

Prof Peter Davidson
Mr Roy Slater
Mrs Kate Graham

Group centre:

Hopkinson lab, ground floor, Inglis building


Between rooms 203 and 208, second floor, Baker building

Group B – Electrical engineering

Chief technician:

Prof Gehan Amaratunga
Mr Kevin Barney
Mrs Ann Martin

Group centre:

EIETL, second floor, Inglis Building


West end of the EIETL, to the left of the main aisle

Group C – Mechanics and materials

Chief technician:

Dr John Durrell
Mr S Savage
Miss Claire Whitaker

Group centre:

Mechanics of machines laboratory, ground floor, Baker building (entrance via central roadway)


North corner of lab (i.e. by roadway entrance)

Group D – Civil, structural and environmental engineering

Chief technician:

Dr Ruchi Choudhary
Mr Martin Touhey
Ms Jen Fusiello

Group centre:

Structures lab, ground floor, Inglis building


Mezzanine floor, Inglis building

Group F – Information engineering

Chief technician:

Prof Carl Rasmussen
Mr Kevin Barney
Mrs Louise Segar

Group centre:

EIETL, second floor, Inglis building


West end of the EIETL, to the left of the main aisle


Project selection procedure

Your project can be either:

            (a) one that is suggested by a member of staff of the Department, or

            (b) one that you propose yourself and is then approved by the Department.

There is no onus on you to think up a type (b) project, and you should find plenty to interest you amongst the type (a) projects. Type (b) projects are most likely to arise when sponsored students wish to work in areas suggested by their companies.

Type (a) projects

A list of type (a) projects will be available on the departmental computer system (via COMET) from Tuesday 18 April 2017. If you are not proposing a type (b) project, you are expected to choose three from the type (a) projects offered, stating an order of preference. The deadline for submitting choices is midnight on Friday of week 4, but you are strongly advised to find out more about the projects whose titles you find of interest well before this date.

Four points to note:

  1. It is not necessary for you to work on a project which is related to your own engineering area. However, accreditation by some of the professional engineering institutions may depend upon your project having a technical content lying within the interests of the institution.  See your Director of Studies for advice.
  2. With some supervisors, more projects are listed than can be taken up. Those which remain finally on offer depend on which projects attract student interest.
  3. Some projects are subject to confidentiality restrictions: these are indicated clearly on COMET. If you are considering applying for such a project, you should make sure that you are fully aware of the nature of the confidentiality issues by discussing them with the supervisor. Where no confidentiality issues are flagged, you may safely assume that you will be able to write freely about all aspects of your project work, discuss what you have done with potential future employers, and present your work in public.
  4. Some projects have two supervisors listed, and in such cases it is the first of the two who should be contacted.

When you find a project which is likely to be one of your preferences, you should make every effort to contact the supervisor and discuss it with them, especially if you want it to be your first preference. Note that, in due course, the supervisor may have to choose between you and other students who wish to undertake that project. There may be a need for you to persuade them that you are the best choice.

Students in the past have found that supervisors are reluctant to choose them for a project if a face-to-face meeting has not been arranged prior to the allocation process. It is therefore very important to meet prospective supervisors and discuss possible projects before selecting those projects as your choices.

Preferences are to be entered onto COMET between Monday of week 2 and Friday of week 4. During this period, each online project description will be accompanied by a facility for submitting it as a preference. Enter whether it is to be first, second or third choice and then click on submit. Remember that the allocation of projects is not done automatically by computer, but by the staff in consultation.

Members of staff also have the option to pre-allocate projects if they have seen enough students to make a reasoned choice.  Pre-allocation may happen as early as anyone wants, but not after Tuesday 16 May 2017 and requires a signed agreement form to be delivered to the relevant Group Secretary by 2pm on Friday of week 4.

After submitting preferences, it is still possible to amend them up until midnight on Friday of week 4 simply by submitting new ones (the old will be overwritten). A ‘‘first allocation’’ list of students to whom projects are assigned will be posted in the Baker building foyer and at group centres on Friday of week 6.  If you have been unlucky and it has not been possible to assign you one of your preferences, you should contact the coordinator of the group that is of most interest to you as soon as possible. They will assist you in finding an alternative project.

NB. It is your responsibility to register for a project before the end of the Easter term.

Type (b) projects

If you wish to do a type (b) project, you are strongly advised to submit the proposal form as early as possible, preferably before the end of the Lent term, to allow time for suitable supervision to be arranged. If your proposal is not accepted by a member of staff, acting this early will also leave you with plenty of time to choose a type (a) project instead. Be aware that projects with significant confidentiality issues are unlikely to attract a willing supervisor.

To propose a type (b) project, you must contact the coordinator of the group which covers the field of the project, discuss your ideas with them and submit your proposal form by Tuesday 25 April 2017 at the latest. The coordinator will decide whether the project is a suitable one and determine whether there is a member of staff willing to act as supervisor. All projects must have a departmental supervisor. The coordinator will contact you as soon as possible.

If a suitable supervisor is not available within the department, you cannot do the type (b) project proposed. You should now choose a type (a) project instead (see above).

If a suitable supervisor is available within the department, the coordinator will tell you his/her name. You should contact the supervisor and complete the project agreement form together.

If the project is approved or seems likely to be approved, it is your responsibility to enter a record of the proposed project during the period beginning Monday of week 2 and Friday of week 4. This should be done by logging on to COMET and following instructions on the screen for submitting type (b) projects. The screen will ask for: project title, industrial sponsor (if any), supervisor’s name, the group it will be associated with and a brief (100 word) amplification of the title.

Actions for all students

By Friday of week 4 all students must have submitted preferences. You must keep to this deadline in order not to be disadvantaged in the initial allocation. As the final allocation is settled by discussion among staff and not by computer, you are advised to contact the supervisors of your selected projects before the Friday of week 4, so that you can both be clear about all aspects of the project.

Once your type (a) or type (b) project has been determined, you are responsible for arranging to see the supervisor so that the project agreement form is completed by both of you.  You should then hand in the form to the Teaching Office by Friday of week 6. Please contact Mary Wilby if you have a problem in doing this. Please make sure that you include the project reference number - for example, A-GTP-1, or A-GTP-type(b) etc - on your form.

Before the end of the Easter term, you and your supervisor should meet (possibly at the same time as that arranged for completing the project agreement form) in order to draw up an initial plan for the project work and to discuss long vacation work (industrial or preliminary).

Part IIB project introduction


Roughly half of your final year will be spent working on a major individual project of your own choosing.  The project will usually involve design, research and/or computer work at a high technological level on a topic of practical relevance. There are two types of fourth year project, either of which may involve collaboration with an industrial company:

  • Type (a) are offered by staff and cover a wide range of areas relating to their research interests.
  • Type (b) are projects that you propose yourself, which may then be approved by the Department.  Any such project must be approved by the Coordinator of the appropriate Group, and a member of CUED staff must be willing to act as supervisor.  Arrangements to undertake this type of project should begin during the Lent Term of Part IIA.

Your project is a very important part of the final year and is expected to take up roughly half your working time throughout the whole of that year. Given the amount of effort involved, it is essential that you find a project which will engage your interest. A good project will be one that stretches your ability in the skills which you have acquired on the Cambridge engineering course and will give you opportunity to show initiative in more than one area of engineering activity, such as experimentation, design, computing or analysis.

For detailed information see:

Important landmarks in the project period

  • Lent and Easter terms (Part IIA) - Details of type (a) projects will be posted on COMET.  During the first part of the Easter Term, you will be asked to look through and discuss the projects of interest to you with the members of staff offering them. You will then enter a provisional selection of 3 projects in order of preference into the allocation procedure. Remember, early action is especially necessary if you wish to propose your own project (type (b) projects).
  • Long vacation between Parts IIA and IIB - for some industry-linked projects, there may be investigations at an industrial site. Background reading and preparation should be undertaken by all students: ask your supervisor for some suitable preparatory work so you can hit the ground running in October.
  • Michaelmas term (Part IIB) - you will be required to keep a log book or equivalent electronic record, which will be checked regularly by your supervisor. Its content may be taken into account in the assessment of your project. There will be credit available for progress and industry throughout the year.
  • End of Michaelmas term (Part IIB) - you will be required to give a 10-minute presentation to staff and other project students, explaining what the project is about and how much progress has been made. The presentation is assessed.
  • Start of Lent term (Part IIB) - the technical milestone report (TMR) is submitted. This is a formal report, on not more than 6 sides, produced to camera-ready standards. It gives details of the progress on the project to date, the results obtained and presents plans for the remainder of the work.
  • Middle to end of Easter term (Part IIB) - the final project report and a technical abstract are submitted. You will also be required to give a 10 minute presentation focused on the most significant aspects of the project work. Guidance notes on the form to be taken by the report and the presentations will be issued during the Michaelmas term.

Project final report

Technical abstract

The final report must begin with a technical abstract of not more than 2 pages in length. This should be designed as a self-contained document and should provide a concise overview of the report structure and the key features of your work (e.g. the problem being addressed, techniques used, main results, and conclusions).

NB. as well as being submitted as part of your final report, you will be required to submit a separate copy of your technical abstract, which will be archived by the Department. Thus it is important that you include your name, College and project title in your abstract.

Risk assessment retrospective

Your report should include a brief appendix (maximum one side of A4) commenting on the risk assessment you submitted to the Safety Office at the start of the Michaelmas term. How well did this reflect the hazards actually encountered during the course of the project? In retrospect, how might you go about assessing risk differently if starting the project again?


The final report should not exceed 12,000 words or 50 A4 pages, including figures and appendices (but not counting the title page and technical abstract). It should be double-sided if at all possible, typed in 12 point at one-and-a-half line spacing. Margins are to be approximately 25mm all round. You may use colour for diagrams etc. if you so wish. You will need to submit two copies – departmental photocopying machines may not be used for making the second copy.

A copy of the standard departmental coversheet is available as a word document on line. 

Students should make sure that they fill in all the information and sign/date the declaration at the foot of the coversheet.

Planning the report

Leave plenty of time for writing-up.  A good plan would be to produce a first draft before the module examinations commence at the start of the Easter Term.  Your supervisor can then read the draft while you are doing the examinations and meet you to provide feedback immediately the examinations end.

Before you start writing, it is essential that, from the start, you have a clear view of the technical level at which the report should be pitched. Remember that you are writing for two readers:

  1. your project supervisor, who should know the aims and the technical background of your project; and
  2. an assessor, who will know something about the subject area (e.g. an information engineering report will not be examined by a lecturer in structures), but will not be familiar with details. i.e. do not fill the report with elementary theory and descriptions of standard processes.

There are no set rules for how a technical report should be structured and the pattern may depend on whether the work being reported is theoretical, experimental, computational or on design. What is certain is that you must have a technical abstract, an introduction and conclusions. Between the introduction and conclusions, the theme of the report should be developed in the manner which you judge to be most clear and logical. Where appropriate, sustainability implications of the project should be considered and reported. A typical plan for a report on an experimental project might be:

  • Technical abstract
    A self-contained summary in not more than 2 sides. Write this last.
  • Introduction
    An important section in which you can point out what has been done before and put the project into context. Many students seem to confuse introduction and summary. In this section you explain why you are doing the work. If you don't know, ask your supervisor.
  • Theory and design of experiment
    Explain the assumptions behind the theoretical development you are using and the application of the theory to your particular problem. Any heavy algebra or details of computing work should go into an appendix.
  • Apparatus and experimental techniques
    This section should describe the running of the experiment or experiments and what equipment was used, but should not be a blow by blow account of your work. Experimental accuracy could be discussed here.
  • Results and discussion
    This could be split into two separate sections but it may be easier to present the results and your discussion of them in the one section. This is the most difficult part of the report: you must present the results, interpret them and compare them with any theory or other published results.
  • Conclusions
    This should contain the main findings and possibly ideas for future work.
  • References
    List the sources of information which you have quoted in your background material, theory, or experimental methods in sufficient detail for anyone else to find the sources in the library.
  • All figures and graphs in the report should be clearly labelled with figure numbers and captions. Make sure that you show scales and label the axes on all your graphs.

You may find the CUED Guide to Report Writing helpful.

Computer-program listing

In the same way that it is a mistake to include in a report every detail of standard experimental procedures, it is inappropriate to reproduce an entire computer program, which will inevitably contain much which is of small intrinsic interest. If there are elements in a program which are novel, these should be selected for proper discussion in the text.

It may well be that your supervisor will want to keep a record of the program, but this should be done separately.  It may also be appropriate to include computer code as part of the project record; your supervisor can advise on this.

Writing the final report

You should expect to make at least one and probably more revisions to your first draft. So, make sure that you complete that draft well before the deadline. Then leave it for a few days and read it through. Does it make sense? Make your revisions and prepare the final version.

If you are using departmental facilities for word processing, note that you may have to share with other users. In particular, the Part IIA Easter term projects start before the submission date of your report and at certain times the Part IIA projects have priority.

If you are using your own computer for word processing, be careful to keep plenty of backup copies of your work. Computer failure is not an acceptable excuse for handing in your report late, and if you fail to hand in your main report, you will fail the MEng.

Assessment of the final report

The following criteria will be considered in the assessment:

A. Effort:

  • Practical skill in experimental, computational, design or theoretical work.
  • Diligence.
  • Persistence in overcoming difficulties and achieving objectives.

B. Achievement:

  • Appreciation of significance of project.
  • Competence in planning attack on problems.
  • Initiative and generation of ideas.
  • Ingenuity and perspicacity.
  • Deductive power and judgement.

C. Communication:

  • Overall planning of the account - the logic of its development.
  • Clarity of technical abstract.
  • Clarity of main text and analysis.
  • Quality of language, readability, freedom from errors.
  • Clarity of diagrams and graphs.


Feedback on the marking of the final report is provided by the project supervisor on request. Marks are never released at this stage.


There is no central archive of final reports, although individual supervisors may keep a copy of their students' work. Copies of technical abstracts will be collected at the time of the submission of final reports and archived by the Department after the projects are finished. They will then be available in the departmental Library for consultation by staff and students in future years.

Project deadline problems


If you are unable to attend for a presentation/progress review meeting or cannot submit a report because of illness or other grave cause, you should notify your supervisor immediately. If your supervisor recommends it, you should complete a coursework allowance form. This form has sections for both you and your Tutor to complete before it is returned to the Teaching Office for consideration by the Director of Undergraduate Education.

In the case of a missed presentation/meeting, every effort will be made to reschedule it. In the case of a report you may be required to submit to the Teaching Office what notes, drafts, etc. you have available, so that as fair an allowance of marks as possible can be made.


The time staff have for marking project reports can be short, so failure to meet submission deadlines for no good reason is treated seriously.

5 marks per day will be subtracted for each day that a report is late. Normally, reports will not be accepted if more than two days late.

Up to 20 marks may be deducted for infringement of the rules on length in the case of a report.

Plagiarism avoidance in projects

It is self-evident that research-based project work requires extensive discussion and cooperation with your supervisor and others.  However, all reports and presentations must document the individual work of the author, with specific reference being made to any material taken from another source (including concepts, theories, equations, figures, or computer code, whether published in the open literature or on websites, or unpublished work obtained by other means).  Failure to reference the work of others is cheating and will be penalised.

You must read the Department's information about plagiarism, cooperation & cheating.

Online surveys

Giving feedback on your course

This year's course surveys are available online.

The web-based survey for all years is open until the end of the Easter term.  Students are able to update their survey entries at any point while the survey is running.  If a question is answered and then, at a later point in the year, the answer is changed, only the later response will count.

To use the survey system from a machine in the DPO either (i) type "survey" at the teaching system prompt, or (ii) click on the "survey" icon on the desktop or (iii) from within a web browser click on the "online survey" link on the CUED local web page.  Option (iii) also allows you to use the survey system from elsewhere in Cambridge (eg from your College).

Answers to the survey questions will be kept completely anonymous and no reference to the computer user will be made in any output from the survey program.

Please remember to do the survey.  This is your chance to let us know how you feel about the course, and we take the results very seriously.  Surveys provide valuable feedback for lecturers, which helps us to improve the course.  If you have any problems with the survey, please contact Director of Undergraduate Education

For all years, lecturers sometimes also issue a short questionnaire during lectures to obtain some running feedback on how their courses are going.  Part IIA students also have their own survey and fast feedback facility for supervisions.

Archives of past survey results


Best lecturer award

Undergraduates in all years are encouraged to vote online for their 'best' lecturer.  Don’t worry about what we mean by ‘best’ – it could be the most inspirational, clear, funny etc… whatever… you decide. The Teaching Office will just count up the votes and see who wins, and give them a prize at Prize Day.  Voting closes at the end of Easter Term.

Fast feedback facility

The fast feedback facility can be used to send rapid messages to warn teaching staff of problems as they arise (or to complement teaching staff on a job well done).  These messages are automatically anonymised (email addresses are hidden).  In order for the system to work, it is necessary to specify the general topic area of each feedback comment using the menus at the top of the comment window.  Note that all fast feedback traffic is monitored (before anonymisation) by the Director of Undergraduate Education in the Teaching Office.

To use the fast feedback facility for a machine in the DPO either (i) type "feedback" at the teaching system prompt, or (ii) click on the "fast feedback" icon on the desktop. To access the facility from elsewhere: click on the "fast feedback" link on the CUED local web page, which takes you to http://www.eng.cam.ac.uk/teaching/apps/FFF/.  If you have any problems with the fast feedback facility please contact the Director of Undergraduate Education.

Accreditation of the MEng

All students are encouraged to become student or affiliate members of one or more of the professional institutions.


Most students reading Engineering at Cambridge will at some stage consider becoming professional engineers, and many will be firmly intending to do so. The engineering profession as a whole is currently supervised by the Engineering Council (UK). There are a number of chartered institutions or similar bodies, each concerned with a particular branch or type of engineering. Corporate membership of the appropriate institution is the professional qualification for that branch of engineering, and carries with it the title of Chartered Engineer.

A Cambridge Master of Engineering degree (MEng), with the appropriate choice of modules in Part II, provides exemption from part or all of the examination requirements at all the principal institutions (although a number of years of practical training and responsible experience are also required for corporate membership). See below for conditions of exemption for each institution.

The institutions welcome enquiries from engineering students and will supply, on request, information about careers and reading lists. Undergraduates may apply for student membership of any of the institutions listed below. Student membership is generally free and entitles the student to receive certain publications and to attend meetings organised in all parts of the country.

Accrediting bodies and CUED institutional liaison officers

All the four-year MEng courses offered by the Department of Engineering are accredited by one or more of the following institutions, depending on the engineering area studied.  More details, including application forms, relating to membership of individual institutions can be obtained from the institutions' websites or from the appropriate liaison officer:

Acronym Institution Liaison officer


Institution of Civil Engineers

Dr D Liang


Institution of Structural Engineers

Prof CJ Burgoyne


Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Dr DJ Cole


Institution of Engineering and Technology

Prof TD Wilkinson


Royal Aeronautical Society

Dr J P Jarrett


Institute of Measurement and Control

Professor M C Smith


Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation

Prof CJ Burgoyne


Institute of Highway Engineers

Prof CJ Burgoyne


Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine

Dr GM Treece

The MEng course is also recognised by the European Network for Accreditation of Engineering Education (ENAEE) as meeting the requirements of a “second cycle” European accredited engineering programme. In essence, this means that it meets the European standard for a Master’s degree.

Conditions of exemption

Institutions Conditions of exemption

All Institutions:

Students must complete two management modules (which includes those in Group E plus '4I1: strategic valuation') during the final two years of the MEng course.

CIHT, IHE, ICE and IStructE:

The MEng is accredited as fully satisfying the educational base for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) with the same requirement of two management modules being taken in Part II. For the purposes of accreditation, '4D16: construction and management' can be counted as one of the two management modules.

RAeS, IMechE and IET:

The MEng is accredited for all engineering areas.


The MEng is accredited for the instrumentation and control engineering area. Other engineering areas are also accredited provided that at least two of the following modules are taken:

  • 3F1: signals and systems
  • 3F2: systems and control
  • 4F1: control systems design
  • 4F2: robust multivariable control
  • 4F3: nonlinear and predictive control


The MEng is accredited for students who take the bioengineering engineering area in both Part IIA and Part IIB.

The Engineering Council

Graduates in Engineering, who are Corporate Members of one of the Engineering institutions above are invited to register with the Engineering Council to achieve Chartered Engineer status (CEng). This is usually acquired by application through the particular institution at the time of acceptance as a Corporate Member.

Students may like to become involved with the various activities of the Engineering Council which promote engineering among young people.

European-Accredited Engineering Programme

The Engineering Tripos (MEng) has been designated as a second cycle European-accredited engineering programme within the EUR-ACE system

Inclusive teaching

The Equality Act (2010) requires higher education institutions to take positive steps to make their education accessible to disabled students and to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to provision to ensure that disabled students are not disadvantaged. Disabilities may include physical or mental impairments: the majority of these students have specific learning difficulty (SpLD) in the form of dyslexia. Cambridge University Disability Resource Centre has some standard recommendations for appropriate academic support for such students. Further provision may be required in particular cases.

In an organisation of our size and complexity, individual variations in provision are potentially disruptive. However, many of the suggested adjustments are just good educational practice, so represent things we should be doing anyway as a Department that takes pride in the excellence of its teaching. Indeed, we already follow many of the recommendations (e.g. provision of cribs). The approach we have adopted is therefore to aim to have inclusive standard procedures for all teaching activities. Students are expected to make use of available resources to suit their needs, and to contact staff themselves (e.g. lecturers, lab leaders) if additional material is required.

The syllabus pages will give you lecturer details for part IA and part IB lecturers.  Lab leader details can be found here for IA and IB.

Contact details of part II lecturers can be found on the relevant syllabus pages.

Any enquiries should be addressed to the CUED Director of Undergraduate Education.

The following recommendations have been agreed by the Faculty Board (12 November 2012):

  • Electronic versions of handouts should be made available on-line 24h in advance of lectures or other teaching sessions (e.g. labs). [This allows students who do have special requirements to produce their own customised hard copy if they wish: e.g. single-sided; large format; non-white background].
  • Filled-in versions of notes should be made available on-line after lectures.
  • Recording lectures (audio) is often recommended to students as a learning aid. They must sign an agreement to use the recording only for their own personal study, and acknowledging IP and copyright. The agreement form can be found here, and students are asked to provide the Teaching Office with a copy. Lecturers are asked to consent to their lectures being recorded under these conditions. A list of students who have completed agreement forms can be made available on request.
  • In labs, instruction should be provided in both written and verbal form.
  • Lecturers should remember to pay attention to ‘signposting’ e.g. statement a start of each lecture of what is being covered; tracking progression throughout lecture; summary of main teaching points at end.
  • All staff should make particular effort to put new vocabulary into context and explain new concepts. It is helpful to provide some repetition.

In 2016-2017, the department is trialing a lecture capture system for IA and IB. More information will be added to this guide in due course.

Departmental rules

Food and drink in lecture theatres

In response to a request from the SSJC, students are now permitted to take bottled water into CUED lecture theatres. Food, canned drinks, hot beverages etc will not be permitted. Please take your empty bottles away with you or dispose of them in the bins provided.

Food and drink in the DPO

The DPO is a centre for student project work and academic interaction, and students are permitted to eat and drink in the DPO provided they show appropriate consideration for the teaching, the equipment and their peers.  In particular, it is inappropriate to eat or drink in a:

  • formal lab session (unless the lab leader and demonstrators give explicit permission);
  • crowded area (because of the spillage risk);
  • way that gets in the way of your neighbour;
  • unhygienic way (please use the wipes and handwash where appropriate);
  • way that leaves a mess (please always put any waste in the bins).

Student notices and posters

Students are not allowed to put posters up in the Department without permission, except on the designated noticeboard in the Inglis corridor. Students who wish to display items in areas other than this should contact reception in the first instance.


There is a total ban on smoking on Departmental sites.

Access to the Department

ID cards

All students should have been issued with a University ID card by their College.  If you have any problems with access in the Department, please take your card to the CUED Security Office between 9am and 1pm.  Students are advised that they may be challenged at any time when in the Department and asked to produce identification unless they are displaying their ID card.

If you lose your card, please report its loss immediately to the Security Office (or email security-admin@eng.cam.ac.uk), but note that replacements for lost cards should be ordered through your College.

General access to the Department

The Department's central site is open 7am – 10pm seven days a week. Further to this, the Baker building, including Library and DPO, remains open to students until 11pm. Access to the Department after 5pm will be through the foyer entrance to the Baker Building. Students must be carrying their University card at all time.

Access to the Department between 11pm and 7am

Only students who have attended a safety briefing are permitted to be present in the building outside the hours of 7am - 11pm. Access to the Department between 11pm and 7am requires an authorised Late Working Permit. This is available to download below or a hard copy is available from Reception.

N.B. At no time may any undergraduate work unsupervised in laboratory areas, including those with a Late Working Permit.


Access to the DPO

Drawing equipment and computer workstations and printers are available for private study except when there are timetabled classes or during periods when certain groups have priority. Normal IT helpdesk hours in full term are 8.30 am - 6.00 pm Monday to Friday.  Any DPO equipment problems should be reported to the IT Helpdesk, either in person or by email.


Dyson Centre

Private engineering project space, training and student team space


The Dyson Centre for Engineering Design (not to be confused with the James Dyson Building) is your space as Engineering Undergraduates, where you can undertake your own private engineering projects and experiments, and a space in which engineering students teams can operate.

The area offers training in use of a variety of machines including lathes, milling machines, laser cutters, and there are also selfservice 3D printers which you can learn how to use.

Various funding sources are available to help you kick start your project and the staff are on hand to offer help and advice with all aspects of engineering theory, development and design.

More details on www.dysoncentre.eng.cam.ac.uk

Also of note is Engineering Stores, where a vast range of engineering materials and components are held in stock for immediate purchase, details are available on:



Course material on Moodle

Most courses in the department have a page on the University's Virtual Learning Environment Moodle.

These pages are maintained by course lecturers. Students registered to these courses are automatically enrolled at the start of the course and can engage in the course activities, including coursework submission when appropriate.

Other members of the University, staff or students, can self-enroll as observer and gain access to handouts and other documents made available to the students by the lecturers. This access is provided to students so that they can make an informed decision regarding their course selection. There might be copyright restrictions to the course material; any use of the course content that is not related to students education is not allowed. The material should not be redistributed by the students in any circumstances.

A key is needed to self-enroll on any course. By using this key, you indicate that you agree with the condition above.

Enrolment key: cued_moodle_access

NB. If you wish to unenrol yourself from a page that you have enrolled yourself on, please look for the Administration block within the course (usually lower down the page on the left) and click 'unenrol me'.

Last updated on 26/09/2016 10:35