Undergraduate Teaching 2023-24

Part IA registration and start of year course information

Part IA registration and start of year course information

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Table of contents

This section contains information about special arrangements for the first few days of the Part IA Engineering course, as well as guidance for the rest of the year. All the documentation you will need for the course is available on the undergraduate teaching website; these briefing notes should help you to learn how to navigate the site.


Registration will be online, in conjunction with your Director of studies

Registration will take place online, and the details will be sent to you by your DoS.  This enables you to access the Departmental teaching systems. You will be emailed with your lab group numbers early in the week starting 2 Oct.  All students (Part IA plus those transferring to any Part of the Tripos from other Departments) need to register.

Introductory Lectures

Introductory lectures: Wednesday 4 October 2023, 9.15–11.00 in The Constance Tipper Lecture Theatre.

09.15 Welcome to CUED Prof. Colm Durkan, Head of Department
09.25 Aims of the Engineering Tripos Prof. John Durrell, Deputy Head (Teaching)
09.35 Introducing the Teaching Office Dr Graham McShane, Director of Undergraduate Education
09.40 Introducing Academic Reps Aakash Gupta, SSJC representative
09.45 Laboratory work / Maths Quiz Prof. Stuart Scott, IA Lab Coordinator
09.55 Week 1 Lego exercise Prof. Andrew Gee, IA Lego Coordinator
10.05 Language programme Mr David Tual, CLIC Director
10.15 Health and Safety Talk Mr Gary Steele, Departmental Safety Manager
10:35 Introduction to the Student Support Department Eleanor Girt-Izod, Senior Disability Advisor (ADRC)
10:50 Introduction to Library services Representative from the CUED Library team.

Recording is now available

Essential equipment

Drawing equipment

All students will need the following essential drawing equipment.  Depending on which lab group you are allocated to you may need it for the Structures Lab, which for some students will start in week 2.

A supply of complete kits are available for purchase from the vending machine located in the Design and Project Office (DPO) at a cost of £22.00.  The vending machine also sells some of the items individually.  Cashless payments only on the vending machine, these include debit or credit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay etc.

The drawing kit comprises of the following items (full details/part numbers available here):

  • HB Pencil
  • Shine Plastic Eraser
  • Blundell Harling 300mm ruler
  • Ecobra Compass
  • Rumold Circle template
  • Rumold Protractor

*Please note, using equipment that does not meet the criteria we have set out may affect the quality and accuracy of your work and therefore it is possible you may be penailised when submitting for marking.

If you wish to purchase your own equipment we would advise you to buy items of at least a similar standard to those we have recommended.

University approved calculator

The only modules of electronic calculator that are permitted to be taken into the exams are:

  • CASIO fx-991 (any version)
  • CASIO fx-115 (any version)
  • CASIO fx-570 (any version) 

The Department currently sells the Casio FX-991-ES-Plus model of calculator which is available from the vending machine in the DPO at a cost of £27.00, this is a University approved version for use in the exams.

Each such calculator must be marked by the Department in the approved fashion before bringing it to an examination. Please see instructions below on purchasing and marking an approved calculator.

No other calculator may be brought into the exam room. This is a University regulation and cannot be varied by the Department. Please refer to the official University notice for more information.


A full set of Databooks can be found online here. Paper copies of databooks will be issued to students at the Introductory Lectures.


There is no need to purchase a computer specifically for the Engineering course, as student use desktop computers with course software pre-installed are available in the department.

Many students find having their own computer to be convenient. If you are contemplating buying your own computer you may wish to be aware of the following:

  • Most software used in the course is generic and/or web based (Python, Microsoft office etc.)
  • The PicoScope provided to students in the 1st year for the IEP project works with Windows, macOS and Linux machines. It does not work with many Chromebooks (although some success has been obtained with more modern Chromebooks that offer a Linux virtual machine).
  • The CAD software used in the course is only available for Windows, (but can be run on macOS using emulation with the purchase of extra software). Most students will find using it on the dual monitor machines provided in the department preferable to using a laptop. There is no need to buy a high specification Windows machine optimised for CAD for the modest teaching use in the Engineering course.
  • The ANSYS Materials Selector Software, optionally used in the materials course, only runs on Windows (but will run on macOS with emulation software).


Health and safety at work lecture

All new and incoming students to Engineering must attend this talk which takes place during the above session on Wednesday 4 October 2023. 

Where are the lecture rooms/theatres?

Constance Tipper Lecture Theatre, LR4:  ground floor Baker building                  LR5, LT6:  first floor Baker building

LT1, LT2:  ground floor Inglis building                   LR10, LR11, LR12: ground floor Baker South Wing

LR3, 3A, 3B:  up steps in Inglis building             

See also the map of the Engineering Department

Coursework and labs in your first week

Part IA coursework starts with an intensive, hands-on activity using Lego Mindstorms. You work in groups of three on an open-ended and fun activity to design and build a simple electro-mechanical device. There are ten timetabled hours in the lab & coursework schedule, but you may wish to allow extra time during the evenings and weekend. The lab handout is available on Moodle. You will also need to sign on to Moodle on Wednesday 6 October to discover your team allocation.

In the first week of term you will also start the exposition course and some of you will have the Machine Tools lab. Other laboratory activities start in the second week.


The communication of technical information is developed through the exposition course which aims to improve students' presentation, discussion and writing skills. You will work with your group leader and the other students on a range of exercises, including writing a lab report and giving a technical talk. The exposition classes are organised by college cohort and will generally take place either online or in a college teaching space.

The list of exposition leaders and session locations is available on the Moodle Exposition site.

How to read the lecture card

How to read the lab and coursework rota

Course material on Moodle

Most of the Department's courses 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.

The department makes a self enrollment key available for most courses so that students choosing courses in IIA and IIB can make a decision on course choices without having to be fully enrolled. Self enrollment is at the discretion of the course leader and may not be available for every course. Where available the key may also be used by students to access courses they are following where there are delays or issues with auto-enrollment. 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 a student's education is not allowed. The material should not be redistributed by students in any circumstances.

Where there is evidence of access to moodle for purposes which are not reasonably linked to a student's personal study on the course the department reserves the right to withdraw this facility on an individual or course basis.

The department explicitly forbids the use of automated tools to "scrape" courses. Access patterns indicative of the use of such tools will result in the removal of access to courses.

The "Archive" moodle should be used by students to review material from earlier in their course, the self-enrollment key is not provided for this purpose.

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

Enrolment key: cued_moodle_access


You may wish to look at our 'getting started' guide.

Last updated on 31/07/2023 14:57