Engineering education at Trinity is designed to complement the full programme of lectures and laboratory work conducted within the Cambridge University Engineering Department (CUED). The course is broadly based – students eventually specialising in a single engineering discipline, but only after they have been exposed to a range of general engineering topics. For most engineers, specialisation begins in the third year.
The wide coverage in the first two years (Part I of the Engineering Tripos) is one of the distinguishing features of Engineering at Cambridge. It is intended to provide students with a good grounding in scientific and engineering principles as preparation for a professional career that may take many turns as technology develops. Trinity has one of the largest groups of Engineering students and Fellows amongst the Cambridge Colleges. Trinity’s Engineering fellows cover the entire range of disciplines within Part I of the Engineering Tripos. This breadth means that undergraduates will be taught by a senior fellow of the college, an expert in the field, for the majority of first and second year subjects, with the remainder being taught by graduate students or Post-Doctoral researchers.
The teaching and professorial Fellows share the Direction of Studies at Trinity while also playing an active part in teaching and research in Cambridge University Engineering Department.
The Directors of Studies ensure that each student of Engineering in Trinity has on average two and a half hours per week of supervision (instruction and discussion), usually in pairs. The supervisor is usually a Fellow of the College, but may also be a post-doctoral research worker, or a research student in CUED, specialist in the area with which the supervision is concerned.
The range of topics available for study after the first two years is so wide that supervision cannot be provided entirely within a single college, even one as large as Trinity, but the teaching needed is arranged with other colleges.
CUED is the largest Department in the University and Trinity takes a large number – between 22 and 27 – of the annual intake of undergraduate engineers. Our students come from all parts of the UK and the rest of the world. For those candidates taking A-levels, we usually expect grade A’s (usually including at least two A*s) in Physics, Maths and Further Maths; comparable conditions are set for those taking the IB and other school-leaving examinations. Applicants unable to take Further Maths may offer another Science subject instead but will be asked also for an A in AS Further Maths. A-level Chemistry is essential for those wishing to specialise in Chemical Engineering. Admissions requirements for candidates not taking A levels may be obtained through the Trinity Admissions Office.
Trinity welcomes applications equally from candidates opting for direct entry or planning to take a gap year. The number of applicants per place for Trinity Engineering is around the average of all the colleges. In a typical year, a significant number of Trinity candidates are offered places by other colleges if they are not offered a place at Trinity.
Candidates for Engineering at Trinity are given two interviews. For the first interview, candidates are given one hour to attempt a variety of maths and physics questions (a sample set of questions is available below) followed by a half hour session with a member of the teaching staff during which they discuss their approaches to solving these questions. The questions are on a wide variety of topics to reflect the different backgrounds of candidates. It is not expected that candidates will attempt all questions.
The second half hour interview is of a broader technical nature and may include discussions of topics of interest to the candidate. For a mock interview, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3lYdO0XYL4.
For more information about Engineering at Cambridge, please visit the departmental website:
All applicants are required to take the pre-interview written assessment for Engineering at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).
- Section 1: Mathematics and Physics multiple-choice questions. (60 minutes, no calculator)
- Section 2: Advanced Physics multiple-choice questions. (60 minutes, no calculator)
You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment – the registration deadline is 29 September 2023. Your assessment centre must register you for the pre-interview assessment; you are not able to register yourself. See the written assessments page for information about assessment centres and registration.
Further details about the format of the assessment and preparatory materials can be found on the written assessments page.
The pre-interview written assessment for Engineering will be taken on Wednesday 18 October 2023.
Please note that your performance in the pre-interview assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.
The College currently has six teaching Fellows in Engineering:
- Professor Adam Boies – Energy and Environmental Engineering
- Professor Stuart Haigh – Civil Engineering
- Professor Hugh Hunt – Dynamic Systems & Vibrations
- Professor Matthew Juniper – Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics
- Professor Per Ola Kristensson – Intelligent Interactive Systems
- Professor Joan Lasenby – Information Engineering
- Dr Fiona Small – Energy, Fluids and Turbomachinery
- Dr Joe Stallard – Energy, Fluids and Turbomachinery
And two retired fellows who continue to teach for the college:
- Dr Chris Morley – Structural Mechanics
- Professor Alan Windle – Materials