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Foundation Year - Engineering

Course Overview

This course offers a wide ranging introduction to the various facets of engineering. It offers a pathway for people who don’t hold the qualifications to enter directly onto a degree, and gives you the experience to make an informed decision about which course to study.

This hands on course ensures you learn relevant academic knowledge and practical skills from the outset using high quality and current technology and on site laboratories of the university. Employability is a key focus of this course and the university works closely with industry contacts to make sure everything the university teaches is professionally relevant.

Key information

    Course name

    Foundation Year - Engineering

    Total academic credits

    120 credits

    Qualification awarded


    Awarding body

    Northumbria University

    Academic level

    Foundation (QCF_NQF Level 3)

    Study mode

    Full time


    1 year

    Tuition fees




    Course location


Academic entry requirements

A good GCSE profile is expected including Maths and English Language at minimum grade C or equivalent.

English entry requirements

A British Council International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 5.5 (or above) with a minimum score in each component of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking of 5.5.

Progression route

The Foundation Certificate in Engineering provides you with the opportunity to develop key skills in appropriate disciplines. Students who successfully complete the year automatically qualify for a place on the university’s BEng (Hons) in Engineering degree programmes.


  • Introduction to Electrical Engineering (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Engineering Design and Problem Solving (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Mechanical Engineering (20 credits)
  • Study Skills and Computer Technology (20 credits)
  • Introductory Algebra and Statistics (20 credits)
  • Foundation Algebra and Trigonometry (20 credits)


Assessment methods
A range of assessment methods is used throughout the course including continuous assessment, in-class tests, examinations, laboratory exercises and project work. Using these methods, your all-round ability will be appraised providing you with the best opportunity to excel.


Main learning outcomes

Introduction to Electrical Engineering

  • Use the concepts of electric field, potential and charge; magnetic field and electric current; magnetically induced e.m.f. to solve appropriate problems
  • Understand the fundamental difference between conductors, insulators and semi-conductors
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the effect of electrical current on the human body and the emergency procedures used in case of electrical shock
  • Explain the basic mechanism of producing electricity using various means, chemical, mechanical etc.
  • Use electric circuit theory to solve appropriate problems, including diode and transistor action
  • Use digital cirucit theory to solve problems involving basic logic gates and number systems
  • Relate appropriate electrical and magnetic theory to practical devices and systems


Introduction to Engineering Design and Problem Solving

  • Analyse a problem, break it down into constituent parts and recognise the knowledge required for a novel solution
  • Employ an interdisciplinary approach to describing the solution to electromechanical design problems
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan and control the progress of groupwork
  • Recognise situations which require the application of engineering theory
  • Tackle engineering problems by "thinking and describing"


Introduction to Mechanical Engineering

  • The nature of various energy forms and their sources
  • The mechanisms for the transfer of energy, and that these often include changes from one or more forms of energy to other forms
  • The processes for consuming non-renewable energy resources (eg for generating power), and the effects these processes have on the environment
  • The student should have a sound understanding of basics in mechanics and the knowledge required for their application to basic practical situations (eg motion of a projectile)


Study Skills and Computer Technology

  • Construct a program to carry out a particular task, e.g. using a graphical programming tool
  • Use appropriate computer packages for data storage, analysis and presentation
  • Communicate technical information in the appropriate style and format within reports of work undertaken


Introductory Algebra and Statistics

  • Evaluate, simplify, factorise and manipulate a variety of algebraic expressions
  • Sketch linear and quadratic functions and solve linear and quadratic equations
  • Use logarithms and exponents and apply to simple problems
  • Use statistical techniques appropriately


Foundation Algebra and Trigonometry

  • Use the methods of coordinate geometry to obtain the equation of a line
  • Solve trigonometrical and algebraic problems
  • Solve a variety of trigonometric equations making use of trigonometric identities and the periodic nature of trigonometric functions where appropriate
  • Master the basic principles of differentiation and integration of standard functions, applying to simple engineering problems