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Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
Established1875 (1875)
Head of DepartmentProfessor Colm Durkan
United Kingdom

52°11′54″N 0°07′18″E / 52.19827°N 0.121579°E / 52.19827; 0.121579 (Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge)

The University of Cambridge Department of Engineering is the largest department at the University of Cambridge and one of the leading centres of engineering in the world. The department's aim is to address the world's most pressing challenges with science and technology. To achieve this aim, the department collaborates with other disciplines, institutions, companies and entrepreneurs and adopts an integrated approach to research and teaching.[1]

The main site is situated at Trumpington Street, to the south of the city centre of Cambridge. The department is the primary centre for engineering teaching and research activities in Cambridge. The department is currently headed by Professor Colm Durkan.


In 1782, the Reverend Richard Jackson of Torrington, former fellow of Trinity College, died leaving a substantial portion of his estate to endow a Professorship of Natural Experimental Philosophy. This became forerunner to the Professorship of Mechanism and Applied Mechanics, first held in 1875 by James Stuart.[2]

The first engineering workshop at Cambridge was constructed in 1878, a wooden hut fifty by twenty feet. The department now boasts several sites around Cambridge:

Cambridge University Engineering Department Trumpington Street site looking southeast from the Inglis A Building in Nov 2004. The Baker Building is in the left background and the Leys School is in the right background (behind the chimney). The Inglis Building is in the middle and foreground.

Notable companies and projects founded by students and alumni

Undergraduate education

There are about 1,200 undergraduate students in the department at any time, with about 320 students admitted each year.

The first two years are essentially the same for all students and aim to give a broad overview, covering mechanical and structural engineering, as well as materials, electrical and information engineering. From the third year, students are required to specialise, undertaking either the Engineering Tripos or Manufacturing Engineering Tripos.

In the Engineering Tripos, students may specialise in one or more of nine engineering disciplines:

It is also possible to not specialise and receive a degree in General Engineering.[7]

Meanwhile, the Manufacturing Engineering Tripos provides an integrated course in industrial engineering, including both operations and management.[8]

Graduate education

The Department of Engineering currently has about 190 faculty and PI-status researchers, 300 postdoctoral researchers, and 850 graduate students. Post-graduate education in the consists of both taught courses and research degrees (PhD, MPhil and MRes). The majority of research students study for a PhD degree while around 10 per cent follow the one-year MPhil (research) programme.

The department also has a number of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), which follow a 1-plus-3 year model where a one-year MRes course is followed by a three-year PhD. Full funding for four years is provided through these centres. In addition to the CDTs, the department has a limited number of EPSRC PhD studentships available for British and EU students.[9]

Research Evaluation

The department was ranked 2nd among UK engineering departments in 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). It also ranked 2nd in 2014.

REF Score
Assessment Year GPA National Ranking
2021[10] 3.69 2
2014[10] 3.49 2

Notable alumni and researchers

See also: Category:Members of the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering

Fellows of the Royal Society
Members of the Order of Merit
Timoshenko Medal Recipients
Notable people for their contributions

See also


  1. ^ "Strategy and Development Plans - Department of Engineering". 7 November 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b (, Paul Robertson. "CUED 125 Anniversary". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  3. ^ "The AOUG Sir John Horlock Award for Science". Association of Open University Graduates (AOUG). Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  4. ^ "The James Dyson Building | CUED undergraduate teaching". Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Professor David Cardwell interview for Professional Engineering Magazine - Department of Engineering". 6 May 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 December 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2010.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Part IIA modules and engineering areas". Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Undergraduate Courses". Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  9. ^ "Graduates Overview - Department of Engineering". 12 August 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  10. ^ a b "REF 2021: Engineering". Times Higher Education (THE). 12 May 2022. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  11. ^ "Biographical Memoirs of fellows of the Royal Society". doi:10.1098/rsbm.2018.0024. S2CID 132105865. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Runchal, Akshai K. (August 2009). "International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer". Special Issue Honoring Professor D. Brian Spalding. 52 (17): 4063–4073. doi:10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2009.03.058. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "City University". 31 January 2020.
  14. ^ "John Arthur Shercliff, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 31: 524–541. November 1985. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1985.0018. S2CID 71433327.
  15. ^ "Royal Society Directory".