FAQ

Teaching Quality & Style

Study Facility

Student Support

Can I change between different courses ?

Yes, in most cases. Most of our courses have a common core of subjects in years 1 and 2 and changing your degree specialisation, as you gain more experience of the subjects, is very straightforward. There are only a few changes that are restricted.

The Course Change Matrix in the links box shows changes that are allowed.

Can I change between MEng and BEng degrees?

Yes. All students are initially registered for the MEng degree, but you can elect to change to the three-year BEng at the end of year 2, and there are no restrictions for this choice. Students whose academic performance at the end of year 2 is assessed as being below the appropriate standard will be transferred to a BEng programme.

Can I enter directly into year 2?

In principle yes, but it will depend on your qualifications. Each year we admit students who have studied at other Universities or Polytechnics, mainly from abroad. However, we do not accept students with HNC or HND qualifications directly into year 2.

Are your degrees Accredited?

Yes. All of our BEng and BEng degrees are accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Students who achieve a MEng degree can immediately apply to become an Associate Member of the IET. Students who achieve a BEng degree of class II.2 or better will ultimately be eligible for IET membership after completing the necessary "approved" further study at some later stage in their career.

Do you offer part-time degrees?

No, we do not offer any part-time undergraduate degree courses.

Teaching Quality & Style

Who will be teaching me?

The policy of the department is to allocate lectures to staff who have first-hand knowledge, through their research and professional experience, of the subjects they teach. This helps to ensure that material is relevant and that outdated techniques are quickly eliminated from the course content.

What methods of teaching do you use?

Teaching is delivered by a variety of methods including lectures, problem classes, tutorials, laboratory classes and project work. We try to choose the most appropriate method for the material and skills which we need to teach.

Does the course include practical training as well as lectures?

It certainly does! Whilst lectures are the method by which the bulk of the theoretical content is taught, the courses all contain a large amount of practical work in laboratories and project assignments. The Sheffield courses have one complete module of coursework in both years 1 and 2, which is carried out in dedicated and well equipped teaching laboratories. Laboratory classes are used to teach the practical side of the design, construction and testing of circuits, devices and systems as well as the skills needed to interpret results, write reports and make presentations.

In years 3 and 4, project work, carried out mainly in research laboratories or specialist facilities such as Clean Rooms or Microprocessor laboratories, counts for 20% of your final degree assessment.

Is all the teaching done in large classes?

No! each student is allocated a personal tutor on their arrival. In years 1 and 2, regular timetabled meetings, in tutor groups of five or six students, are used to solve academic problems and to develop team working and presentational skills. Tutors supervise progress throughout the course and provide invaluable personal contact and guidance. In practical classes, most work is carried out either individually or in groups of two or three. Project work in later years is carried out individually under the supervision of a member of staff. In year 4, project work is carried in a small group of four or five students working on an industrial project, with staff supervision and industrial partners.

How do you teach computing skills?

All students need to develop their skills in using software and writing programmes. Teaching is a combination of lectures classes to learn the necessary languages and practical computer workshops to put it into practice. We teach 'C' programmes in year 1 and specialist microprocessor languages in later years. Software packages such as MATLAB are used in later years and the University provides tuition in the use of 'office' software such as word processing, databases and spreadsheets. Assessment of computer skills is almost invariably based on continuously assessed assignments.

What is the workload like?

A typical week in years 1 and 2 consists of 22 hours of contact time, of which lectures take up to 10 hours and the rest consists of problem classes, tutorials and practical coursework. We expect students to put in a further 10 to 12 hours time in self study outside of the timetabled hours. In years 3 and 4 we expect students to spend more time on self study and project work, so that contact time is much reduced.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment in each year is based on end of semester examinations in January and June and on continuously assessed coursework or project work. Both are assessed separately because we think they measure different types of abilities and skills. Years 2, 3 and 4 contribute to the final degree although the later years are weighted more heavily than year 2.

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Study Facility

Where do students take their lectures?

The Engineering Faculty, consisting of all the University engineering departments, housed in a closely linked area of the campus. Most lectures are delivered within the Faculty area.

Where do students do their practical work?

The department has dedicated and well equipped first and second year undergraduate teaching laboratories where students are taught how to carry out experimental work and use typical laboratory equipment.

In addition, the department has a number of specialised facilities which are used by undergraduates. These include:

  • An undergraduate clean room used to fabricate semiconductor devices as part of year 1 and year 2 coursework, and for year 3 and 4 project work.
  • An undergraduate microprocessor and computer suite used for specialised CAD and microprocessor work. This is in addition to the University computer network.
  • A large number of specialist research laboratories used by third and fourth year students.
  • Mechanical and Electronic workshops.
  • Printed Circuit and Surface Mounted workshops.

What are the Computing Facilities like?

The University has a large computer network, distributed throughout the campus, including PC's, SUNs and MACs together with associated printing and plotting services. All students are allocated a user-name, e-mail address and disk space at entry to the university. A comprehensive selection of software is available on the network, together with web access. Within the Engineering Faculty there are a number of computer suites, one of which houses 160 PC's and provides 23 hour daily access. In addition, the department has its own specialised microprocessor and computer suite and a number of additional computer networks dedicated to specific research facilities. All are used by undergraduate students.

Where can I do my own private studies?

Many students prefer to study away from their living accommodation and the University libraries all provide quiet study spaces for individual use. A specialist-engineering library, within the Faculty campus area, provides good private study facilities and easy access to library materials.

Do you have your own library?

There is a specialist Engineering library situated in the Faculty complex. This contains most of the technical books and journals you will require as an undergraduate. In addition, the University has a main library and further specialist libraries around the campus, all of which you can access to provide additional resources or study space.

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Student Support

How can I get help with my studies?

Most students need some help in developing their understanding. Each lecture course has timetabled problem classes associated with it. Problem sheets designed to develop and test your understanding are provided and difficulties with these often form the basis of questions at the problem classes. The course lecturer and one or more support staff attend the classes and these are an opportunity to get individual help. Most of these classes are held in our student workrooms which are set out to encourage small groups of students to work together, and a lot can be learned from students collaborating in this way. Individual help via tutors or direct access to the lecturer is available if needed.

What support is available in laboratory work?

All laboratory classes are attended by academic staff and support staff who are familiar with the work being carried out.

What support is available for project work?

Individual and Group projects in years 3 and 4 are carried out in research laboratories, working alongside research students and research staff. In addition to the guidance given by their project supervisors, many students find the on-the-spot support from research staff provides excellent expert advice. Technical staff are also available in many laboratories.

What role does my individual tutor play?

All students are allocated an academic member of staff as a tutor at entry to the Department. Each member of staff will typically have five or six tutees and they all meet as a group once every two weeks during years 1 and 2. These sessions usually have some form of technical or professional skill assignment and students come prepared to discuss their work. In addition, your tutor has a pastoral support role and acts as an advisor and mentor for a wide range of personal and academic issues. You keep the same tutor throughout your degree and, for many students, friendships built up through tutor groups last long after leaving the University.

What personal support is available?

Your tutor acts a front line of support for non-academic personal issues. If more professional advice or support is needed then your tutor will direct you to one of the wide range of University Support and Welfare services. These include: Student Counselling, Health and Dentistry, hardship funds and Careers services and assistance with part-time employment.

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