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School of Mechanical Engineering

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and Assessment - Undergraduate Degrees - School of Mechanical Engineering


You will be taught by academics at the cutting edge of their field, and, as all
courses are industry orientated, you can be sure that what you learn is up to date with employers, needs. Our research feeds directly into our teaching, which means you'll learn about the latest developments within your subject from world-class academics who will challenge, encourage and support you.

You will benefit from our integrated style of learning and teaching. Laboratory classes, project work, and industry sponsored fieldwork allow you to gain hands-on experience investigating and applying material from your lectures and tutorials to real life work situations. You will also have access to specialist facilities and laboratories that are equipped with the latest technology.

Our staff work with numerous companies on wide-ranging research and consultancy projects. We organise industrial visits and offer additional seminars delivered by practising engineers and other professionals. Our close links with industry also means that you have direct contact with industry and potential employers from an early stage in your course.

You can choose from our flexible range of modules, to reflect your interests or career plans and with practical work being a core part of your study, you can really get to grips with your subject and prepare yourself for a career in this varied and exciting industry.

Student Support
We have an excellent student support team, located close to where you will work and study, who will help you with anything, from academic advice and guidance, online module enrolment and registration, timetabling, results and progression requirements to coursework/project submission enquiries.

Our personal tutorial system will provide additional academic and pastoral support. You will have a designated personal tutor throughout your studies at Leeds. He or she will be an academic member of staff: you will have weekly academic tutorials with your tutor throughout your first year, in your tutor group (of typically 5 students), as well as one-to-one meetings twice per semester.

The web-based student portal will enable you to access the University’s student services and information, while the University’s virtual learning environment (VLE) will allow you access to your personal timetables, academic and social groups, and much more.


Our current students regularly say that project work is one of the most satisfying and challenging aspects of their course.

Projects provide an excellent opportunity to explore a subject further and enable you to develop essential skills such as problem solving, communication and teamwork, all vital to success in your future career.

    Our courses are built on the principles of CDIO (conceive, design, implement and operate). CDIO ( is an international initiative, including universities from all over the world, which seeks to place the learning of engineering science in the context of what engineers actually do: the conceiving – designing – implementing – operating process. We believe the approach fosters a deeper knowledge of underlying fundamentals and helps students relate abstract concepts to real-world problems.

    As part of this initiative, you will have the opportunity to integrate the knowledge taught in engineering science modules through a series of challenging ‘design and make’ group projects. These are largely self-build, where students use tools to fabricate and assemble the systems they have designed. In the first year, you will design 3D parts for a gearbox using computer software and have these parts manufactured by our manufacturing workshop. You will then assemble the gearbox to test whether they fit together in a perfect assembly.

    Year one
    Later, you will work in a team to design and build an elastic-powered device to transport a box of accelerometers (e.g. a Nintendo Wii remote) over a given distance. Students on the Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering course will build a glider and launch mechanism to cover the required distance, while students on the Automotive Engineering and Mechanical Engineering courses will create a buggy to carry their Wii remote. Students following the Medical Engineering course will construct a ‘bio-arm’ to throw a ball containing acclerometers into a movable target. The devices are then raced/tested against each other in our industry-sponsored ‘Shooting, Racing and Flying’ competition.

    You will also work with your team to build a cardboard bridge and use knowledge from modules on materials, mechanics, design and manufacture, maths and computer analysis to predict when and where it will break. You’ll then test the accuracy of your predictions against measured performance.

Dr Brian Henson tells us more about the first year projects

Click here to view more project videos from this module.

Year two
You will take part in our flagship design and make project, ‘The Daring Dash’, which is a world-class learning activity sponsored by National Instruments and Jaguar Land Rover. The challenge is to build an autonomous electric-powered buggy to travel over a bumpy course and stop on a bull’s-eye. The activity applies theory from modules of vibration and control, mechatronics, design and manufacture, and mechanics. You will programme a high-specification embedded controller, design a suspension and chassis and select motors/drive train components, competing against your peers for a winning time – and a real cash or equipment prize!

The next CDIO challenge is to apply theory from the thermofluids modules and other modules to design and build a microhydroelectricity device to generate electricity from flowing water. You will then test your device in our water flume, and the teams that generate the most power will also get the best marks!

Our CDIO activities are team-based challenges, providing important opportunities to develop highly desirable skills in team working within a technical context. These hands-on activities also provide key workshop practice, with students cutting and assembling materials in our recently refurbished model-making workshop, which has a wide range of metalworking and prototyping tools including 3D printers.

Year three
You will undertake a large individual research project, where you can
get involved in an area of current research going on in the School.
Supporting this is a Professional Skills module, which will develop your
project planning and management skills, as well as your understanding
of ethics. There is a wide selection of projects to choose from, as well
as the opportunity to suggest your own project idea. You will have an
academic supervisor who will meet you every week to provide guidance
and support.

Year four (MEng)
Our engagement with industry is especially evident in the Year 4 team projects, which involve working closely with an industrial partner to deliver real engineering solutions. The collaborations ensure that, in addition to developing individuals with excellent technical capabilities, our graduates are well versed in working in a professional environment and are ready to become future leaders in their chosen field.

Examples of year 4 team projects are:
• Multidisciplinary optimisation of aircraft engines,
(in collaboration with Rolls-Royce)
• Conceptual design of a Mars return vehicle,
(in collaboration with EADS Innovation Works)
• Design and build of an untethered miniature surgical robot
• Tribology of lubricants in demanding high-temperature
industrial applications

Click here to view some of the fourth year team projects in more detail.

Formula Student Race Team

You can become involved in the Formula Student race car project through work linked to your course. As well as encountering many of the real-life challenges of working as a professional engineer, students are responsible for raising sponsorship, marketing the project and actually racing the car at competitions. It is also a great opportunity to demonstrate your abilities to future employers: more than ten students from the school have been recruited to F1 teams as a result of their involvement with the project so far.


You will be assessed through both written examinations, held at the end of each year, and through coursework in the form of reports, projects, presentations and posters.