What is Engineering?

Every aspect of your life is made more comfortable and enjoyable because of advances in engineering.  Anything that is made will have engineering processes at its heart; engineers test, design, build and understand the artificial word around you.  The last twenty years have witnessed a sea-change in the engineering landscape: from the Internet revolution, to how we manage and maintain our standard of living with ever-diminishing resources.  The world is looking to engineers for solutions to these challenges.

What is the study of engineering?

Engineering recycles scientific principles for the creation of new devices and artefacts: it is applied mathematics focused on the real world.  Engineers are good at mathematics and formulating applied problems.  The Engineering Tripos covers classical topics, such as Mechanics, Electronics, Applied Mathematics in the first two years, and they are extended in the third and fourth years to more specialized advanced topics such as engineering for aircraft, automobile, life science, silicon chips, artificial intelligence, and largest buildings.

Why not study Maths or Physics directly?

The Engineering Tripos is accredited by all of the major engineering institutions, which allows you to practise as an engineer immediately after your degree, en route to becoming a Chartered Engineer.  You cannot do this with any other degree.

Engineering at Corpus Christi College

Engineers at Corpus benefit from a strong collegiate tradition at one of Cambridge’s finest city-centre Colleges, a five-minute walk away from the Department of Engineering. Corpus students in their senior years often choose to live in our Trumpington Street hostel, directly across the road from the Department. Between six and ten students are admitted each year, having achieved A*A*A at A-Level, or equivalent grades from elsewhere.  The advantages of studying in a smaller college are numerous, as this gives many opportunities to interact with Fellows, graduate students and undergraduates in senior years through subject dinners, garden parties and discussion events. There is a close-knit and supportive Engineering community at Corpus.



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Corpus Engineers “proof” testing the new Kwee Balcony in February 2014 by jumping repeatedly…

Corpus Engineering teaching

Corpus has excellent provision for teaching in Engineering, with three Fellows with a diverse range of expertise. One of our Fellows, Dr Keith Seffen – a has won ‘Best Lecturer’ awards in the Department of Engineering, and features in their admissions video at the top of the page (33 s and 2 mins 20 s):


Prof Simon Godsill (Fellow)
Simon Godsill is a Professor of Statistical Signal Processing in the Department of Engineering. His main area of research is Bayesian statistics and stochastic sampling methodologies, especially particle filtering.
Dr Keith Seffen (Fellow) Dr Seffen jointly runs the Advanced Structures Group, researching and finding solutions for new lightweight, deployable and/or shape-changing (morphing) structures. He is a civil, mechanical and aerospace engineer .
Dr Fumiya IIda Dr IIda is a University Lecturer in Mechatronics. He studied mechanical engineering and computer science, and his research area is biologically inspired robotics. Through abstraction of the design principles of biological systems, he work on the prototyping of dynamic mechatronics systems, bionic sensor and motor technologies, and computational control optimization techniques.

Here you can find some of our Fellows talking about their research.

Dr. Fumiya IIda on Bio-inspired robots.

Dr. Keith Seffen on Bi-Stable structures.


After Corpus

Recent Corpus Engineering graduates now design, amongst other things, Formula One cars, nuclear submarines, and wind farms. Others work for major financial institutions; others teach science and lecture Engineering; others run major world-leading engineering companies that generate millions in turnover. Other have donated millions back to the College following successful careers built on studying Engineering at Corpus.  Fundamentally, you will secure gainful employment in any discipline, not just Engineering, where there is a need to solve real-world problems.

Department of Engineering

Engineering students at Cambridge study the same four-year Tripos, irrespective of College. The Tripos covers general Engineering for the first two years, followed by specialism in the final two years.  Lectures and practical work are carried out in the Department, where open days allow you to sample a typical working day.

For guidance on general admissions, please see the Department of Engineering’s web pages, with more information here.



George Hopes, 3rd year Engineer

At Corpus there is a close-knit community of engineers who all support each other throughout the year- this is one of the benefits of studying within one of the larger courses at Corpus. The course is obviously challenging at times and the pressure can be fairly intense. However if you feel that you can step up to a challenge and take it on then you should have no problem. There is also no need to worry about getting stuck with work; all of the supervisors are friendly, approachable and willing to help out with any problem.

On the course itself your experience will be the same as every other engineer at Cambridge- it’s a mix of theoretical lectures, practical lab sessions and individual problem sheets.  However, studying at Corpus is different due to the small size of the college- you really feel that the college pays personal attention to each and every one of its students.

In all, engineering at Corpus is a course which I thoroughly enjoy. I love the friendly atmosphere in college and the experience is definitely worth all of the hard work!

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