School of Engineering

BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Composites

Are you interested in a career in the composites industry? Increasingly, the first choice for high performance aircraft, cars and boats, are advanced lightweight and corrosion-resistant composites. Be at the forefront with a course unique in the UK, which provides you with a grounding in mechanical engineering, and design and manufacturing skills in advanced composites materials. You’ll join a course with excellent employment prospects,90 per cent of our graduates go into work or further study.

You will develop a strong foundation in mechanical engineering principles and materials science. You’ll experience modern laboratory facilities for your core practical work. You’ll benefit from working on industrially relevant problems within composite materials and design of composite structures. You’ll also benefit from an optional 48 week paid work placement.

Key features

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In Year 1, you’ll acquire a sound foundation in design, mechanics, materials, electrical principles, thermo-fluids, mathematics and business, learning by actively engaging with real engineering problems. You‘ll undertake a popular hands-on module in manufacturing methods. Modules are shared with the MEng and BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering, the MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Composites and the MEng and BEng (Hons) Marine Technology.
    Core modules
    • MECH120 Skills for Design and Engineering (Mechanical)

      An introduction to the forms and role of engineering drawings and CAD in engineering design. Basic engineering drawing procedures, basic 2-D CAD and 3-D parametric associative CAD.

    • THER104 Introduction to Thermal Principles

      This module introduces the basic concepts of thermal concepts relating to the interaction between systems and their surroundings.

    • BPIE115 Stage 1 Mechanical Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • MECH117 Mechanics

      The module introduces the basic concepts relating to the interaction between systems and their surroundings.

    • MECH118 Basic Electrical Principles

      This module introduces the basic concepts of electrical principles and their applications.

    • A5MFT1 Mech BEng 1 MFT Session

      The course provides a basic practical workshop experience that enables students to appreciate the cutting of metals. This is achieved by the manufacture of a specific test piece using lathes and milling machines and includes the use of Computer Aided Manufacture / Machining.

    • MATH187 Engineering Mathematics

      The module provides students with a number of fundamental mathematical skills and techniques which are essential for the analysis of engineering problems.

    • MATS122 Manufacturing and Materials

      This module introduces students to a range of engineering materials and the relationship between structure, manufacture and properties. Standard methods of testing are covered, presenting practical applications wherever appropriate. An introduction to manufacturing covers both the fundamentals of forming and shaping and traditional machining processes.

    • MECH121PP Team Engineering (Engineering Design in Action)

      This module helps students foster a technology-based, innovative and creative design identity. This is achieved through development of critical skills coupled with professional, multi-disciplinary teamwork. A practical focus is provided by a range of multi-facetted group design and engineering science projects based upon open-ended, real-world problems.

  • Year 2
  • In Year 2, you’ll build your knowledge of composite materials in preparation for specialist modules in the final year. The central role of design is used to integrate the learning from other modules on this course, such as structures and materials. You'll also study modules on thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, business dynamics, mathematics and control and quality management.
    Core modules
    • BPIE215 Stage 2 Mechanical Placement Preparation

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed build on the Level 1 module (BPIE111) and to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • CONT221 Engineering Mathematics and Control

      This module provides mathematical techniques and methods for the analysis of practical engineering problems and an introduction to classical control systems theory.

    • HYFM230 Fluid Mechanics 1

      Fluid mechanics for engineering applications (everything from water pipes to airliners)

    • STRC203 Engineering Structures

      This module covers basic theories of structures and their applications in mechanical and marine engineering. Contents include the bending and shear of beams, torsion of shafts, buckling of struts, stress and strain analysis, and structural dynamics. Design of structural components using strength theories will also be introduced.

    • MECH232 Engineering Design

      This module focuses on development and application of engineering science knowledge in a practical design context. It also aims to develop a structured approach to engineering design work. Initial focus is on parametric design of engineering components, optimising for a specific set of design constraints. The module then moves on to develop creativity and design logic/process in a practical design project.

    • MFRG208 Quality Management l

      This module introduces the importance of quality to all aspects of the successful organisation by emphasising the costs associated with waste. Several of the tools and methodologies the designer/manager of manufacturing and business systems might use to build in and monitor quality are discussed.

    • MATS234 Materials

      This module extends the knowledge of the heat treatment of steels and alloy steels and other important engineering alloys. Polymer materials are developed by considering additives and co-polymers. There are major sections on corrosion and corrosion controls; diffusion with practical applications such as sintering and surface treatment; and fibre reinforced composite materials.

    • THER207 Applied Thermodynamics

      This module provides the application of thermodynamics theory (1st and 2nd laws) to a range of applications pertaining to mechanical engineering. Extension and application of the thermodynamic theory to IC engines including design and performance; Gas Turbines; Reciprocating Compressors; Refrigeration and Heat Pump systems. Introduction to heat transfer and its application in the design and performance of heat exchangers.

    • STO208 Business for Engineers

      The module will enable participants to explore management techniques in an engineering context. The module will engage participants in managerial decision making and project management. Legal, HR and risk and ethical frameworks will be introduced as foundations for the practice of management. These perspectives will be considered theoretically and within practice contexts.

  • Optional placement year
  • In Year 3, you are strongly encouraged to do a year’s work placement to gain valuable paid professional experience. We will support you to find a placement that is right for you. Our students have worked for a variety of companies from BMW Mini, Bentley, Babcock Marine to NASA. A successful placement could lead to sponsorship in your final year, an industrially relevant final year project, and opportunities for future employment.
    Optional modules
    • BPIE335 Mechanical Engineering Related Placement

      A 48-week period of professional training spent as the third year of a sandwich programme undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for the student to gain relevant industrial experience to consolidate the first two stages of study and to prepare for the final stage and employment after graduation.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you’ll specialise in composites design, engineering and manufacture. You’ll undertake an integrating group design project. Additional modules of study include statistics and quality management. You'll also develop your knowledge and skills through an in-depth project on a topic of your choice.
    Core modules
    • HYFM322 Computational Fluid Dynamics

      Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) focuses on practical use of CFD to complement experimental methods and/or empirical/analytical calculations in predicting the behaviour of flowing fluids. The module also provides an overview of the theory that underpins a typical Finite Volume CFD code.

    • MFRG311 Quality Management II

      This module introduces the concept of the World-Class organisation, its culture and management as well as the international (ISO) management systems (quality and environment) it must address. Achieving World-Class status by developing appropriate relationships with all its stakeholders is also considered.

    • MATS347 Composites Design and Manufacture

      The module provides an integrated approach to design, materials and processing selection for composite materials. MATS 347, MATS 348, and MFRG300 are the specific components of the Mechanical Engineering with Composites pathway

    • PRME307 Honours Project

      Independent project work.

    • MATS348 Composites Engineering

      This module introduces stress analysis and appropriate numerical methods and integrates the learning from the parallel module MATS347 in a practical assignment to produce a prototype composite component. MATS 347, MATS 348, and MFRG311 are the specific components of the Mechanical Engineering with Composites pathway.

    • MECH340 Engineering Design

      This module continues the theme of a structured, logical process for conducting engineering design work. It focuses on the latter stages of the design process. Emphasis is placed on the importance of aspects such as material, manufacturing process, tolerances, structural performance, cost, assembly, maintenance and sustainability. The module also considers ethical issues.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BEng Mechanical Engineering with Composites Programme Specification 3126

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

112 - 120

A level: typical offer will be 120 points including minimum grade C in mathematics and minimum grade C in second science/technology/relevant subject (excluding general studies). Applicants with UCAS points lower than the typical offer will be considered on individual case.

BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DDD in a relevant science or Engineering subject. Must include mathematics units.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

International Baccalaureate: 30 overall to include 5 at Higher Level mathematics and 4 at Higher Level science/technology subject. English and mathematics must be included.

Access to Higher Education at level 3: pass Access in engineering to include 45 credits at level 3. Must include 33 credits including at least 12 credits at level 3 in mathematics with distinction and 12 credits at level 3 in a second relevant subject with merit. Must have GCSE English and mathematics grade C / 4 or above or equivalent.

GCSE mathematics and English at grade C or above is required.

For other qualifications, please enquire.

English language requirements for international applicants.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £12,500 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.



Welcome to mechanical engineering at Plymouth

Dr Stephen Grove, Associate Professor, School of Marine Science and Engineering, and final year student Craig Pemberton discuss what it’s like to study here and show you some of our facilities.

Watch our video to find out more about studying mechanical engineering at Plymouth University.

Optional work placement year

Get your career off to a great start by spending a year working professionally as a student engineer between years two and three. You could earn £15,000 a year or more, and possibly gain sponsorship through your final year(s) at university.

Gain experience that will help you find a job when you graduate and a Certificate of Professional or Work Experience in addition to your degree award.

Final year project

Our final year student project open day showcases the excellence of engineering skills development and the high levels of achievement of our undergraduates.

Browse poster examples, and view previous project open day photographs below.

The Tamar Engineering Project

Funding and mentoring for high achievers who might not otherwise consider higher education as a route to a career in engineering.

Learn if you are eligible for this scholarship to study engineering at Plymouth University through the Tamar Engineering Project.

Successful applicants will receive:

  • £3,000 towards living costs per year of study
  • £1,500 course fee waiver per year of study
  • one-to-one mentoring from an industry expert.
Read more about the Tamar Engineering Project.

Alexandra Trebilco – graduate profile (BEng)

Project Engineer at McLaren Automotive, Alex Trebilco, tells us about travelling to the US during her studies and to Spain as part of her current job
Alexandra tells us more about her role

Potential High Achievers Scheme

In the School of Engineering we recognise that our students are the future of the growing engineering profession. We know that our applicants will thrive in the hands-on environment we can provide, and we want to ensure our best applicants become our future.

The scheme is now open for students who have applied to study, from September 2017, a range of full-time undergraduate courses within the School of Engineering. We will be contacting applicants who are not only on course to achieve top marks but who have an outstanding personal statement, in order to offer them a chance to receive an unconditional offer immediately.

Find out more about the scheme.

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