School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Foundation Year

Do you want to embark in engineering but do not have the traditional entry requirements to start a degree? Perhaps, you are looking for a complete career change. This four-year degree route incorporates a foundation year to give you a solid grounding in the disciplines underpinning mechanical engineering. You will be actively involved in engineering projects and our hands-on approach to learning runs through design, mechanics and materials, improving your employability across many industries.

Progression routes

Upon successful completion of this foundation year, you can progress to one of our following degrees:

Key features

  • Define yourself with an IMechE-accredited degree
    The course has been designed to fully satisfy the educational base for an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and partially satisfy the educational base for a Chartered Engineer (CEng).
  • Make use of cutting-edge facilities
    When our new engineering and design facility is launched, students in engineering, science and the arts will have access to a range of specialist equipment and innovative laboratories.
  • Be flexible
    Our combined first year allows you to switch to marine technology or civil engineering in line with your career ambitions.
  • Be unique
    Our courses are the only ones in the country to have a named 'with composites' pathway; choosing this will allow you to stand out in the job market.
  • Learn hands-on
    We offer the latest industry-standard software, laboratory sessions and practical classes.
  • Aim higher
    You may progress onto the MEng course at the end of your second year if you are doing well.
  • Put learning into practice
    Take a paid year in industry – many of our students receive job offers or sponsorship as a result of their placements.
  • Go on to thrive
    Your degree opens doors to sectors as diverse as aerospace, automotive, manufacturing and energy.

Course details
  • Foundation year

  • In your foundation year, you will prepare for the demands of degree in mechanical engineering. We will ensure that your mathematics and physics are up to A level standard, as well as introducing you to the three main disciplines of the engineering industry, mechanical, civil and electronics engineering, you will also work on a collaborative project, developing a range of skills you will need over the course of your degree.

    Core modules

    • Mathematical Methods I (MATH051)

      This module is intended to show how mathematics is a fundamental part of the world of engineering, science and computing as well as of the world around us. Assuming a base of GCSE grade C, the lectures and assessments are designed to lead to an understanding of the application of mathematics to GCE A Level grade C and above.

    • Mathematical Methods II (MATH053)

      This module is intended to show how mathematics is a fundamental part of the world of engineering and science as well as of the world around us. It extends the mathematics taught in MATH051 to include complex numbers, differential equations and numerical methods.

    • Applied Mathematics (MATH058)

      This module provides an introduction to applied mathematics. The focus of the module is on the use of mechanics to solve basic problems of an engineering and scientific nature in the real world. Topics studied are: modelling; forces; vectors; kinematics in one and two dimensions; Newton's laws; moments and energy.

    • Mechanical and Marine Engineering (MECH050)

      This module provides an introduction to mechanical and marine engineering and to the types of careers open to graduates in these disciplines. Each student will undertake a group project in one of these disciplines to enable them to make an informed choice of degree pathway.

    • Physics I (PHYS050)

      This module provides an introduction to physics and its applications in science and engineering. This module assumes little previous knowledge of physics.

    • Physics II (PHYS051)

      This module continues the work in Physics I, providing an introduction to physics and its applications in science and engineering.

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 (Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Foundation Year programme specification 3798

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.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

32 - 48

A level: from a minimum of 2 A levels and one in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include: applied ICT, applied science, applied business, biology, business studies, chemistry, computing, computer science, DT (product design resistant materials), DT (systems and control technology), DT product design (textiles technology), economics, economics and business, electronics, engineering, environmental science, further mathematics, use of mathematics, core mathematics, pure mathematics, mathematics, ICT, physics, science, statistics, technology and design - must have C at GCSE Mathematics. Excluding general studies.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma science/technology related subject: PPP
12 Unit BTEC National Certificate/QCF Diploma science/technology related subject: MP

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.

Access: pass Access course (preferably from a science/technology subject) (including GCSE English and mathematics grade C/4 or above or equivalent). For candidates that do not have a science, electrical or technology background please contact: for further advice.

T level: Pass from a Science/Technology pathway. Must have GCSE Maths 4/C.

International Baccalaureate:
24 overall to include 1 subject from science or technology – English and mathematics must be included.

Mathematics and English at grade C/4 or above. 

Other qualifications considered, please enquire.

We particularly welcome applications from candidates returning to study, who can offer work or other related experience in lieu of formal qualifications. Therefore candidates without formal science/engineering qualifications or with non-standard qualifications are assessed on an individual basis, usually via interview. We encourage any candidate who is unsure re: the suitability of their qualifications or experience to contact Admissions in the first instance, who will then liaise with the Admissions Tutor and Programme Lead. 

Where the prior level of qualifications falls significantly below our normal offer above, applicants will be invited to an interview to assess whether their prior experience may replace the more formal qualifications. 

English language requirements.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding
Student 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,600 £16,300
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Additional fieldwork, equipment and graduation costs.

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

New engineering and design facility

"The building will provide a state-of-the-art setting to inspire the engineers and designers of tomorrow, making it the ultimate place to bring together students, academics and industry in an environment that not only benefits them but also society as a whole." – Professor Deborah Greaves OBE
Situated on the western edge of our city centre campus, the landmark new facility will provide a home for the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics and additional space for the School of Art, Design and Architecture.
<p>New Engineering and Design Facility</p>


"Ever since my placement, I’ve had a dream to design technology which can cut down on carcinogenic and ozone-depleting emissions from manufacturing industries."
Our degree won’t just boost your career options; it’ll spark passions that could change lives.
Russell Lloyd

Blair Gordon - graduate profile

"From having relatively poor A level results to achieving a first class honours degree is testament to the lecturers."
Mechanical Engineer, AMEC Oil and Gas.
Graduate profile - Blair Gordon


After successfully completing the foundation year, you can progress directly onto year one of one of the mechanical engineering degrees.
Engineers are sought after in every industry. Our graduates have gone on to roles in companies such as Centrax, Babcock Marine and Princess Yachts.
Visit of IMechE President Professor William Banks

The Tamar Engineering Project

Are you inspired and fascinated by the potential of technological and engineering advancements? Do you want to make a positive difference to the world around you?
The Tamar Engineering Project is for ambitious students who want to embark on a career in engineering and who have shown potential for high academic achievement at A level, but whose background or personal circumstances may be a barrier to university study.
Learn if you are eligible for this scholarship at the University of Plymouth through the Tamar Engineering Project 
Successful applicants will receive:
  • £3,000 per annum towards living costs for the duration of the taught element of their degree (usually three years)
  • £1,500 fee waiver per annum
  • one-to-one mentoring from an industry expert.
<p>Gemma Maynard</p>
<p>athena swan bronze</p>

Athena Swan Bronze

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics was awarded an Athena Swan Bronze award in October 2020 which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to advancing gender equality and success for all.


*These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Unistats is updated annually in September.

The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Graduate Outcomes survey (GO) are made available to prospective students and their advisors through the Unistats website.