School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Foundation Year

Do you want to become an engineer of the future, but don’t have the traditional entry requirements to start a degree? This new four year degree route incorporates a foundation year and will give you a solid grounding in the disciplines of mechanical engineering. You’ll be actively involved in real engineering projects and our hands-on approach to learning extends through design, mechanics and materials, improving your employability across many industries.

Key features

  • Take advantage of the opportunity to begin an engineering degree even if you’ve been out of formal education for some time. Our foundation year brings your mathematics and physics up to A level standard, while introducing you to the main disciplines of engineering.
  • Design, build and create. You’ll develop a range of practical skills that will enhance your employability. Modules cover subjects including prototyping, project management and computer aided design (CAD), all taught with a hands-on approach. In fact only 36 per cent of your study time is spent in lectures and seminars.
  • Benefit from our extensive industry contacts, who work closely with us to ensure that the course remains relevant to industry needs. Our Industry Advisory Group, which includes many Plymouth graduates, also helps arrange placements and visits.
  • Increase your experience and employability by undertaking an optional work placement. A 12 month paid placement allows you to make vital industry contacts that in some cases have to led to employment. 85 per cent of our graduates are in a professional or managerial job six months after graduation [source: unistats].
  • Learn from our dedicated staff who have years of experience across academic, scientific and industrial backgrounds, adding to their effectiveness. 87 per cent of students agreed that our staff are good at explaining things [source: unistats].
  • Progress onto the first year of a professionally accredited mechanical or marine degree course, guaranteed provided you pass the foundation year at the required level.
  • Discussions with your lecturers allow you to make an informed choice about which degree to select towards the end of your first year of study.
  • The foundation year is an integral part of the extended degree. Completion of the foundation year will not lead to a separate award or qualification its own right but will provide access to Year 1 of your degree.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your foundation year, you’ll prepare for the demands of a degree in mechanical engineering. We’ll 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’ll also work on a collaborative project, developing a range of skills you’ll need over the course of your degree.

    Core modules
    • MATH051 Mathematical Methods I

      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.

    • MATH053 Mathematical Methods II

      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.

    • MATH058 Applied Mathematics

      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.

    • MECH050 Mechanical and Marine Engineering

      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.

    • PHYS050 Physics I

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

    • PHYS051 Physics II

      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 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.

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.

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 for International applicants

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

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2019 2020
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £13,400 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of 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.

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 and equipment 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


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.

Find out more about the career paths you could take.

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.

Find out more about Blair Gordon's journey


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.

Find out more about your progression opportunities.

The Tamar Engineering Project

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

Learn if you are eligible for this scholarship at the University of Plymouth 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.