Engineering at Cambridge is based around the Engineering Department. As well as providing a structured and attractive course of lectures, the Department organises experimental work and projects throughout the course. The College's role is primarily to assist the personal studies of engineering students. St Catharine's College has a strong tradition in engineering and currently admits about ten students per year. The College provides about 2 hours per week of supervision to students in pairs. A typical supervision involves the students asking for help in their work on problem sheets and reviewing the engineering implications of the problems they have solved. In the final two years the College will oversee your choice of papers, the supervision arrangements and the progress of your projects.
Faculty website: http://www.eng.cam.ac.uk/
Cambridge engineers find they have a full timetable, when personal study and a social or sporting activity or two are included, and most find the friendly atmosphere at Catz enables them to progress in their work and make a real contribution to the life of the College. The engineers also spend a considerable amount of time together in labs, and the College encourages the engineers to maintain a sense of being a group. The close proximity of the College to the Engineering Department is seen by the students as a positive advantage, particularly when en route for the inevitable 9.00 am lectures!
In all Cambridge colleges, the standard of entry for Engineering is high. We would expect successful candidates to have achieved, or be on course to achieve, grades A*A*A at A-level, including Physics, Maths, and preferably Further Maths (although we realise that many applicants may have had to choose their A-levels some considerable time before they decided to apply to us, so we are flexible).
Because of the quantity of applicants for Engineering at Cambridge, the Colleges cannot interview all candidates, and we must de-select some before interview. The correlations between school maths/science exams, the admissions assessment, and performance at Cambridge are good, so we feel we have sufficient information to make these difficult decisions. Candidates with strong school maths and science, especially physics, are, however, strongly encouraged to apply.
At interview, candidates are questioned concerning technical issues of interest to them. Issues concerning professional engineering will also be discussed, with reference to a topical example. It is likely that you will be required to read an article or other text immediately prior to your interview so you can discuss it with your interviewers. Any such additional exercises are simply to give us even more information about your potential, and you will be sent full details of these in advance if you are selected for interview.
Many Catz engineers take a year out between school and university to work in engineering for at least some of that time. They confirm that it is beneficial in many ways and the college encourages the practice where appropriate. We are, however, just a happy to admit students directly after school.
I first chose Engineering at Catz because it is one of the closest colleges to the department, but since arriving I have discovered more fantastic reasons to study Engineering here! With 8-12 students reading Engineering each year, there is a strong community within the College to socialise with, go to lectures with and generally rely on if you are stuck on a problem or need some advice. Also, engineers at Catz have their own society with a variety of socials throughout the year. The highlight is the infamous annual dinner - a chance to celebrate all Catz engineering achievements for both Fellows and students.
Amy Chodorowski, undergraduate engineer