Skip to main content

First year explained

Find out what to expect from your first year as an engineering student at Cardiff University.

We are currently updating the first year of our engineering courses and revising the details in our undergraduate brochure and on our web pages. More information about year one for 2023 entry can be found below.

At present, only year one will change. The later years of our courses will remain the same, and you can find out more on our course pages.

The first year is designed to develop your core knowledge in engineering and introduce discipline-specific topics. You will learn through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, design classes, labs and self-study.

Get started

The course begins with a busy but exciting introduction week where you will get to explore some of the areas that you will learn about in the first year. This is a chance for you to settle into the pace of university life and the perfect opportunity for you to get to know our staff and other students.

Your first-year modules

You will complete three large modules during year one. This will include a module which is common across all disciplines and deals with calculation and computation. You will also complete a discipline-specific module, exploring the fundamentals of your chosen area of engineering. In the third module, you will develop the skills and attributes of the profession. This involves a large design project where you will apply engineering theory in a practical, hands-on challenge.

Module titleCredits
Engineering Maths and Computation30
Fundamentals of Engineering (discipline-specific topics)50
Applied Design and Practice40

Hands-on project

An electric car, a mobile health clinic, and a hydroelectric dam are examples of the authentic engineering challenges you could be working on in year one. Practical projects allow you to apply your knowledge and gain professional skills which are vital to the engineering profession, such as project management, communication and organisation.

To complete the first year, you will take part in a project showcase event to share and celebrate all you have achieved in year one.

Real engineering team

Starting from the earliest stages of the course, you will collaborate with student engineers from across the disciplines on real team challenges, just as you will in the real world, giving you invaluable skills and experiences for an engineering career. This is a great opportunity to make friends from other courses.

Integrated Engin

Be supported

At the start of the course, you will be assigned a personal tutor who will be your go-to person for any course or student-related queries. For questions you would prefer to ask a current student, you will have access to a student mentor who will be there to support you. We also offer informal learning sessions in our flexible learning space where you can ask questions, review a particular topic, or work on your project.

Flexible study

If you change your mind about what you would like to study, in some cases, there are opportunities to transfer between our degree programmes up until the end of the first year.

We offer a Foundation Year option as a stepping-stone to any of our degree programmes. This is a great option if you don’t have the right entry requirements to go straight onto the first year of our bachelor's or integrated master's degrees.

Find out more about the different engineering disciplines and the types of degree programmes available at Cardiff University.