Curriculum Engagement

Integrated Engineering

Integrated Engineering (also referred to as The Challenges) lets first year students put engineering knowledge into practice through interdisciplinary and design-centered project-based learning experience.

We want to give the students an awareness of an engineer’s influential role in the 21st century and an understanding of the impact associated with engineering decisions. It is also an opportunity to reveal the spectrum of non- traditional career paths available to them upon graduation.

At UCL Engineering, we give our students the opportunity, right from their first day, to participate in all aspects of teamworking, professional practice and design. This course consists of two major five-week design challenges, intrinsically linked to authentic Global Challenges, rich in social awareness and ethical context. Design workshops replace lectures, allowing all students to participate in modelling, testing and making prototypes of their engineering solutions.

Design reviews, meetings, presentations, portfolio management and technical writing are all part of this project course, intended to give students insight into the regular practices found in industry.

Work with us

  • Suggest and develop future challenges
  • Mentor a student team
  • Supplement challenges with site visits and guest speakers
  • Lead social, cultural and ethical investigations
  • Give feedback as Challenge Industry Reviewers
Talk to our staff to find out more and tell us what you think


Emanuela Tilley
Teaching Fellow, Integrated Engineering Programme

How to Change the World

Technology has a role to play in solving society’s challenges, but to crack them students need to apply their skills meaningfully. How to Change the World helps students understand social and cultural context, and the different ways business and governments are motivated to engage with change.

500 students from humanities, engineering and sciences come together for two weeks at the end of the third term in June. Experts from UCL STEaPP and beyond share their approaches to changing the world, sustainably, equitably, collaboratively, and through business, policy and social entrepreneurship.

Through this challenge-based, problem-solving workshop, students and project partners from organisations such as the Red Cross/Red Crescent, Department of Transport, Department of Energy and Climate Change, and the World Bank gain the chance to examine real-world challenges in a creative way.

How to Change the World will provide science, engineering and humanities students with a unique opportunity to think critically about the challenges and opportunities facing our world today.

Challenge: Forecast based disaster preparedness, set by the Red Cross

The team addressed the problem of flooding in a Zambian village by focusing on the biggest cause of death following disasters: loss of crops leading to starvation. To protect the crops, they suggested short, medium and long term solutions, including building levees, reforestation with local mopane trees or the construction of a dam, respectively.

Work with us

Suggest a challenge: We look for broad global challenges and local expertise to help students put their solutions into context.


Dr John Mitchell
Director, UCL Integrated Engineering Programme

Interdisciplinary Projects

A large design or research project is a key feature (and accreditation requirement) of all engineering degrees. We are opening these up to cross discipline boundaries.

We are offering students the opportunity to take part in cross-departmental projects, to allow their projects to benefit from UCL’s interdisciplinary research expertise.

Projects would typically span the two teaching terms (running from Oct to March/April) and will be team based. Some may be clearly based in a single department, drawing additional expertise from outside, while others will wholly interdisciplinary.

Example: Formula Student

UCL Mechanical Engineering students have gained significant benefit from their participation in the international Formula Student competition for many years. However, in recent years the most successful teams in the competition are reaching beyond a single discipline. As the entries become more advanced there is a need to draw on the skills of electronic engineers and computer scientists, for example to design and develop computer control, monitoring and telemetry systems.

Work with us

  • Contribute to our capstone projects
  • Define project objectives and specifications
  • Sponsor students
  • Provide resources


Dr John Mitchell
Director, UCL Integrated Engineering Programme

Leadership Insights

Students will explore leadership skills from their first year and develop an Intentional Learning Plan to reflect and target their own development in leading groups and projects.

UCL Engineering led the HE STEM Set to Lead project to explore how leadership is introduced to engineering students, and worked with three leading employers of engineering graduates to create case studies. We know that not everyone can be a CEO. We also know that ‘Leaders listen’ and ‘Leaders are always learning.’

An important part of developing leaders and leadership is to give students exposure to those who are doing it and the roles they are playing within their organisations and within a technological context.

Students will start thinking about leadership and taking responsibility beyond authority during their problem-based learning activities. Our aim is to introduce students to leadership styles, qualities and frameworks, and a variety of leaders in the engineering environment. Students will explore their differences.

Work with us

  • Let our students meet leaders from your organisation
  • Share your views on leadership through interviews and seminars
  • Write a blog about leadership learning


Emanuela Tilley
Teaching Fellow, Integrated Engineering Programme
Dr Jan Peters
Consultant, Integrated Engineering Programme


Students encounter all elements of the design cycle in intensive design projects. Each scenario focuses on different elements and allows the development and improvement of key skills.

In the second term of the first year and across the second year, departments run a series of intensive design projects. These encourage students to consolidate learning from across the disciplinary courses, and to engage in problem-solving and engineering design activities, ideally through build and test opportunities.

During the course of a scenario, students:

  • Experience all elements of the design cycle, from defining need and developing a brief, through conceptual design and prototyping to development and testing/operation.
  • Develop team-working, leadership and communications skills.
  • Engage in design projects that draw technical knowledge from across the taught modules studied previously, and integrate this knowledge to develop a solution to a realistic problem. Consider requirements and constraints that go beyond just the technical. For example, economic, sustainability, feasibility and desirability issues.

In most departments these run as one week intensive experiences during which time the student focuses solely on this activity.

Work with us

  • Scenarios need real problems
  • Help us set them

Make sure the entirety of the design cycle is included

To change the world we need to teach differently

We take bright, thoughtful, creative people and give them the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to engineer a better world. We teach them to think, make, model, design, analyse, challenge, and innovate, and then let them practice what they’ve learned by tackling engaging projects that address real-world problems.

Most importantly, we give them the chance to develop as individuals and follow their own intellectual interests, while providing the structure they need to develop a coherent body of expertise.

UCL’s Integrated Engineering Programme brings together key advances from many departments into a cross-faculty structure. It provides an integrated framework that still offers discipline specific programmes, but which gives students access to a broader range of interdisciplinary opportunities across the full range of topics within the faculty.



The new Integrated Engineering Programme degree structure.


Dr John Mitchell
Director, UCL Integrated Engineering Programme



Some of the most interesting and ground-breaking research we create does not sit comfortably in a single discipline. It exists at interfaces, drawing on expertise from a number of areas.

To create a research-based education, capitalising on UCL’s strengths in these areas, all students will take a ‘minor’ option as part of their degree. These are either topics from disciplines complementary to engineering, or interdisciplinary subjects based on our research strengths and taught by cross-disciplinary teams.

Minors are taught across the second and third year (taking up onw and two modules respectively). Students select their minors at the start of their 2nd year.

Examples of minors being developed:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medical Imaging
  • Engineering Physiology
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Biomechanics
  • Data Science
  • Management
  • Entrepreneurship (including a health care stream)
  • Engineering and Public Policy
  • Security and Crime Science
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Automobile and Power Engineering
  • Communications Technologies
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Industrial Design
  • Energy and the environment
  • Robotics / Mechatronics
  • Transport
  • Nanotechnology
  • Languages (EU, Japanese, Arabic and Mandarin)

Work with us

We invite you to:

  • Help shape the routes
  • Make sure the skills your industry needs are included
  • Contribute to course contentTalk to our staff to find out more and tell us what you think

Contact: Dr Abel Nyamapfene
Senior Teaching Fellow, Integrated Engineering Programme

Design and Professional Skills

Successful engineers need to identify and analyse problems, conceive and design potential solutions, liaise with and present to clients, and work with and direct colleagues. They need to do these things efficiently, ethically, professionally, and competently, and, often, they need to do them quickly.

Although it is possible to learn these skills ‘by osmosis’, this can take years—even decades—of trial and error. Our goal is to provide the students with tools at the start of their degrees that will make them more effective during their university career. We will enable them to work as competent professionals not just when they graduate, but when they do student projects and internships.

To begin with, we give students formal training in the subjects we know they’ll need. We start in the first year introducing them to the basics: the design cycle, communication, teamwork and leadership, ideation, critical thinking, ethical and professional decision making, entrepreneurship, and drawing. In the second year we’ll move onto more sophisticated topics like cross- functional teams, risk, sustainability, manufacturability and cost, health and safety, and legal topics such as IP, privacy, and liability.

Crucially, we will not only be teaching the students about these skills, but giving them a chance to practice and develop them in classroom discussions and exercises, projects, challenges, and scenarios.

Work with us

  • Suggest case studies
  • Provide speakers on key subjects for us to film
  • Refer us to great media sources


Dr Sunny Bains
Senior Teaching Fellow, Integrated Engineering Programme


To Change The World, Teach DifferentlyMinorsIntegrated EngineeringHow to Change the WorldScenariosDesign and Professional SkillsLeadership Insights Self Awareness and Team SkillsEngineering InspirationHelp Train Tomorrow’s Engineers

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