People's Pod

People’s Pod assignment (design the interior of dual-occupant public transport autonomous vehicle) within the Design 1 module


Below you can find a list of all first year modules. All modules in this year are compulsory.


Induction Project

The first module is an icebreaker event where the overall goal is for students to acclimatise to Imperial College, familiarise themselves with its resources and potentially the surroundings beyond. Students work in groups of 4 - 5 people to develop a design concepts in response to a set brief. The two-week period culminates with each group delivering a creative presentation (e.g. performance, skit, or film) to explain their proposition.

Engineering Mathematics

This module aims to provide students with sufficient mathematical tools and techniques to tackle a variety of engineering design problems. The main topics include:

  • Algebra (vectors, complex numbers, matrices and transformations, solving equations using matrices, eigenvalues and eigenvectors).
  • Analysis (Sequences, series, functions, curve sketching, introduction to Fourier series, introduction to numerical analysis, limits).
  • Calculus (differentiation and integration of functions of one variable, Taylor series, numerical root finding, first and second order differential equations, introduction to partial differentiation).
  • Computational maths (introduction to numerical analysis, numerical root finding).

Communication in Design

Creating compelling communication in many media: including sketching, visual representation, technical drawing, and oral presentation. 

Assignments will prepare students for project work by developing their capability to communicate through sketching, traditional engineering drawing, CAD-enhanced graphical representation, and oral presentation.   
Students will learn a range of sketching methods and tools, including rapid visualisation techniques to support idea generation, drawing human forms, hands, the head, interaction between humans and objects, use of isometric views and perspective drawing to represent three‐dimensional forms. Students will progressively learn to add detail to their sketches in terms of form and tone and texture. 

Students will learn about the creation, interpretation and use of Engineering Drawing, including first and third angle orthographic projection, dimensioning, tolerancing, sectioning, auxiliary and exploded views.  

Introduce students to basic colour theory and 2D layout design
Introduce students to a range of computer based (2D) digital presentation techniques, including publishing andvector image software.

Students will learn about developing narrative, structuring and delivering oral presentations. Each student will be required to research and give an oral presentation, accompanied by supporting visuals, on two topics.

Assignments will prepare students for project work by developing their capability to communicate through sketching, traditional engineering drawing, CAD‐enhanced graphical representation, web application and oral presentation.
This module will also include an additional part in which students will be introduced to the context for design engineering through high level presentations, debates and deep dives; illustrating the scope for innovation and impact. The aim of these activities is to give students an understanding of the interrelationship between engineering processes and the wider context in which they operate, including sustainability, commercial / economic, legal, health, safety, risk and ethical issues. 

Production and Materials

Properties of Materials  Concepts and fundamentals to develop understanding types of materials:  metals, polymers, ceramics and composites. The course commences with consideration of the simple properties used by engineers to quantify materials behaviour, such as hardness, strength, toughness etc. The course then considers metals, polymers, ceramics and composites in turn, and relates the basic structure of each material type to its observed behaviour. The course will also consider the human factors associated with materials selection.  

The four classes of engineering material.

•  Metals. Ferrous alloys. Carbon steels: Fe-C phase diagram, eutectoid, hypo- and hyper-eutectoid steels, cast iron, heat treatment of steels, annealing, normalising, quenching, tempering, the TTT diagram for eutectoid steel, uses of steel.

•  Ceramics. Crystal structure, ionic, covalent, mechanical properties, applications, processing.

•  Polymers. Classes of polymer, molecular structure, macroscopic structure, glass transition temperature, mechanical properties, applications, processing.

•  Composites. Classification, polymer matrix composites, metal matrix composites, ceramic matrix composites; Performance of polymer matrix composites: critical fibre length, fibre volume fraction, composite stiffness parallel and transverse to fibres, stress-strain response, structural laminates.
Human factors in materials selection: understanding the importance of apprisals, comparing and contrasting technical and aesthetic material properties, assess and select materials based on experiential properties, understand how users perceiev materials and characterise experiential properties. 

The course covers mechanical behaviour and practical considerations in the engineering design process: stress-strain behaviour, engineering stress and strain, elastic limit, Young's modulus, Poisson's ratio, elasticplastic behaviour, strength, true stress and strain, compressive behaviour, hardness toughness (fracture behaviour, brittle-ductile transition), creep deformation and fatigue strength (S-N approach, fatigue limit, strength and life), non-destructive testing. An introduction to the Cambridge Engineering Selector (CES) package for material properties and basic materials selection.

 Production Following on from the materials half of the module, the production half presents an overview of how to process the 4 main categories of materials via solidification based methods and metal working, then looks at surface treatment, joining and assembly considerations of components.  Solidification based material processing techniques include: 

Casting 

Polymer processing 

Polymer composite processing 

Ceramic processing 

Additive manufacturing
For metal working this includes covering: 

Metal forming 

Machining operations 

Non-traditional machining operations

For the surface treatment, joining and assembly sections, this will include: 

Surface treatment processing 

Welding, brazing and soldering 

Adhesives 

Mechanical fasteners 

Design for assembly 
A coursework element focusing on Reverse Engineering (REVENG) will apply this development knowledge of materials and manufacturing.

Energy and Design

This part of the course covers an introduction to the principles of energy, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and thermodynamics. 
Topics include:

•  Basic concepts: Temperature, pressure, states, equilibrium, different forms of energy.

•  Embedded energy, energy audits, product energy analysis.

•  Fluid mechanics, fluid statics, conservation equations, Bernouli’s equation, real flows, drag, vehicle aerodynamic design principles, pressure loss in pipes and fittings, pipeline design.

•  Modes of heat transfer, introduction to conduction, convection and radiation. 1 dimensional heat conduction, Fourier’s law of heat conduction, Newton’s law of cooling, Planck’s law. Introduction to black body radiation, grey bodies. 

•  Introduction to the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics, efficiency and types of work. Reversible and irreversible processes, heat pumps and refrigerators, introduction to the Carnot cycle.

•  Engines and turbines: Introduction to nozzles, compressors and turbines, engine cycles and efficiency, combined cycle.
Throughout the course, several practical examples are used to demonstrate the applicability of the material to engineering design

Design 1

The module aims to develop students’ competence and self-confidence in the key elements of the creative design process.  This will include identification of customer needs, product definition, fundamentals of human factors, ideas generation, and the process of building solutions.  
In this module students will learn through lectures, tutorials and personal study, supporting two design-and-produce projects.  Students will work both individually and in teams in order to complete their project work.  Students will be expected to draw on creative skills that they have learned in other modules and to apply those in Design 1.

Students will be introduced to:
•  A range of design techniques to help students think about, evaluate, and communicate designs, including idea generation techniques, defining product design specifications, decision‐making, prototyping and testing.

•  Project planning

•  Generation of concepts and development of an idea through the design and manufacture process.

•  Fundamentals of design for populations including anthropometry and establishing user needs.

•  Design of and execution of fitting trials.

•  Design for Manufacture

•  Building on DE1‐Com, students will use CAD to produce engineering drawings for manufacture


The Engineering Analysis 1 extended module develops fundamental skills in engineering analysis and applied mathematics, and consists of 3 subsections. This subsection is: ‘Mechanics’.  Physical principles of force, momentum, and interia. Principles of stress and strain. Study of the behaviour and motion of particles,  vector notation and truss systems. Topics include:

Introduction to course, to units, dimensional analysis, Scalars, and vectors.  

Conservation of energy and energy-based approaches in mechanics. 

Kinematics – straight and curved motion, circular motion, Cartesian coordinates, angular motion, normal and tangential components.  

Dynamics: Mass, systems of particles, momentum and centre of mass. Newton's laws of motion, impulse, impacts and conservation of momentum of particles.      

Coulomb friction, moments, couples, equilibrium and resolving forces, free body diagrams for 2D and 3D applications. 

Pin-jointed structures, static equilibrium in structures, rules for static determinacy of frames. Equivalent systems of forces and couples. Ties, struts and beams. 

Introduction to normal force, shear force and bending moment diagrams, point and distributed loads, end conditions.           

Elastic stress‐strain relationships in two dimensions, Hooke’s Law, normal and shear stresses, Young’s Modulus.

Beam bending theory and Second Moment of Area. 

Bending stresses in beams: axial bending stresses, principle of superposition. 

Torsion: torsional stress and strain, and polar second moment of area.
Throughout the course, several practical examples are used to demonstrate the applicability of the material to engineering design practice.

Computing 1

This module aims to introduce students to computer programming. They will learn the Python programming language using the Jupyter Notebook environment. 
The module will focus on the fundamental algorithms and data structures that are the foundations of computer programming in any language. By the end of the module students should be able to write moderately complex programs based on the Python language and be able to transition easily to other high-level languages, such as Java, C# .NET, C++, etc. 
The idea of this introductory course is to lay a foundation such that the students can undertake independent learning for application-specific programming in their subsequent work. The module teaching style is very hands-on, using a blended/hybrid teaching approach which intertwines short lectures with practical programming exercises.


The Engineering Analysis 1 extended module develops fundamental skills in engineering analysis and applied mathematics, and consists of 3 subsections. This subsection is: Introduction to Electronics - This part of the course covers topics ranging from high power networks to micro-control systems involved in electrical engineering. 
Topics include:
•  Introduction to machine systems as complexes of mechanical, electrical and electronic subsystems and of software.

•  Circuit elements: power sources and loads; resistors, capacitors, inductors etc.

•  Waveforms and signals: peak and average values, pulse width modulation, sine waves. Digital signals: binary numbers, sampling. Digital transducers.

•  Logic: logic variables, operations and truth tables. Gates: inputs, outputs, packages. Latches and flip flops.

•  Kirchhoff's laws. Potential divider, potentiometer, Wheatstone bridge.

•  DC networks: equivalent resistors, capacitors and inductors. Thévenin and Norton sources. General network analysis methods.
Throughout the course, several practical examples are used to demonstrate the applicability of the material to engineering design practice.


Here you can find some of our highlights from year 1 of the MEng in Design Engineering.


Electronics - Penalty Shootout

Electronics - Penalty Shootout

The final assignment for our Electronics theme (part of the Engineering Analysis 1 module) concluded with a penalty shootout between student-built robots.

Design 1 - People's Pod

Design 1 - People's Pod

As part of the Design 1 module, our students were tasked with designing and creating the interior of dual-occupant public transport autonomous vehicle.