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).

Communication in Design

Students will learn to create compelling communication in many media, including sketching, oral presentation and visual design. 

Students will learn a range of sketching methods and tools, including rapid visualisation techniques to support idea generation, drawing human forms and use of isometric views and perspective drawing to represent three-dimensional forms. 

Students will be introduced to basic colour theory and 2D layout design and to a range of computer based (2D) digital presentation techniques and vector image software. 

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

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.

Context in Design Engineering

This module will introduce students to the context for design engineering through high level presentations, debates and deep dives and how to illustrate the scope for innovation and impact. Students will explore the context of design engineering through a practical project further developing an understanding of the scope of DE and the skills-sets required.

The aim of this module 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. The module aims to develop essential transferable skills including effective communication, good report writing, team and project working. The module aims to build an appreciation of the concept of continuously adding value at the personal level and prospectively within an employment enterprise.

Production and Materials

Students will develop an understanding of 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, and toughness. 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 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, elastic-plastic 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), and non-destructive testing. There will also be an introduction to the Cambridge Engineering Selector (CES) package for material properties and basic materials selection.

Students will learn about manufacturing methods for metal, composite and polymer based products. Other topics include generic and local workshop health and safety rules and HASWA responsibilities on the individual and the umbrella nature of the legislation.

Students will also be given an overview of new developments in advanced manufacturing and materials science.

Design 1

This module is aimed to develop students' competence and self-confidence in the key elements of the creative design process, including need finding, product definition, generating ideas, and building solutions. Students work both individually and in teams, with active learning via two major design and build projects.

Students will be introduced to a range of design techniques to help them think about, evaluate, and communicate designs, including idea generation techniques, defining product design specifications, decision-making, prototyping and testing. The module emphasises the importance of human factors in designing usable products that are fit for purpose and a delight to use.

A key element of the module is to encourage students to think creatively, generating novel ideas and turning those ideas into reality through structured design process.

Building on DE1-Com, and their training in the use of manufacturing facilities, students use CAD to produce engineering drawings and manufacture a significant showcase work.

Engineering Analysis 1

The Engineering Analysis 1 extended module develops fundamental skills in engineering analysis and applied mathematics. The module is broken into three thematic modules, outlined below.

Throughout the course, several practical examples are used to demonstrate the applicability of the material to engineering design practice.

1.1 – Mechanics

This theme explores the physical principles of equilibrium and motion and their application in the design of a range of products, from sports equipment to large structures.

1.2 - Energy and Design

This theme 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 practice.

1.3 - Electronics

This theme covers topics ranging from high power networks to micro-control systems involved in electrical engineering. Students will be introduced to machine systems as complexes of mechanical, electrical and electronic subsystems and software.

Computing 1

This module aims to introduce students to object-oriented computer programming. Object-oriented programming structures and language syntax will be introduced, with principal focus on practical work. Programming will be undertaken using both the Windows and UNIX/LINUX operating systems and a variety of editors and environments.

By the end of the module students should b e able to write moderately complex programs based on the C and C++ family of languages and be able to transition to other object oriented programming language (Python, Java, etc.). The course will focus strongly on the modular programming with stress on design. 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.


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.