Foundation Certificate Engineering
Date of Publication to Students: September 2009
NOTE: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the
course and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be
expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes advantage of the learning
opportunities that are provided. More detail on the specific learning outcomes,
indicative content and the teaching, learning and assessment methods of each
module can be found (1) at https://mytid.bcu.ac.uk, (2) in the Module Specifications
and (3) in the Student Handbook.
The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed by the
University and may be checked within independent review processes undertaken by
the Quality Assurance Agency.
Awarding Institution / Body: Birmingham City University.
Teaching Institution: Birmingham City University.
Interim Awards and Final Foundation Certificate.
Programme Title: Foundation Certificate Engineering.
Main fields of Study: Mathematics, mechanical science, electrical
science, information & communication studies.
Modes of Study: Full time.
Language of Study: English.
UCAS Code: H108
JACS Code: H100
Relevant subject benchmark statements and other external reference points
used to inform programme outcomes:
QAA Benchmark statements for Engineering 2006
Programme philosophy and aims
The BEng (Hons) Foundation Year in Engineering is designed to enable those who
do not have the standard entry requirements for an engineering degree to develop
core knowledge and skills in a focussed study programme whilst obtaining an insight
into the different branches of engineering offered in the Faculty.
The course covers fundamentals of engineering science, which forms the core
underpinning knowledge, and mathematics - a toolkit of techniques for the analysis,
simulation and modelling of engineering systems.
Applications of computers, both for technology specific and for more general
communications and presentation, pervade the study programme, and along with
experience of well-equipped laboratories for mechanical and electrical science,
ensure a balanced development of both practical and theoretical skills.
As well as subject knowledge and skills, success on any degree also depends on
being able to learn effectively, select and apply suitable research methods and to
communicate results and findings in well-structured documents and presentations.
These transferable skills are integral to all the course modules but in particular form
the focus of the module Information and Communications Technology
The learning approach on the Faculty’s Foundation Year courses focuses on
individual need and is planned to facilitate an active learning experience. The
timetable includes a mix of traditional lecture and small group tutorials, supported by
on-line materials. There is an open access policy for practical and computing
laboratories and a well resourced Learning Centre with staff to provide one-to-one
tutorials in subjects including maths and computing.
The Foundation Year course is delivered by the University, rather than at a partner
college, and students benefit from individual attention in tutorials by staff who are
also involved in follow-on degree programmes. By the time students transfer to the
first year of the degree they will also have gained familiarity with the technical and
learning resources of the Faculty’s city centre campus.
An important part of the Foundation Year is the opportunity to explore the Faculty’s
degree courses in mechanical/automotive, manufacturing, electronics and
telecommunications subjects and towards the end of the year there is an event to
assist selection of a follow-on course.
In addition to a guaranteed place on one of the Faculty’s BEng engineering degree
courses students completing the Foundation Year may also transfer to a range of
BSc courses in subjects including design, networks and computing.
The aims of the programme are to provide:
a broad and stimulating curriculum that offers a study of mathematics,
engineering science, and information and communication technology;
a route to a Higher Education for school leavers who do not have the
required qualifications for normal direct entry and for mature students who
have the potential to study at a Higher Education but may not have the
required formal qualifications;
a rewarding educational experience through involvement in a wide range
of participative and active teaching and learning approaches;
appropriate key and transferable skills to enable students to continue onto
their preferred undergraduate programme that are also generally applicable
for employment for those not continuing to degree level;
encouragement to students to become independent learners through
effective time management, planning and development of key skills;
development of students’ ability to work within a team;
familiarity with the learning resources and infrastructure of the faculty;
guidance in making a choice of follow-on undergraduate programme.
Intended learning outcomes and the means by which they are achieved and
1. Knowledge and Understanding
KU1. Mathematical techniques including algebra, matrices, trigonometry,
calculus, polynomial and exponential functions and graphical
KU2. Fundamentals of mechanical engineering science including materials
properties, statics, dynamics, energy, vibrations and environmental
KU3. Fundamentals of electrical and electronic technology including direct
and alternating current circuits, digital electronics and power supplies.
KU4. Computing and communication methods for engineering and general
2. Intellectual Skills
IS1. Analyse data and organise information for effective communication
IS2. Select and apply mathematical techniques to solve problems and to
analyse and interpret data.
IS3. Select and apply techniques to solve engineering science problems.
IS4. Design basic electrical and electronic circuits.
IS5. Apply IT, spreadsheets and database software for analysis and
3. Practical Skills
PS1. Use laboratory and workshop equipment safely.
PS2. Use measuring and test equipment and record results.
PS3. Undertake systematic research of engineering topics using a variety
of traditional and electronic sources.
PS4. Draw graphs and communicate technical information.
PS5. Use computer based systems for mathematical and technical
analysis, presentation and communication.
4. Transferable/Key Skills
TS1. Manage time, prioritise activities and work to timescales.
TS2. Reflect upon work and plan for personal development.
TS3. Communicate effectively in writing and presentations.
TS4. Use software applications for word-processing, spreadsheets,
communication, presentation and research.
Learning, teaching and assessment methods used.
Knowledge and understanding are acquired in lectures, tutorials, laboratory and
practical sessions, and through directed independent learning activities.
Intellectual skills are developed through coursework tasks that encourage creativity
and problem solving using a range of computer based and practical systems and
technologies. Practical applications are a key feature of the course and are
emphasised throughout the course.
Research and independent learning skills are central to the programme and are
developed throughout the course. The Faculty’s Learning Centre provides
comprehensive internet and text resources and specialist staff to provide tutorial
support for skills development.
Independent learning is encouraged through research tasks for assignments and in
the requirement to plan work schedules to meet deadlines for coursework
Lecture and tutorials are supplemented by on-line resources in various formats such
as video lectures, multiple-choice questions, quizzes, forums. The use of the VLE
will provide the student with the opportunity to access and revisit material such for
revision and reinforcement.
The development of transferable/key skills is pervasive, incorporated into
assignments as appropriate, e.g. team-working skills are fostered via group-based
practical tasks. Reflection and self awareness are encouraged through self
assessment logbooks to support of personal planning and performance.
Formative assessment occurs in various ways throughout the programme, typically
involving feedback in tutorials and opportunities for on-line tasks and quizzes that
provide immediate feedback. Students can take examples of their work to tutors in
the Learning Centre for formative feedback on, for example, written work.
A range of summative assessment methods are employed including individual
coursework and practical assignments, laboratory experiments and in-class and
practical tests and exams. Assessment methods for each module are identified in a
module guide and, for coursework, assessment details and criteria are specified in
each assignment brief.
Programme structure and requirements, levels, modules, credits and awards
The structure of the course, the modules, levels and credit values, and the awards
which can be gained are shown in the diagram below.
Foundation Certificate Engineering – one year full-time.
45 credits 30 credits 30 credits 15 credits
Mathematics for Mechanical Electrical Information and
Engineering FY Science FY Science FY Communication
FM33014 FM33013 FM33012
The programme comprises four modules (one 45-credit, two 30-credit and one 15-
credit) giving a total of 120 credits for the award of Foundation Certificate. To
proceed to year 1 of the follow-on honours degree, and to qualify for the award, all
modules need to be successfully completed (subject to the provisions of the
Support for Learning including Personal Development Planning (PDP)
Students are encouraged to identify and, with guidance, to reflect on their own learning
needs and are offered the following support as appropriate to meet those needs:
an induction programme dealing with orientation and the dissemination of essential
information, including an introduction to PDP;
a dedicated Learning Centre with open access learning materials, resources and
full-time staff specialising in a variety of support areas;
a Student Handbook, containing information relating to the University, Faculty,
course and modules;
access to administrative staff and to academic staff, including the tutors, course
director, at reasonable times;
support staff to advise on pastoral and academic issues, and to offer support and
assistance with the keeping of students’ progress files;
access to Faculty resources, including a range of IT equipment and the services
of, and guidance from, IT support staff;
access to the University’s Student Services, including those offered by the careers
service, financial advisers, medical centre, disability service, crèche, counselling
service and chaplaincy;
resources for Professional Development Planning (PDP) to enable reflection on
learning, performance and achievement and to plan personal, educational and
career development. The University offers a range of on-line courses
(www.moodle.bcu.ac.uk) to support PDP topics including: reflection, career &
employability, action planning, self Awareness and self employment.
Criteria for admission
Candidates must satisfy the general admissions requirements of the programme,
which are as follows:
All applicants must have GCSE (grade C or above) in Mathematics and English Language,
or equivalent. In addition, applicants should have one of the following, for which the
typical tariff offer is 100 points for Curriculum 2000, or equivalent for other qualifications.
Actual tariff offers may vary from 100 points.
Curriculum 2000, A Levels Five GCSEs/GCEs including at least one
subjects at A2 level. Points tariff can include AS
Curriculum 2000, AVC. One 6-unit AVCE.
Irish Leaving Certificate Passes in three subjects at the higher grade.
Scottish Certificate of Education Passes in three subjects at the higher grade.
International Baccalaureate or
National Certificate/National Diploma
A pass in a recognised Access or
Foundation Year course
An appropriate Advanced General
National Vocational Qualification
A professional qualification of an
A qualification deemed equivalent to
one of the above
Other learning and experience may be considered for entry to the programme. A student
may be allowed entry to the course if he or she does not have the standard entry
qualifications but can provide evidence of necessary knowledge and skills to successfully
enter and complete the programme.
Mature students are encouraged to apply for foundation year entry. Evidence of an
aptitude in mathematics and English language is required; GCSEs in mathematics and
English is normally acceptable. However, it is normal practice to test applicants to provide
an assessment of their suitability and to provide feedback for the candidate.
UCAS applicants are invited to register for one of the TEE’s special programme of visit
days held throughout the academic year. UCAS visit days include a tour of facilities and
an introduction to the TEE’s courses and activities. Meetings are arranged between
course tutors and prospective students to ensure opportunity is provided for individual
questions and clarification of the course content.
Methods for evaluation and enhancement of quality and standards including
listening and responding to views of students
The following faculty committees are involved in evaluation and enhancement of quality,
standards and student experience: Board of Studies, Faculty Board, Learning and
Teaching Committee, Academic Standards and Quality Enhancement Committee, Student
Review and evaluation processes in which students are involved include annual course
and module reviews, course review and re-approval events, professional body
accreditation visits and external examiner visits. Mechanisms for student input include
meetings with course tutors, feedback questionnaires, faculty and university student
satisfaction surveys and representation on the faculty committees referred to above.
External examiners are members of examination boards and their remit includes meeting
students and monitoring and reporting on academic standards.