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Principles of Engineering

Key information

Subject area:

FutureLearn Online Courses

Course type:

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Credit level:

Not for credit


4 weeks

Available course dates:

From: 01 September 2023 To: 31 August 2024

Course overview

Develop your understanding of engineering design and the role of an engineer

This four-week course will develop your engineering skills and understanding for university study and work.

You’ll gain a thorough introduction to engineering principles, engineering design, and leading engineering technologies.

Learn about modern engineering technologies

This hands-on and practical course has a strong emphasis on the real work that engineers do every day. Through a combination of videos, articles, and mini-projects, you’ll explore the role of engineers in society, and look at the typical day in the life of an engineer.

As you explore key engineering technologies and challenges, you’ll consider the ways engineers think and communicate, and learn the value of soft skills like empathy and teamwork for working in engineering.

Learn engineering design and start problem-solving with engineering

Under the guidance of global experts, you’ll discover the latest in engineering design and technology.

You’ll demonstrate engineering design methodologies in practice, and learn how to define a problem, create a low-fidelity prototype, and undertake engineering problem-solving.

You’ll even have the chance to apply some of the design methodologies to your own engineering design.

Discover the best-known engineering processes across a range of engineering areas

This course is led by experts at The Faculty of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at King’s College London.

You’ll learn from internationally-renowned scientists and engineers about major engineering branches, including mechanical, material, and technological, as well as evolving areas like connectivity, networks and environmental engineering.

By the end of the course, you’ll know how to start to tackle engineering projects, as well as what soft skills you need to succeed as an engineer.

What does this course cover?

Week 1

In Week 1, you will get an eye for engineering. You will discover:

  • The different branches of engineering
  • Why soft skills and people are at the heart of the field
  • How to design your own project using skills found in many different types of engineering

Week 2

This week is all about the application of engineering to solving problems. By the end of the week, you will know:

  • How to identify problems that engineering can solve
  • How to discover what people really need and design an engineering brief
  • How to create a prototype and find out where it needs to be improved

Week 3

Knowledge of materials and how they behave is essential for engineers. During this week you will:

  • Gain a detailed understanding of how one recent innovation works - what keeps a drone in the air
  • Hear from worldwide experts about robots, smart materials, and why origami can be helpful
  • Discuss where engineering is taking us, and what humans must do to ensure it stays safe

Week 4

Professor Mischa Dohler’s speciality is telecoms connectivity. This week is devoted to:

  • The miracle of what happens in the background when we click a link or make a mobile call
  • Discovering how a huge data centre is made and why it can help us
  • Thinking about the possibilities, and the dangers, presented by artificial intelligence and quantum technologies

What will I achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to:

  • Identify some ancient and modern engineering wonders and explain what makes them stand out
  • Explain some of the broad principles of engineering and show how they apply to things we use every day
  • Apply design thinking systematically to your own ideas and inventions
  • Develop, create and test low-fidelity prototypes
  • Evaluate an existing design and suggest ideas for improvement
  • Explain why engineering is about people and solving problems
  • Explore some frontier developments such as AI, and analyse their advantages and risks

Who will I learn with?

Mischa Dohler

Mischa Dohler

Visiting Professor

Claire Lucas

Claire Lucas

Professor of Engineering Teaching and Learning

Who is this for?

This course has been created for refugees, displaced people and the communities supporting them in the MENA (Middle East and Northern Africa) region who wish to study engineering at a university in English. It has been created as part of the PADILEIA project.

However, it will be useful for anyone who wants a taster of studying engineering at university, as well as anyone interested in how engineers think, approach problems, and follow projects from ideas to solutions.

Supported by UK aid - Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education, Innovation and Reform

Our partners

future learn

Future Learn

Course status:


Full fee £0



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