Department of Engineering and Design

Teaching methods on our engineering degrees

We constantly review our teaching and learning methods following student feedback so each degree contains a balanced and dynamic mix of different methods throughout your time at Sussex.

The lecture, workshop, and laboratory class approach is most commonly used for the foundation year (otherwise known as Year 0) and Year 1 modules. The learning methods in subsequent years are more varied and include computer-based coursework, small group seminars and projects, as well as lectures and laboratory sessions. 


Lectures are an invaluable way of conveying key information about a topic and they are designed to be a productive learning experience involving demonstrations, videos and discussions. In product design, in particular, the distinction between lecture and practical session is quite blurred. 


Practical workshops are valuable for developing hands-on skills in all engineering and product design disciplines and provide key opportunities for collaborative group working. 


Throughout Year 0, and Year 1, you meet regularly with your academic advisors in groups of four or five students. This high level of contact with tutors helps you settle quickly into university life. Tutorials are used to provide academic support and also to back up the development of key skills and continue into Years 2, 3 and 4 - focussing on individual projects in the later years.

Web-based learning and Study Direct

For some modules, such as Key Skills, formal lectures are not appropriate and we have introduced web-based learning schemes to allow you to tackle such modules at your own pace, with online support from tutors. In addition, many modules use the University’s virtual learning environment Study Direct to provide online module material, useful internet links and even online discussion forums, feedback questionnaires and quizzes.

Industrial visits

In addition to the more traditional teaching methods outlined above, students are also given the opportunity to visit industrial locations. For example, Product Design students often travel up to London to engage with the Design Museum and to participate in live projects and events such as the London Design Festival while Mechanical Engineering students visit project specific locations, such as the Shoreham Power Station.

Debo's student perspective 

"I thought the course was well structured and well taught. The first year programme for all engineering students is the same, which develops the fundamental knowledge and practical skills required. The most important thing I gained from the course was the ability to teach myself to learn. As simple as it sounds, this transferable skill placed me in good stead, in my academic studies and professional development, and continuously allows me to work on my own accord towards a goal or objective. Instilled within the course were strong engineering principles which prepared me for the engineering industry."

Debo Gbakinro - Mechanical Engineering BEng (Hons)

Download the Our Degrees: Engineering and Design Undergraduate [PDF 800.74KB] booklet for information about our undergraduate degrees.

Front cover of Engineering and Design Undergraduate Degrees Booklet