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    How do the labs in uni work?
    Is there like a lab where you just go in your spare time with lots of components and equipment to build stuff?
    Also does any one know where i can get work experience for engineering?
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    I'm doing civil engineering and we get around 4 lab sessions each semester, apart from this the only other use of the labs we've had was to do with a structure design and build coursework.
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    (Original post by sandeshisis)
    How do the labs in uni work?
    Is there like a lab where you just go in your spare time with lots of components and equipment to build stuff?
    Also does any one know where i can get work experience for engineering?
    Depends on the uni - most 'new' unis have timetabled sessions where you do set tasks. When you get to do your finals project you have to order any specific components you need.
    At some RG unis the course is completely theoretical.
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    As said it can really vary.

    In general I would expect at least one or two 2-3 hour sessions most weeks in first year which will decrease fairly rapidly in later years unless you include computer labs. Sessions tend to be self contained unless it's a computer lab based module or project based module, the latter of which you will only have a small handful throughout your degree.

    Some unis may have drop in workshops, this is the exception rather than the rule though and if it's something you desire in a uni you will need to check the actual opening hours as some can be rather minimal.

    You don't need work experience for engineering, and anything you do before university level is going to be very different to the work you will actually do.
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    Like the other posters have said, the amount of lab time you get will vary depending on the particular university you attend, the particular engineering discipline you are on and probably also depend on the specific optional modules you pick.

    As an example, in my case I had 1 or 2 sessions of EE lab sessions and 1 computer lab session per week in the first year. In the second year, we had 1-2 EE sessions per week but some of the lab sessions doubled in length to 6 hours (we had no computer lab sessions for the second year software development module). In addition to the timetabled lab time, at times when we were doing EE projects as part of a compulsory design course then we had access to the EE labs pretty anytime they were not in use, so many people spent many hours a week in there. In the third year, all the compulsory EE modules had no timetabled lab sessions so if you were doing labs it would be due to you picking an optional module (or modules) which had practicals. In the third year there was a third year EE project lab were you could go and do your individual project work. In these labs you have no permanently allocated lab space, so you need to pack all your electronics in a box every time you left the lab so the next person who comes in could use the same lab space. These labs were available almost all the time as very few timetabled lab sessions take place in there. In the fourth year timetabled lab sessions also depended on what optional modules you picked. For the fourth year group project there was a masters EE lab, In this lab your group would have dedicated lab space which you could use anytime you wanted so you did not have to pack your setup when you left the lab.
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    (Original post by Muttley79)
    At some RG unis the course is completely theoretical.
    Such as?
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    Hello sandeshisis

    At Bradford we have modules based on the CDIO principle (Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate) where students work in small groups and have access to lab space where they can build and test prototypes before coming up with their final design – this space is available to them both during timetabled sessions when tutors and technicians will be present, and in their spare time. Components and equipment are available and training provided.

    As our student you are in labs from the beginning of your first Semester and given the opportunity to be directly involved because you work in small groups and have a go at all of the experiments. In some other Universities the practical sessions are run as demonstrations, or students are only allocated a selection of the labs – however, at Bradford we ensure group sizes that enable hands-on learning and help put the theories into practise. Some of our modules are entirely lab based where there is a practical task every week! Other modules will have one or more lab sessions every term. Time in labs will vary by module, stage and course, so if you know which course you are interested in do let us know and we can put you in touch with the course leader.

    When our students do their individual design/research projects in Stages 3 and 4, we offer projects in our research labs, working alongside research staff, so you have access to and experience using state of the art equipment.

    Also our computer labs are available 24/7 to students.

    Hope this helps,

    Emma P
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Such as?
    Still waiting for some lab-free RG examples Muttley79 ... Oxbridge and Imperial certainly have timetabled labs.
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    Usually there are HSE requirements that limit access to the labs to an extent. You normally are not permitted to be "lone working" in the labs as an undergrad, and need to have someone with you. Some equipment you may not be allowed to use outside of timetabled sessions without previously arranging with the lab techs.

    Some equipment isn't really available for use by undergrads generally - in my experience most of the cleanroom environments, and the 3D printer were separately run and unless you were doing a final year project with the lab members you didn't have direct access, beyond perhaps submitting a design to be printed or having a "viewing session" with discussion about the work that goes on there.

    This may vary from university to university, however expect expensive equipment (e.g. NMR/SEM/similar) and potentially life threatening equipment (e.g. radiation sources, high voltage power sources) to be only available in specified settings. Typical bench electronics you will probably be allowed to work on, provided they're your components and the lab isn't being used and you have someone working with you - however you can also do this at home anyway unless you need to use the o-scope/signal generator. You can probably get an old one cheapish off ebay if you really want though
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Still waiting for some lab-free RG examples Muttley79 ... Oxbridge and Imperial certainly have timetabled labs.
    Just because labs are 'scheduled' doesn't mean you are hands-on making things or have access to new technology such as 3D printing. The skills are more than following someone's instructions to perform an experiment.

    You are very Oxbridge biased and I'd strongly advise any student to speak to their teachers for proper advice on Engineering. How recently have you actually visited Oxbridge or spoken to lecturers on the course?

    The unis you name have very limited access compared to newer unis - look at the costs you are expected to cover as well

    e.g. Cambridge
    Year 3
    • Constructionarium project: students taking this option are required to buy safety boots (£20) and contribute to the cost of the course - Estimated cost £270


    It also implies that safety boots aren't used before the third year so they can't be doing much.
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    (Original post by Muttley79)
    Just because labs are 'scheduled' doesn't mean you are hands-on making things or have access to new technology such as 3D printing. The skills are more than following someone's instructions to perform an experiment.

    You are very Oxbridge biased and I'd strongly advise any student to speak to their teachers for proper advice on Engineering. How recently have you actually visited Oxbridge or spoken to lecturers on the course?
    And you appear to be very biased against. You said they were "completely theoretical" courses meaning no labs. There are labs. My son has up to 8 hours of labs per week this term, plus an IDP. It's by no means "completely theoretical".
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    And you appear to be very biased against. You said they were "completely theoretical" courses meaning no labs. There are labs. My son has up to 8 hours of labs per week this term, plus an IDP. It's by no means "completely theoretical".
    Of course you stick up for your son's uni - but you need to tell people and not pretend your info is unbiased.

    What do they do in the lab? Take apart anything? Make anything? Please let everyone know how 'practical' the course really is

    So I see you ignore my question on how recently you've spoken to lecturers .. yet badger me for responses to your question ....
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    (Original post by Muttley79)
    Of course you stick up dor your son's uni - but you need to tell people and not pretend your info is unbiased.

    What do they do in the lab? Take apart anything? Make anything? Please let everyone know how 'practical' the course really is

    So I see you ignore my question on how recently you've spoken to lecturers .. yet badger me for responses to your question ....
    You said it was completely theoretical, it isn't.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    You said it was completely theoretical, it isn't.
    I would be astounded if any engineering courses are completely theoretical. My MEng at Durham wasn't.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    You said it was completely theoretical, it isn't.
    Using a lab doesn't stop it being theoretical!!!! You can just sit and watch experiments or just follow instructions ie it's theoretical.

    You have to be allowed to actually experiment not just do set tasks - you don't learn pratical skills.

    Please answer MY questions now -
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    (Original post by Muttley79)
    Using a lab doesn't stop it being theoretical!!!! You can just sit and watch experiments or just follow instructions ie it's theoretical.

    You have to be allowed to actually experiment not just do set tasks - you don't learn pratical skills.

    Please answer MY questions now -
    Don't worry it's practical. It's a requirement for accreditation to be practical.

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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Don't worry it's practical. It's a requirement for accreditation to be practical.

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    What do they actually do? You say I'm wrong so please prove it... I call what they do theoretical.
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    (Original post by Muttley79)
    What do they actually do? You say I'm wrong so please prove it... I call what they do theoretical.
    Year 2 (for example)
    Integrated design project

    Students work in teams of six to design, build and test a mobile robot vehicle as an integrated design project (IDP). Various tasks, typical of those faced by the automated guided vehicles used in modern manufacturing plants, are set for the vehicles. Each team member is individually responsible for a particular sub-system, e.g. structure and drive train, power supply, sensors, electronic control or software integration, as well as contributing to the overall system design and optimisation. The project builds on Part IA teaching in electronics, computing, mechanics and structures, and aims to develop teamwork and communication skills. Students spend three two-hour sessions for four weeks working on this project. The resulting vehicles are tested in a competition to determine the best. Assessment is by quality of the robot vehicle and of team, sub-team and individual reports.


    http://teaching.eng.cam.ac.uk/conten...-labs-overview
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    So do unis provide you with just basic components so you can build things in your spare time let's say i wanna create a small rc drone can i just go get components from the lab or how does the system work
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Year 2 (for example)
    Integrated design project

    Students work in teams of six to design, build and test a mobile robot vehicle as an integrated design project (IDP). Various tasks, typical of those faced by the automated guided vehicles used in modern manufacturing plants, are set for the vehicles. Each team member is individually responsible for a particular sub-system, e.g. structure and drive train, power supply, sensors, electronic control or software integration, as well as contributing to the overall system design and optimisation. The project builds on Part IA teaching in electronics, computing, mechanics and structures, and aims to develop teamwork and communication skills. Students spend three two-hour sessions for four weeks working on this project. The resulting vehicles are tested in a competition to determine the best. Assessment is by quality of the robot vehicle and of team, sub-team and individual reports.
    Did you actually read that carefully? They do ONE bit each - ha ha! Not very impressive - and in Year 2. Groups of six are too big for real hands-on experience.

    Really, just stop trying to justify the Cambridge Engineering degree as making them industry ready - other unis are doing far more complex stuff in Year 1.

    You still haven't said when you last spoke to a Cambridge lecturer about their course ....
 
 
 
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