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The engineering project

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This individual project is an opportunity for you to apply the engineering science principles and mathematical methods acquired during your OU studies. You'll need to define, analyse and solve an engineering problem that you've chosen. For this independent work you will require knowledge and understanding of relevant engineering practice and project management. You’ll undertake a literature review and present your project results in a formal technical report. Throughout the module an experienced tutor will advise and guide you, but you’ll be expected to produce your work independently. You're strongly advised to have completed the OU Level 3 module relevant to your project theme.

What you will study

Before registering for this module, you must have studied one of the modules listed in the 'Entry requirements' section.

This individual project is a key part of your honours degree, contributing directly to your employability and your career development. It is an opportunity to define an engineering question of importance to you and to seek ways of solving it.

About 80 per cent of your study time will be spent on your project, and about 20 per cent on learning how to carry out a project.

Understanding how projects develop and being able to explain how your project are evolved are two key skills that are central to the module and to its learning outcomes. The choice of project area is left up to you, but its subject matter should be covered by one of the OU level 3 modules that you have previously studied. It will be your responsibility to ensure the project has a satisfactory amount of engineering, but you will receive guidance from your tutor and the internal examiner.

Central to the project is the use of research and literature so you will need to be confident in your use of the online OU library. Your ability to evaluate sources of information and make use of your engineering knowledge will be assessed. You are expected to work closely with your tutor whose role will be to provide guidance and feedback on your proposal.

The assignments have been structured to guide you through the execution of the project. However, you will need to organise your own work and be able to define (and justify) your work schedule. As you are expected to use a self-reflective approach, you will be required to keep a project log throughout the module and to use it for an assessed critical review of your work.

You will learn

The module provides you with opportunities to develop and demonstrate the following learning outcomes:

  • competence in the use of the principles and conventions of project management and execution
  • the ability to solve problems in developed technologies using well proven analytical techniques
  • successful application of your engineering knowledge to deliver a project using established technologies and methods.

In addition, you will develop your skills of project execution, literature review and technical report writing. As the project provides an opportunity to develop your employability in engineering, you will also continue your personal development planning.

Entry requirements

This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at OU levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably with the OU.

This module is not available for standalone study – it can only be studied as part of a qualification. We strongly recommend that you have already completed 60 credits at OU level 3 from the modules specified for your qualification.

To study this project module, normally you must have studied one of the OU level 3 modules listed below. (If you have studied an OU level 3 module that is now discontinued, please contact your Student Support Team to check whether it is suitable.)

While it’s possible, it is not advised to take an OU level 3 module in October and start the project the following February, as you need to be confident in the techniques from the level 3 modules when you define your proposal.

When you register you will be asked to complete and submit an options form electronically to inform us of your project theme. It is important that you return your choice in early January before the module start date. This will allow us to allocate to you the most appropriate tutor in terms of subject expertise.


Environmental management

Failure of stressed materials

  • Structural integrity: designing against failure (T367) – planned for October 2021
  • Structural integrity: designing against failure (T357) – discontinued

Fluid mechanics

Innovation and design

Small worlds

  • Nanoscale engineering (T366) – planned for October 2021
  • Understanding small worlds: micro and nano technology (T356) – discontinued

Solid mechanics

  • Structural integrity: designing against failure (T367) – planned for October 2021
  • Structural integrity: designing against failure (T357) – discontinued

Structural integrity

  • Structural integrity: designing against failure (T367) – planned for October 2021
  • Structural integrity: designing against failure (T357) – discontinued

Sustainable energy

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Preparatory work

It would be beneficial to refresh your knowledge of the OU level 3 module relevant to your chosen project theme. You should renew your familiarity with the OU library so that you can start your literature search confidently. As this project module includes work on your personal development plan, you should also make sure your portfolio is up to date.

What's included

The study materials will be delivered online via the module website:

  • study guide
  • subject-specific advice
  • study planner
  • guidance on defining your project title and aims
  • assessment material.

There will be support from the OU library as well as resources on literature reviewing and report writing. This will include two online sessions in the first few weeks of the module.

Computing requirements

A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

A desktop or laptop computer with either an up-to-date version of Windows or macOS.

The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Once you have chosen your project theme you will be allocated to a specialist tutor. Throughout the project your tutor will offer personal support through email, telephone and online tutorials. In addition, the electronic tutorial system, Adobe Connect, will be used to introduce the module, provide support prior to the first tutor-marked assignment (TMA) and provide guidance in using the search facilities for the online OU library. There will be some generic face-to-face introductory tutorials in the main regional centres.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). You must also submit your end-of-module assessment (EMA) online.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying T452 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

The engineering project (T452) starts once a year – in February (places are limited and in high demand, so enrol early).

This page describes the module that will start in February 2021.

We expect it to start for the last time in February 2023.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
1 Interactive computer-marked assignment (iCMA)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school