Quality Handbook



AQH-B2-3a Undergraduate Programme Specification Template

August 2015




AQH-B2-3a Undergraduate Programme Specification Template


Please note:

  • Standard text is in grey highlight;
  • Guidance notes for staff or suggestions for the design and functionality of the database are in italics.  Guidance notes should be deleted in the final version.




  1. Name  of programme


Marine Engineering (with Sandwich Year)



  1. Award title

Foundation Degree



  1. Programme linkage

Is this part of group of linked programmes between which students can transfer at agreed points?





  1. Is the programme a top-up only?





  1. Does the programme have a Foundation Year (level 3) associated with it so that students enter for a four-year programme and progress directly from the Foundation Year to Stage 1 without having to re-apply?






  1. Level of award




  1. Awarding body: University of Sunderland


  1. Which department is it in?

Faculty of Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing at the University, and in the South Shields Marine School of the College


  1. Programme Studies Board?

Marine Programmes Studies Board


  1. Programme Leader

Dr Martin Jones


  1. How and where can I study the programme?

Tick all boxes that apply


At Sunderland:


Full-time on campus


Part-time on campus


As work-based learning full-time


As work-based learning part-time


As a full-time sandwich course


As a part-time sandwich course


By distance learning



At the University of Sunderland London campus: 


Full-time on campus


Part-time on campus


As work-based learning full-time


As work-based learning part-time


As a full-time sandwich course


As a part-time sandwich course


By distance learning



At a partner college:


Full-time in the UK 


Part-time in the UK


Full-time overseas


Part-time overseas


By distance learning


As a full-time sandwich course in the UK


As a part-time sandwich course in the UK


As a full-time sandwich course overseas


As a part-time sandwich course overseas


As work-based learning full-time in the UK 


As work-based learning part-time overseas


Other (please specify)



  1. How long does the programme take?



Min number of years / months

Max number of years / months


2y 9m





Distance learning



Work-based learning




For start-dates please see the current edition of the Prospectus or contact the relevant department at the University. For start-dates for programmes delivered in a partner college, please contact the college.





Use Outline Programme Proposal Form for ADC (AQH-B2-2), for questions 13 to 25


  1. Learning and teaching strategy.

The main deliverable objective of this award is to provide the academic or underpinning knowledge required by practicing marine engineer officers within today’s maritime industries. The programme strategy mirrors the established and accepted practice of integrating the practical and theoretical elements to provide a programme that corresponds with existing engineering training programmes.


The initial knowledge and skills delivered within level 4 will enable the range of knowledge anticipated at entry to be developed to allow application of skills on-board ship. This knowledge will be developed within the level 5 modules delivered in the final two semesters. The college based programmes are fully integrated with industrial or sea based training that meet the industry’s requirements for a structured and phased training scheme. During the sea phases students will undertake work based learning that is supported during the college based phases, as well as completing a sea phase record book of practical training undertaken on-board.


The work based elements are identified, and aim to provide a focused and unique assessment procedure that allows students to display the transferable skills they have acquired. Close collaboration with employers is strongly encouraged, and the training programme mirrors other maritime training schemes where the roles and responsibilities of personnel involved in the training scheme are established and well known.

To avoid the excessive assessment workload that can result from phased training schemes, the programme identifies the summative assessment undertaken, and this is supported by the sea phase record book of practical training completed during the mandatory sea phase training. The assessment strategy integrated within the programme provides a range of assessment methods which aims to enable the student to demonstrate their knowledge and competencies in a range of topics identified by industry bodies as matching the current National Occupational Standards applicable to engineering operations and maintenance on-board. These assessments range from practical tests and experiments, individual and group research, specific work-based learning and assessment, unseen examinations and a group project. All assessments identified within the module descriptors are summative assessments, with formative assessments set by the lecturing staff to guide and monitor the progress during the modules. These formative assessments will reinforce the learning undertaken in class and supports and guides the independent learning activities. It is standard college policy to provide written feedback to students within 3 weeks of submission of assessments, when these are submitted within the college operational weeks.


  1. Retention strategy.  

Students entering this programme are already employed by an industrial partner. The work based elements are integral to the successful operation of the programme. The programme has five separate phases: the first, third and fifth phases are undertaken at college; the second and fourth phases are undertaken at sea to enable students to gain industrial experience. The industrial partner will provide a named training officer during the sea phases of the training programme, to assist and guide their sponsored student.


Student personal development planning is embedded within the programme to ensure integration of the transferable skills. Students will be informed of this development via the student handbook, and this is reinforced / updated during tutorial support sessions and workshop skills training.


During the college phases, a support mechanism network is in place and established to aid students with their personal and academic issues. It is recognised that the majority of students will be studying away from home for the first time, and the college phase assists them with the transition between home and industrial working conditions. The college provides a personal learning coach who deals with all academic issues as well as being the first response for personal issues. Should further support be required by the student, permanent personal counsellors are available, as well as an established support mechanism for academic support and advise.



  1. Any other information

For the work-based learning module, specific vessel focused assessments will be undertaken. This module utilises the mandatory sea or industrial experience to enable the students to collect, analyse and offer solutions to existing technical based issues.


During the sea phases the student will undertake a wide range of practical operations and tasks which are embedded in an “ETO Training Record Book”. The tasks within this book have been formulated and agreed by the MNTB. The students will be introduced to the concepts and elements of the work based learning module during the college semester before the sea phase. The WBL formative assessments will be student and ship specific whenever possible, and developed with input from the sponsoring company’s training officer when possible or through the experience college staff have gained during involvement with other industrial partners. The students are expected to collect evidence and carry out investigations during their sea phase to complete their academic assignments.  Students will be guided by both the company training officer and other experienced officers on-board, a practice that is already well established for deck and engineering officer training. Students can request guidance and clarification from college staff via email as required.  All work based assignments set will be assessed by college staff to ensure consistency.


In exceptional circumstances work based assessments would not be undertaken at sea. This could occur when a resit is required in a work based module, where the examination board allows the student to submit work without repeating the sea experience. Significant failing in the work-based modules and/or Training Record Book will require the students to undertake further training at sea as determined by the college and sponsoring company with the MCA’s agreement.





  1. What is the programme about?


  • Provide rational and coherent programmes of study which are relevant to the specific needs of electro-technical marine officers and employers;
  • Facilitate the professional development of the student and lay the foundations for a successful career in the electrical marine field and academic progression;
  • Provide a sound knowledge base in the fundamentals of electrical & electronic engineering and develop the wider process skills of information technology, problem solving, team working, time/task management, and technical investigations;
  • Foster the development of an enquiring, open-minded and creative attitude, tempered with scientific discipline and social awareness, which encourages lifelong learning;
  • Allow for student progression from this programme into higher academic programmes.



  1. What will I know or be able to do at each Stage of the programme?


Learning Outcomes Stage 1 – Skills  


By the end of this Stage of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:


  1. Analyse, evaluate or interpret the results of investigations and controlled experiments.
  2. Use a range of varied techniques to demonstrate understanding of an engineering topic in the maritime sector.
  3. Develop intellectual skills to investigate a range of analytically based problems



Learning Outcomes Stage 1 – Knowledge


By the end of this Stage of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:


  1. Engineering sciences including mechanics and thermodynamics;
  2. Electrical principles and marine control theory;
  3. Mathematical Skills relevant to the Engineering subjects covered
  4. Applications to maritime operations and system design

Learning Outcomes Stage 2 – Skills


By the end of this Stage of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:


  1. Integrate academic theory with industrial experiences and practice.
  2. Use a range of information/data from a variety of sources and industrial publications.
  3. Apply engineering and management principles to the solution of problems relating to a marine environment.


Learning Outcomes Stage 2 – Knowledge


By the end of this Stage of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:


  1. Broadening academic skills over a range of engineering related topics.
  2. The principles of system design focused on the operational factors, and investigating the design to minimise failure in service.
  3. Integrate industrial knowledge to demonstrate understanding of an engineering project.



  1. What will the programme consist of?


Each undergraduate programme consists of a number of Stages from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 4, each of which is equivalent to a year’s full-time study. The summary below describes briefly what is contained in each Stage. Most programmes have a mixture of core (ie compulsory) modules and optional ones, often with increasing choice as you move through the programme and gain in experience. In some programmes the choice of optional modules gives you particular ‘routes’ through the programme. The programme structure including a detailed list of modules can be found in the programme regulations.




Stage 1

As part of an industry approved training scheme students are introduced to mechanics, engineering mathematics, thermodynamics, electrical principles and control. The application of theory to practical is aided by increasing the mathematical skills to the required level. During this time the student will study the operation of marine plant and the legislation pertaining to this in preparation for a practical training period on board a ship. During this industrial experience a work based learning module will be undertaken to enhance the experience and to introduce independent research and presentation skills.



Stage 2

Further study of engineering theory enhance the study and analysis of marine mechanical plant including control systems. The theory is extensively applied in laboratory practical work using equipment found in real situations on board merchant ships. Students will analyse the operation of the plant and investigate the connectivity and interaction found between the diverse systems used to safely propel the ship as well as the hotel services found on board. An investigative project will be undertaken, with a practical training period on board being an ideal opportunity to analyse real data of systems and procedures.



  1. How will I be taught?

Scheduled teaching activities


Independent study





Teaching includes scheduled classroom based lessons and practical laboratory work with guided and independent learning. In the initial stages where new theory and concepts are developed there is a greater emphasis on directed learning, with a work based learning module, during an industrial placement requiring extensive individual independent learning. Later stages include working and fault finding on industrial equipment as well as a project module where the student develops their own ideas, based on their working environment, and presenting their findings to peers.


A list of the modules in each Stage of the programme can be found in the Programme Regulations.


A summary of the types of teaching, learning and assessment in each module of the programme can be found in the Matrix of Modes of Teaching.

  1. How will I be assessed and given feedback?  Modes of assessment aligned with KIS: choose one or more.


Written examinations




Practical assessments



A summary of the types of teaching, learning and assessment in each module of the programme can be found in the Matrix of Modes of Teaching.


The generic assessment criteria which we use can be found here. Some programmes use subject-specific assessment criteria which are based on the generic ones.


This programme uses the Generic University Assessment Criteria



This programme uses the Subject Specific Assessment Criteria




The University regulations can be found here.


Assessments range from practical tests, such as determining the interconnection between electronic modules and fault-finding complex electronic equipment and experiments, individual and group research, specific work based learning and assessment, unseen examinations and an individual group project including a presentation to peers. All assessments identified within the module descriptors are summative assessments, with formative assessments set by the Lecturing staff to guide and monitor the progress during the modules. These formative assessments will reinforce the learning undertaken in class and supports and guides the independent learning activities.



  1. Teaching, learning and assessment matrix


  1. How does research influence the programme? 

Students are encouraged to include their employer and colleagues in the project module in order to undertake extensive investigative research during the second industrial placement. At this stage the student will possess the professional and analytical skills required to an in depth study to a chosen field. The College also ensures the curriculum is research informed in that tutors draw on published research to inform teaching delivery.





  1. How will the programme prepare me for employment?


The programme gives you the opportunity to develop skills which you can use in the future. Some skills are more specific than others to the subject area, or to a particular type of activity, but all skills can be applied in a range of employment situations, sometimes in quite unexpected ways. The skills which this programme is designed to develop are listed below.


This programme has been designed following a series of meetings of the Engineer Working Group. This group was comprised of Employer representatives, the UK Marine Regulator (MCA) and the Employer body Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB), acting as the industry Sector Skill Council.

There is a current ongoing need to provide trained and qualified personnel on-board who can fulfil the role of Engineer Officer. The increasing complexity of modern installations requires the creation of a specific training programme and qualification to meet industry’s needs.


There are also opportunities for on-campus students outside your programme of study.


For information about other opportunities available to our students who study on campus, click here.

Additional opportunities to develop your experiences more widely will vary if you study at one of our partner colleges. For information about the extra-curricular activities available in any of our colleges please contact the college direct. 


  1. Particular features of the qualification (optional)


This program forms part of the training for a Marine Engineer Officer according to the STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers). Graduates of this program will have satisfied the academic requirements for the award of the Operational and Management Level STCW Engineer Officer certificate by the UK MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) which gives the opportunity to sail on any ship in the world as a professional Marine Engineer.

Completion of this programme entitles the graduate to Associate Membership of the Institute of Marine Engineers, Scientists and Technicians IMarEST.



  1. Professional statutory or regulatory body (PSRB) accreditation. 


PSRB accreditation is not relevant to this programme 


PSRB accreditation is currently being sought for this programme


This programme currently has PSRB accreditation



The programme is currently accredited until: reviewed annually

The relevant PSRB(s) is/are: MNTB / MCA


The terms of the accreditation are as follows: Content meets the requirements of STCW A-III/3


The programme is recognised as: Foundation Degree and complies within MCA publication MSN 1857


The programme is accredited dependent on annual review.


Accreditation gives graduates: Exemption from all written examination requirements for Engineer Officer at the Operational level and academic examinations at the Management level certification.


This depends upon successful completion of the programme.


There are programme-specific regulations relating to the following. Details are given in the programme regulations:


The modules to be studied


Pass-marks for some or all modules and/or parts

(elements) of modules 


Requirements for progression between one Stage and another


Placement requirements


Attendance requirements


Professional practice requirements


Degree classification  







Interim or exit awards are not accredited. 







Use Programme Regulations Form, for questions 39 and 40




  1. What are the admissions requirements?


The University’s standard admissions requirements can be found in the university regulations. Programme-specific requirements which are in addition to those regulations are given below. 


A minimum of 64 UCAS tariff points, including 12 UCAS points from a Maths and/or Science subject;


GCSE (or equivalent as approved by the College) Grade ‘C’ (grade 5) or above in all the following subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • English language


Can students enter with advanced standing?




If yes, to which Stages?

Stage 1


Stage 2



If yes, with what qualifications?


The University has a process by which applicants whose experience to date already covers one or more modules of the programme they are applying for may seek Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). Full details can be found here but if you think that this may be relevant to you, please contact the department which offers the programme you are interested in.


  1. What kind of support and help will there be?
    1. in the department: describe the student support in place in the department/ faculty


  1. in the university as a whole:

The University provides a range of professional support services including health and well-being, counselling, disability support, and a Chaplaincy. Click on the links for further information.


  1. in a partner college:

Please see the relevant college prospectus or website for details of student support if you are planning to study in one of our partner colleges.

University guidelines on Inclusive Programme Design were consulted during programme development.


  1. What resources will I have access to?


On campus


In a partner college


By distance learning




On campus

Tick all that apply

General Teaching and Learning Space












Performance space


Other specialist


Technical resources 



Text for details listed above:

Specialist areas include extensive workshops with fully functioning marine motors, generators and switchboards. An industry leading simulator suite and modern navigational and communications equipment allow full investigation into systems, procedures and faults.



Information about the University’s facilities can be found here.


Please see the relevant college prospectus or website for details of college learning resources if you are planning to study in one of our partner colleges.


  1. Are there any additional costs on top of the fees?


No, but all students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials.


Yes (optional) All students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials. In addition there are some are additional costs for optional activities associated with the programme (see below)


Yes (essential) All students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials. In addition there are some are essential additional costs associated with the programme (see below)





  1. How are student views represented?

All taught programmes in the University have student representatives for each Stage (year-group) of each programme who meet in a Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) where they can raise students’ views and concerns. The Students’ Union and the faculties together provide training for student representatives. SSLCs and focus groups are also used to obtain student feedback on plans for developing existing programmes and designing new ones. Feedback on your programme is obtained every year through module questionnaires and informs the annual review of your programme. Student representatives are also invited to attend Programme and Module Studies Boards which manage the delivery and development of programmes and modules.  Various Faculty committees, particularly Faculty Student Success Committee, Academic Development Committee and Quality Management Sub-Committee also have student representation. This allows students to be involved in higher-level plans for teaching and learning. There is a parallel structure at university level on which students are represented by sabbatical officers who are the elected leaders of the Students’ Union.

The University’s student representation and feedback policy can be found here.


Undergraduate programmes only: Final-year students are also invited to complete a National Student Survey (NSS) which asks a standard set of questions across the whole country. The results of this are discussed at Programme Studies Boards and at Faculty Student Success Committee to identify good practice which can be shared and problems which need to be addressed. We rely heavily on student input to interpret the results of the NSS and ensure that we make the most appropriate changes.


Students will be invited to attend two different learner forums during their studies. The Higher Education Learner Forum is a college forum for all HE courses and meets termly. There are also programme specific learner forums, chaired by the programme leader, and these are also held termly.




  1. National subject benchmarks


The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education publishes benchmark statements which give guidance as to the skills and knowledge which graduates in various subjects and in certain types of degree are expected to have. These can be found here.


Are there any benchmark statements for this programme?




The subject benchmark(s) for this programme is/are:


There are no benchmarks for this programme.


The QAA also publishes a Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) which defines the generic skills and abilities expected of students who have achieved awards at a given level and with which our programmes align. The FHEQ can be found here.


  1. How are the quality and standards of the programme assured?


The programme is managed and quality assured through the University’s standard processes. Programmes are overseen by Module and Programme Studies Boards which include student representatives. Each year each module leader provides a brief report on the delivery of the module, identifying strengths and areas for development, and the programme team reviews the programme as a whole.  The purpose of this is to ensure that the programme is coherent and up-to-date, with suitable progression from one Stage to another, and a good fit (alignment)  between what is taught and how students learn and are assessed - the learning outcomes, content and types of teaching, learning and assessment. Student achievement, including progress between Stages of the programme and degree classification, is kept under review. The programme review report is sent to the Faculty Quality Management Sub-Committee which in turn reports issues to the University’s Quality Management Sub-Committee (QMSC) and Academic Development Committee (ADC).


External examiners are appointed to oversee and advise on the assessment of the programme. They ensure that the standards of the programme are comparable with those of similar programmes elsewhere in the UK and are also involved in the assessment process to make sure that it is fair. They are invited to comment on proposed developments to the programme. Their reports are sent to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) as well as to the Faculty so that issues of concern can be addressed.


All programmes are reviewed by the University on a six-yearly cycle to identify good practice and areas for enhancement. Programmes are revalidated through this review process. These reviews include at least one academic specialist in the subject area concerned from another UK university. The University is subject to external review by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education on a six-year cycle. Their review reports for Sunderland can be found here.


Further information about our quality processes can be found here.

The Boards mentioned above are located at the College but Chaired by the University.



Please also complete the SITS form.