Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford

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Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford
Thom Building.JPG
Established 1908 (1908)
Head of Department Prof Lionel Tarassenko
Location ,
Coordinates: 51°45′35″N 1°15′34″W / 51.75972°N 1.25944°W / 51.75972; -1.25944
Campus Keble Road Triangle
The Thom Building and the Holder Tower as seen from University Parks. In the background on the left, the Philip Wetton telescope from the Department of Physics can be seen.

The Department of Engineering Science is the academic department dedicated to teaching and researching engineering at the University of Oxford,[1] which is part of the university's Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division. It is located on the triangular plot formed by Banbury Road to the west, Parks Road to the east and Keble Road to the south. The main building is the tall 1960s Thom Building that dominates the local landscape, especially the view from the University Parks to the east. Further lower buildings have been added to the north since then. The department shares buildings with the Department of Materials.


The department is based in the Thom Building, built in 1960, which houses two main lectures theatres, four floors of laboratories, the departmental library and canteen. The adjacent hexagonal tower houses departmental professor and postgraduate research space. A new Information Engineering building was completed in 2004 to house robotics, process and information engineering research labs. The adjacent materials building is shared with Department of Materials.


Holder Tower

The department was originally established in 1908 with the appointment of the first Professor of Engineering Science at Oxford, Frewen Jenkin,[2] grandfather of Lord Jenkin of Roding. The Jenkin Building is named after him. On 2 February 1909, the Honour School of Natural Science (Engineering Science) was formally instituted by a Statute of Oxford University.[2] The School was initially located at 6 Keble Road, on the south side of what is now known as the Keble Road Triangle, part of the Oxford University Science Area. The main part of the department has remained and expanded at this location to the present day.

The Thom Building, built in 1963, is named after Alexander Thom (1894–1985), a Scottish engineer who was also a professor of engineering at Oxford. The adjacent Holder Building followed in 1976.

The department celebrated its Centenary in 2008 and Lord Jenkin acted as its Patron.[3]


There have been numerous spin-offs from research done in the Department of Engineering Science. Among these are 21 companies in the medical and biotechnical industries[4] including PowderJect Pharmaceuticals and OrganOx.[5]

In 2014, Paul Newman and Ingmar Posner founded Oxbotica, which specializes in autonomous vehicles.[6] The company has become an industry leader in the UK with its vehicle control system, Selenium.[7]

Other spin-off companies include electric motor manufacturer YASA[8] and precision photonics company Opsydia[9].

Undergraduate study

The intake of students into the department is between 160 and 170 annually.[10] The department offers a general engineering course, where students only specialise in one of six areas in their third and fourth years of their Masters in Engineering degree (MEng). These specialisations are[11]:

  1. Biomedical engineering
  2. Chemical engineering
  3. Civil engineering
  4. Electrical engineering
  5. Information engineering
  6. Mechanical engineering

Students can also choose to follow an Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Management (EEM) pathway in the third and fourth years of their degree. This option is taught in coordination with the Saïd Business School.

Graduate study and research

The research degrees offered by the department are MSc(R), DEng and DPhil[12]. The department undertakes research in the following areas:

The Oxford-Man Institute is a research institute within Information Engineering.[13]

Notable people

Heads of Department
Notable alumni and researchers

See also


  1. ^ Alastair M. Howatson, Engineering Science at Oxford: A History, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Howatson, Alastair (2008). Mechanicks in the Universitie: A History of Engineering Science at Oxford. Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford / The Holywell Press. ISBN 978-0-9526208-2-2.
  3. ^ "Centenary of Engineering Science: Programme". Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford. 2008.
  4. ^ "Spin-out Companies — Department of Engineering Science". Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  5. ^ "OrganOx | Oxford Science Park". OrganOx. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  6. ^ "Executive Team - Oxbotica". Oxbotica. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  7. ^ Campbell, Peter (2017-03-17). "Oxbotica unlocks the potential of driverless cars". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  8. ^ "The YASA Electric Motor - an Oxford Invention". Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  9. ^ "How Oxford is leading the way to stop diamonds being faked". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  10. ^ "University of Oxford - Admissions Statistics - By Course". Tableau Software. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  11. ^ "MEng in Engineering Science — Department of Engineering Science". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  12. ^ "Graduate programmes — Department of Engineering Science". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  13. ^ "Introducing the Oxford-Man Institute of Quantitative Finance". Retrieved 18 September 2018.

External links

  • Department of Engineering Science website
  • Oxford University Engineering Society
  • Society of Oxford University Engineers — the alumni society for Oxford engineering graduates
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