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People and Places – University Lecture Courses


The following courses of lectures have been given to undergraduates at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. The intake to the basic Mechanical Engineering degree course averaged around 100 with very little wastage over the 3 year course. All told around 2,000 lectures have been delivered, amounting to about 120,000 student hours, 150 examination papers set and 10,000 scripts marked over a 25 year period.

Clearly several courses relate to the field of process manufacture, though a formal course in this field was established only in the last 10 years as a popular final year elective. By contrast, Project Management as part of Industrial Management, and Polymeric Materials as part of Engineering Materials, ran as compulsory courses for the BSc and MEng degrees in Mechanical Engineering, and the MEng in Engineering Manufacture and Management. Engineering Foresight was started in 1995 as a compulsory course in the 4th year of the MEng degrees in response to a widely-felt need to prepare students for positions where more strategic views would be required beyond those related to existing markets for engineering products. The Polymer Engineering courses – Design with Polymers and Composites, Analysis of Polymer Processes and similar – ran as 3rd and 4th year electives for 25 years from 1980, delivered by myself and Polymer Engineering Division colleagues: Drs C P Buckley, J D Robinson, J M Methven, D R Blackburn at various times.

Mid Career Training (MCT) Courses, mainly on Extrusion and Polymer Composites ran for several years in the 1980s for the benefit of people from industry.

The Extrusion and Polymer Composite courses were re-shaped for distance learning with George Weidman of the Open University[1]. These courses were delivered as part of the Open University’s “Manufacturing for Engineers and Managers” course and made into a textbook by Peter Lewis. This was screened on BBC2 and ran for 20 years from 1985-2005.

While no compromise was made on the mathematical and scientific fundamentals, it was stressed in all the courses that an Engineer’s job is to take decisions whether for product or equipment design, factory operations, marketing or research into any of these. The research prgrammes reported elsewhere on this site always reflected this outlook, as a result of which they generated many of the topics needed for the compulsory final year projects.

Industrial Project Management

This course ran for 25 years as a compulsory part of the three-year BSc degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Engineering and the four-year M.Eng degree course.

Additional Courses

  • Heat Transfer
  • Polymeric Materials



[1] Bush and Weidman (1984).