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Core engineering B

Qualification dates
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You’ll study in greater depth to expand your development as an engineer, underpinning science and mathematics; engineering analysis; design; environmental and economic context; and engineering practice. Further development of reflective engineering practice is integral throughout. You’ll discuss aspects of your study with other students and your tutor, conduct remote experiments using our OpenSTEM Labs and use industry-recognised software.

What you will study

The module consists of three parts – each supported by a printed book:

Part 1: Stress Analysis for Structural Design
In this first part, you’ll build on your understanding of different types of loading and stress in engineering structures; you’ll move on to explore complex stress analysis in two dimensions. The module uses real-world engineered products (e.g. an aircraft wing) as case studies to demonstrate how engineering structures experience combined loading conditions leading to complex stress states. Alongside hand calculations for stress analysis, it will introduce you to computer-based methods. You’ll explore the use of finite element analysis software, for the stress analysis of simple engineering structures. It will also introduce you to failure criteria; and how to use stress analysis to predict or design against failure.

Part 2: Dynamic Analysis for Engineering Design
The subject of the second part is motion – you’ll learn how to describe, model and analyse motion. First, you’ll study the movement of objects and the reason for that movement – in other words, the forces that are acting on those objects and causing them to move. You’ll go on to study dynamics using energy methods and applying laws of thermodynamics to dynamic systems. You’ll also learn design methods to encourage good vibration when required, or to limit unwanted vibration that could cause damage.

Part 3: Engineering Materials for Improved Performance
The final part of the module is about what limits the useful life of engineered components and what engineers can do to make them last longer. You’ll look at some of the failure and degradation mechanisms that act within engineering components over time and reduce their lifetime in service. This part will introduce you to some of the methods that engineers have developed to extend a component's lifetime in service, by choosing the right material to start with and then manipulating or treating it in some way.

Remote experiments in our OpenEngineering lab will enhance the theoretical underpinning – you’ll interact with equipment in real-time or with an on-going experiment, from your own computer. You’ll also gain industrially relevant skills in core aspects of stress and structural analysis by exploring the use of an industry- standard finite element analysis (FEA) software package. The module has mathematics teaching integrated into the engineering materials, giving both context and an opportunity to practice its application. You’ll practise maths and engineering questions – through interactive quizzes – in preparation for the interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs). We’ll base assignment questions on activities in the module material.

Professional recognition

This module is a compulsory part of our undergraduate engineering qualifications. The learning outcomes of these qualifications are designed to fulfil the Engineering Council’s educational requirements under UK-SPEC1. Several of the leading engineering institutions accredit our engineering qualifications.

1UK-SPEC (UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence) sets out the requirements for UK engineers to achieve professional status.

Entry requirements

You must have passed one of the following modules:

  • Engineering: mathematics, modelling, applications (T194)
  • Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)
  • Using mathematics (MST121) – discontinued

The module assumes a level of mathematics skill and prior knowledge which you’ll get from successfully completing one of the modules above. It assumes, and builds on, existing knowledge and skill in the use of trigonometry; differential and integral calculus; vectors; polar coordinate systems; and complex numbers.

Also, to begin T272, you must have passed (or be waiting for your result for) Core engineering A (T271). You may, however, enrol on T272 while still studying T271.

What's included

  • Access to the module study materials via the module website
  • Three printed module books and a handbook

You will need

  • A scientific calculator
  • A device capable of producing digital images (e.g. a smartphone, digital camera or scanner)
  • Basic drawing equipment

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date 64-bit version of Windows (10 or 11)*. Any macOS is unsuitable.

Minimum and recommended requirements for The Open University ANSYS software:

  • Minimum i3 processor or equivalent (i5 equivalent or above recommended).
  • Minimum 512 MB graphics card (1 GB or higher recommended).
  • Minimum 4 GB of RAM* (8 GB or more recommended).
  • Minimum 25 GB hard drive (50 GB or larger strongly recommended).
  • Physical ‘C:/’ drive present.
  • You’ll need administrator privileges on your machine.
  • OpenGL-capable.

*A version of ANSYS for Linux OS is also available. The Linux version may require more than 4 GB of RAM.

In addition:

  • You’ll need control over your internet connection settings – corporate firewalls may prevent FEA software from accessing the Internet.
  • 22" or larger monitor recommended.

See System and browser requirements for Ansys software for information on Ansys Student Version.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.


You can find the assessment details for this module in the facts box.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying T272 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

Core engineering B (T272) starts once a year – in April.

This page describes the module that will start in April 2025.

We expect it to start for the last time in April 2027.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
4 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)