University of Chester

Programme Specification
Project Engineering (Oxford Academics) PGCert
2016 - 2017

Postgraduate Certificate

Project Engineering (Oxford Academics)

Project Engineering (Oxford Academics)

University of Chester

University of Chester and Oxford Academics

Parkgate Road Campus and Thornton Science Park

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,


3 Years

Biannual - February - October




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Science & Engineering Computer Science


University of Chester

Science and Engineering Postgraduate Board

Thursday 1st May 2014

The Project Engineering curriculum proposed by Oxford Academics is relatively unique in two ways:

  1. it adopts an engineering as opposed to a management approach to achieving success in complex projects, and
  2. it assembles academic and professional bodies of knowledge to treat the scope and depth of issues encountered in today’s complex, fast-moving and cost-critical project environments.

The distinction between Project Engineering and Project Management is deliberate and meaningful. For each project, Project Engineering consists in designing, optimising and organising adequate Project Management and Project Governance. 

The overall aim of the Project Engineering curriculum is to enable students to define, optimise and operate project management in an effective and efficient way:

  1. development of analytical, pragmatic logics in diagnosing project situations,
  2. and applying appropriate methods, tools and techniques.

The programme has been developed over more than 20 years in both professional and academic settings.

This balance between professional exigency and academic insight constitutes a cornerstone of the programme. Participants not only study academic theory and research, but also encounter the current “best practice” and experience of world-class companies, together with the profession’s most respected professional bodies (PMI’s PMBoK, Prince II, IPMA’s ICB).

Graduates of this programme are well-equipped to deal with real projects in real settings, at a significantly advanced level of project expertise.

At the end of FHEQ Level 7, students should understand :-

  • The construction of a requirement baseline (including making requirements measurable and characterized) and definition baseline.
  • Both economic and strategic value analysis of projects.
  • Methods to estimate time and cost in projects.
  • Methods to evaluate performance status during execution.

  • How to assure the “best price” for a project.
  • Diagnosis of most common failure/success factors in projects.
  • Recognition of critical decisions to be made in key situations before and during the project.
  • Key orientation in situations where project control is not common sense any more.
  • Management of both “strong and weak interactions” between projects.
  • To combine critical review of research with standard and tools environment for project engineering.
  • Critical thinking and creativity: identification and diagnosis of project success requirements and construction of related adequate project management.
  • Learning through reflection on practice and experience. 

  • Construction of Project Baseline Plan and Project Management Plan.
  • Manage experience from previous projects to mitigate project execution failures.
  • Contract negotiation and management.
  • Organisation of effective kick off reviews, including how to assure that a common view is shared of and within the project.
  • Use of time and cost scorecard to identify execution versus management issues during project execution.
  • Control of project execution with allocated resources.
  • Direction of projects, including how to assure project compliance.
  • Organisation and operation of configuration management during and after project.
  • Problem solving and decision making: establishing criteria for successful projects and project management.
  • Effective use of Communication and Information Technology (CIT): practical approach of project scheduling software tools (both freeware tools or commercial ones).
  • Personal effectiveness: for each student, development of one’s own specialization (for example, either definition scope management, or plan development, or any of the addressed module) for an application field (oil & gas, aerospace, nuclear, etc).
  • Effective performance within a team environment and the ability to recognise and utilise individuals' contributions in-group processes: part of the application work is to be performed in teams.
  • Leadership and performance management: design and improvement of decision making processes to control or direct projects.

  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving
  • Two-way communication: consideration of key stakeholders in projects and identification of adequate communication protocols before, during and after projects.

The PG Cert in Project Engineering programme is composed of 3 x 20 credit modules.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
PM7101 7 Definition Scope Engineering 20 Comp
PM7102 7 Project Plan Engineering 20 Comp
PM7103 7 Time and Cost Engineering 20 Comp

Postgraduate Certificate Project Engineering - 60 credits

Not applicable

Not applicable

The admissions data provided below was correct at the time of creating this programme specification (August 2014). Please refer to the prospectus pages on the corporate website for the most recent data.

This will be consistent with the University's Widening Access and Participation Strategy All applicants must normally possess an honours degree of 2.2 or equivalent. In exceptional cases substantial experience in the field of Project Engineering, or a closely related discipline (e.g. Project Management, Risk Management, Lean Methodology). Eligibility will be determined by means of an interview with the Programme Leader. Applicants for whom English is not a native language must also demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Such applicants must have minimum score of 6.5 on IELTS. Entry with Credit: the University regulations regarding APL, APEL & APCL apply.

Herbst, Andrew; Hans Verwijs (Oct. 19-22). "Project Engineering: Interdisciplinary Coordination and Overall Engineering Quality Control". Proc. of the Annual IAC conference of the American Society for Engineering Management 1 (ISBN 9781618393616): 15–21:

A project engineer's responsibilities include schedule preparation, pre-planning and resource forecasting for engineering and other technical activities relating to the project. They may also be in charge of performance management of vendors. They assure the accuracy of financial forecast, which tie-in to project schedules. They ensure projects are completed according to project plans. Project engineers manage project team resources and training and develop extensive project management experience and expertise. When project teams are structured so that multiple speciality disciplines report to the project engineer, then two important responsibilities of the project engineer are inter-discipline coordination and overall quality control of the work.

‘Subject benchmark statements provide a means for the academic community to describe the nature and characteristics of programmes in a specific subject’ 
[QAA, 2007] [QAA, 2007] clearly distinguishes between graduates in general Computer Science and graduates with a particular specialism. However, it places a responsibility on programme designers to meet the following criteria:

  • the course is designed as a coherent whole with theory, practical skills and applications integrated in a harmonious manner;
  • it should be up to date in terms of developments in computing and current thinking on curriculum development and delivery; 
  • it should take appropriate account of issues such as the employability of its graduates and the needs of employers;
  • it has clear and achievable aims, objectives and intended learning outcomes which match its title and the programme specification;
  • courses are imaginatively designed to meet as effectively as possible the needs of the full range of intended students in terms of course length/duration, modes of attendance including part-time possibilities, location, structure and sequence, and optional elements;
  • on each pathway every student will have exposure to those key topics and practices most relevant to its central objectives and title;
  • the design of this should be informed by considerations articulated below;
  • the course shows progression with later parts complementing, extending or building upon earlier ones;
  • the programme presents coherent underpinning theory appropriate to the aims of the course, and this is further developed and used throughout the course.

This should be such as to enable graduating students to adapt to future developments in the field.

Overall, the course should reflect the rapid rate of change in the field and ensure that coverage is given to a selection of emerging topics so that students are aware of likely future developments in the subject together with their potential impact.

Courses need to be designed to possess themes that ensure students are equipped to contribute to the development of major components of computer systems in a manner that ensures they are fit for the purpose for which they were intended. The latter implies an understanding of the mechanisms that will ensure quality in both process and product and this will often mean a comprehension of how systems should be designed for use by humans.

In those parts of the curriculum that relate to an engineering approach to the subject, the concepts of requirement, specification, design, implementation, evolution and maintenance are pervasive and an appropriate engineering ethos is present in those parts of the curriculum that have a mathematical, scientific, psychological, aesthetic, systems, management or organisational orientation, there is appropriate underpinning which ensures that students acquire well-founded insight into the range of possible approaches:

  • in practical coursework there is an opportunity for students to gain experience of working both in groups and as an individual;
  • in relevant parts of the course students are encouraged to reflect, evaluate, select, justify, communicate and be innovative in their problem solving;
  • there is provision for the development of a range of personal and transferable skills generic to all graduates;
  • there is a major activity allowing students to demonstrate ability in applying practical and analytical skills (as they are present in the course as a whole).

This will often take the form of a project carried out in the final year but individual institutions are free to use alternative arrangements where that would best fit their particular course structure or content where appropriate in terms of meeting the overall objectives of a course, such activity as industrial placements are seen as a valued part of a course and are properly integrated in terms of preparation of students before this activity, debriefing and building on the experience afterwards, and assessment.

The assessment strategy associated with the course is clearly documented and will allow the institution to show that graduating students meet the criteria set in this subject benchmark statement.

This programme has been designed specifically to meet the above criteria. Also, in line with the current benchmark statement the course matches the typical outcomes for a programme in a computing related discipline, namely that students should be able to: demonstrate a sound understanding of the main areas of the body of knowledge within their programme of study, with an ability to exercise critical judgement across a range of issues,critically analyse and apply a range of concepts, principles and practice of the subject in an appropriate manner in the context of loosely defined scenarios, showing effective judgement in the selection and use of tools and techniques;

  • produce work involving problem identification, the analysis, the design and the development of a system, with accompanying documentation. The work will show problem solving and evaluation skills, draw upon supporting evidence and demonstrate a good understanding of the need for quality;
  • demonstrate transferable skills with an ability to show organised work as an individual and as a team member and with minimum guidance;
  • apply appropriate practices within a professional, legal and ethical framework and identify mechanisms for continuing professional development and lifelong learning;
  • explain a wide range of applications based upon the body of knowledge. Reference QAA (2007) “Computing benchmark statement” QAA for Higher Education.

For these three modules, student progression is based upon the basic sequence as follows:

  1. Presentation (either by instructor or from case studies) of a number of techniques, tools and methods
  2. Individual experience through labs and experiments
  3. Group discussions on field of application and values
  4. Group application on simple cases
  5. Individual application on more dedicated cases
  6. Individual review of application developed by other students
  7. Group review of application developed by other groups of students

 A number of on-line resources are made available to this programme to enable students to review course presentations afterward.

In addition to face-to-face support available at the four-day block teaching sessions and weekly tutorial sessions, students will be able to contact their assigned tutor for support via email, phone and Skype. The Link Tutor will also be available in Chester to field local enquiries from students and, if necessary, put them in touch with relevant Study Skills support staff.

Two Staff Student Liaison Meetings will take place each year.

In order to achieve an appropriate mix of assessment of knowledge, understanding and skills, a blend of assessment methods is required: knowledge and understanding
, appraisal of literature and systems, projects, presentations; thinking or cognitive skills
, coursework exercises, projects/dissertation, presentations; practical skills; coursework exercises, project work; transferable/key skills; reports, presentations, reflection through work based learning support and group presentation.

Subject to the overall pattern of assessment conforming to this strategy, each module is assessed by the most appropriate types of assessment, suitably weighted. Assessment and reassessment methods are detailed in the module outlines. There are clear assessment criteria and a marking scheme for every assessment. Marking schemes identify levels of performance against specific learning outcomes. They indicate how the final mark will be derived, and are designed to facilitate second marking and constructive feedback to students from the tutor.

The developed body of knowledge gained from this programme will facilitate a systematic, scientific and reflective approach to management enabling graduating students to be adaptive, strategic thinkers able to evaluate critically and respond to complex business issues, and apply high-level skills and knowledge from theoretical to business contexts. The overall outcome from a student engaging with the programme of study will be a manager who is able to add value to the marketplace by meeting the expectations of employers, via the application of acquired transferable, integrated skills.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

The programme is delivered in English and provided the student has attained the defined standard there are no other cultural issues. 

As a technology-oriented degree there is a high likelihood that the majority of disabilities can be addressed using appropriate specialist hardware and software; individual applicants will be invited to discuss their individual needs with the programme leader and the applicant will be advised as to the provision that can be made for them, prior to accepting a place.

Full and part-time study routes: students may take the modules in any sequence. Since there are a number of points of entry during an academic year, full-time students will simply pick up the next module and continue on a monthly basis. Part-time students may take the modules as they wish, up to the time limit for the pathway chosen. Assessment will always be due on the same date as for full-time students.

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