You are here

HNC Operations Engineering

Open days

Meet your lecturers, find out more about the course and view academic and social facilities at an Open Event.

University of Suffolk on Ipswich Waterfront
UCAS code: 
Institution code: 
East Coast College (Lowestoft)


One year full-time.

One year part-time.

Typical Offer: 

60 UCAS tariff points (or above), CC (A-Level), MM (BTEC).

Please see Entry Requirements below.


The HNC in Operations Engineering involves the student in units across both Mechanical and Electrical Engineering disciplines. This helps to prepare the student for the multidisciplined approach to engineering in modern industry. Many students gain employment in Engineering upon successful completion of this course, as a result of a high level of employer engagement as part of the course. The HNC provides students with opportunity to study to a level suitable for the first level of Engineering Management, Project Engineers and Project Management.

Course modules

Students will study core engineering disciplines such as engineering science, analytical methods for engineers (engineering mathematics), electrical principles and plant process principles. They will also study more practically biased units such as pneumatics and hydraulics, and instrumentation and control.

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Commercial Aspects of Engineering (Mandatory)

For an engineering business to succeed it is necessary for its engineering staff to be able to contribute effectively to the business as a whole as opposed to limiting their contribution to their specialist area. A successful Engineering Business also requires the careful management of the requirements imposed by Health and Safety Legislation. The “Commercial and Operational Aspects of Engineering” Module is designed to provide engineers and potential engineers with the knowledge that they require in these areas and examples of work related practice.

Personal Development (Mandatory)

An essential part of the foundation degree is personal development within the framework of professional and individual skills. This module aims to give learners a dedicated structure and opportunity to identify skills and personal objectives that can be developed over the first year of the programme. These will be assessed to consolidate learner achievement.

Engineering Mathematics (Mandatory)

Mathematics is intrinsic to the study of a wide range of engineering disciplines. This module is designed to develop the mathematical skills required for the study of these subjects. The module introduces the student to the function and its use in modeling the real world. We will explore different types of function and look at the algebraic rules required to manipulate them. Finally we will introduce the Calculus and its use in investigating functions.

Engineering Science (Mandatory)

The aim of this module is to explore the scientific principles that underpin the design and operation of engineering systems. It is a broad-based module, covering both mechanical and electrical principles and it will also provide the basis for further study in specialist areas of engineering.

Hydraulics and Pneumatics (Optional)

The aim of this module is to develop learner’s knowledge and understanding of the applications of fluid-power systems in modern industry. Learners will investigate and design pneumatic, hydraulic, electro-pneumatic and electro-hydraulic systems. There will be opportunity for learner to examine the characteristics of fluid-power components and evaluate work related practices and applications of fluid-power systems.

Programmable Logic Controllers (Optional)

The aim of this module is to enable students to gain an understanding of the programmable logic controller (PLC), the way it interfaces to the system it controls and, where required, to other PLC’s and PC’s and remote stations. It also presents an appreciation of the applications of PLC’s and their associated networks in industry.

Instrumentation and Control (Optional)
Computational and Analytical Methods (Mandatory)

This module builds on the Mathematics taught in the first year of the degree to a wider range of models that allow engineering problems to be solved. IT also introduces the student to typical Engineering standard analysis software that is the modern aids to solving complex design problems.

Engineering Project (Mandatory)

In the vast majority of engineering organisations, projects are undertaken. It is essential for engineers to be able to contribute to overall project performance and for them to do this, it is necessary for them both to understand the basic skills and tools of project management and to be able to apply them.

The objectives of this Unit are to teach learners current project management techniques from initial planning to on-going control and, finally, close-out and then for the learners to apply the knowledge they have gained to an actual project which is both selected and then project managed and implemented by them

Plant Process Principles (Mandatory)

The aim of this module is to investigate a number of engineering principles that underpin the design and operation of plant engineering systems and equipment.This module is designed to broadened the learner’s knowledge, understanding and analytical skills on plant engineering principles to support and enable local and national developments of engineering. This will help devise solutions to resolve day-to-day problems relating to Engineering plant and processes.

Mechanical Principles (Mandatory)

The aim of this module is to investigate and analyse a number of mechanical principles that underpin the design, manufacturing and servicing of engineering products. The mechanical technologist has an important role to play in the ensuring that a product is fit for purpose. This is particular important in the local emerging energy sector where large structures are being built offshore. Engineered structures need to be designed to withstand very harsh conditions experienced in the winter months in the North Sea, require a minimum of maintenance and to remain in use for periods of 25 years or more.

Electrical and electronic Principles (Mandatory)

This module introduces learners to a range of electrical theorem's and develops the learners skills in using them to analyse the performance of a wide range of electrical networks. The module then builds upon these foundations to analyse the performance of typical industrial circuits such as filters and attenuators. The module also builds on earlier learned mathematical techniques to analyse complex waveforms and the transient response of networks.

Skills in Research and Problem Solving (Mandatory)

Degree study at level 5 requires the student to have the ability to research relevant subjects at depth. Furthermore, engineering design project requires problems to be solved and solutions researched. This module allows the student to learn the research skills required for both study at degree level and to problem solve in industry. The module teaches these skills through the research and solving of a given Engineering problem in a team based environment.

Fees and finance


  • Full-time tuition fee: £6,168 p.a.
  • Part-time tuition fee: £771/£1,028 p.a. per 15/20 credits (Please contact the Infozone for further information)

Further Information

  • Detailed information about Tuition Fees.
  • Find out more about Financial Support eligibility.
  • Also see Loans and Grants.
  • At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with your course that you will need to budget for.  See Course Costs.

Entry requirements

Academic Requirements

60 UCAS tariff points (or above), CC (A-Level), MM (BTEC).

Also see How to Apply.

International Requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall (minimum 5.5 in all components) where English is not the students' first language.

Also see International and EU.