Factors affecting transition to second year of an engineering degree

Jonathan Cole, Daniel Thompson, Patrick Boyd

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Much research has focused on students’ transition from secondary school to university. Less is known about the transition from first to second year of a university degree programme. Given the difficulties that many students face at this stage of their education, research into the relevant factors is required. Through questionnaires and focus groups, views of second- and third-year aerospace and mechanical engineering students in our university have been gathered. A large majority believed that both the volume and difficulty of work increased in second year. Many stated that first year was slightly too trivial and could have been made more challenging to prepare them better for second year. Different teaching and assessment styles in second year were considered to affect attendance and performance. The survey revealed that students were generally very well settled into university life by the end of first year and were happy with their choice of course and only 23% reported that financial responsibilities have had a negative effect on their academic performance. Differences were observed between male and female students. Male students believed that transition was helped by having regular assessments and by worked examples in lectures. Females found the teaching staff were the most helpful factor for a successful transition. The results indicate that males require more structure and guidance whereas females are more independent and settle in better.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium of Engineering Education
EditorsPlaton Kapranos
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
EventISEE 2016: Interdisciplinary Engineering - Breaking Boundaries - University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Jul 201615 Jul 2016


ConferenceISEE 2016
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • transition
  • second year
  • engineering
  • student interviews

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Factors affecting transition to second year of an engineering degree'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this