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Precision Engineering - Higher Certificate

Course Code: US287




2 Years


Mechanical & Automobile Engineering

CAO Points


Course Type

Direct Entry



Precision Engineering is the manufacture of parts and assemblies of part with high tolerances to specific dimension utilising highly accurate machines. This Level 6 higher certificate in Precision Engineering has been designed with industry to respond to the needs of the Precision Engineering industry for skilled, knowledgeable and competent technicians and engineers.

At the core of this programme is the Industry need to have graduates capable of becoming highly trained and educated CNC programmers, machine setters and operators in world class manufacturing industries. This is a workshop/lab based programme with hands-on experience on state-of-the-art CNC machines, CAM software and metrology equipment. Students will learn the theory, maths and science aspects of engineering to support their practical work. Students will work as individuals and in groups on a variety of industrial standard engineering projects.

This programme can be completed in two years full time. First year of the programme is offered on a full time basis but second year may be taken either full time or part-time by taking two years to complete one academic year while working part-time. Programme graduates will work as highly skilled technicians in world class manufacturing environments and will be highly skilled in areas of CNC machining, CAD/CAM, and metrology. Students will be able to progress to the Level 7 add-on Precision Engineering programme within TUS or other programmes in a similar cognate area. 

What are the entry requirements?

Applicants must have 5 O6/H7 grades or higher at Ordinary Level in 5 Leaving Certificate subjects. Two of these subjects must include Mathematics and a Language (English or Irish).

Applicants presenting QQI FET/FETAC qualifications must hold a Full Level 5 Award totalling 120 Credits. 

Applicants presenting qualifications other than those mentioned above will be assessed on an individual basis. 

Mature Applicants (i.e. over 23) are exempt from the normal entry requirements. 

Who can I contact?

What modules will I study?

  • Year 1

    Title: Engineering Computing

    Credits: 5

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    This module introduces the learner to 'Microsoft Office 2016' computing applications including MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint, MS Access and MS Project. Learners will start with basic applications and then progress through to an advanced level. The learner will develop a knowledge of how to apply the software to useful engineering applications such as formal report writing (laboratory), charting engineering data, producing equations and creating a technical database.

    Students will be assessed on their learning by a variety of strategies including Continuous Assessment, Project and Course Work, Examinations and Moodle based assignments. Continuous assessment is worth 40%, Christmas exam is worth 20% and the final exam is worth 40%.

    Title: Engineering Technology

    Credits: 15

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    The aim of this module is to develop an understanding and a working knowledge of the engineering technology and materials used in industry.

    Title: Introduction to CNC Programming and Operation

    Credits: 10

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    This module will introduce the learner to Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) technology and machining processes and operations. The emphasis of this modules is mainly focused on CNC programming, setting, and operation. The learner will be required to create part programmes using ISO G and M codes and conversational programming techniques on CNC milling machines and CNC Lathes. Tool setup, work setting and safe operation of the machines is fundamental to the production of components and the learners will be actively using CNC machines to realise their programmes.

    The principles of part programming are introduced and its relationship to precision machining processes is confirmed through practical coursework. The learner will engage in problem-solving skills by determining machining strategies through the selection of appropriate ISO limits and fits for specified machined components and implementing best practice to produce these components. The appropriate measurement methods and instruments which can be used for linear and angular measurements and geometrical parameters including surface finish, squareness, parallelism, roundness etc.

    All elements of the module are predicated upon safety and ethical considerations. This module is structured to provide a balance of theoretical and practical experience through classroom, metrology laboratory and workshop environments, which combined will greatly enhance the problem solving skills of the learner.

    Title: Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Maths

    Credits: 10

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    Develop a recognition of the basics of engineering mathematics and use them to solve practical engineering problems.

    Title: Mechanical CAD and Design

    Credits: 10

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    Engineering Drawing is an essential communication technique for those involved in Engineering, the aim of this module is to give the student a comprehensive introduction to the standards used in the preparation of Engineering drawings. Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems are now the typical means by which Engineering drawings are produced, students will use 2D and 3D CAD software to prepare a portfolio of their work.

    Title: Mechanical Engineering Science

    Credits: 10

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    To develop an understanding of the basic laws of physics and their application to engineering.

  • Year 2

    Title: CAD & Design

    Credits: 5

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    The use of computer aided design (CAD) systems in industry has become an essential part of the modern working environment. It is used at all stages of the design period, from conceptualisation and production of working drawings to the production of virtual reality images, prototypes, and final products. This unit aims to further candidates understanding of the CAD Parametric Modelling environment, in terms of hardware, software and physical surroundings, and the concepts of mechanical engineering design that accompany this environment. It will explore the typical composition of a CAD Parametric Modelling systems and Health and Safety matters that are associated with safe working practices.

    Title: CNC Programming (CAM), Setting and Operation

    Credits: 10

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    The aim of this module is to advance the CNC knowledge and skills of the learner who already has an introductory knowledge of manually programing CNC machines. Through the introduction of Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software, the learner will develop a greater depth knowledge in current CNC tooling technology and quality standards, analyse tooling usage, speeds, feeds, operation sequencing and machining strategies for greater machining efficiency. The learner will use industrial standard CAM software to program for manufacture, as well as set-up, and operate CNC mills and lathes to manufacture components typical to that produced in the precision engineering industry.

    Title: Engineering Technology and Maintenance

    Credits: 15

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    This module in Engineering Technology and Maintenance introduces the learner to advanced technologies, procedures and techniques as used by the modern mechanical or manufacturing engineer. The module has four main elements including metrology, material science, manufacturing processes and maintenance. All four elements are predicated upon safety and ethical considerations as required by a code of good practice.

    The workshop content forms a very important element of this module and the material given in the lecture is positively reinforced in the workshop setting. Learners will utilise practical workshop activities to create parts, assemblies and projects to industry standards. The use of metrology laboratory work create the opportunity of the student to self-assess the quality of their work. This learning is supported through the linking of lectures to this coursework, assessments and development of problem based learning and experiential learning.

    Title: Industrial Machine Mechanics - Statics and Dynamics

    Credits: 10

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    The aim of this module is to develop a knowledge of the fundamental principles of machine mechanics and dynamics of industrial machinery, to the learner who already has an introduction to engineering science. Knowledge gained from this module will provide the learner with the analytical capability to solve practical and relevant industrial mechanical engineering problems.

    As part of this module the learner will apply the principles of mechanics to construct and solve mathematical models which describe the effects of force and motion on a variety of structures and machines that are of concern to engineers in the manufacturing industry. The methodical approach to machine mechanics will develop the learner’s ability to carry out coursework through logical thinking and effective communication and represent work in a clear, logical and concise manner; all of these skills are important to engineers in the precision industry.

    Title: Mech Eng Maths & Programming

    Credits: 10

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    Strengthen the knowledge of mathematical fundamentals with the aim of solving more complex practical Engineering problems. Developing programming, debugging and engineering computation skills using software such as Visual Basic in Excel.

    Title: Six Sigma and Metrology

    Credits: 10

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    This module is an introduction to the principles of six sigma and metrology standards to the learner with no prior engineering experience. The principles of geometric tolerancing, gauge repeatability and reproducibility are introduced and its relationship to precision machining processes is confirmed through practical coursework. The learner will use appropriate measurement methods and instruments for linear and angular measurements and geometrical parameters including surface finish, squareness, parallelism, roundness etc.

Are there opportunities for further study?

Students who successfully complete this level 6 programme will be able to progress to the Level 7 Bachelor of Engineering in Precision Engineering, subject to availability of spaces.

What are the career prospects?

Graduates will typically be employed in one of the following roles: 

  • Precision engineering technician in a world class machining environment 
  • CAD/CAM Technician/programmer in design and interpreting technical drawings. 
  • CNC machinist, programmer and setter for both milling and turning on 3, 4 and 5 axis machine tools. 
  • CMM programmer and operator, Six sigma and Statistical process control 
  • Driving process improvements/capacity increases through new technology/equipment introductions. 
  • Equipment test engineer/technician in a variety of technological role. 
  • Process technician in the medical device, human implant, and Life Sciences Industries 

More Information

A person who has completed this programme will be able to: 

  • Create CNC programme using manual G-coding and CAM 
  • Create 3D models of components using CAD 
  • Manufacture precision components and assemblies using world class equipment 
  • Interpret engineering drawings and carry out model based inspection of components 
  • Measure components accurately and compare with drawings 
  • Drive process improvements/capacity increases through new technology / equipment selection and specification. 
  • Work with engineers and designers to manufacture components to the highest standards.