Overview: Course

Engineering focuses on developing students’ understanding of, and skills in, the applications and impact of technologies in the world around them. This will be achieved through three interconnected contextual strands: Processes and principles, Design application and Mechatronics.

Strand 1: Processes and principles  

In this strand, students will learn about and employ the fundamental processes and principles of engineering. Students will apply their knowledge of materials and equipment to design and manufacture products.

Students will be encouraged to use the engineering principles and processes, together with accuracy and precision, to help develop an engineering ‘mindset’ which ultimately leads to the production of innovative and efficient solutions of high quality and finish.

Strand 2: Design application  

In this strand, students will learn about the key stages of the engineering design process. They will understand the importance of design in both the end-user experience and the economic and social impact of the product.
They will discover how informed choice of materials and processes combine to produce a solution that is functional and efficient. Students will learn the value of good project management and how to manage themselves and the product development through the journey from the design to the manufacture stage.

Strand 3: Mechatronics  

In this strand, students will use a combination of mechanical, manufacturing, electronic and software engineering to explore the relationship between simple inputs, processes and outputs. Mechatronics engages students in learning how high-tech manufacturing is performed and why it is becoming one of the fastest-growing career areas. Students will develop an appreciation of how control systems operate on a much larger scale and consider how the design of control systems can impact positively on the environment and sustainability. They will appreciate the role that Engineering can play in employing ‘systems thinking’ to design products and services that contribute to a better future.

Throughout each of the strands, the use of four elements: Engineering knowledge and awareness, Innovation and exploration, Developing and manufacturing and Communicating creates a framework for learning that ensures a coherent learning experience for the students.

Element 1: Engineering knowledge and awareness  

The learning outcomes in this element are designed to raise student awareness and develop knowledge of relevant engineering principles and developments. Students will learn how to use the materials and equipment available to them in Engineering to inform their decisions about material and resource selection to engineer a product or solution.

Element 2: Innovation and exploration  

In this element, the learning outcomes encourage students to explore the applications of engineering in the world around them. Students research existing and emerging developments and gain an appreciation of their impact and potential application to an engineered product.

Element 3: Developing and manufacturing  

In this element, the learning outcomes develop the student’s abilities to produce products and solutions through various materials. Students combine their learning from other elements to engineer products to a high, functional standard. The key focus is on efficiency, accuracy, precision and high-quality finish.

Element 4: Communicating  

Throughout this element, the learning outcomes encourage students to communicate, through appropriate media, to relay technical information, design ideas and the impact engineering has on the environment around them.

Engineering uses an interdisciplinary approach which encourages the integration of the three strands in the teaching and learning of the subject. It has been designed for a minimum of 200 hours of timetabled student engagement across the three years of junior cycle.


This specification aims to maintain a balance between depth and breadth in the study of the subject. This affords a certain amount of flexibility and freedom for teachers to facilitate learning in a way that reflects students’ own choices, their curiosity and their creativity. The achievement of learning outcomes should be planned in a way that is active and stimulating.