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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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Engineering student Eva Blessing Onyeulo in the mechatronics laboratory at Middlesex University, one of the institutions which will run an engineering conversion course.

These will allow those who have undertaken previous study in other subjects to transition to careers in these areas. The new courses which will start in 2016-17 will train a total of up to 1,500 students in the first two years of delivery. The announcement coincides with British Science Week, the annual celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths. 

Demand for graduates in engineering, data science, cybersecurity, and software engineering is growing in the economy. Providing graduates in other subjects with the opportunity to study and work in these areas will allow them to develop their careers, and increase the supply of skilled practitioners. 

The courses will provide a range of opportunities for graduates across England to convert to these subjects, while undertaking study delivered in a variety of different models. 

Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said:  

‘Professional engineers and their skills are required throughout the economy, in a wide range of industries and in a variety of roles. It is widely accepted that it would benefit the economy to increase the supply of engineers. Engineering businesses face challenges in recruiting new engineers as new roles are created and the existing workforce retires. In addition, there is ever growing demand for those trained in data science, cybersecurity, and software engineering. By supporting innovative course developments in universities and colleges, these awards will open up careers in these areas to a wider range of graduates, benefiting both students and employers in key sectors such as manufacturing, food and agri-tech, data science, and energy.’ 

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: 

‘Scientists, engineers and mathematicians are all vital to driving innovation, and fuelling economic growth. This investment will help over 1,500 graduates to retrain in these crucial STEM subjects, and is part of our commitment to people waiting to gain new skills at all stages in life. These courses will open up a rewarding career in exciting industries, and provide much needed skills to UK businesses.’ 

Evaluation of the scheme and the funded courses will take place over the next year while the courses are being delivered, and key lessons will be shared with the sector. 

STEM reviews

This scheme complements two reviews investigating employment outcomes for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates. These reviews were commissioned by the Government following the release of its Science and Innovation Strategy, and are due to report in due course.

While one of the reviews is looking in more depth at the outcomes of graduates from computer sciences, the other will consider employment outcomes for the rest of STEM. The evaluation from the engineering conversion programme will therefore help to inform any actions arising from these two reviews. 

The following universities will receive funding to develop courses: 

Institution Name


Anglia Ruskin University

MSc Additive and Hybrid Manufacturing

Aston University

MSc Computer Science

Birkbeck, University of London

MSc Data Science

University of Chester

MSc Cybersecurity

Coventry University

MSc Industrial Automation and Digital Technology

University of Derby

MSc Advanced Materials and Additive Manufacturing Engineering

University of Exeter

MSc Civil Engineering; MSc Water Engineering; MSc Structural Engineering ('with management' variations of these three)

University of Greenwich

MSc Cyber Security Engineering

Harper Adams University

MSc Automotive Engineering (Off Highway); MSc Agricultural Engineering (Mobile Machinery)

University of Hertfordshire

Single Award in General Engineering Transition Masters MSc (with options – Mechanical, Aero, Auto and Electronic and Electrical)

University of Hull, working with Grimsby Institute, North Lindsey College, and Selby College.

MSc Energy Technologies: Electronic Engineering; MSc Energy Technologies: Mechanical Engineering; MSc Energy Technologies: Chemical Engineering

Keele University

MSc Engineering Design

University of Kent, working with University of Bath

MSc Embedded Communications Engineering; MSc Integrated Circuit Design Engineering

Manchester Metropolitan University

MSc Rail Engineering; MSc Automotive Engineering; MSc Nuclear Engineering

Middlesex University

MSc Mechatronic Systems Engineering

University of Portsmouth

MSc Medical Technology

Queen Mary, University of London

MSc Biomedical Engineering; MSc Electrical and Electronic Engineering; MSc Sustainable Energy Engineering; MSc Big Data Science

University of Salford

MSc Data Science (conversion)

University of Sheffield

MSc Data Analytics; MSc Advanced Materials Manufacturing; MSc Advanced Control and Systems Engineering

Sheffield Hallam University

MSc Mechanical Engineering; MSc Electrical and Electronic Engineering

University of Southampton

Data science conversion courses for subjects that do not have a computing background, piloting in Chemistry; Physics; Management; and Health Sciences

Southampton Solent University

MSc Computer Engineering; MSc Data Analytics Engineering; MSc Cyber Security Engineering

Staffordshire University

MSc Mechanical Engineering; MSc Electrical Engineering

University of Sunderland

MSc Manufacturing Engineering

University of Sussex

MSc Robotics and Autonomous Systems (with industrial placement option)

Teesside University, working with Sheffield Hallam University

MSc Food Processing Engineering

University of the West of England, Bristol

MSc Building Services Engineering 'Professional Alignment' Award

University of Westminster

MSc Electrical Engineering for Modern Sustainable Transport Systems; Higher Apprenticeship Electrical Engineering for Modern Sustainable Transport Systems


  1. After signalling this intention in the December 2014 Science and Innovation Strategy, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills made funding available in January 2015 to develop of a number of engineering conversion courses in England during the following two years. Additional funding was made available by the Digital Economy Unit at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to develop a number of computer science conversion courses, in particular those focussing on data science, cyber security, and software engineering. The engineering conversion course pilot scheme and its computer science stream of funding were developed alongside the Shadbolt and Wakeham reviews of science, technology, engineering and mathematics provision.