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The Engineering programmes are busy and you would spend up to 35 hours a week on the Glasnevin campus, Monday - Friday. I think it is worth mentioning that this is a mix of lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions and project sessions (particularly in 4th year).
All of our Engineering courses have a six month work placement. This happens in the third year at the end of a shortened second semester. This constitutes an important part of the programme of study and typically last 6 to 7 months. You can see more about work placeents here on the course pages
No, you won't be at any disadvantage at all. Any skills from the leaving cert engineering course that are required will be covered in first year.
The maths in first year builds on leaving cert higher level maths and then more advanced topics are covered in subsequent years. That's said, you will have degree options available to you with different levels of maths content, so you can choose whatever suits you best.
Mechatronic engineering is a mix of Mechanical and Electronic Engineering (roughly about 25 hours course hours per week). This allows the engineer to design and select parts from both fields and integrate them into devices and systems. A simple example is a washing machine. A mechanical engineer would be interested in the design of the parts that make up the machine. The drum (what size, shape, materials and manufacturing processes should be used). The mechatronics engineer might look at the speed the drum should rotate at and how to control and vary this speed. They may also be interested in the different wash cycles and how to control the level of water in the drum, the temperature of the water and how long the cycle runs for. Each of the above are controlled by sensors and a mechatronics engineer would have a good knowledge of how these sensors work and how to integrate them into a system.
So far to date there have been places available for everyone who wish to change. However, If you know you are interested in Biomedical Engineering you should apply for Biomedical. After the first year if it is not for you, you can discuss changing course.
Bio-medical Engineering will give you an excellent understanding of these devices. You will study how they are made, what materials to use, how to programme them and how they improve a patients life. This is a very exciting rapidly expanding area and Ireland has lots of multi-national companies working in this space. Lots of our Bio-medical students get a 3rd year placement with Bio-medical companies.
Enterprise computing focusses on how computers are used in business. There is some programming, but less than the Computer applications course which is more technical.
The students can work at anything from business analysis to programming. The enterprise computing students learn about many different aspects of technology and can decide what they would like to when they graduate.
Computer Application is more software / hardware development focused rather than design focused, in answer to your question you do not require any experience in CAD or programming, as all first year modules are taught at an introductionary level.
Unfortunately we don't offer an extra Maths exam if you don't get the entry requirments of a HC3 Maths or HC3 Applied Maths with HD2 Maths. All engineering course requirements can be found here.