Customising Best Practice In Studies Advice For Undergraduate Engineering Students

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The attrition rates from undergraduate engineering programmes in the UK remains stubbornly high, despite the best efforts of course teams to engage and support students on their learning journeys. It is generally accepted that there is no single reason for attrition rates from engineering programmes being higher than from other vocational-type university programmes, but many academics believe that an effective Studies Advice system that works for students and staff, could lead to reduced numbers of disengaging and/or failing students. Much has been written on effective approaches to the provision of Studies Advice at University, but it is not clear if the implementation of discipline specific approaches would yield better outcomes. This practice paper describes work that is currently underway at Ulster University to examine engineering students’ perspectives on the Studies Advice approach and to explore how best practice in the university sector might be effectively customised for engineering students. The work describes an initial scoping study, a co-creation exercise with students to establish their baseline understanding of the current system and their ‘wish-list’, and a follow-up focus group session where a number of discipline-specific interventions were explored. Preliminary findings indicate that professional support departments could be more effectively integrated with academic support to provide a wrap-around or ‘single contact point’ for Studies Advice, that formal organised studies advice sessions should be explicit on programme schedules and that an informal ‘buddy or mentor’ student-to-student support system would be beneficial in addressing the UK engineering student attrition issue.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 9 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 SEFI 2023 - 51st Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education: Engineering Education for Sustainability, Proceedings. All Rights Reserved.


  • Advising, Tutoring and Mentoring
  • Engineering Education
  • Student Engagement
  • Studies Advice
  • Tailored Support


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