BEng in Precision Engineering and Design (Online)

  • NFQ Level 7
  • Credits 60
  • Course Code N/A
  • Award Ordinary Bachelor Degree Addon
  • Duration 2

Course Summary

Precision engineering (online) is a specialist branch of mechanical engineering which involves the design and manufacture of complex products, machines, tools and instruments, whose parts must be precisely correct in size and shape, have exceptionally tight tolerances and be produced repeatedly to exact specifications. Precision engineering is often defined as having an accuracy of1x106 - that’s one millionth of a metre, or 1 micron. This course is delivered over a two year period. 

Ireland has a substantial industrial presence in tool design & manufacture, medical device manufacture and precision engineering.  There is considerable demand in these industries for graduates in Precision Engineering & Design.  The overall aim of this programme is to provide graduates with the skills needed to pursue a career in precision engineering, tool & product design, toolmaking and in advanced manufacturing industry. The programme addresses design of precision products, tools and machines, CNC programming & machining, metrology, validation, polymer processing, analysis, manufacture and maintenance of precision engineering/mechanical devices and systems. 

The following topics are covered in detail  :  engineering analysis, materials science, project management and quality management techniques.  The programme's focus is on the design of precision products, tools and machines, precision manufacture and the mass production of precision products. Graduates are provided with the practical skills and knowledge required in computer aided design, CNC programming and machining, metrology, and automation technology.  The programme also aims to enhance the leadership and communication skills needed in the workplace and to prepare students for progression onto higher level programmes.


The manufacturing companies that now operate in Ireland typically design and make sophisticated products, almost always in very large quantities and with high level of precision.

This Precision Engineering programme will focus on:

  • Precision Design – product, mould, tool and machine design
  • Computer Aided Manufacture – CNC (Computer Numerical Control) programming & machining
  • Advanced Manufacturing Technologies – automation, polymer processing, materials
  • Metrology – Precision measurement and CMM (Coordinate Measuring Machine)
  • Manufacturing Requirements – validation, quality management, lean manufacturing and project management

The new precision engineering programmes at IT Sligo have been designed to meet 21st century manufacturing requirements and to ensure that graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills now needed in modern manufacturing companies.



Key Course Information

Study Hours: Whether you are studying part-time online, blended or full-time online, it is very important that you allocate enough study time to your online course to stay focused, reduce stress and achieve your goals. In addition to your lectures, for part-time online or blended learning it is recommended you should allow 5-6 hours per week per 5 credit module for your studies. Most online courses typically involve 3 x 5 credit modules per semester which leads to an average 15 – 18 study hours per week. Our online courses have about 3 hours of live lectures per week (but this can vary per programme). The rest of your study time consists of independent learning, communicating with your lecturers and classmates and carrying out assignments.

Live lectures: Normally take place between 6pm and 10pm, Monday to Thursday but this may vary depending on the availability of specific lecturers. If the scheduled times for the live online lectures do not suit you, lectures are recorded and available through Moodle so they can be watched later.

On-Campus Attendance: This is online delivery but some attendance at laboratories and practicals is required.  For each module, the practicals are all carried out on one or two days, often called “practical days”.  You will have to attend about 2 to 4 days per semester for these practical days. You will receive notification of the dates from your lecturer for each specific subject requirement.

Examinations/Assessments: Not all modules have an exam as some of them are 100% continuous assessment. For Examinations, students may have to attend at the ATU campus through which they completed their studies. For some programmes it may be possible for the Exam to be taken remotely via online proctoring. ATU Students resident in the Republic of Ireland will be invited to attend exams at an exam centre located in Ireland. Students’ resident outside of Ireland or with exceptional circumstances may be eligible to attend remotely via online proctoring, where examinations are taken online and supervised virtually, subject to availability.

For further information, please contact:

Admissions Office T: 353 (0) 71 931 8510


Course Coordinator: Connall Doran

Application Closing Date : 16th August 2024

Entry Requirements

1. Holders of Level 6 Higher Certificate in Mechanical Engineering or related discipline.

2. Qualified craftpersons (in toolmaking, fitting and related skills) who have successfully completed the Certificate in Mechanical Analysis & Automation (Special Purpose Award). 

3. Applicants with other qualifications and/or with relevant industrial experience who have successfully completed the RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) process by ATU Sligo and have been deemed to have satisfied the Level 6 learning outcomes for mechanical or precision engineering.  RPL is a process that may allow you to gain admission to a programme or to receive exemptions/ credit for some parts of the programme based on demonstrated learning that you may have achieved through another programme of study or through your work or career. Further information is available which our dedicated RPL portal or by contacting our admissions team at .

Frequently Asked Questions

1. I am qualified as a fitter or toolmaker, fitter or a similar mechanical trade.  Can I do the Level 7 Degree in Precision Engineering & Design?

Before starting this programme, you need to do complete a Level 6 Certificate in Mechanical Analysis and Automation first (one year).  This has five modules in mathematics, engineering mechanics and automation.  It will teach essential material that you would not have learned as part of your trade.  This is material you need to be able to do the subjects in the level 7 degree.  If you pass your exams in the Mechanical Analysis and Automation Certificate, you will be allowed start the level 7 degree.

2. Can I do the degree in one year?

It is not possible to do the degree in one year as all modules are not presented every year.

3. Can I do this programme and the Level 6 Certificate in Mechanical Analysis and Automation at the same time?

This is not possible as a completed level 6 certificate is required to begin the programme. 

4. I have been working as a production/machine/CNC operator (or similar).  Can I access the programme?

If you have at least three years’ experience working in a technician type role, you can access the programme AFTER completing the Level 6 Certificate in Mechanical Analysis and Automation first (one year).

I have a Level 6 Higher Certificate in Mechanical/Precision Engineering.  Do I qualify?

Yes.  Applicants with other Level 6 Higher Certificates in Mechanical/Precision or similar engineering will be considered individually.

I have not done the Level 6 Certificate in Mechanical Analysis and Automation but I have a different Level 6 certificate, do I qualify?

This depends on the exact modules covered.  If your certificate is sufficiently similar, you may qualify, especially if considered with industrial experience.  An example is a certificate in a mechanical/mechatronic/electronics/automation field.  Each applicant is different here and applicants are considered individually.  Certificates in other areas, e.g., science, pharmaceutical would generally not be suitable.  

Career Opportunities

Graduates will be employed in design, manufacturing, project management, CNC programming, metrology, validation and procurement roles in high-performance, advanced manufacturing and precision engineering companies.

According to Enterprise Ireland (2010), the Precision Engineering sector is “largely made up of companies manufacturing a very broad range of precision sub-components for large multinational manufacturers. A number of niche product manufacturers have been highly successful; there is a strong innovative mindset in this sub-sector with a significant number of the companies in precision engineering also developing their own products and product ranges.” 

Referring to the plastics and toolmaking sector, Ireland “has a strong plastics and tooling industry centred around medical devices and healthcare products, and high-value niche product manufacture”.

According to the Enterprise Europe Network (2010), the Medical Devices Sector in Ireland is involved in developing, manufacturing and marketing a large range of products.  The Irish Medical Device Association (Irish Medtech Association Statement of Strategy 2016-2020) states that Ireland’s medtech sector employs over 29,000 people across 450 companies.

Further Study

A Level 8 degree in Precision Engineering & Design is not yet available but is at a development stage.

You will be qualified to continue onto currently available full-time degrees in Precision Engineering & Design.  You may, subject to individual assessment, be qualified for entry to the Level 8 add-on degrees BEng (Hons) in Polymer Processing (Online) and BEng (Hons) in Mechatronics (Online).


Comments about the programme from previous students : 

“An excellent course for any qualified toolmaker to use to unskilled and develop extra skills and knowledge”

“Online lecturers are very open to support and conversation with students any time of the day. They will work around students schedule to find a work/life balance that covers course content”

“I enjoyed the course and found it interesting”

Programme Fees

Academic Year 2023/24 Fees


Total Programme Fees:


Fees per annum:



Funding Opportunities

Next Level Skillnet funding may be available to successful applicants who fulfil eligibility criteria. Please email Sue Davies in Next Level Skillnet to find out more information:


To help make the payment of fees more manageable for students who are self-funding their studies, tuition fees can be paid through payment instalment plans at ATU Sligo. For further information on instalment plans, please visit our Fees and Funding webpage

If you apply and are approved for an online course at ATU Sligo, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of €250 to secure your place. Your deposit will then be credited against the course fees once you are registered as a student. Students at ATU Sligo are also eligible to claim tax relief at the standard rate for tuition fees.

For further information and guidance about Fees and Funding for online and part-time courses at ATU Sligo, click here.

If you are seeking to take your exams online, and you meet the eligibility criteria (overseas students and those with extenuating circumstances), an additional examinations fee will apply. For further information, please visit our Examinations webpage

Course Format

The following modules may be presented in any semester during the first and second years of the course, with the exception of Integrated Project (presented in the second year of the programme). Not all modules are presented each semester. Students will do 2-4 modules each semester. Mathematics 3, Mechanics/Dynamics 301 and Integrated Project run over 2 semesters.      
Title Credits
Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM/CNC) 301 05
Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM/CNC) 302 05
CIM & Robotics 300 05
Machine Design 05
Computer Aided Design 301 05
Mould Design and Polymer Processing 05
Materials Testing & Metrology 05
Mechanics/Dynamics 301 05
Mathematics 3 05
Essential Lean Six Sigma and Validation 05
Integrated Project and Project Management 10