This mixed method case study was carried out in the Dublin Institute of Technology, and was conducted with the co-operation of four experienced lecturers of engineering and three groups of first year undergraduate engineering students. The aim of the research was to identify factors which represent barriers to the independent study and learning in these students. Many first year engineering students do not return to college for the second year of their programmes. Many reasons for this are identified in the research, including the failure of students to pass assessments and exams as a result of the lack of independent study and learning. For this research, qualitative interviews were carried out with four experienced lecturers to capture their views and experiences of the study and learning habits of first year students. The data gathered during these interviews, in conjunction with my own personal experiences, and knowledge gathered from the research literature on the subject, served to guide and inform the selection of the questions which were used in a two part student survey. The analysis of the data gathered provides a detailed insight into the barriers identified.