Study Mechanical Engineering, why & how to study
Mechanical engineering is at the forefront of developing new technologies for many industries including transport, healthcare, construction and robotics.
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Mechanical Engineering is the discipline that applies the principles of engineering to the design, analysis, manufacturing, and maintenance of machines and mechanical production techniques.
MechEng is the branch of engineering education that's been around the longest. Nowadays, alongside the traditional practical application of techniques, much is based on computer simulations.
Undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering include:
- Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering BEng
- Mechanical Engineering with a year abroad MEng
- Mechanical Engineering with Business Finance MEng
- Mechanical Engineering with Sustainable Energy MEng
Options may include an integrated foundation year or master's, industrial placement year, or a year abroad.
Most undergraduate Mechanical Engineering courses ask for 96–160 UCAS points. Not every university will base their offer on UCAS points and some courses may have lower or higher requirements. Qualifications may include:
- A Levels: A*AAA–CCD
- BTECs: D*D*D*–MMM
- Scottish Highers: AAAAA–BBBC (Advanced Highers: AAA–AB)
- International Baccalaureate: 40–26
- Universities will usually ask that you have studied: maths and a science (often physics) at A Level, or equivalent
Other good subjects to have studied include:
- Technology-based subjects
- General studies and critical thinking A Levels may not be accepted
Experience that would look good on your application:
- Work experience or shadowing in an engineering or fabrication company
- Taking part in competitions or challenges to stretch your problem-solving abilities
- Further research on topics of interest in engineering journals, TED talks, podcasts or online courses/MOOCs
- If eligible, STEM summer schools such as with the Sutton Trust or UNIQ
Other requirements for this subject include:
- Pass in the practical element of science taken at A Level
- Interview and entry assessments may be required by some universities
Typical modules for courses in this subject include:
- Design and manufacture
- Electrical and information engineering
- Engineering mathematics
- Heat transfer
- Stress analysis
- Structures, materials and dynamics
- Thermodynamics and fluid mechanics
Assessments are usually carried out by a mixture of the following, and will vary from module to module:
- Computer exercises
- Presentations, oral and poster
- Project work
- Technical reports
A Mechanical Engineering degree allows you to branch out and explore options – your degree could lead you into aerospace engineering, engine design, robotics, manufacturing or even theme park ride design.
- Knowledge that crosses boundaries with engineering branches such as electrical and structures
- Understanding processes like thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and material properties
- Design, development, testing, commissioning and maintenance of a wide range of systems
- Drafting and use of computer applications
- Creative problem solving
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Decision making
- Innovative thinking
- Numeracy and data handling
- Project management
- Degrees may be accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
- May include registration as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng), and partial registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng)
Mechanical Engineering graduates can expect an entry-level salary of around £18,000–£28,000.
Mid-career, your pay is likely to depend on the sector you work in. For those in rail engineering, an average income might be £46,500, while those in the energy, nuclear and renewables sector could earn an average of £59,000. Chartered Engineers, managers and project managers command higher salaries.
A degree in Mechanical Engineering is highly vocational, usually leading to work as an engineer in fields such as aerospace, civil contracting, controls and instruments, maintenance, and mechanisms. However, your knowledge could be applied to more diverse roles, including management, banking or patents.
- Business manager
- Consultant engineer
- Design engineer
- Intellectual property lawyer
- Maintenance engineer
- Manufacturing test engineer
- Project engineer
- Technical writer
- Vehicle engineering manager
Postgraduate courses for those with a related degree include taught master’s and research degrees:
- Advanced Mechanical Engineering MSc
- Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering PhD
- Acoustical and Vibration Engineering MSc
- Railway Engineering with Project Management MScEng
Other subject areas that might appeal to you include:
- Aeronautical & Aerospace Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Electrical & Electronic Engineering
- General Engineering
- Manufacturing & Production Engineering
- Materials Technology
- Medical Technology & Bioengineering
Get in touch with our experts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your question about studying Mechanical Engineering. We’ll be happy to hear from you!