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Guide to studying Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is at the forefront of developing new technologies for many industries including transport, healthcare, construction and robotics.

Engineer using tablet to check and control automation robot arms machine.

CONTENTS

  1. What's Mechanical Engineering?

  2. Why study Mechanical Engineering?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Mechanical Engineering graduate?

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical Engineering is the discipline that applies the principles of engineering into the design, analysis, manufacturing, and maintenance of machines and mechanical production techniques.

MechEng is the branch of engineering education that's been around for the longest period of time. Nowadays, alongside the traditional practical application of techniques, much is based on computer simulations.

Why study Mechanical Engineering?

A Mechanical Engineering student gains a very wide set of skills. Computer applications, electricity, structures, mathematics, physics, drafting – basically knowledge of nearly every other type of engineering.

It's considered to be one of the most challenging undergraduate degree courses available. Once you've pushed through the core curricula, you'll prove yourself capable of most professional challenges.

In later years of the degree, MechEng allows for a lot of branching out and option exploration. Some go into aerospace engineering, engine design, robotics, manufacturing or even theme park ride design.

In a notoriously tough graduate job market, it’s fair to say degree-level engineers have an edge. Engineers build societies, and mechanical engineers specifically apply fundamental maths and physics laws to create and build mechanical devices we use every day.

The vast majority of mechanical engineers end up in professional-level employment or postgraduate study within six months of graduating.

Mechanical engineers have a working knowledge of computer applications, electricity, structures, mathematics, and physics, plus they’re required to have some understanding of social, environmental, and economic factors.

Pursue a dual honours degree in order to combine an engineering education with another subject you’re interested in.

What jobs can you get as a Mechanical Engineering graduate?

Mechanical Engineering has the obvious focus of setting graduates up for life as an engineer, but there are other options available for those who'd prefer a job on the administrative side.

Particular job areas include as an engineer in aerospace, civil contracting, controls and instruments, maintenance and of course mechanisms. Banking, patents and management are also pathways.

Several professional organisations offer specialised positions for Mechanical Engineering graduates, such as Capita.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Mechanical Engineering have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Mechanical Engineering students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need?

Mechanical Engineering often requires high grades for entry. Always check the entry requirements for the particular university or college course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • MEng Mechanical Engineering
  • MEng Mechanical Engineering with a year abroad
  • MEng Mechanical Engineering with Management
  • MEng Mechanical Engineering with Sustainable Energy

How will you be assessed?

Teaching methods for most courses include lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory sessions backed up by design classes and practical workshops.

Assessment methods are usually split between exams and continuous assessment, such as reports, computer exercises, laboratories and essays.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

There's an exciting range of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level.

Examples include an MSc in Engineering Management, Operations Management, Project Management, and Advanced Mechanical Engineering. A straight MSc in MechEng is also available.

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