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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.

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


  1. What’s Mechanical Engineering?

  2. What Mechanical Engineering degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Mechanical Engineering degree?

  4. What topics does a Mechanical Engineering degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Mechanical Engineering?

  7. What do Mechanical Engineering graduates earn?

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

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Mechanical Engineering

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Mechanical Engineering?

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.

What Mechanical Engineering degrees can you study?

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.

What do you need to get onto a Mechanical Engineering degree?

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

What topics does a Mechanical Engineering degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Design and manufacture
  • Electrical and information engineering
  • Engineering mathematics
  • Heat transfer
  • Mechatronics
  • Stress analysis
  • Structures, materials and dynamics
  • Thermodynamics and fluid mechanics

How will you be assessed?

Assessments are usually carried out by a mixture of the following, and will vary from module to module:

  • Computer exercises
  • Essays
  • Exams
  • Presentations, oral and poster
  • Project work
  • Technical reports

Why study Mechanical Engineering?

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.

Career-specific skills:

  • 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

Transferable skills:

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creative problem solving
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Decision making
  • Innovative thinking
  • Numeracy and data handling
  • Project management

Professional accreditation:

  • 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)

What do Mechanical Engineering graduates earn?

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.

What jobs can you get as a Mechanical Engineering graduate?

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

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

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

Similar subjects to Mechanical Engineering

Other subject areas that might appeal to you include:

Have any questions?

Get in touch with our experts by emailing with your question about studying Mechanical Engineering. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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