Combining principles of engineering, physics and materials science, mechanical engineering is a broad discipline. As a mechanical engineer, you can expect to be involved in the design, manufacturing and maintenance of mechanical systems. These systems can range from vehicles, industrial machinery to robotics.
Highlighted courses and degrees in Mechanical Engineering
During an undergraduate degree, you will be given a foundation knowledge in mechanical engineering, with many opportunities to develop your understanding. You will study modules such as thermodynamics, mechanics, dynamics and electronics. You may also be required to work with computer aided design (CAD) systems, as well as familiarising yourself with project development and management.
Your degree will be delivered in a mixture of modes. These will include lectures and seminars, as well as practical projects. You may also be able to participate in a work industry placement, as well as group project work.
Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. This specialisation may help you to decide which sector you would like to work within. Common specialisations include:
If your degree requires you to write a dissertation or participate in a major project in your final year, this will give you a chance to further explore a favoured are of mechanical engineering.
The accreditation awarded at the end of your degree will depend on where you choose to study, as well as your specific course. Different countries sometimes have their own accreditation systems. Typically, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Science (BSc), or a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng).
To work as a mechanical engineer, you will need to become accredited. Some degree courses in the UK are accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), on behalf of the Engineering Council. By studying for a degree that is already accredited, you will getting a headstart on becoming a chartered engineer.
Typically, an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering will take three to four years. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years when studied full-time.
On successful completion of your undergraduate degree, you can choose to either seek employment in your chosen area, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could come in the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate.
The entry requirements for a mechanical engineering degree will depend on where you choose to study. Requirements can vary greatly at each institution. Some universities may require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Some universities may prefer you to have studied certain subjects, and others may consider previous relevant work experience.
You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their mechanical engineering programmes.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they will differ from institution to institution. You should make sure that you are aware of how much your course will cost you.
You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.
As well as working directly within mechanical engineering, the wide range of transferable skills will mean that there are many career opportunities available to you. You will have skills in problem solving, computer literacy and project management. The most popular sectors for mechanical engineering graduates are aerospace engineering, automotive engineering, power generation and oil engineering.
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