Engineering, as an academic discipline is varied and broad, catering both for students
with a very general engineering interest and those who wish to specialise in a particular
field. An engineering degree can be beneficial when looking to pursue a career in
the industry and can lead onto becoming Chartered. If you would like to know more
about studying engineering at university please select from the questions below.
If your questions are not answered on this page feel free to contact us.
Engineering is not just a career; it supports the whole of society. Our life is
defined by rapid developments in technology such as the mobile phone, car and engine
development, nanotechnology, satellite communications, high-speed trains and innovative
structures – all designed, developed and implemented by engineers.
To be a successful engineer you will require an education with a broad, multi discipline
background. Engineers, with highly specialist knowledge, will frequently combine
with engineers from many other disciplines within large teams to successfully implement
Those interested in studying an undergraduate engineering degree should consider
some general points concerning the best undergraduate engineering programs available
from our universities.
An undergraduate engineering degree can literally open up a whole world of opportunity.
The demand for qualified engineering professionals, according to a recent UK Government
report, is set to increase over the next ten years, driven by the never ceasing
demands of new technologies and the end-user.
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If you are considering an engineering degree then you should consider a number of
What kind of qualification do you want to achieve?
If you are sure that you want to become an engineer of one kind or another, make
sure the program that you are most interested in is recognized but the relevant
professional body, such as the Institute of Electrical Engineers.
What kind of graduate program are you looking for?
It is now common amongst international engineering programs not simply to offer
a bachelors degree, but an integrated graduate program where an additional year
immediately turns the undergraduate degree into a Masters qualification - these
are often referred to as MEng degree programs.
Are you unsure of the kind of engineering you wish to specialise in?
Many universities offer general engineering programs for the first two years of
a bachelors degree, allowing students the opportunity to experience the different
specialisms before having to opt for one to complete their degree.
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Postgraduate courses can be either taught or research, although some courses may
contain aspects of both.
Taught courses - Similar structure to undergraduate degree, may also include a practical
or research project, a dissertation or a placement, Usual duration 9-12 months full-time
or 2-3 years part-time.
Postgraduate Diploma - Generally 9 months full time (often September - June). Can
provide a professional qualification needed for a particular career. Sometimes forms
the initial part of a taught Masters degree. Largely considered to be less academic
than a Masters degree.
Taught Masters - Entry: a good undergraduate degree (not always necessarily in the
same subject). 1-2 years full time/2-3 years part time. Usually involves fixed curriculum
of lectures/seminars/tutorials, oral and project work, some research, a dissertation/thesis
(usually 10,000 - 20,000 words) and exam/s. Sometimes optional to omit dissertation/thesis
and obtain a Postgraduate Diploma.
Research courses - 1-3+ years (full-time). Undertaking original in-depth research
in a specific chosen area with guidance from an academic. Usually university-based.
May require attending certain undergraduate/taught postgraduate courses.
Research Masters - 1-2 years full time/2-4 to years part time. Similar structure
to doctorate, only shorter. Can be a conversion course to develop knowledge/skills
in a new subject. Can lead to a professional qualification. Includes the production
of a thesis (usually 30,000 - 40,000 words) and often an oral presentation.
Doctorate - Can be undertaken after first degree or Masters. 3-4 years full time
or 5-6 part time. Involves producing a thesis of around 100,000 words and often
making an oral presentation. Considered very intellectually challenging.
Apply early as competition is intense. Applications for funding for both taught
and research places generally have to be submitted by the spring for courses starting
in the autumn. Some courses - 'studentships' - include funding which covers fees
and living expenses. Some universities or colleges offer privately-funded scholarships.
Your main costs will be tuition fees and accommodation/living expenses.
Sums offered vary in terms of amount and what they cover (fees or living expenses),
and can comprise a one-off payment or several payments throughout your course. Some
stipulate part-time or full-time study, or masters degrees or doctorates. Research
Councils (government-funded agencies) provide funding for many postgraduate students
in the UK. For more information visit the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research
Council. Charities and trusts provide grants, usually to students from poorer backgrounds,
or for those with a record of academic excellence. Visit your local library for
Learned societies such as The Royal Academy of Engineering offer financial assistance
with postgraduate/postdoctorate research. The Institution of Engineering and Technology
(IET) and The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining both offer funding to
Engineering and Technology postgraduates.
A Professional and Career Development Loan allows you to borrow money and pay no
interest while you study. Find out more at
If your course is related to your job, you may be able to get financial help from
your employer if your postgraduate study would benefit the firm. Employers who cannot
provide funding may be willing to offer paid or unpaid study leave.
Postgraduate students with an impairment, health condition or learning difficulty
may be able to get financial help for both taught courses and research places from
Disabled Students? Allowances (DSAs). Find out more at Directgov.
How Do You Apply
Identify which universities/courses you wish to apply for by attending postgraduate
fairs/university open days, studying university websites and prospectuses and/or
discussing your options with relevant members of staff at your own institution.
Investigate your eligibility, funding for your studies, the timing of applications
and how to apply in good time. Apply early - competition for places is intense,
completing applications is time- consuming and you may need to acquire some relevant
work experience. You can apply online to some universities and colleges through
UKPASS (UK Postgraduate Application and Statistical Service), the UCAS postgraduate
application service. See http://www.ukpass.ac.uk/.
There is no maximum number of courses/universities you can apply to and you clearly
must apply to more than one to increase your liklihood of being offered a place
somewhere. Ask your referees to respond promptly if they are asked to supply a reference.
They may find it helpful if you let them have a copy of your completed application.
If you are not offered a place, feedback from the university on your application
may be available. If it is, ask for it and learn from it.
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