Engineering and technology

Engineering and technology encompasses a huge range of disciplines, reflected in the number of different specialist courses available at university.

The Engineering Council

Graduates from an accredited engineering degree programme will have achieved part or all of the underpinning knowledge for later professional registration as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).

Graduate destinations

121,560 students were studying this subject in 2014/15.

76.9% of graduates went directly into employment.


Top five graduate destinations:

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Professional, scientific, and technical
  3. Construction
  4. Wholesale and retail trade
  5. IT

What courses are available?

Universities and colleges in the UK are offering courses in the following subject areas:

While the majority of degrees focus on a particular disciple, there are some general engineering courses that enable the decision about which specialism to study to be taken at a later date. The Engineering Council accredits many engineering degrees.

Subject combinations and available course options include:

  • single, joint, and multiple subject combinations
  • full-time, part-time, and flexible study options as well as a few courses with a placement (sandwich courses)
  • qualifications ranging from BSc, BEng and MEng (Hons) degrees, through to HND, HNC, and Foundation Certificates

Most universities offer four year undergraduate or integrated masters degrees (MEng) in engineering. This allows for extended study and enables students to acquire Chartered Engineer status more quickly from one of the engineering professional bodies.

Are you considering an accelerated degree? Click here to read more about the possibility of completing your undergraduate course in two years rather than three. 

Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Many engineering degrees can be taken as sandwich courses. These include a year-long industrial placement in the middle of your degree. You get valuable work experience, and learn new skills which may help make you more employable.

Entry requirements

A levels – To get on to an engineering-related degree, you will usually require a minimum of two A levels, with three A levels and A/B grades required for the most popular courses. Entry requirements range from CCC to AAA, with the universities and colleges most commonly asking for ABB. Maths A level is normally essential, with many universities requiring or preferring a second A level in physics. As an alternative to physics other universities may accept subjects linked to science, computing, maths, or design.

Scottish Highers – Entry requirements for Highers (the most common qualification) range from ABBB to AAAAB, with universities or colleges most frequently requiring AABBB. Occasionally, universities ask for Advanced Highers to supplement Highers. If Advanced Highers are requested, universities or colleges typically ask for AA.

Biotechnology and chemical engineering degrees typically require two science A levels, or Scottish Highers, with biology/chemistry respectively required or preferred as one of the subjects. In addition to A levels or Scottish Highers, you will also need five GCSEs or equivalent (A– C) including science, English, and maths.

Vocational courses – Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Engineering or Construction and Built Environment, SVQ Scientific, Technical and Formulation Processing (SCQF Level 6)) may be accepted as an alternative to A levels/Highers by some providers. It’s essential that you check alternative entry requirements with universities or colleges.


Some universities may require students not taking A levels maths to complete an additional aptitude test in mathematics and or mechanics.

Tomorrow's Engineers

Engineering is one of the few degree subjects that has a significant link with industry. If you are keen to work for a particular organisation or within a particular field of engineering, find out which (if any) universities the companies are associated with.

Personal statement

Competition for places can be high so personal statements form an essential part of the selection process. Admissions tutors want to see you have aptitude, interest and motivation in you chosen subject. In general, this means they are looking for the following:

  • an explanation of what drives your interest in your chosen field
  • evidence that you have a real enthusiasm for the subject , which could be demonstrated by:
    • relevant work experience/shadowing or voluntary work
    • additional reading and research
    • membership of related societies/clubs

How to write your personal statement

Let’s talk about engineering apprenticeships

Listen to our brand new podcast all about degree apprenticeships in engineering. Find out about funding, what day-to-day life is like, making friends, and more from our expert panel.


If you want to combine work and study while earning a salary, you could consider an apprenticeship. Which apprenticeships are available, and how you apply, depends on where you live.

Find out more about apprenticeships across the UK.

There are approximately 120 apprenticeships in the engineering sector available in England, with more in development.

Each apprenticeship sets out occupational standards for specific job roles, designed by employers. The standards outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to demonstrate that an apprentice is fully competent in the job role.

Higher apprenticeships (Level 4)

Degree apprenticeships (Levels 5 – 7)

Discover more about apprenticeships in engineering

Our guide has all the info you need to know about doing an apprenticeship in this industry. Find out what it's really like from current apprentices and decide if it's the right route for you.

Engineering industry guide

Key areas of employment

Aside from engineering, graduates find employment in a wide range of careers sectors. The key areas of employment include:

  • agriculture, forestry and horticulture
  • education
  • environment and conservation
  • local and central government services
  • manufacturing
  • pharmaceutics
  • sales and marketing
  • technical media and journalism

Related careers

Examples of related careers include the following job titles:

Where can I find out more?

Visit the websites of the following professional bodies to find out more about courses and careers in engineering and technology.

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