121,560 students were studying this subject in 2014/15.
- 76% UK
- 24% international
- 83% full-time
- 17% part-time
Top five graduate destinations:
- Professional, scientific, and technical
- Wholesale and retail trade
What courses are available?
Universities and colleges in the UK are offering courses in the following subject areas:
- General engineering
- Civil engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Naval architecture
- Electronic and electrical
- Production and manufacturing
- Chemical, process, and energy
- Ceramics and glass
- Polymers and textiles
- Maritime technology
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.
'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).’
The Engineering Council
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.
‘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.’
Institution of Mechanical 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.’
Apprenticeships are available in the following areas:
- Aerospace – e.g. aerospace engineer, aerospace software development engineer
- Automotive engineering – e.g. control/technical support engineer
- Electrical/electronic support engineer, manufacturing engineer
- Product design and development engineer
- Electronic systems – e.g. embedded electronic systems design and development engineer
- Nuclear – e.g. nuclear scientist and nuclear engineer
Higher apprenticeships (Level 4 unless otherwise stated):
- Advanced manufacturing engineering – e.g. systems engineer, aircraft systems development technician
- Space/aerospace engineering – e.g. aerospace engineer, aerospace software development engineer
- Automotive – e.g. electrical/electronic support engineer, product design and development engineer
- Engineering environmental technologies – e.g. health and safety supervisor
- Fashion and textiles – e.g. textile technical designer, testing technologist
- Furniture manufacturing technician (Level 5)
- Jewellery, silversmithing, and allied trades – e.g. model maker, CAD designer
- Mineral products technology (levels 4/5) – e.g. technical supervisor
- Power engineering – e.g. planning engineer
- Water industry – e.g. design technician, project engineer
- Vehicle maintenance and repair – e.g. senior technician
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. 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.
Biotechnology and chemical engineering degrees typically require two science A levels, with biology/chemistry respectively required or preferred as one of the subjects. In addition to A levels or equivalent you will also need five GCSEs (A– C) including science, English, and maths.
Vocational courses – Other Level 3 qualifications (e.g. BTEC extended diploma in engineering or construction and built environment) may be accepted as an alternative to A levels by some universities.
Some universities may require students not taking A levels maths to complete an additional aptitude test in mathematics and or mechanics.
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
Key areas of employment
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.