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.
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.
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. 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.
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
Aside from engineering, graduates find employment in a wide range of careers sectors. The key areas of employment include:
- agriculture, forestry and horticulture
- environment and conservation
- local and central government services
- sales and marketing
- technical media and journalism
Examples of related careers include the following job titles: