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Study Engineering at a UK University

The UK is home to some of the best engineering schools in the world

Engineers belong to one of the greatest professions in the world; they are responsible for almost everything we use, consume and take part in every day. Engineers often find themselves in key positions in industry and commerce, from leisure activities to medical treatment and mobile communications to modern transport systems.

Within the wide boundaries of the engineering profession, there are thousands of challenging activities in areas such as research, development, design, manufacture and operation of products and services, and the UK has some of the best and highest-ranked engineering schools in the world.

Engineering application

However, this trend goes broader than businesses classified as "engineering". Choosing the right engineering course and university can be difficult. Understanding which university is best for you when considering your academic background, future career goals, and where you wish to specialise is crucial.

Types of Engineering Degrees

Demand for good engineers is high. In the finance, mechanical, IT and electronics sectors in particular, there are world shortages of chartered and incorporated engineers, and unemployment amongst professional engineers is lower than for almost any other profession.

In the UK alone, the engineering-led industry contributes about 40% of its gross domestic product and is a key part of the national economy. From motor racing to household electricians, the engineer's role is crucial. For anyone looking for a rewarding future with a wide variety of employment prospects, there has never been a more exciting time to embark on a career in engineering.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering is the engineering branch that deals with applying physical science (e.g., chemistry and physics) and life sciences (e.g., biology, microbiology and biochemistry) with mathematics and economics to convert raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms. Chemical engineers ensure the processes are operated safely, sustainably and economically when converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms.

Civil Engineering  

Civil Engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with designing, constructing, and maintaining the physical and naturally built environment, including works like bridges, roads, canals, dams and buildings. It is traditionally broken into several sub-disciplines: environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, municipal or urban engineering, water resources engineering, materials engineering, coastal engineering, surveying, and construction engineering.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with studying and applying electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. It covers a range of subtopics, including power, electronics, control systems, signal processing and telecommunications. Usually, electrical engineering deals with the problems associated with large-scale electrical systems such as power transmission and motor control, whereas electronic engineering deals with the study of small-scale electronic systems, including computers and integrated circuits.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for the analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. This branch of engineering involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the design, production, and operation of machines and tools.

Computer Engineering

Computer Engineering deals with the design of computers and computer systems. This may involve the design of new hardware, the design of PDAs, USBs or the use of computers to control an industrial plant. Computer engineers may also work on a system's software. However, the design of complex software systems is often the software engineering domain, which is usually considered a separate discipline.

Mechatronics Engineering

Mechatronics Engineering is an engineering discipline which deals with the convergence of electrical and mechanical systems. Such combined systems are known as electromechanical systems and have widespread adoption. Examples include automated manufacturing systems, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and various subsystems of aircraft and automobiles.

Engineering Course Duration

Undergraduate engineering degrees typically last three to four years, depending on the course and university. Many universities offer a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree that usually takes three years, while others offer a Master of Engineering (MEng) degree that takes four years to complete.

The BEng degree is focused primarily on the technical and practical aspects of engineering, while the MEng degree typically includes more advanced coursework and research opportunities. MEng degrees are usually required for those who wish to pursue a career as a chartered engineer.

Engineering Degree Tuition Fees

The average cost of international tuition fees for engineering degrees in the UK varies depending on the university, the specific engineering degree, and the level of study. International students can expect to pay between £20,000 to £35,000 per year for undergraduate engineering degrees and up to £45,000 per year for postgraduate engineering degrees.

For example, the University of Oxford MEng in Engineering Science course is over £44,000 per year, but the University of Sheffield’s General Engineering programme is only £26,000 per year. Below are the UK's best general engineering degrees and their international fees.

University Course International Fees

University of Cambridge

MEng Engineering


University of Bristol

BEng Engineering Mathematics


University of Oxford

MEng in Engineering Science


Imperial College London

Design Engineering


University of Sheffield

General Engineering BEng (Hons)


Engineering Scholarships

There are many types of engineering scholarships available in the UK. Popular scholarships for international engineering students in the UK include:

  • The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Scholarships: IMechE offers several scholarships to engineering students, including the Undergraduate Scholarship, the Undergraduate Bursary, and the Postgraduate Taught Masters Scholarship.
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering Scholarships: The Royal Academy of Engineering offers several scholarships, including the Engineering Leaders Scholarship, the Engineering for Access Scholarship, and the Engineering for Sustainable Development Scholarship.
  • The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Scholarships: ICE offers several scholarships to civil engineering students, including the QUEST Undergraduate Scholarship and the QUEST Technician Scholarship.
  • The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Scholarships: The IET offers several scholarships to engineering students, including the Diamond Jubilee Scholarship and the Power Academy Scholarship.
  • The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Scholarships: SPE offers several scholarships to petroleum engineering students, including the SPE Aberdeen Section Scholarship and the SPE Aberdeen Section MSc Scholarship.

Engineering Jobs

Engineering graduates in the UK can pursue a wide range of different engineering career paths. Common engineering jobs for new UK university graduates include:

  • Aeronautical engineer: Design, develop, and test aircraft, spacecraft, and related systems.
  • Civil engineer: Design, build, and maintain infrastructure, such as bridges, roads, and buildings.
  • Mechanical engineer: Design and develop mechanical systems, such as engines, machines, and tools.
  • Electrical engineer: Design and develop electrical systems, such as power generation, transmission, and distribution systems.
  • Chemical engineer: Design and develop chemical processes and equipment, such as those used in producing pharmaceuticals or refining oil.
  • Software engineer: Design and develop software systems and applications.
  • Environmental engineer: Develop solutions to environmental problems, such as pollution control and waste management.
  • Structural engineer: Design and analyse structures like buildings and bridges to ensure they can withstand loads and stresses.

Engineering Salary

The average starting salary for a general engineer in the UK varies depending on factors such as the sector, location, and specific role. However, according to the Engineering UK 2021 report, the average starting salary for an engineering graduate was £26,000 per year.

For an experienced general engineer in the UK, the median annual salary for engineers and technologists in the UK was £47,500.

Engineering Entry Requirements

Two types of engineering courses are offered at UK universities: B.Eng (Bachelor of Engineering) and M.Eng (Master in Engineering). A B.Eng is a standard 3-year degree in engineering. Those who complete a B.Eng have the appropriate training and experience to apply to become an Incorporated Engineer. However, for those wishing to become a Chartered Engineer, it is mandatory to follow degree studies with advanced study equivalent to the final year of an M.Eng programme.

Some UK universities allow students to switch between the B.Eng and M.Eng during the early years of the course. An M.Eng degree is the university-level qualification taken by students wishing to become Chartered Engineers. M.Eng courses take a minimum of 4 years, 5 years for those wishing to conduct one year's work experience.

To study undergraduate engineering, you will typically need A-levels or equivalent qualifications in maths and physics or chemistry, as well as good grades in other relevant subjects. International students may need to meet equivalent qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the European Baccalaureate (EB).

To study postgraduate engineering, you typically need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field with at least a second-class honours degree or equivalent. Some courses may also require relevant work experiences or specific subject knowledge, such as advanced maths or computer programming.

  • Typical International Baccalaureate requirements: 35 points.
  • Typical A-level requirements: AAB, including mathematics and physics.
  • Typical IELTS requirements: 7.0 overall, with no lower than 6.5 in any one component.

Please note that entry requirements vary for each UK university.

Where can I study Engineering Courses in the UK?

To learn more about the best engineering universities in the UK, find details on the top ten ranking engineering universities for each discipline in the Guardian University Guide 2024 below:

Study Engineering in the UK

If you want to study engineering in the UK, arrange your free consultation with SI-UK today.

Engineering Degree FAQ

For overseas students, tuition for engineering degrees in the UK can range from approximately £16,000 to £45,000 per year, depending on the university and the course. Generally, accommodation costs range from approximately £100 to £300 per week, while living expenses such as food, transportation, and personal expenses can vary widely depending on the student's lifestyle and location.

A bachelor's degree in engineering usually takes three to four years to complete, whilst a master's degree in engineering typically takes one to two years to complete.

The highest-paid engineers in the UK are typically those in specialised fields such as petroleum engineering, chemical engineering and aerospace engineering.

The most common route to becoming an engineer in the UK is to earn a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or civil engineering. Some engineering careers may require a master's degree in engineering or a related field, especially for research, development, or specialised roles. A master's degree can also provide a competitive advantage and raise salaries.

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