Perhaps the broadest of all the engineering disciplines, mechanical engineering is all about using products and materials and creating machinery in a way that will drive mankind and technology forward. And you only need think about how far the human race has moved in the past few decades to see that this is a fast moving and ever changing discipline. To successfully work in this industry you need to have vision and imagination, as well as an in-depth understanding of the various scientific principles of the industry. It’s only through this knowledge that a successful mechanical engineer can analyze, design, manufacture and maintain the mechanical systems that we rely on in ever-increasing ways and that support life as we know it today.

What are mechanical engineering degree courses all about?
Mechanical engineering universities and institutions will provide you with the knowledge necessary to work in this fascinating industry. These include various core concepts such as structural analysis, kinematics, mechanics, thermodynamics and material science to name but a few. Using these principles, along with various tools, the successful mechanical engineer has the opportunity to work and specialize in a variety of different subjects – such as transport systems, robotics, manufacturing plants, aircraft and medical devices to name but a few. By fully understanding the use of mechanical power and heat in the application of tools and machines you’ll gain a broad understanding in both the design and production of such areas.

What will I learn on a mechanical engineering degree course?
While every mechanical engineering college, university and school will have their individual methods of providing your education, you can expect to cover the following:

  • A sound foundation in design, mechanics and electrical principles
  • Materials, thermo-fluids and materials science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Structural design
  • Mechanical systems and maintenance
  • Computer-aided engineering
  • Business and the mechanical engineering industry

What methods will a mechanical engineering degree course use to teach me?
There is, by necessity, a large amount of theoretical learning involved when undertaking a mechanical engineering degree course. This will be provided in the form of seminars, lectures, project work, self-led study and question and answer sessions – amongst other methods. However, you can expect a large proportion of practical learning as well – including work placements in various different branches of the industry. Depending on where you study this could be in the form of day placements, or perhaps in longer sessions. Indeed, some universities include a complete work placement year as part of your mechanical engineering degree course.

After gaining my mechanical engineering degree, what options are open to me for employment?
As this is one of the broadest of all the engineering degree options, the future career paths to consider are large and varied. You could consider moving into the marine industry, petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, aerospace industry, heating and cooling industry or even designing racing cars! This is a career choice that is as varied as you’d like it to be. During the latter part of your degree course it’s likely that you’ll be given the chance to begin to specialize somewhat and move towards the areas that interest you the most, so setting you up for the step from student to member of the work force.