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Do you want to study Mechanical Engineering at University?

20th September 12

What A Levels Do I Need to Study Mechanical Engineering at University

What A Levels will I need to study Mechanical Engineering at University?

A Maths A Level and a very good grade in it. Most, if not all, of the best universities in the country will require an A or an A* at A Level, and if you have Further Maths A Level as well, all the better. You’ll probably need at least one science A Level too: Physics, Biology or Chemistry. Some universities look favourably on other technical subjects like Design and Technology or Economics.

You’ll also notice that some universities offer you a choice between doing a BEng or a MEng. You’re probably wondering what the difference is? Let me tell you.

A BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) degree is usually a three year course covering all the general and essential material you will need. The course is ideal for those of you who want an engineering degree, but don’t necessarily want to become a chartered engineer.  A BEng is often more attractive to non-UK students as very often it satisfies the requirements to become a professional in their home country.

A MEng (Master of Engineering) degree is  usually a four year course and, while it contains much of what is taught in the BEng course, allows students to specialise in a certain type of engineering, and provides more focussed and extended study than the BEng. Some graduates claim that it is easier to become a chartered engineer with a MEng, and that some companies look more favourably on those with a MEng. Most universities that offer both courses allow students to change from a BEng to a MEng before the end of the second year if they meet certain academic levels of achievement.

Where should I go and study?

University of CambridgeDepartment of Engineering – A four year Course resulting in a MEng.

Cambridge offers a very broad Engineering degree, where you will most likely study engineering as a whole for the first two years of your four year course, before specialising in Mechanical Engineering in your third year. Cambridge are also quite flexible on their A Level requirements for Engineering. They will offer you anything from A*AA to A*AAA or A*AAB at A Level. . But you’ll definitely need an A Level in Higher Level Maths and Physics. They strongly encourage you to have Further Maths.  Also desirable is an A Level in a third maths or science or technology subject.

Imperial College LondonDepartment of Mechanical Engineering A four year course resulting in a MEng.

Imperial College will offer you an A* in Maths, A in Physics and an A in another subject at A Level, preferably Further Maths, Chemistry, Design Technology, Biology or Economics. They also require you to have a B or higher in GCSE English Language. You can do the course with the option to study the final year of your degree course abroad as well.

University of BristolFaculty of Engineering – A three year course resulting in a BEng, or a four year course resulting in a MEng.

Bristol are also quite flexible offering you A*AA including Maths and Physics A Levels, to AAA including Maths, Physics and Further Maths A Levels, for both degree courses. If you take the MEng you will do your final year of study abroad.

University of SheffieldDepartment of Mechanical Engineering A four year course resulting in a MEng, or a three year course resulting in a BEng.

Your entry requirements will depend on whether you chose the do the MEng or BEng courses. For a MEng you can expect to be offered AAA from 3 A Levels, including Maths and an A Level in one of Biology, Chemistry or Physics. For a BEng course Sheffield typically offer AAB at A Level, with at least Maths and a science (Biology, Chemistry or Physics). You may, should you reach certain academic standards, switch from a BEng degree to a MEng degree before the end of your second year. Sheffield also offer MEng courses with a year’s study in the USA or Europe.

<pUniversity of SouthamptonEngineering and the Environment A three year course resulting in a BEng, or a four year course resulting in a MEng.

To get on their BEng degree or MEng courses, you will most likely need A*AA at A Level. The A* will have to be in Maths or Physics. Southampton offer a wide variety of specialist Mechanical Engineering courses. You can study Mechanical Engineering with subjects ranging from Aerospace and Automotive, to Bioengineering and Sustainable Energy Systems.

Ok, so once I’m there what can I expect?

Mechanical Engineering is a very broad school of engineering, with many different facets, and is often associated with the aerospace and automotive industries, but essentially it is the study of analysis, design, manufacturing and maintenance of any mechanical systems. This includes cars and planes and space shuttles, to air conditioning system, medical prosthetics and everyday household objects.

The emphasis on most mechanical engineering courses is on design and modelling. Expect a dizzy combination of mathematical and scientific theory,computer aided design and engineering, and practical application with virtually all courses requiring students to research and design at least one major project, sometimes in teams.

Generally your first two years will see you acquire the core engineering knowledge and skills needed to progress in the subject and you will specialise more in the third and fourth years and prepare for your career in your chosen field. If your degree has an option to study abroad, you will probably go and do that in your fourth year.

What skills will I develop?

Many. Besides the obvious Mechanical Engineering skills that you will develop of course. Engineering is hardly ever a solo venture, and you will work predominantly in teams, so you will develop the ability to work well with other people, and communicate complex ideas to anyone. You will be able to formulate a design and see it through from concept to completion.

What will my career projects be like?

Excellent. According to a survey in 2010 over 60% of Mechanical Engineering graduates were in employment in the UK or overseas in roles directly relating to their degree course. Mechanical Engineering offers some of the widest career opportunities amongst the engineering disciplines. Graduates often find work in a wide range of sectors including aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, construction and energy. For those who don’t go down that route, there are many more working in other industries including law, management, business, finance and IT.


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